Help with asking for seed funding?

Unfortunately, the reality of entrepreneurship is that raising seed funding is much, much more difficult than you have been led to believe from the press reports about early stage financing. Only one out of every 400 companies seeking funding from venture capital firms actually receives it. And even when trying to raise much smaller amounts of money from individual ‘angel investors’, the odds are still worse than one in 40. Read more

10 Entrepreneur Milestones That Make Funding Easy

Startup funding image via

Every investor expects to see some business traction, both before and after a funding event. If you have been working 20 hours a day, and spent your last dollar, but have no results to show, investors will be sympathetic, but will probably tell you that your dream doesn’t have wheels. Traction means forward progress.

I hear a lot of entrepreneurs contemplating their great “idea” for several years with little discernable progress, and looking for money to start. Talk and time are cheap, but they need to understand that investors judge past results as a good indicator of future expectations. Here are some tips which will signal traction and fundability to investors, as well as to your team: Read more

Martin Zwilling , Founder and CEO, Startup Professionals
September 22nd, 2013

Should a startup set aside equity?

The first thing you should do is talk to a lawyer who is familiar with setting up startups, rather than trying to handle things yourself. This need not be expensive; at the very high end from a top tier firm, you’re probably talking no more than $5,000, for which you’d get absolutely everything a startup needs.

Typically, since only you and your co-founders are going to be owning the company at the beginning, you wouldn’t “set aside” shares for anyone else.  That would usually happen only when either (a) you start hiring employees who will receive options instead of shares, or (b) you take your first equity investment (such as a typical Series Seed or Series A Convertible Preferred stock) from outside investors. Read more

What are the best ways to obtain seed or angel funding in the U.K.?

Interestingly, for this past quarter, according to the Gust statistics we released thus week, the UK accounted for the largest number of entrepreneurs seeking funding of any country outside the US!  The take away is that you’ve got a very vibrant and competitive startup economy, which is a Good Thing…unless you happen to be one of the vibrant competitors seeking funding!

*original post can be found on Quora @ *

Gust Launches Startup Contest CATAPULT NYC 2013

Are you ready to catapult your venture into the stratosphere?

At Gust we’re all about helping startups reach their potential. As part of this mission, we’re launching CATAPULT NYC to award two high-caliber, New York-based startups the platform and tools to take their ventures to the next level.


The First Prize winner will receive 3 months of startup space for two team members at The Greenhouse – an exclusive incubator in the heart of Silicon Alley. The entrepreneurs will be mentored and advised by the Rose Tech Ventures team, and have their investor presentation personally reviewed by super-angel investor and serial entrepreneur David S. Rose, founder of New York Angels and heralded as “The Pitch Coach” by BusinessWeek magazine.

With its presentation buffed to perfection, the winner will then have the opportunity to pitch in person at a monthly screening session of the New York Angels, the most active angel group in the United States, on a mutually agreeable date. The winner will also receive featured coverage in Gust’s monthly newsletter, Gustus, with its large reader base of angel investors and venture capitalists across North America. The total value of First Prize is over $5,000.

The Second Prize winner will receive a one-on-one mentoring session with the Rose Tech Ventures team, a personal pitch review by David S. Rose, the opportunity to present at a New York Angels screening session, and featured coverage in Gustus, together valued at over $2,000.

CATAPULT NYC is an incredible opportunity to connect with A-list investors and entrepreneurs, and build the right platform to sling your venture into the orbit of success.


Create a startup profile on and submit it to CATAPULT NYC 2013. The deadline for submissions is November 18th, 2013 at 11:59pm ET.

All applicants that publish their startup profiles will be automatically added to the CATAPULT NYC 2013 collection.

Note: A Gust startup profile contains all the information investors need to evaluate a company and can be used to apply for funding simply by sharing it with investors on Gust. All startup profiles created on Gust can be used to manage future investor relations.


  • The competition is open to for-profit New York City-based startups that have received less than $250K in funding at the time of entry.
  • No purchase or payment of any fee is required.
  • Entries will be accepted from September 18th, 2013, until 11:59 pm November 18th, 2013.
  • Entries will only be accepted online through the Gust platform.
  • All entries must be for-profit and focused on innovative Web, Social, Financial, Mobile, Green Tech, Entertainment, Health or Media Technologies.
  • All entries must be submitted in English.
  • Employees of Rose Tech Ventures, LLC (“RTV”) and its agents, affiliates, subsidiaries and parent companies, sales representatives, marketing affiliates and partners, distributors, advertising and promotion agencies and members of the immediate families or household of each are not eligible.


Please read Terms & Conditions for full contest rules.


  • There will be two rounds of judging: a preliminary screening round carried out by Rose Tech Ventures staff, and a final round judged by leading New York area angel investors, including David S. Rose, Mark H. Schneider and Richard Katzman. The two rounds of judging and selection process will take place at Rose Tech Ventures during the months of November and December 2013. Both rounds will be based on the materials submitted through Gust. There will be no in-person judging.
  • Ten companies will be selected to proceed to the second round, of which two will be chosen as the contest first and second place winners. Companies that are selected to move to the second round will be notified by phone or email by the end of December 2013.
  • The winners will be selected based on criteria including the strength of the business plan, product/service, team, marketing plan, revenue strategy, financials, and overall viability. The criteria will be given equal weight during the evaluation.
  • Winners will be selected from among all eligible entries received by 11:59 pm on November 18th, 2013.  The Judge’s decisions are final on all matters relating to the contest. The potential winners will be notified by phone or email in January 2014.  In the event of a dispute regarding the identity of the person submitting an entry, the entry will be deemed to have been submitted by the person in whose name it is submitted.  Winners will be required to sign and return an affidavit of eligibility and liability/publicity release within 14 days of first attempted notification or prize will be forfeited and an alternate winner may be selected. Return of any prize or prize notification as undeliverable will result in forfeiture of prize and selection of an alternate winner.


For the name of the winners and finalists, go to after January 16th, 2014 and click on CONTEST WINNERS.

Ready to take your venture to the next level? Apply to CATAPULT 2013.



The following contest is intended for New York-based startups only and shall be construed and evaluated according to the laws of the State of New York.  Do not proceed in this contest if you are not based in New York. The company must have a physical address in the New York metropolitan area to qualify as a New York-based startup.  Proof of New York residency may be requested by RTV.

The first place winner will be provided workspace in The Greenhouse Incubator, located at 80 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10037, for three consecutive months starting in February 2014. Desk space for up to two people in a shared office/co-working facility will be made available to the winning team, along with access to shared facilities including terrace and kitchen, subject to office rules which will be provided. Conference rooms will be accessible upon room reservation. Computers and telephones are not provided.

The first and second-place winners will each receive a one-time mentorship session at The Greenhouse with an RTV team member, and a one-time presentation training (“pitch coaching”) session with David S. Rose at RTV’s office, each within three months after the contest winner announcement date. RTV will select the dates and times of the mentorship and presentation training sessions and provide one-week’s notice of each to the winning team members.

RTV is not responsible for late, lost, incomplete, or misdirected entries.  RTV is not responsible for incorrect or inaccurate entry information.  All entries become the property of RTV and will not be returned.


By entering, participants, (a) agree to be bound by the official rules and the decisions of the judges; (b) agree to release RTV and its employees and agents from any and all liability, loss, damage or injury resulting from participation in this promotion or awarding, receipt, possession use and/or misuse of any prize awarded herein and acknowledge that RTV, and its employees and agents have neither made nor are in any manner responsible or liable for any warranty, representation, or guarantee, express or implied, in fact or in law, relative to any prize including, but not limited to, its quality, mechanical condition or fitness for a particular purpose; and (c) consent to use of his/her name, photograph and/or likeness for advertising and promotional purposes in connection with this promotion without additional compensation, unless prohibited by law. Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to modify, suspend or terminate the promotion.

Winners will be responsible for all applicable taxes on the applicable prize.

CATAPULT NYC 2013 is sponsored by Rose Tech Ventures, LLC, 158 West 29th St, New York, NY 10001.



Don’t Be Fooled By All The Hype For Crowd Funding

Image via

The new hot topic for entrepreneurs the last couple of years is crowd funding, which is anticipated to at least supplement, if not replace, the slow and mysterious process of current Angel and venture capital investors. The problem is that crowd funding means something different to everyone, and even I have been confused by the different ways the term gets used.

So I have set out here to outline and offer some practical advice on the many different models currently used with the term “crowd funding” and “crowd sourcing.” The newest equity model was passed into law in early 2012 via the JOBS Act, and still has no scheduled date for availability in the USA, waiting for the rules to be defined by the SEC: Read more

Martin Zwilling , Founder and CEO, Startup Professionals
September 15th, 2013

How many startups are created every day?

This depends on how you define “startup”. Is a college student who advertises his dog-walking services a startup? How about one who spends nearly full-time developing her iPhone app? A real estate developer who incorporates to buy a piece of land in which to build a building?

Each year in the US there are likely tens of millions of individuals starting up something (like a dog-walking service or an iPhone app) on their own. Read more