Dear DEN Friends,
We hope you enjoy a few highlights from the happenings in and around the DEN world.
Our newsletter is changing...slightly shorter publications, but more often.
Enjoy this issue!
Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network | 11 Rope Ferry Road | Hanover, NH 03755
What do you get when you
bring together . . .
12 panels discussions
30 start-up company showcases
a fireside chat
an e-ship competition, and
GV 2012 took place at Tuck School on Friday, April 14, 2012. GV brought together nationally recognized entrepreneurial leaders to discuss entrepreneurial initiatives within the Dartmouth community. The conference, which was open to the Dartmouth community, was organized by the Entrepreneurship Initiative at Tuck, the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network, and Tuck's Center for Private Equity and Entrepreneurship.
"The goal of Greener Ventures was to capture all of the entrepreneurial energy around Dartmouth in one place, at one time," said Joaquin Villarreal T'08, manager of the Entrepreneurship Initiative at Tuck.
Keynoters included Dartmouth Trustee Trevor Rees-Jones D'73,
founder and president of Chief Oil & Gas and Christina Stoltz D'06,
Fireside Chat with Dave Girouard D'88, TH'89 and Andy Palmer T'94
AS'07, innovative social entrepreneur. Later in the afternoon, Dave Girouard D'88, TH'89 and Andy Palmer T'94 participated in a fireside chat in Stell Hall on the value of mentorship. We wrapped up the day in a big way - with a $50K e-ship contest - 3 finalists competed
for best in show (9 semi-finalists competed the day before). The contest was sponsored by several individuals and organizations that foster a spirit of innovation by helping people in the Dartmouth community learn about and implement entrepreneurship, including Borealis Ventures, Upstart, Loginov & Associates, Andy Palmer T'94, and Michael Gonnerman D'65.
Read more about GV >
Contest winners >
Hacky Sacks with wings. Badminton for your feet.
B e i n g a n E n t r e p r e n e u r
by Molson Hart D'09, Founder
My name is Molson Hart D'09 and I founded a company which makes Kikbos! Kikbos are hacky sacks with wings and Kikboing is badminton for your feet.
Kikbos stay in the air longer than a hacky sack or soccer ball, making them easier to juggle and opening up a whole new world of tricks and acrobatic moves. Kikbo is a great way to spend time with friends and family, and is an excellent cardio workout.
Okay! Enough about Kikbo for a moment - let's talk about what being an entrepreneur has been like for me. When I think I have a good idea, I try it in a non-committal way, spending as little money as possible, while still aiming for a robust result of decent sample size. If the idea fails, I try to draw conclusions that will help me in the future. If the idea succeeds,
What has this process looked like in practice? A year and a half ago, we were doing tiny production runs, only selling locally, and operating a two-bit website. Today, Kikbos are manufactured in China by the container, sold in more than 130 stores across the United States and Canada, and post some mean numbers on kikbo.com, footbagshop.com, and amazon.com.
It's been a real privilege for me to be part of DEN so please do not hesitate to contact me (http://www.kikbo.com/contact.html
I've lived in Taos, New Mexico since 1989. I am a life-long professional fine artist (kristinekeheley.com), but in 2001, I discovered I had a gift for creating organic skincare products and began creating products for national brands. Over the past decade I have developed and formulated award-winning products for major natural skin care and cosmetics brands selling in Whole Foods, destination spas, and department stores.
We launched Vapour in 2009, at a peak in the recession. After two years, Vapour has just hit "break even." Vapour has not raised any equity capital outside of casual investors (friends & family).
Our smartest first move, even though it broke the bank at the time, was to hire a great Manhattan PR firm, BOLD PR. They have been with us since our launch and their results have been extraordinary.
The world seems primed for us now in 2012. We sell mainly through our website. We are in an extremely rapid growth spurt and the challenges are intense. Through my exhaustion I can say that is the most gratifying, thrilling, and creative experience of my eventful life. We are emerging very strongly this year. We are breaking through.
Read full article >
Learn more about Vapour products >
Noah Dentzel D'10
This is a big week for me. I've just launched my very own Kickstarter project, CHARGE CARD. If you already know about my project or about Kickstarter, please visit my page and check out my project. If not, here's the perspective on crowdsourcing and funding from one of your very own, me.
Platforms like Kickstarter.com have catalyzed once again the power of the crowd not only to innovate, but to foster a tidal wave of support for creative and entrepreneurial projects. On Kickstarter, entrepreneurs and creatives submit projects in which they ask the crowd to pledge money in exchange for rewards.
Please read about our project and keep a battery in your wallet!
Read full article >
Learn more about CHARGE CARD >
B e w a r e o f T h e T r o l l s
by Jeff Newman D'82, Esq.
When we were children, we were warned about the things that go bump in the night. The trolls we were told about are still very much with us, and a growing threat. In their modern incarnation, the trolls now stalk our business activities and intellectual property, and can be a very frustrating and expensive nuisance.
What is an intellectual property troll? It is an entity that acquires intellectual property rights or the color of rights from others, and uses them to search
out businesses and individuals that are (often unwittingly) conducting business that, in some way, infringes the troll's assumed right. There are three general categories of intellectual property trolls: Patent Trolls, Trademark Trolls, and Copyright Trolls. All three have the ability to ruin your day.
Read about good troll repellents in the full article >
Lessons learned from a Dartmouth entrepreneur
Dr. Tom Brady is Founder, President, and CEO of Plastic Technologies, Inc. (PTI), and oversees the operations of six other PTI companies engaged in specialty manufacturing, advanced product development and technology licensing. Tom says he learned many lessons the hard way, including:
- "Build it and they will come" does not apply to starting a business. It's what the customers think that counts.
- Never apologize for doing the right thing. Don't compromise on integrity - ever. Good reputations are hard to build and easy to lose.
- It is okay to fail.
Read full article >
Can we write off a government-backed receivable?
"A government agency in California has owed us money for almost three years now, and they keep making lame excuses. It seems weird to write off a government-backed receivable, but I could really use the tax deduction this year. Advice?"
You can certainly write off any receivable that's three years old and that you're unable to collect. If California is finally able to pay its bills, of course, you'll have to record the payment as "new" revenue.
Before writing off the bill, however, you should make one last attempt, in person, face-to-face, to find out if it's truly uncollectible (and why). Governments work on annual budgets and typically can only spend for costs in this year's budget. Your bill may have busted the budget for that year and has been put into the "let's hope we can pay this next year" folder. If that's the case, see if the agency can find some way to roll it forward to the current year. I'm sure the agency employees you worked with are deeply embarassed by the situation and will help put pressure on their accounting staff.
How can I recapture excessive options?
"I was way too generous about handing out stock options when I launched my company. Now I've ended up with a couple of executives who don't contribute much but stand to collect an unfair share of our option pool when we sell the business. How can I readjust their shares?"
There's not much you can do about shares that have vested. That's water under the bridge.
But you have a good deal more leverage with any options that are still unvesteds. Take a look at the employment contracts you have with these guys. It's likely you'll find some contract language about negotiating "changes" in compensation. That usually means raises, but it can also mean pay cuts. In other words, if they want to keep their jobs, you can require them to give up their unvested options.
Visit MIKE at www.gonnerman.com
In This Issue
- GV E-Ship Conf 2013
- Being an Entrepreneur
- Vapour Organic Beauty
- Charge Card
a battery charger that
will fit in your wallet!
- Patent Trolls
- Lessons Learned
- Ask MIKE
which apps you need most ?
Greg Clow D'81 came up with a solution...it's free and it's really cool!
Sign up today!www.top-ten-apps.com
Will Vincent T'10
Working with a Quizlet, a start-up out of MIT..
Christina Stoltz D'06
Founded Ploome and REQ 1...
Need a battery charger for your iPhone that will fit in your wallet? Noah Dentzel D'10 has
something for you!
Molson Hart D'09 wants to give back...he's a resource for alums!
Make it happen!
Remember the sentence of ten two-letter words: "If it is to be,
it is up to me!"
What I Know Now That I Wish I
A few lessons I learned the hard way by
Dr. Tom Brady D'93
Read more >