What is a good site or Gmail extension for an angel investor to manage their startup deals?

Boy, do I wish there was a magical Gmail extension to let me manage my startup deals! Unfortunately, there isn’t (and since Google hasn’t fixed Gmail yet, if you’re actually a paying customer for Google Apps, instead of a free customer, you have strictly limited Gmail mail storage, and are not allowed to purchase more, at any price!) But I digress [harumph].

When I started my angel investing over a decade ago, there was no such thing as a site to handle the surprisingly-challenging process of keeping track of all the information regarding all the companies with which I was working. So I had to create one! Read more

Gust Quarterly Startup Map

If you could pick the top five countries with the most newly created startups, which countries would you choose? The United States? What about India, or Brazil? With thousands of new entrepreneurs creating startup profiles on Gust each month, we’re excited to share with you some of the major findings that are happening in the startup world. To capture the global reach of startup growth, we’ve put together the Gust quarterly startup map. The map visualizes all new startups profiles created on Gust between July 1st and September 30th 2013. We’ve highlighted some of the major industries, countries, and cities from across the world with the newest startup activity. Take a look below.

startup map

Entrepreneurs Must Not Confuse Action With Results

Too many entrepreneurs confuse actions with momentum and results. We all know someone who repeatedly tells us how “busy” they are, when it’s hard to see what they get done. Momentum is moving things forward (mass x velocity). Founders or employees in constant motion, but with no momentum, will never get off the ground.

It is true that motion in any direction is often better than no motion at all. But motion without momentum may be even less productive. For a more complete discussion of this phenomenon, see the book entitled “Fake Work: Why People Are Working Harder than Ever but Accomplishing Less”, by Brent Petersen and Gaylan Neilson.

So how do you fight this, and get real momentum going in your startup? Here are some key recommendations: Read more

Martin Zwilling , Founder and CEO, Startup Professionals
January 12th, 2014

How do I get to the top of the search results in Gust?

The page rank algorithm for Gust is a deeply held secret so that people won’t game the system (they even won’t tell ME how it works! :-), but I do know that it is intended to surface both “investable” companies and companies that are willing make available to serious investors all the information they need to make at least a first-pass decision. Read more

A Valid Business Model Requires Real Customer Sales

Image via Pets.Answers.com

Image via Pets.Answers.com

“Will the dogs eat the dog food?” This rather crude expression weighs heavily on the mind of all good startup founders, no matter how confident they appear. We all know the products they give away, and the ones purchased by family and friends don’t count. The real milestone, proving the business model, is that first product sold for full price to a total stranger, leaving him happy.

So what can you do to expedite this event, or even improve the odds that it will happen at all? Of course, one sale isn’t really enough, so you need to get the first customer to recommend you to a second, and make sure the rate of sales ramps up quickly enough to keep the business alive and growing.

This whole process is particularly worrisome to many startup founders, since their expertise and background more likely technology than sales. If you are one of those, here are some basics principles you should follow and live by until that milestone is behind you Read more

Martin Zwilling , Founder and CEO, Startup Professionals
January 5th, 2014