Looking for tips to grow your startup? Try live-tweeting at your next event. Follow these tips from Draper University's marketing team.
Alumni Post written by Niti Shree of Draper University Summer 2015
I have always been a risk-taker and a confident individual. I always took the road less traveled in my personal and professional journey. But, I never considered myself as a person who could do anything without any fear or self-doubt until the Draper University experience happened to me.
This story is the compilation of the realizations of my powers and unleashing of the Superhero within me.
Fail and fail again
In almost all the competitions, my team came last or got special mention points. In the societal norms, I should be sad, disheartened or give up in such situations. We often just quote “ Failures as stepping stone for success” in theory. But, at Draper University I learned to celebrate failures, improvise and move on.
Mind over body
I always considered myself as a physically weak person. Even though I am normally a “Say yes!” person, I couldn’t break the block of wood with my bare hand in first attempt. It took me five attempts to break that wood. That “proving myself wrong” feeling after breaking was amazing. I learned the power of your mind can get anything done from you.
Exploring the world with Gusto and Enthusiasm
In our day-to-day life as we grow up, we stop feeling excited about the new activities or challenges. I became one in someway. Draper University’s experience taught me that no matter how much you have grown up, keep the excitement alive in you.
The first step towards creation is observing
We live in a technology-led world and we become so used to such a life. We forget to pay attention to things around us. We are able to fly today because some entrepreneur built the aeroplane, we are able to talk to our loved ones on the go because some entrepreneur created the mobile phone…what if these people would have just moved ahead without paying attention. I learned to observe things around me after surviving at Survival Week at Draper University.
The network effect
It’s often said that you become the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Your network shapes you. Alone you can only grow to a certain level. I can never forget the feeling of being nervous for the “Pitch Day” and my 68 friends cheering up for me. That feeling instills your belief in yourself and the work you are headed to do.
The very first day Tim told us to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. We all have probably heard this quote “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”, but liitle we practice. During the entire program, we were uncomfortable — not knowing what’s coming next and doing activities which you never even dreamt of.
Many times we don’t try something new or don’t do something because we are afraid of unknown or known factors. I swam for the first time, faced the mighty waves of Pacific ocean for the first time, making the first ever confident presentation…many more firsts. Conquering your fears is most powerful feeling which takes your confidence to whole new level.
Fun is the most important element of success which most of us forget. When working hard towards your goal people often believe that there is no scope of fun. That’s wrong. The true entrepreneurial journey must have lots of Fun. It keeps the creative juices flowing in your brain.
…Apart from above, there were other learning aspects too during the program. But above all, its the realization of the Superhero within me. You will get to know about my heroic skills as I go ahead in my journey.
In 2013, women made up only quarter of the computing workforce, a rate that’s been decreasing since 1990.
In the mid-1980s, 37% of computer science majors were women; in 2012, 18%. Women are vastly underrepresented in the tech sector and in all of Silicon Valley. But perhaps things are looking up! For the first time, more women than men enrolled in intro computer science at Berkeley. Last year, Google was offering free coding lessons to women and minority. And most significantly, there is a growing number of programs striving to teach women of all ages programming languages.
Girls Who Code is a non profit organization that works to inspire, educate and equip girls with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities.
Their vision is to reach gender parity in computing fields. The team knows it is paramount to ensure the economic prosperity of women, families, and communities across the globe, and to equip citizens with the 21st century tools for innovation and social change. They believe that the more girls exposed to computer science at a young age will lead to more women working in the technology and engineering fields.
To implement a hands on approach to learning, the Girls Who Code summer program sends the students to the campuses of tech companies such as Microsoft.
14 of the students told Microsoft why they believe it is important for girls to make their mark in the tech industry. Here’s what they had to say:
ALUMNI ALERT: Michael Juliano of Think You redefines the way we customize and share contact information via mobiles phone and now the wrist.
Think You, Inc., a company that streamlines how people share contact information and connect with one another, today announced the release of youPass for Android and Apple Watch. youPass for Apple Watch brings the convenience of linking with people and sharing contact information right to the user's wrist. The Android version works just as seamlessly as the iOS version, but has received significant updates to streamline the user experience.
“With youPass on two new platforms we are now reaching a larger audience and sharing contact information in new and unique ways,” said Mike Juliano, Draper University Alumni and CEO & Founder of Think You, “We’re incredibly excited to welcome Android users for the first time and explore a whole new dimension of interaction with Apple Watch.”
The app is easy to use, individuals simply scan a code on a mobile phone or Apple Watch to instantly link with people they meet. Users may also send a link to anyone with a mobile device—with or without the youPass app installed. The app can also send a personalized vCard with contact details that have been customized by the sender.
“Mike and his team have created a unique and centralized way for people to customize the personal contact and social networking information that they share with other people,”
said Tim Draper, founder of Draper Associates/DFJ/Draper University.
“His vision and gusto embody what we try to teach at Draper University. Think big, go all out and never be afraid of failure. Redefining the way we connect with one another beyond the exchange of a phone number or email address will broaden the depth of our contacts -- something a business card cannot do.”
youPass for iOS and Android also received significant updates to streamline the user experience. With youPass v2.4, the core functions (scan, share and connect) are brought to the forefront of the UI and are accessible via simple swipes. In addition, youPass v2.4 adds support for additional ways to connect including social networks, messenger and video communication platforms. These include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Vine, Tumblr, YouTube, Skype, Kik, Google+, About.Me, Tsū, Ello, ooVoo, SoundCloud, Flickr and many more.
For the original version, visit PRWeb.
Learn more about Mike and his journey to Draper University.
Draper University has partnered with Indiegogo Life to enable Draper University applicants to raise funds for their tuition.
At our site, you can see campaigns from budding entrepreneurs who explain why they want to attend Draper University and what business they plan to launch. Through these campaigns, we’ve gained many interesting insights about raising money on Indiegogo and how to catalyze your community.
Learn how to rally your network.
Launch a fundraiser that will personally invest your network in your success and entrepreneurial pursuits. Picture Piotr Yordanov, a Fall 2013 Draper University Alumni. Aside from his charismatic video shoot, Piotr leveraged his skills as a software engineer and website designer to incentivize his network to donate to his campaign. By knowing your strengths and skillsets, you can determine what exactly you need from others to succeed. Donors were more likely to donate to Piotr’s campaign knowing they would receive a “free” one-hour tech consultation.
Draper University founder & famous Venture Capitalist Tim Draper strongly recommends the ability to discuss your personal strengths and weaknesses. Are you good at writing? Spend extra time crafting your pitch text. Are you great at interacting with people? Be in charge of responding to comments. In the world of business and startups, it’s vital to own what you are great at, and create a diverse team that fills in the areas you could use some help to help your campaign stand out.
Create a buzz-worthy story.
Similar to when starting a business, determining who your contributors will be and where to find them is essential to meeting your goal. Are your donors your Facebook friends and family? LinkedIn connections & colleagues? Tech lovers in the Twitterverse? Once you’ve tested where the majority of your donors are, you can more efficiently use your time by putting forth effort in these specific areas. Make sure you know where the first 30% of your funds are coming from before launching your campaign. If you aren’t confident you can hit this within the first few days, adjust your goal accordingly.
The more compelling your story and the more convincing your business idea, the more likely you are to reach your funding goal. Your audience needs to know why your school tuition will enable your business, and the message should be powerful and clear. Your donors will want to know that their money will empower you personally, but more importantly that you’ll make a big difference in the long run. Being transparent is crucial to the success of your fundraiser. A breakdown of exactly how the funds will be used can be helpful for instilling a sense of trust.
Piotr tugged at the heartstrings of his audience by explaining his mission and making his audience feel a part of it, too. The call-to-action on Piotr’s page states this clearly, “I have a dream, that one day, the middle-east, will see entrepreneurial heroes. Together we make this dream come true!”
Get a taste of raising capital.
Crowdfunding tuition on Indiegogo Life can also be great experience for pitching your business to investors., except your contributors don’t expect anything but your happiness and success in return! Upload a video, share your story, and let your personality shine. It should be obvious at this point that launching a strong crowdfunding campaign is very similar to launching a business and can be a strong proof point that demonstrates you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.
Indiegogo Life will provide you fantastic knowledge for developing a network and raising capital. It will push you to think through the finer details of your business plan and polish an idea that’s ready for market. If your campaign is successful, you will have sharpened your startup idea and established your goals before you even step through our doors.
We encourage all future students to take advantage of this opportunity. With an effective crowdfunding campaign under your belt, you’ll hit the ground running when it comes time to pitch your ideas to private investors.
Watch the video on how to raise funds for education at Draper University!
Re-blogged fromof NerdWallet
You’re probably familiar with “Shark Tank,” the ABC show where real entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a panel of equity investors. Since the program first aired in 2009, a slew of similar shows have popped up, including “Food Fortunes” on Food Network and “The Profit” on CNBC. ABC also launched the spinoff “Beyond the Tank” in May. The latest entrepreneurial reality show, “Startup U,” premieres on ABC Family in August. It will follow students at Draper University, a seven-week entrepreneur education program in Silicon Valley.
“Shark Tank” averaged 7.5 million viewers in its most recent season, its sixth, according to the Nielsen Co. Why do entrepreneurial reality shows resonate with viewers? We put that question to some business and media experts.
They inspire entrepreneur hopefuls
Reality shows about entrepreneurs are a form of “success porn,” says Paul Levinson, a communications and media studies professor at Fordham University in New York. Rather than depicting contestants becoming millionaires by chance, these shows feature entrepreneurs earning investments with their novel ideas and clever inventions.
“This appeals to fans who have an idea or two about how to become rich, which they’re sure would work if only they could find the right listener,” Levinson says via email.
They teach lessons about entrepreneurship
Watching shows like “Shark Tank” and “The Profit” can teach wannabe entrepreneurs about equity capital and how to make an effective pitch. Venture capitalist Tim Draper, founder of Draper University, says “Startup U” will reveal new marketing techniques and ways of thinking about finance, in addition to showing how entrepreneurs can be successful working in teams.
Viewers “are going to learn that a lot of entrepreneurship is just taking that first step and just doing it,” Draper tells NerdWallet. “Then they’re going to learn that it’s hard.”
They give viewers a vicarious thrill
A lot of people view entrepreneurship as a skill that you have to be born with, and that therefore is unattainable to them, says Berna Aksu, a business professor at Saint Mary’s College of California, in Moraga. Watching reality shows like “Shark Tank” lets audiences experience the entrepreneurial dream vicariously without actually taking the risk, she says.
“When people can’t do something themselves,” she says, “they still like to see other people succeed.”
They advertise cool new products
Shows like “Shark Tank” are as much a marketing tool as a funding opportunity for entrepreneurs. “What better commercial than network TV?” says Lisa Hennessy. Hennessy is executive producer of the NBC weight-loss reality show “The Biggest Loser” and co-founder of DreamJobbing.com, a site that advertises unique, short-term job opportunities, such as a photojournalist stint in Norway or three weeks with the Nitro Circus.
Products that gained popularity on “Shark Tank” include Ava the Elephant, an animal-shaped medicine dropper for kids; ChordBuddy, a guitar attachment for novice musicians; and the Squatty Potty, a bathroom step stool designed to promote “healthy toilet posture,” as its website says.
They show underdogs beating the odds
Although entrepreneurship has grown in popularity, it’s still not easy, says Marci Weisler, a creator of “Queen Bee,” a show featuring female entrepreneurs on Ora TV. Audiences enjoy rooting for entrepreneurs’ pursuit of the American dream, she says.
“Shows like these show the struggles and successes,” she says by email, “and that average people have a chance to do extraordinary things and create big business.”
Don't miss the Startup U series premiere Tuesday, August 11th at 10pm|9c on ABC Family!
Bloomberg Radio Interview
Cory: Wait, before we bring Tim Draper in Carol, do you know where I was July 3rd in the afternoon? Tim Draper Does.
Carol: Tim, do tell. Where was Cory Johnson on the afternoon of July 3rd?
Cory: Yes, I was lecturing at Draper University.
Tim: Oh of course you were— and you were awesome! They loved you.
Cory: He was asleep at that time… it was really interesting, Tim! Thank you for the invitation to do that. Tell us about Draper University.
Tim: It’s an amazing place. The biggest surprise is that it worked. I started the school 4 years ago to attract entrepreneurs from all over the world who wanted to learn how to really be an entrepreneur, or at least get that wherewithal to become. So we started this school, Draper University of Heroes, and it’s amazing the students its attracted. Cory, I bet you’ve never spoken in a class where they are so dynamic and so dedicated to learning.
Cory: It was interesting, Tim. So I gave a modified version of a speech I’ve given at the Haas School of Business in Berkeley, and at the Knight School of Business at Stanford... both graduate classes. Both those were very different. But this was very different, too. These people were really engaged in wanting to be entrepreneurs.
I talked a lot about accounting in this lecture which they weren’t especially interested in. They liked the tales of woe and intrigue. But these were people who were trying to take the discussion I had, and put it in their context of wanting to be startup entrepreneurs. Every single one of them.
Tim: Yeah, and that’s the cut. It’s getting harder to get into Draper University but it is a school that has some of the most dynamic, driven, entrepreneurial-minded people in the world. It’s something we’ve trained our admissions office to look for. We’re getting better and better at it. It’s really exciting! We take about 70 students per quarter, so we’ve had about 400 students. They’ve started about 200 companies, come from over 40 countries.
This most recent session is 70 students over 33 countries. The word has really gotten out. It’s a really exciting place to be. It’s only a 6-8 week program. If you’re a true entrepreneur, you don’t want to dedicate 4 years to become educated. You want to do it as quickly as possible and get out there and make your business happen.
Carol: So Tim, this is your Innovate Your State Program at Draper, right?
Tim: No, Innovate Your State is another program. Innovate Your State spun out of some things I saw. What it really is, is a crowd-sourced opportunity. This first one is for Californians to crowd-source and come up with new ideas they want placed on the ballot, or that they want me to fund, or me to donate to. We had 400 submissions, now we’re down to the Sweet 16. That group is really innovative.
They’ve come up with some amazing ideas, some that are Venture Governance. I’ve funded two of them now. One was called “Open Gov”, which was all about transparency in government. Another is called PlaceVote, which allows a Congress Person to put the bills in front of them out to their constituents and have constituents vote on them.
Long term, this could be a situation where the Congressmen gets his $175,000 a year, and his 5 Million Dollar slush fund, and his 50 staffers… but all he has to do is push the button that says which way his population voted on something. So it’s a really interesting and innovative idea.
There are some of the 16 that are quite interesting. They are really targeting getting on the ballot in 2016 or 2018, and we are figuring out if we want to take one and put it on the ballot in California.
Cory: And who is the “We”, Tim?
Tim: I have a team that does this for me, it’s the same team that helped me with trying to get Six Californias on the ballot.
Cory: Which is a whole other fascinating thing we can talk about another time. Your unconventional interest in politics is very interesting to me. I feel like this is the season when political candidates are running up and down Highway 280 asking every VC and CEO and anyone else with a thick wallet for money.
Yet, you’ve taken an approach that is very different saying, “I want much more dramatic change than picking one of the candidates running for one of the two major parties.”
Tim: I’m a believer that we really need strong structural change throughout the entire country, but specifically in California where we’ve gone from 1st to 47th in K-12 Education, and 1st to 50th as the least transparent State in the Union, and we’ve gone from 1st to 50th as the worst state to do business in. Our infrastructure spending has gone from 26% down to 3%.
There are some real problems in California, and the costs are higher, and the value we’re getting as constituents is less. There’s a real need of something structural to change. There have been some great Goveners put in all the way through.
Cory: Tim Draper of DFJ, Venture Capitalist and big thinker, thank you very much. Always a pleasure talking to you.
Tune into Bloomberg Radio Shows by visiting here.
Meet the Entrepreneurs of Hero City
A unique co-working space of the Draper Ecosystem. It’s a city with a vibrant culture, an eclectic community of bold people, perspectives, and possibilities.
For those of you that aspire to be extraordinary heroes, we are creating a new entrepreneurial supercharger. Hero City at Draper University is where fun loving meets risk-mastering and big challenges get tackled by innovative play. Meet three of our heroes here:
Rich Moore, Allison+Partners
What habits and mindsets make you successful?
"I regularly change my routine - join new groups, attend events I've never gone to before, grab lunch in new places - so that I increase the odds of meeting new people and discovering new companies and seeing things that I otherwise wouldn't know about. Brings a lot more serendipity into my work. I also try to remain optimistic and visualize outcomes that I want to achieve. That frequently leads me down new paths."
Get social: @RMoore @AllisonPR
What habits and mindsets make you successful?
“Move the needle forward every single day.”
Get Social: @JakeRyanBenson @Libra_Tax
What motivates you?
“Being surrounded by brilliant mindsets and always pushing myself out of the comfort zone by consistently learning and trying new things.”
Get social: @ShadyElyaski
Get social: www.hedgesight.com
Today Techstars announce the 2015 participants of Disney Accelerator, powered by Techstars.
Draper University Spring 2015 Alumni Billy Shaw Susanto, Founder of Pundit, was selected and funded as 1 in 10 media tech startups in the world to the program. Pundit will participate in a three-month mentorship and investment program, which begins July 9 this year and concludes with a demo day on October 6.
The ten companies in this year’s program represent a diverse cross-section of technologies, and we are inspired by their visions for the applicability of these technologies in the media space.
Pundit & the 9 other startups will receive up to $120,000 in investment capital to develop their ideas, along with mentor support from top Disney executives, including Chairman and CEO Robert A. Iger, and leaders from Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, ESPN and Walt Disney Imagineering, among others. Mentors will also include other entertainment industry leaders, venture capitalists and Techstars’ extensive network of entrepreneurs, investors and executives.
Draper University supported Pundit’s early user adoption by supplying a network of influential creators to host ‘Ask Me Anything’ sessions (AMAs) on the platform including Miss USA Erin Brady - fully supporting the company’s vision to be a true media tech company, far beyond yet another “social networking app.”
[Tweet "GET READY: Pundit is relaunching on Monday, July 13 on the App Store."]
Congratulations, Billy! We're proud of you!
For full articles & features:
Tim Draper, Marc Benioff, and Mesh Ventures provide followup funding to help Loopd expand their team and scale out internationally.
[embed width="123" height="456"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nns54nMHkt8[/embed]
Following its initial seed round last Fall, Loopd has raised a total of $2.6 million from key East Coast, West Coast and international angel and seed fund investors. Leading the current round are Salesforce CEO and founder Marc Benioff; venture capitalist Tim Draper; and Taiwan-based Mesh Ventures.
With its new round of investment, Loopd plans to focus on building a more cost-effective, feature-rich relational analytics system; growing a world-class, high-velocity sales initiative; enhancing its operational capabilities; and exploring new market opportunities.
During the next year, the Loopd team plans to power 20 Fortune 2000 corporate conferences with its wearables-based connected hardware solution and 40 high-quality events with its app-based software solution.
At events, corporate marketers can generate real-time physical (also known as "off-line") analytics from an active network of smart badges and apps. By employing its patent-pending bi-directional hardware and software solutions, Loopd enables attendees to exchange contact information on a face-to-face basis, collect marketing materials instantaneously, and check-in to speaker sessions passively. By tracking this information, corporate marketers can create actionable analytics to drive product development, partnerships, and customer acquisition strategies.
In the future, Loopd's technology could become the leading "off-line" analytics provider beyond events in operationally oriented industries, including health, manufacturing, supply chain and retail. It also could play a central role in humanitarian relief operations in the developing world and in the deployment of military ground troops.
"Loopd bridges the gap between physical and virtual connections, melting the distinctions between 'wearable technology', real-world connections and social networks," said Brian Friedman, CEO and co-founder. "The possible use cases for Loopd are boundless, from helping healthcare workers glean details about patients instantly, to facilitating military ground troop communication, to turning handshakes into information swaps."
Loopd launched at the major interactive tradeshow South by Southwest 2015 by partnering with 13 exhibitors to power the official SXSW scavenger hunt. This demonstrated how to share content, and analyze Loopd's overall event value. More recently Loopd provided analytics, smart badges, and mobile event apps for BoxDev 2015, the annual developer conference for content collaboration, in San Francisco and for Xerocon 2015, a conference for leaders in cloud accounting, in Denver in June.
During the past 12 months, Loopd has built the world's first analytics platform for the real world; complimentary iOS and Android apps; and a smart badge leveraging its proprietary bi-directional beacon protocols. At a series of global startup competitions, Loopd won the 2015 Wearable Tech Product of the Year (Wearable Tech World), was selected as a top 8 finalist for "smart data and enterprise" at SXSW Accelerator, and was selected as a top 4 finalist for "Internet of Things data analytics" at CeBit CODE_N awards.
[Tweet "Emerging leader @loopd bridges the gap between physical and virtual connections at corporate events closed a $1.5 million bridge round."]
Founded at the Silcon Valley's entrepreneurship academy Draper University of Heroes in September 2013, Loopd Inc. provides physical intelligence to corporate events. We help corporate marketers learn how people interact with each other, with the company, and with the company's products. The Loopd relational analytics solution is the industry's only bi-directional solution that enables the exchange of content and contact information automatically. It also gathers rich analytics data so that marketers have a more sophisticated understanding of their most valuable business relationships. Loopd is headquartered in San Francisco. To learn more, visit www.loopd.com.
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit: Copyright (C) 2015 PR Newswire. All rights reserved.
About Draper University and Student Entrepreneur Opportunities:
Draper University, founded by famed venture capitalist Tim Draper, is focused on inspiring people and accelerating ideas by igniting the entrepreneurial spirit. To date, DU has over 305 alumni, with 185 companies, raising over $15,446,500 in venture financing. They’re funded by some of the most prestigious investors including Marc Andreessen, Tim Draper and Marc Benioff.
Beyond fostering a community of diverse leaders who want to change the world, the program equips its students with the skills, access and resources available in Silicon Valley. DU teaches entrepreneurs how to build a startup from business plan to execution and in real-world, accelerated terms. Something very hard to find with collegiate programs and even internships. This concept of real world acceleration is at the heart of the program and its curriculum.
Each program lasts 7 weeks and students come to the live-in entrepreneurship program prepared for some intense schooling. The program culminates with "Demo Day", where the students present their ideas to a panel of technology luminaries and VCs and some even walk away with a deal and/or chance to incubate their idea at Hero City. Hero City is an entrepreneurial ecosystem that houses an incubator, eco-working space and offices of VC funds. The location is conveniently across the street from Draper University’s main building.
Michael Lisovetsky’s entrepreneurial journey started in the 6th grade when he and a friend created a website called HomeworkSwap.
Their goal wasn’t to earn money but to avoid mindless schoolwork. The site did not take off nor did their next venture, a web hosting company that failed miserably, but it set the stage for Michael’s next company FazeWire, which succeeded.
The aspiring young entrepreneur sold FazeWire while still in middle school, and, though the amount was small, Michael knew this was what wanted to do with his future—he was on the road to joining a growing group of young entrepreneurs.
After high school, Michael entered New York University in the fall of 2011. He quickly realized that traditional university courses were not doing much for him, but he knew a degree would prove credible to outsiders, which fueled his drive to succeed.
Enter Draper University
Michael found Draper U completely by accident. He attended a Wearable Tech conference where he met Draper alumni and founder of Q Bracelet and Q Designs, James Kernan. James told Michael about Draper U and since he thrives on serendipitous opportunities, he felt that Draper U was a no-brainer. NYU was put on hold while Michael attended Draper in the summer of 2014.
“At best, NYU spurred a path of self-education, in which I understood the fundamentals of finance from greats such as Benjamin Graham, Warren Buffett, and Charlie Munger,” says Michael. “The $150k+ price tag on my education could’ve been funneled a lot more effectively towards practical learning, and Draper U is an excellent example of that...”
[Tweet ""I learned more about myself and the world in the 7 weeks at #DraperU than in 4 years of university""]
Michael and HomeSwipe came out on top, securing an angel investment from Tim Draper. Now HomeSwipe is rapidly approaching product/market fit. They are scaling to Chicago soon and flipping the switch to start generating revenue.
“It’s been a complete whirlwind for us, and it feels great to be behind the controls of a rocket ship that’s taking off,” said Michael. “I recently pitched HomeSwipe at the VCIC Global Finals, and won the Startup of the Year award. Winning against entrepreneurs significantly older and more experienced was an extremely humbling experience.
At 22 years old, Michael is already equipped with the experience and knowledge he needs for his entrepreneurial future, and he has Draper University to thank for teaching him how to—in the words of Tim Draper—”explore the world with gusto and enthusiasm.”
For the full article, read here.
Our brain is constantly soaking up information and looking for ways to apply it. While learning something new can be exciting, it can also be confusing - and sometimes downright frustrating. We want to help make it easier with these tips and tricks. [Tweet "While the list of learning hacks is probably endless, we’ve narrowed it down to the best 7 ways to learning anything."]
1. Be Uncomfortable.
Step out of your comfort zone. Here, you’ll find self growth and discovery. You learn best when you’re stretched to the edge of your ability. It needs to be challenging and unfamiliar - that’s how your brain grows.
2. Get Up and Do It.
The most efficient way for you to master something, is to actually get up and do it. Whether it is a language, habit or skill - reading about it or studying it is important - but people learn best by applying and utilizing their knowledge.
3. Check Your Motivation.
Understand why you are investing your time and effort. Ask yourself, “Why am I learning this?”. People are more motivated and willing to commit when they have a clear end goal. Choose something that excites you and you are passionate about.
4. Set A Realistic Agenda.
Define benchmarks and goals for your learning path. Be ambitious but also realistic! Challenge your abilities but also schedule in time for relaxation and absorption of the information - this is known as the “spacing effect”, and its known to improve long-term recall.
5. Track and Share Your Progress.
Record your learning journey. Whether it’s on Evernote, a journal or even Twitter, tracking your progress allows for reflection and learning from your mistakes. Sharing the experience with others also welcomes feedback and holds you accountable for your goals.
6.Teach What You Know.
A great method of information retention is to explain or demonstrate to others. Articulating your knowledge is a challenge in itself and as Albert Einstein once said - [Tweet "“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”"]
7. Be Okay With Failing.
When learning something new, you may fail once, or twice, or more - but that’s to be expected otherwise you’re not learning! Get comfortable with hearing the word “no” or feeling defeated. You learn best from your mistakes and failure brings growth and resilience.
Inside the investor's mind: 3 indicators of a good founding team
How does a VC pick out the best entrepreneurs to fund? There are three top indicators for a good founding team.
1. Relentless Enthusiasm
When an investor meets with the founders of a startup, intelligence of the team is a given. But it's not enough. Having great enthusiasm for the problem you are solving allows you to sell yourself. An investor funds your idea based on the notion that you will do everything in your power to make it a reality. Oftentimes it's not the one you first envision, but the idea in the back of your mind that makes you successful. Never lose enthusiasm for your work.
Steve Jobs was a stickler for details. From Jobs' point of view, every detail, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, mattered.
In a growing industry, this will set you apart from the rest. Put in the extra 15% that your competitor neglects by focusing your energy to work harder and smarter. Pay attention to detail while discovering features your customer will crave in a product. Then, lower the friction for your customer to get to your product. Make it easier, faster, cheaper, and better than your competitors'... and you’ll win!
[Tweet " "Use a virus, use a magnet, use whatever you can" - the father of viral @timdraper"]
3. Team Dynamics
How your team gets along with each other and the respect you have for each other determines how an investor will perceive your team as a whole. As a general rule of thumb, find people who are smarter than you. Practice self-awareness by knowing not only what you are really good at, but also what you are bad at. Evaluate your personal character traits and skills, and seek team members with qualities that complement yours.
For the full interview, check out the Funders and Founders interview here. Information shared by Anna Vital.
Edmilson, is the founder of the EdTech startup Edudream and alumnus of Draper University.
Once upon a time, in this very same galaxy...
The technology and Entrepreneurship community was shaken. Investors asked themselves: The VC Market is so hot right now... Where are the good entrepreneurs? How can we find the next big thing?
Meanwhile, I was just an average Latin American guy with a big passion for technology and Entrepreneurship. My heroes were Steve Jobs and Larry Page, just regular Joes (like me) who changed the world by developing a technology that spread like fire.
However, those stories were in the epicenter of the digital world: Silicon Valley.
Silicon Valley was a fantasy to me. Unreachable due to its high cost and my lack of connections in that world. Yet, just like the young Luke Skywalker, I dreamed of seeing the Galaxy.
My home city of Recife/Brazil is to Silicon Valley what Tatooine is to Coruscant in the Star Wars universe. We have a developing entrepreneurial ecosystem and an abundance of technical talent due to good universities. But in regard to opportunities for entrepreneurs and access to capital, we are just a big pile of sand.
But everything changed when The Force gave me access to an amazing opportunity: Draper University of Heroes.
There, I found everything I was looking for: knowledge, inspiration, networking and, most importantly, access to capital by receiving investment from Draper Associates. After graduation I felt like a Jedi and had wings to pursuit my full potential as an entrepreneur.
We incorporated in the USA to stay close to investors and clients, but our developing team is actually in Brazil, where our costs are 1/5 of that of Silicon Valley. We connect the best of both worlds: Investors, capital and clients from Silicon Valley and a brilliant, motivated and passioante team from Brazil (where the hiring costs are 1/5 of Silicon Valley´s). And guess what? We pay taxes in both countries, so we are helping to generate progress in both!
But put yourself in the shoes of a technology entrepreneur from a developing country for a minute: You are just a little nerd from a third world nation. You have an awesome idea, experience and a relentless determination to make it happen. But you have no money and no connections, there is no venture capital industry in your country and you have to work for a living while you see a great opportunity to loose its time to market.
Consider for example the case of one of our dreamers: Deborah is a BioMedicine PhD candidate from UFPE (my alma mater) who graduates in August 2015. Deborah has been researching about Cancer RNA markers for 4 years and developed a diagnostic system that is cheap and detects very early stage cancer cells. She was accepted at the MIT Entrepreneurship Bootcamp. From 60 thousands applicants, she was one of 50 selected! But she needs USD$10,000 to finance the tuition, airtickets and cost of living.
She might loose the opportunity to attend this amazing bootcamp because there is no early stage venture capital in Brazil. That is why we work so hard on Edudream: to build a bridge between talent and capital, anywhere in the world. Through Edudream, people anywhere can invest in her Education and get a percentage of her future income with a vehicle called Income Share Agreement.
So, after seeing so much talent in places like Latin America, Africa, Eastern Union and Asia, and so many VC firms and incubators eager to find talent it makes me concluded:
The current allocation of capital to talent is not optimal!
Places like Draper University, or entrepreneurship bootcamps and incubators/accelerators are helping to bridge the gap. But, still, there is a great divide between the talented people all around the world and the wealth of opportunities in places like Silicon Valley.
So, dear venture capitalists and technology tycoons, my humble suggestion is that you open your mind for new possibilities. The world is big and Flat. New technologies allow people to work remotely and build good stuff from anywhere in the world. The costs of producing software are significantly lower and there are talented entrepreneurs eager for new opportunities. So, investors can find more favorable terms and an abundance of potential investments if they look outside the boundaries of Silicon Valley or disregarding nations.
And the best thing is, you do not have to have a USA Visa to be an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley and follow the american dream. One can start a business online, incorporating in Delaware through a service like Clerky, open a bank account, receive the investment and manage the money everything online! Therefore, the companies you would be investing in are legal entities in the US, but the entrepreneurs can work remotely from anywhere in the world.
In Brazil, I grew up hearing that the US is the land of opportunity and where nothing is impossible. But in this new world, you do not actually have to be physically there to be an entrepreneur. Anyone, anywhere can be a virtual citizen of Silicon Valley!
And I will say it again: Companies like mine pay taxes both in the USA and in its home country. So, instead of thinking "They took our job!", let´s think about how we are creating jobs and paying taxes.
Let´s empower entrepreneurs from all over the world to be virtual citizens of Silicon Valley.
That can be the solution for the talent pipeline problem of the venture capital industry, and a way to create wealth and opportunities for everyone!
1. Delight your customer
What do you have without a happy customer? The key to success in business hinges on how clients and customers perceive you. That depends entirely on how well you serve them. Think of a happy customer as a brand ambassador who will go into the world and share the greatness of your product with their network. For free. Because you did your job. Make this a priority.
2. Hire carefully
Picking your cofounder is the biggest decision you'll make. Walk down the aisle with someone you can trust and someone you know will match you in terms of drive, stamina, and creativity. Inventory your strengths and weaknesses. Be honest with yourself. The last thing you should do is hire 5 clones. Plug those weaknesses, and find people smarter than you.
3. Fail and fail again
Can you spot your mistakes? Every entrepreneur has made plenty of mistakes, you aren’t alone! The sign of a good entrepreneur is the ability to spot them, correct quickly, and not repeat them.
4. Know how to reach your customers
Who is your target market and where are they located? Pick a persona for your ideal client and use this persona frequently when determining how and where to reach your customers. Give her a name, background story, and character traits. When you humanize your ideal customer, locating them in real life is less trying.
5. The best ideas are simple
You don't have to reinvent the wheel to create a profitable business. Are you cheaper, faster, or better? Be two of these things. The first two things Investor Tim Draper looks at: whether you’re in a billion-dollar market and if you can make big margins.
If you're looking to grow your startup in the company of passionate leaders, Silicon Valley resources & world-class VC's, check this out.
May 27, 2015 -- The Times of India featured a profile on Sahil Dewan this week, an entrepreneur who will join the Draper University Summer 2015 class. Sahil works in edu-tech. He co-founded FuturEd in 2012, a comprehensive service to establish alumni networks for Indian learning institutions. FuturEd offers training, consulting, and network management for schools where a strong alumni community is not yet in place. Sahil strives to fill a gap he identifies in the Indian education system, where many institutions struggle to sustain interaction with alumni once they've graduated. He sees untapped fundraising opportunities for these institutions, and hopes that by facilitating stronger alumni networks he can facilitate stronger schools overall. Already, FuturEd works with a number of institutions, including the University Institute of Engineering and Technology, Panjab University, and the Indian School of Business.
Sahil seeks entrepreneurship know-how and potentially funding from his time at DU. He hopes to bring the spirit of Silicon Valley back to his home of Chandigarh, telling the Times, "If programs like Draper University can be conceptualized and launched in India, the startup ecosystem will start developing at the grassroots level and will not just be limited to the top startups working in the hot spaces in metro cities... We need experienced entrepreneurs and investors to bridge this climate for aspiring and young students, who are starting to get excited with the idea of entrepreneurship."
We're happy to welcome Sahil to our intensive program. Without a doubt, he'll return to Chandigarh with the resources and the acumen to create long-term value in the education sector. Read the Times article on FuturEd here.
May 26, 2015 -- Michael Lisovetsky, member of our 2014 summer class, was featured in Business Insider and ED News Daily this week for a startup idea that's set to rock the NYC housing market. Michael is co-founder of the app, HomeSwipe, dubbed "Tinder for apartment hunting." The app uses the swipe interface popularized by Tinder to connect house-hunters with realtors. Users can swipe through New York apartment listings based on their preferences and chat directly with realtors if they're interested in a property. Michael, 22, attended Draper University while studying business at NYU. At DU, Michael was introduced to a flurry of "Tinder for X" ideas, but he wasn't fully sold on the utility of the swipe platform. He asked friend-turned-business partner, Dean Soukeras, what the swipe model could facilitate besides dating. Soukeras, a seasoned NYC entrepreneur, promptly suggested "real-estate," and HomeSwipe was born.
Michael and Soukeras sought a tech whiz to build the app and sent out a blast on Facebook. They struck gold with a response from Jason Marmon, a talented teen coder who would eventually drop out of high school to focus on HomeSwipe full time. Once the partnership was formed, they needed seed financing. Naturally, Michael reached out to Tim Draper, who was so impressed with the HomeSwipe prototype he agreed to invest.
Tim urged Michael and his co-founders to raise their seed round to $500,000. They started strong, but plateaued at $400,000. The HomeSwipe team returned to Tim, who set them up with an introduction to Marc Benioff. This was the final push they needed. Benioff's interest was piqued, and he agreed to bump up their funding to the requisite amount.
Soukeras worked with New York City realtors to build a customer base for the app. In effect, it will charge realtors a small transaction fee to chat with interested parties. The app will begin exclusively in New York, but the team has plans to expand to Chicago. With the apartment hunting process in Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs notoriously difficult, there is already a huge demand for the app. Since it's gone live, HomeSwipe represents 85% of available NYC real estate, boasts 47,000 downloads, and is supported by 2,200 real estate agents.
Michael credits his success to DU. Not only was he granted the networking opportunities that got HomeSwipe off the ground, but also the team building skills that come with experiential learning. He told ED News Daily, "The $150k+ price tag on my education could’ve been funneled a lot more effectively towards practical learning, and Draper U is an excellent example of that. I learned more about myself and the world in the seven weeks at Draper U than the four years of university I drudged through.”
Michael is a great example of a student who took full advantage of DU's resources to launch a meaningful venture. The HomeSwipe team will hit Sand Hill Road this week to secure more investors, and with all the app's promise, success seems inevitable. Read more on these accomplished young founders, and the full story of HomeSwipe's evolution at Business Insider.
May 18, 2015 — Draper University was featured in Forbes to demonstrate the shift from an academic business education model towards an increasingly experiential one. Author Jason Ma cites a growing demand for practical education with real world application for entrepreneurs. He argues that today, success after college is actually determined by experiential factors (like internships) rather than rigorous coursework. Experiential learning programs offer networking and team building opportunities not incorporated into conventional schooling. Employers want to know that your knowledge can be readily applied to their company needs, and theoretical education won't always equip candidates with the requisite skill set. More and more, experiential learning programs like DU are attracting entrepreneurs who hope to simulate on-the-job experiences and develop a practical business acumen. Ma spoke with Tim Draper and DU alums to determine what makes DU a singular educational experience. Factors include the challenge to think big and work through failure, along with exposure to an array of business leaders in Silicon Valley.
Ma writes, "I believe that innovative, experiential learning, both off-campus and on-campus, will increasingly make marks worldwide. Many employers are not looking for those who simply 'follow orders.' They need those who can think and act out of the box, those who bring a broad range of experiences and skills to the table... [U]nconventional avenues of know-how and alternative, hands-on paths to learning are adding value to higher education, especially in the field of entrepreneurship."
Read the full profile on DU and nine other experiential learning programs at Forbes.
May 11, 2015 — Draper University alum, Oliver Page, has created a unique ride-sharing service in Rome with mounting success. In a city where scooters are one of the most popular forms of transportation, Scooterino allows you to hop on the back of someone's scooter who is traveling in the same direction. Oliver's idea was to adapt American ride-sharing services (like Uber) to Italian culture. Romans rely heavily on Vespas to zip through the congested metropolis, and Scooterino allows users to locate travelers on a similar route and catch a ride for just a few Euros. The service is meant to be efficient and cost effective, and Oliver will eventually take a small cut from each transaction. So far, Oliver has about 2,000 users and $50,000 in seed capital. He will test the Roman market for viability, but the service has already sparked interest in other scooter-happy cities across Europe. Read FastCompany's profile on Scooterino here.
Student Post — March 18, 2015 — Can you imagine a young Pakistani lady working on oil rigs in the middle of nowhere in amazon jungles in Latin America? It’s hard, but it’s even harder to imagine her transition from that world to a magical place called Silicon Valley. Graduation and Oil and Gas Industry
My name is Maha and I was part of Draper University's Winter 2015 class. I graduated with a Chemical Engineering degree from National University of Sciences and Technology in Islamabad, Pakistan and the University of Mississippi, US in 2013. As a fresh graduate, I was swamped with opportunities, and if you ask me today, I still don’t understand why I chose working as a field engineer on international mobile for Schlumberger. I left my family, everything I had, and took a plane to Brazil. After a week of training in Rio de Janeiro, I flew to Colombia and started working on oil rigs. My job was running measurements and logging while drilling tools to provide data such as gamma ray, resistivity, neutron porosity, bulk density and others to client companies (Ecopetrol, Petrobras, Equion, etc). I was part of the drilling group and had to be on the rig from the moment drilling starts till the time it ends. After working for 5 months, I was sent to the Training Center in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates where I was fortunate to be first in my class of 40 engineers from all over the world - and I was the only woman in my class!
After the training, I went back to Colombia to resume my work. I felt frustrated and tried to figure out why. Was it family, work rotation (I used to go to the rig for 40 days and come back for 3 days off), jungles or what?
It was during the Society of Women Engineers annual conference in Los Angeles a month later that I could see patterns. I realized that I was passionate about research, technologies, and startups.
After conducting a 26-hour long fishing operation in the rig, I stumbled on an e-mail from YouNoodle. The e-mail mentioned something about an entrepreneurship program in Silicon Valley, and that e-mail ended up changing my life!
I applied to Draper University of Heroes, was accepted, and immediately packed my bags and came to Silicon Valley.
Draper University and Silicon Valley
I can neither summarize my time at Draper nor at Silicon Valley in one blog post! It’s an experience, a learning, and a feeling that can only be experienced, learnt, and felt.
But for all the prospective students and avid parents out there, I would jot down some of the key workshops I completed: Vision of the future, Agility, Evangelism, Survival, Resource Acquisition, Incorporation, and the Art of Pitching.
Draper University is not a traditional university. Neither it’s an accelerator nor an incubator. It’s something more than that. It challenges one to think beyond her limits, believe that everything is possible, and be ready to embrace failure. The university leaves no stone unturned by bringing in speakers from Facebook to Twitter to SpaceX to Khosla Ventures to Founder’s Fund to Stanford University. It would take me another 3 hours to compile a list of the incredible speakers who came to speak to our class.
Another significant thing about Draper University is the mentorship the program provides. The university inundates a student with mentors. From famous Silicon Valley VC mentors to Entrepreneurs in Residence to Alumni mentors to personal female mentors, I felt overwhelmed. But mentorship played a very crucial role in helping me build relationships which I’ll cherish forever!
To summarize, I feel completely transformed today. I feel blessed to have gone through the program and built a network of friends, mentors, and people who want to help me succeed. I feel fortunate to have explored the magical Disneyland they call ‘Silicon Valley’ and 10x more excited to begin my PhD in Chemical Engineering at Stanford University this Fall.
As Tim Draper says – the world needs superheroes and I’m going to be one of those superwomen!