6 Secrets Of Mastering Facebook With A Start Up Budget

Hungry entrepreneur looking to make money online? Social media is probably your best bet when you’re just starting out. Cost-effective, with a minimal barrier to entry, and practically ubiquitous: social media marketing is a start up’s best friend. And when it comes to social media: Facebook is the BIG one. There are ecommerce brands that literally wouldn’t exist without the power of a good Facebook ad.

Facebook can make or break your start up’s marketing strategy, so it is important that you’re prepared. Don’t be tempted to throw money away with meaningless Facebook ads or videos that no one is reacting to. Instead, be sensible and stick to the ‘3R’ rule. Make your content regular, make it relevant, and make it right for your target audience. Read on to find out how.

Familiarize Yourself With Your Competition

The savvy marketer reviews what other people are doing, and makes it better. So, start with your competition on Facebook and see how the social platform is working out for them.

Look at other business Facebook pages and review their engagement strategies. What words and tactics are they using to get people to react? How are they balancing the ratio between visual content, video, and text? What words are triggering people to share their posts? Are they advertising their products and services? This initial research phase should help you set a sensible benchmark for your own Facebook marketing efforts, as well as give you some much needed inspiration for your own content strategy.

Think about what else you’re competing against on Facebook: people’s friends and family, and a funny video they’ve just been tagged in. Your content should emulate native Facebook updates, rather than blatant advertisement and promotion. One easy way to cut through the social media noise: humor. Whether it’s witty wordplay, or a wacky video, being funny on Facebook is a sure-fire way to get a reaction.

Share Your Message Effectively

What’s the point of your Facebook page? What are people going to get out of following you? Nail these two value propositions, and you will find it a lot easier to promote your brand on Facebook. You should always start with a clear idea of how you are going to provide value, and then live up to that promise in your posts. A Facebook strategy that is devoid of any real messaging will fail to take off and inspire people.

How to find your online tribe on Facebook? It is worth joining Facebook groups that allow you to post freely about your business, encouraging others to give you feedback. This is also your opportunity to directly communicate with potential customers, and get people excited about your start up journey. Be sure to join relevant Facebook groups, as otherwise you can end up wasting time on false leads and angering local communities. You also need to take community rules very seriously – if you anger a moderator, you may get barred from a group.

Put Yourself In Your Customers’ Shoes

What does your audience want to see, read, hear, learn, and watch? Why are they here?

So many start ups get their marketing strategy wrong because they’re too involved with their own services and products, forgetting to put their customers first.

When planning out your social media calendar, follow the natural rhythm of people’s lives. What’s making them sit up and take note at this time of year? What events or milestones are they planning for? What sort of content is going to help them make the most of their time, or help them kick back and put their feet up?

Facebook buyer personas can help you plan content more effectively, ensuring that your content is 100% targeted at the right people, and that you aren’t wasting any budget. Use these buyer personas to plan out your seasonal engagement strategy.

Use Insights To Feed Your Content Strategy

Your Facebook page is useless without content, so schedule new posts weeks in advance to ensure the page remains active. It is a good idea to keep a record of which posts so well, so that you can continue to grow your brand’s voice in the right direction. Image and video-based marketing is very effective on Facebook; customers scrolling down their feed tend look at images rather than text, so make sure your content is varied and visual.

Facebook gives you easy to decipher information on the effectiveness of your posts through Facebook Insights, which is accessible at the top menu on your Facebook page. Only you and your staff members can access this information, which will inform you on how many viewed your post, how many liked and commented, etc. (They also give advertisers a whole ton of data on ad campaign reach). Use all this free data to your advantage to weed out the type of content that isn’t doing you any favors.

Master the Facebook Algorithm

One of the biggest secrets behind mastering Facebook is learning how its algorithm works. Facebook no longer shares every post to every follower, so you need to diverse a strategy that allows customers to receive your messages in the most cost-effective way. This is when the ‘3Rs’ become important:

Create Regular Posts

Keep to a post schedule where you are posting at specific peak times when your audience is most likely to be on social media. Don’t let your page become neglected during the busy season.

Keep It Relevant & Engaging

If your customers do not interact with your posts, Facebook is more likely to regard your page as spam and limit your page’s reach. Make sure your content is relevant to your customer base, and that there are clear calls to action to encourage engagement.

Make it Right For The Audience

Make sure each and every post is fit for your target audience, and that you have a good balance between informative and commercial content.

Invest in Facebook Ads

Facebook adverts are a start up’s best friend, and Facebook advertising is easy enough for anyone to have a go at.

 

The best thing about Facebook as an advertising platform is its powerful customer data machine that allows you to get granular with audience targeting, right down to people’s niche interests and neighborhoods.

 

Here are some start up Facebook advertising tips:

 

  1. Experiment with ad copy, especially your CTA (call to action): it can have a big impact on campaign success
  2. Test different campaigns with the same audience to get a feel for your ideal messaging
  3. Video adverts tend to be more successful, so don’t be afraid to shoot one yourself
  4. Ad sequences that build up a story over time tend to be more compelling than basic ‘sales announcements’
  5. You need to constantly monitor the revenue generated through Facebook ads, and don’t be afraid to pause a campaign that isn’t doing much for you.

Making money through Facebook isn’t rocket science. Like all the other digital platforms available to you, you need to make sure that you measure results effectively. Use all the data that’s coming through to you in order to keep your social media team accountable, and don’t shy away from questioning Facebook ROI.

Victoria Greene: Brand Marketing Consultant

I’m a content marketing extraordinaire, and I enjoy nothing more than helping brands expand their reach to meet new business goals. I spend my time dreaming up effective content strategies and I just love being instrumental in the success of brands of all shapes and sizes.

How to Successfully Sell Products And Services Online and possibly reach millions!

Setting up an online store is one thing, but running a successful and sustainable business is a whole other ball game. From finding a profitable niche, to social media marketing, this article will help you establish an online business that will go from strength to strength. If you’re in need of a little inspiration, check out our video content of entrepreneurs around the world sharing their experiences and trade secrets.

Find a profitable niche and serve a clear target audience

Finding a profitable niche for your product offering or service is the first step toward success in setting up an online business. Here are some useful things for you to consider:

  • Defining an audience would be a good place to start. The more specific you can get in terms of demographics, buying habits, and interests, the better. Choosing an audience that you can relate to can make this process easier, as you can get into their mindset more, so start looking close to home
  • Now you should start to identify the problems that your niche audience need to solve. You can do this by researching any challenges, pain points, aspirations, and desires that they have. What are they looking for in life? What do they want to achieve with their careers? How do they form relationships? Start on social media and Quora for an insight into popular community topics. Other options include niche forums, how to websites, relevant blogs and Google Trends data. Thorough keyword research using KeywordTool.io and Google Adwords will also offer a valuable insight into your audience’s search queries, lifting a lid on their habits
  • Collating all this data should allow you to create a well-rounded buyer persona. This is essentially a profile of your target audience, which you should revisit frequently and base your future business decisions on
  • Competition isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you should do a thorough analysis of a any online competition before charging ahead in a niche. Knowledge is the key to getting your store to stand out from the crowd
  • Last but not least, you should head over to Clickbank.com, the largest affiliate retailer of products on the net, to search for products in your niche and see which ones are worth selling. You should look out for the Gravity number that takes into account the number of affiliates who have sold one unit in the past 7 days – the more people selling, the more profitable the niche is likely to be (but beware of signs of over-saturation)

Pushed for time? No sweat. Try an easy ecommerce solution

If you want to get your online store up and running fast with minimal work, you should consider subscribing to an ecommerce platform, rather than commissioning a custom developed site. Of course, for some startups, custom makes sense — but only pay for features and functionalities that support business growth and take you up to your MVP.

When it comes to easy online store setup that doesn’t need too much planning, many of the market-leading ecommerce SaaS products offer free trials, so that you can get a good feel for the product before putting your eggs in one basket.

Here are a few things worth looking out for:

  • The platform should offer a range of professional free themes, with a couple viable options for you. Free themes are perfect for first time online entrepreneurs and those on a budget. Check out the themes on offer before subscribing, as otherwise you may end up wasting money on unnecessarily customization
  • 24-hour support and community forums are invaluable for first-time entrepreneurs and the less techy business owner. This support can help you whenever you encounter problems with the platform, and even give sold advice for growth hacks and ways to boost your conversions. It’s always nice to network and meet with other startups and ecommerce brands, so try to go for ecommerce technology that fosters that
  • Select a payment plan that works for your budget. Look for opportunities to pay smaller monthly amounts rather than giving  a percentage of each transaction, especially if you are expecting to grow quickly. Shopify is a great platform for starting a online store with this in mind, with a range of payment plans available. If you already have a WordPress site, the WooCommerce plugin will be a good option as it can easily transform a WordPress site into a store
  • Marketplaces are a great place to sell for ambitious entrepreneurs who want to grow revenue quickly, as you get access to a huge customer base from day one. Whether you go exclusively marketplace, or set up something a little more multichannel, make sure you adapt your strategy accordingly.  If you’re looking to sell on Amazon, here are three important points to remember when producing your product listings.

Invest in social media to boost your sales

  credit: pixabay

Social media is the modern marketer’s dream. It’s a relatively inexpensive, and sometimes even free, way to showcase online brands of all shapes and sizes.

Social media planning? Refer to your buyer persona again and review the information you hold on your target audience. Ultimately, your brand needs to be posting where your target audience is. Bear in mind that the day of the social media demographic has been and gone – users now frequent multiple social networks at once for different purposes. Nowadays, it’s more important that you are active across many platforms, but posting the right kind of content on each one.

Check out this article for a roundup of the social networks that matter, what sets them apart from the rest, and resources to help you hit the nail on the head with your social advertising.

What matters the most on social for a growing brand is to mix experimentation with business goals. Explore different options and experiment with content formats, but always keep the eye on the ball. In the early days, you can’t justify spending loads of time on social if you’re not seeing a steady stream of social referrals, sales, and customer engagement.

Just remember that the key to all this is to properly research your target audience and your niche to ensure that you will generate adequate sales and be able to operate at a comfortable profit margin. Good luck!

Victoria Greene: Brand Marketing Consultant

My work is a labor of love: I get to collaborate with inspiring people and businesses from around the world. I help set them on the road to success by producing effective content marketing and social media strategies.

Innovation Mastery secrets from San Francisco based Innovator!

In this post we are bringing to you some really insightful content, about how you can master innovation in your organization, from extraordinary San Francisco innovation influencer Chris Kalaboukis and author of book Innovation Mastery. Chris Kalaboukis is an entrepreneur and founder/CEO of Hellofuture a full stack software development and innovation consultancy company. He holds hundreds of patents under his belt and helps enterprises run and deploy innovation programs. Chris, is immensely knowledgeable and a futurist thinker who is also the host of his own blog/vlog Thinkfuture. Below you will find a unique playlist of his videos where he explains how to up your innovation game. We also included the interview we had the honor to do with him in 2016 and a link to his book in case you’d like to further your understanding of innovation even more.

Go big or go home!

Innovation mastery videos series playlist: A must watch video series if you want to up your innovation game!

Chris covers many of the topics he has documented in his book innovation mastery. (link at the bottom of page in case you are interested).

Our interview of Chris Kalaboukis on everything innovation. 

His book: Innovation Mastery

For the price of two cups of coffee you’ll gain all the knowledge you need to become the savvy innovation leader in your organization!

Go Big Or Go Home : Risk Taking Makes The Difference

What is the post about: The mindset to have with regards to risk taking and innovation

Why it is important: Innovating implies risk. To make progress you need to take some risk

Who is it best suited for: Entrepreneurs, Intrapreneurs

Guest author:

Chris Kalaboukis is the co-founder of helloFUTURE, a foresight, innovation, and patent development consultancy in the Silicon Valley. A visionary disruptive innovator and prolific inventor, he is named on 60+ patents in the internet, social networking, and fintech space. An experienced technologist and coder, he has architected, developed, and launched a multitude of apps, both web, and mobile. A serial entrepreneur, he has helmed several startups from inception to launch. Recently, he has been specializing in the development of innovative new products and services via innovation, patent and foresight programs for financial services, technology, media, and retail/e-commerce companies, from startups to enterprises. He has authored several books on innovation and the future and blogs and podcasts at thinkfuture.com.

One of the big differences between those who succeed and those who haven’t succeeded yet is the ability to take a risk. To leap into the unknown, and deal with the results. It’s often cited as one of the reasons why investors will not back entrepreneurs over the age of 35 – their potential for risk taking is lessened (personally I think that it more like they expect the entrepreneur to not have a life outside of the business and pour their entire lives into it – something that if you ask me, stifles innovation and serendipity which leads to new thinking) because of their age – that they have less stomach for it.

This is BS, if you ask me.

There is no specific age where your risk taking muscles just suddenly cease to function. The propensity for risk taking can be something that you are born with and runs throughout your life, something that you start off with and lose, or something you can build. It’s like a muscle we all have – sometimes its strong, sometimes it’s weak, and you need to work at it to make it stronger. But it’s not something you lose, unless you want to lose it.

I’m not saying that you can’t succeed without risk taking, but you have a much better chance of it if you do. The good thing about your risk taking muscle is that you don’t need to take huge risks in order to work it. You can start small – pushing slowly out of your comfort zone, then push to bigger and bigger risks, until you get you where you want to be.

There are a number of techniques that you can use in order to build up your risk taking muscle – one of the quickest ways to do it is to get yourself a coach or guide to push you there. As I said in an earlier post, you can bring someone in to push you out of your comfort zone, build up your risk taking muscle, then eventually, you will be able to tackle it on your own. Unlike physical training, where even if you do months and months or boot camp, you may fall back into your old habits, the mental coaching is more likely to stick.

Another method which seems to work for many is the “act like” model – where you put on a show – you act like you are already able to take the risk, and your outward self-pushes you enough in order to go ahead and take that risk.

Risk taking is at the core of success, it’s at the core of disruptive innovation, and it’s at the core of new breakthrough thinking. If you are not taking risks, then you have to ask yourself, am I really doing something innovative?

This post originally appeared on thinkfuture.com

The Rise Of Homo Nexus: Are We Now The Borg Collective?

Recently, I have been binge watching Star Trek: Voyager (such a geek, right – love those 90s hairstyles). One of the key premises of Star Trek (all versions save for the new JJ Abrams dreck) is that  individuals can always triumph over a “collective”.  The Borg was evil because it was a collective. When you were assimilated by the Borg (resistance is futile) you were robbed of your individuality, which meant being robbed of your humanity, since your humanity was inextricably tied to your individuality. The message: Individuality is good, the collective is bad.

I’ve been making some interesting connections and observations over the last little while about the future of humanity and what we’re becoming or what we have become. While I’ve said before that we are already cyborgs, only recently have I realized that we have become closer to the Borg depicted in Star Trek than I thought.

As a libertarian futurist (yes, you knew that, didn’t you?), I believe in the individual. Every adult is an individual, and should be allowed to make their own decisions for themselves.

I mean if you think about it, those are the precepts upon which America (and modern democracy) was founded.  All humans are created equal. All humans are individuals. They can make decisions for themselves. These individuals are adult enough and smart enough and they know enough to know what they’re doing. This is why we have drinking ages, driving ages, ages to join the military, and ages to marry.  We figure by the time that somebody gets to that age they should be an independent, intelligent individual who can make those decisions for themselves. (Well meaning governments notwithstanding.)  Right?

The individual is good. The collective is bad. From Wikipedia:

Also referred to as the “hive mind” or “collective consciousness”, the Borg Collective is a civilization with a group mind. Each Borg individual, or drone, is linked to the collective by a sophisticated subspace network that ensures each member is given constant supervision and guidance. The collective is broadcast over a subspace domain similar to that used by the transporter. Being part of the collective offers significant biomedical advantages to the individual drones. The mental energy of the group consciousness can help an injured or damaged drone heal or regenerate damaged body parts or technology. The collective consciousness not only gives them the ability to “share the same thoughts”, but also to adapt with great speed to defensive tactics used against them

I think that that message has been recently turned on its head: the individual is bad and the collective is good.  I think that part the reason for that is our ability to be instantaneously connected to anyone, anywhere, all the time, Borg Collective-like. High speed, always on, mobile internet hyperconnectivity has made this happen. Why make your own decisions on anything when all of your friends opinions are a simple swipe or tap away? You can always blame your “collective” if you make a bad choice, and its super easy to let others make the call for you.

It feels to me that we may be moving away from a period of time where it was important to be an individual and that individuals made decisions for themselves, by themselves or at least within a small unit, like a couple or a family. That’s what we used to prize. That’s what we used to think was good. That’s what we used to think was the ultimate good: people making decisions for themselves. But I’m sensing that has changed.

Here’s an example. When we used to go shopping, you’d go alone or you bring maybe one or two trusted friends, or your significant other.  You’d try on a number of different things.  And you’d look at what you’re wearing, and you’d think to yourself  “I look pretty good in this” or maybe your significant other agrees but that was that, it was you and maybe one or two others. But now it’s a collective effort.  It’s a group effort.  You send pictures of your proposed outfit to a hundred of your Facebook friends and have them decide what you should wear.

The collective is becoming more important than the individual. Think about that for second.  If that is true, then everything changes. It affects the app you are building. It affects the startup that you’re about to launch into the world.  It affects the kind of business you’re doing: if individuals farm out all of their decisions to the collective, how does that change things? Instead of asking a user for their preferences, maybe you need to go direct to their social network instead. Assume that they will farm out the decision, and ask the collective instead. After all, isn’t it the same as asking what the most popular dish is at a restaurant, or the most popular cocktail at a bar?

Maybe this hyperconnectivity has evolved us into creatures who don’t just consult others, then make our own decisions, but a new kind of human, a new kind of humanity, disconnected from individuality, or Homo Nexus. Homo Nexus lets the collective make the decision for them.

We’ve all become mini hive minds. And we’re OK with that. We never used to be OK with that. We don’t make decisions individually anymore.  If that’s the case, leveraging the crowd is no longer an option, its mandatory. If you don’t leverage the crowd, your customers are out in the wilderness.  They won’t know what to do.

So, I’m posing these questions to you:

  • Have we moved from an individualistic culture to a collectivist culture?
  • Have we gone from making decisions for ourselves to somewhere where collective (social network) reigns supreme?
  • Have we disconnected individuality from our humanity, and in so doing, in some way are beginning to evolve into Homo Nexus?

And if so, how does that bode for your business, our political systems, our culture and the world?

Discuss.

This post was originally published on thinkfuture.com

How To Apply Silicon Valley Thinking

Silicon Valley Is A State of Mind, Not A Place

I’ve been through a lot of economic ups and downs in the Bay Area and it’s always been very interesting to me the way things work around here; it’s a very unique place. The weather is great, never too hot never too cold. The amount of people who are here who are just amazing blows my mind. There are a lot of places that aspire to be like it: Silicon Alley, Silicon Prairie or Silicon Beach or Startup Paradise (I think that’s the Hawaiian one – which is probably more accurate since very few of these startups have anything to do with Silicon)

There’s something about this place that makes it very different from other places. I think may be something about the sheer, unending optimism, the entrepreneurial spirit which seems to be everywhere, and the huge, disruptive thinking, perfectly willing to blow up and rebuild things in a way which empowers humanity, helps make us better, freer and more human.

Everywhere you go, everywhere you turn, everyone you know is involved in something new and exciting and amazing and the sky’s the limit. Even in the deep dark depths of every recession that I’ve ever been through here there’s always the overheard conversation in Starbucks about how someone I left their job to start this new startup. You hear things like “I don’t know where it’s going to go. I don’t know where it’s going to lead.  I don’t know if I’m going to starve.  But by God I’m going to do this thing.”

This may be the single greatest concentration of real and aspirational entrepreneurs in the world, where they feel that they have the freedom to think big, to think disruptive, not just think out of the box but blow up the whole damn box. It’s exciting. There’s the positive side, and the negative side is that if are here and you are not involved in one of the super successful startups (which is of course more likely because most startups in general fail – although you wouldn’t think that according to the press around here) you go “Damn I missed that one and I missed this one” and if you keep on missing it and the funnily enough what you read in the media is all the successes you very rarely hear about the failures.  So people think “Silicon Valley is great.  There’s all these startups and they’re making all this money and they’re changing the world.”

Actually, I think it’s not really about the money. There are many much easier ways to make money than to become a technologist or a software developer and join a startup which then rockets to the stars. While developers do make good money here, it’s doubtful that they make HUGE money – that’s saved for the founder in the spotlight. If you are really in it for the money, then just get into the “business of money” – go to Wall Street, do your time, become a trader, go work for a bank. In fact, if you just want to make tons of money, just go work in the “money business”, aka finance.

In fact, let’s forget about the money. A lot of times it’s not even about the money. It’s about changing the world. It’s about doing something massively transformational.  It’s about doing something incredibly amazing. It’s about impacting the world. It’s about making a huge dent in the universe. And you don’t need to be here to think like that.

Companies are outside of the Bay Area come here and ask “what is it that’s so special? Why do people come here? Why are there so many amazing things coming out of this place?”

Silicon Valley thinks big and thinks disruptive, and thinks – how can we empower people to help them overcome obstacles placed there by big institutions that are forcing us to do things their way? We think that with the use of the right people, processes, tools and technologies you can blow apart and remake whole industries for the better. We look at those institutions which are causing pain in people’s lives, and we are blowing them up and remaking them as “customer first” businesses.

Look at the music industry, the publishing industry and now the educational business is getting totally blown apart and rebuilt with online learning. The taxi business is getting totally blown apart by Uber, the hotel business is getting totally blown apart by AirBnB, all these ideas came from Silicon Valley thinking – maybe your industry is next.

How do you apply this kind of thinking to your company?

  • Stop thinking about revenues and costs and start thinking about how you are going to change the world for the better
  • Start thinking about how to empower your customers even if it’s sacrificing those systems and institutions that have made you so profitable
  • Start truly thinking: customer first. In an ideal world, how would your customers use your products? Don’t think about what can’t be done because the systems in place can’t do them – think about what you could do it there were no constraints, then work back from there.

What is your massively transformational purpose? What are you going to do to make the world a better place for your customers and prospects? Are you just doing this to make a buck, or are you doing this to actually improve their lives?

Let’s make the world a different, better place, together.

This post originally appeared on thinkfuture.com

Discover Strasbourg: Growing European Innovation hub and ties with Boston…

In this interview we are going cross-atlantic. In Strasbourg, Alsace, France. Some of you might know Alsace for it’s delicious gastronomy, wines, history. Strasbourg is the european capital and has always been a place where interesting innovation happened: Think Bugatti as a starter, probably one of the most beautiful cars in the world, was built in small town of Molsheim. If you’ve been there you’ve surely seen or travelled into their magnificent and modern electric tram system that transport people in and out and across the city everyday. Strasbourg is also known for its impact in healthcare: Nobel prize winners, best hospitals in France, invention of remote surgery, the aspirin and more.

Our interviewed guest today is Nicolas Pellerin, an executive part of the Strasbourg Innovation ecosystem development initiative. We exchanged with him on what is going at the present time in Strasbourg. We can tell you that: There is a lot happening…and it involves opportunities for Boston entrepreneurs, start-ups and investors!

Nicolas Pellerin

Before we start let us introduce you to Nicolas Pellerin. Here are few credentials about him…

  • PhD in cognitive neurosciences, Unistra, France
  • Professional experience
    • National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS – Centre national de la Recherche Scientifique) Research for Décathlon –Areva – EDF
    • Renault SAS (CAC40)-Research and Development Engineer
    • Alsace Biovalley – MedTech Project Manager- E-health
    • Eurometropolis of Strasbourg – Head of Innovation and Investment, Scientific Research Manager of the Nextmed, (Strasbourg medtech campus) program

Nicolas, can you describe briefly your role in developing the Strasbourg Innovation ecosystem?

For many years now, we have been placing considerable emphasis on the “scientific research and university courses” sector, an initiative recognised by the 4 Nobel prizewinners currently working in Strasbourg. We provide the interface with sectors where innovation is key, such as healthcare, higher education, digital, clean and green tech and the creative economy.

What’s is Strasbourg’s vision for 2030 and how can people get more information about it?

Economic development is a political priority for the Eurometropolis and it was with this in mind that it has set out to drive a partnership-based effort to get everyone working towards boosting the area’s attractiveness. This was the basis for the Eco 2020 and the Eco 2030 roadmaps and the ambition is to lay solid foundations for the creation of 27,000 new jobs by 2030, by highlighting this city’s specific features, such as its being a European and regional capital, a hub for innovation and a network node central to European transport. This roadmap represents a strategic platform for leveraging the strengths of the Eurometropolis to drive its economic fundamentals.

Take a tour of Strasbourg NextMed ecosystem. Exclusive video!

Strasbourg and Boston are sister cities. In what fashion, would you like to develop further this relationship. Especially on the topics of innovation?

Strasbourg is located in the centre of Europe and as such can help companies gain access to the important markets of France, Germany and Switzerland, as well as Eastern Europe. While it is interesting for North American companies to set up right in the middle of the European business environment, in the same way, French and European companies are looking to develop internationally and the North American market is strategic. We would therefore like to see Strasbourg as a launchpad for Boston-based companies, and reciprocally it would be useful for our companies seeking to expand to set up in Boston and have help getting into the American market. What might be particularly worthwhile is to have a Boston-based incubator/accelerator in Strasbourg (for example, an affiliate of the Cambridge innovation center).

Contact people for companies interested in setting up in Strasbourg are Nicolas Pellerin (nicolas.pellerin@strasbourg.eu) and Guillaume Facchi of Alsace Biovalley (guillaume.facchi@alsace-biovalley.com)

Can you describe MedTech? When and how was it founded, what is it and why it’s an important move for the region?

Reducing time-to-market, this is the central aim of Nextmed, the medical technologies campus, which first got underway in Strasbourg in 2012 (the opening of the pH8 incubator for innovation-led start-ups). The real-estate part of the campus is simply the starting point – the real added value lies in the support given to companies, irrespective of their size. The internationally-renowned competitive cluster, Alsace BioValley, and the Satt-Conectus accelerated technology transfer initiative, play a leading role in helping companies bring their products to market, find licensing partners and raise funds. Support is vital for ensuring project suitability within an ecosystem encouraging business development, and for this, financing and support need to be consistent. No stone is left unturned to help local companies open up to the worldwide healthcare market. Some 1000 new jobs have been created since 2012 and over 25 start-ups have got onto the development path.

What is the call to action to people for MedTech? Who are you looking for? To help or participate? What is it offering?

Strengthening the connections between scientific and medical research and industrial development. Bringing key players together through a dedicated city-centre location. What the campus is offering is 3 key cornerstones for developing the sector: a city-centre location on a site with 1000 years of history, dedicated sector-specific services with market professionals, ongoing exchanges of best practices and meetings within the network.

Today, it’s all about statistics and data: do you have any figures to share so readers can put in perspective the

objectives and progress made both by the vision 2030 and MedTech?

  • 30,000 m² for businesses with the Technoparc, including 7000 m² of office space in renovated historical buildings.
  • Strasbourg Teaching Hospitals, the largest employer in the east of France, with 12,000 hospital staff and ranked 4th-best hospital in France by leading French magazine Le Point.
  • IRCAD : 6000 surgeons from countries throughout the world trained every year in the Strasbourg Institute
  • IRCAD : 3 sister institutes in Taiwan, Rio and São Paulo
  • University of Strasbourg : leading French university in terms of scientific impact (scientific papers cited worldwide, a key quality criterion) and 4th-ranked in France (leading university outside Paris), based on the Shanghai ratings
  • 4 Nobel prizewinners in chemistry and medicine currently working in the city
  • Business incubators on 13/01/2017 :
  • pH8 : 1000 m²
  • Biocluster : 800 m²
  • IRCAD 2 : 2000 m²

= 3800 m² for businesses

  • 300 million consumers in the world for medtech products
  • 300 medtech companies within a diameter of 400 km²
  • 14 world-class technological parks within the same diameter.

Who would you say are the most important players right now in the Strasbourg innovation ecosystem?

  • The SEMIA incubator: provides support for project leaders to help boost their chances of successfully entering the market, through links developed with university research and business.
  • SATT-Conectus: accelerated technology-transfer initiative helping to promote innovation and economic development through public-sector research
  • University of Strasbourg: ranked no.1 in France through its scientific papers , 4 Nobel prizewinners working in its faculties.
  • Alsace Biovalley: world-class healthcare competitiveness cluster
  • IRCAD: an institute with a worldwide reputation in digested-system disorders, 3 sister institutes worldwide (Taiwan, Sao Paulo and Rio opening soon)
  • IHU: University Hospital Institute specialising in image-guided surgery: the only one of its kind in France, unique operating facilities.
  • Strasbourg Teaching Hospitals: ranked 4th best hospital in France, largest employer in the east of France (over 15,000 employees in 6 units).
  • Local authorities: region, Metropolis, city, etc…

Are local “big” companies actively supporting the ecosystem yet? If so can you name a few? How important is that?

Industry is playing an important role in the innovation ecosystem as executives are often on the boards of agencies for developing and promoting innovation. Examples include the partnership between the Eurometropolis and ENGIE (Suez US trademark) for developing an intelligent transport system, and the partnership with the Orange group in digital innovation.

Strasbourg is known for medical innovation already. Can you describe some of the reasons why and name few key players you think contributed or contribute to this status?

There are a number of key players in Strasbourg involved in innovation in science, while our 4 Nobel prizewinners illustrate the city’s excellence in the area. We also have Professor Marescaux, the head of IRCAD, which he founded in 1994, and the 3 others. We have world-leading surgeons in the Teaching Hospitals, and it’s no surprise that Strasbourg is rated the 4th-best hospital in France (other examples include Professor Gangi and the interventional imaging department, and Professor Dollfuss and the world’s first bionic eye). These skills are constantly being enhanced through the crossover between University research groups, basically because in addition to the unique range of University courses offered in the region, Strasbourg has some 58,000 highly-qualified students coming to study in the city every year.

Finally, the fact that major groups such as Siemens, Medtronic, GE Healthcare, Karl Storz and Intuitive Surgical have set up in Strasbourg speaks eloquently of the attractiveness of the area and the real advantages it offers. Let’s not, however, forget the start-ups that we, along with other public authorities have helped in their development stage through, the city’s business incubators, such as pH8  (http://www.europtimist.eu/implanter-a-strasbourg/les-lieux-dimplantation-a-strasbourg/le-ph8-la-pepiniere-dentreprises-innovantes-de-strasbourg ).

The development of the Technoparc also sets out to offer real-estate solutions for these companies, but, more importantly, provides the link between start-ups offering innovative solutions and majors looking out for innovation-led initiatives.

Video of Strasbourg innovations

Take a video tour of Strasbourg’s innovations! Strasbourg has a lot to offer…(video in French but images pretty explanatory)

What are the main hurdles you have, if any, you wish you could overcome to achieve quicker the vision of Strasbourg 2030 and MedTech?

The biggest challenge is for stepping up partnerships between industry and scientific and medical research to facilitate the creation and development of start-ups and to help them gain access to major companies in the sector.

They need easy access to premises and venture capital and a fast-lane time-to-market process.

How easy is it today to get capital to finance innovation in France? Are foreign investors welcomed?

Investment in France in start-ups often means public seed funding, followed by private funding. The difference between France and United States is that in France the initial funding for getting a start-up off the ground is often too low and innovators are having to spend more and more time looking for money rather than getting their products onto the market. International investment funds are obviously welcome as they are crucial for getting into international markets.

In healthcare, the Alsace Biovalley cluster has set up a special innovative enterprise label which helps gear companies up for raising funds.

What is the Cluster Innovative Enterprise Label (LEIP – Label Entreprise Innovante du Pôle)?
If you are selected by the Alsace BioValley cluster:

  1. You submit your project to the LEIP committee *, which will give you recommendations for improving it.
  2. You can receive expert assistance for implementing the LEIP committee recommendations.
  3. You resubmit your project to the LEIP committee, which can then give your company the Cluster Innovative Enterprise Label.
  4. The Label gives you privileged access to our network

The Alsace BioValley LEIP committee:

Investors: 

  • Alsace Business Angel
  • Grand Est Capital
  • CM-CIC
  • Mérieux Développement
  • Medevice Capital
  • European Materials fund
  • Seventure Partners

To have further information on companies seeking funds, you can contact Alsace Biovalley (http://www.alsace-biovalley.com/en/)

What do you see as the strengths and biggest opportunities for Strasbourg / France’s Tech on going revolution?

Strasbourg, and France in general, have always had a strong tradition of innovation and medical and scientific research. We now have the SATT (http://www.conectus.fr/en) technology transfer accelerators to help us and we need to focus on boosting start-ups, both with regard to investment funds and market internationalisation.

Strasbourg’s geographical location gives what is already an international city a genuine competitive edge, amplified by its importance as a European capital at the core of European innovation and markets.

Any last words Nicolas?

A big thank you to you, Alistair, for this opportunity and we would be delighted to answer any enquiries (Nicolas Pellerin : nicolas.pellerin@strasbourg.eu ) + linkedin

Thanks a lot Nicolas and to your team for the opportunity to interview you. This was a very insightful interview and I look forward to seeing the progress and next successes of the Strasbourg innovation ecosystem! For sure, more great things are going to happen here and we will do our best to spread the word here in Boston, USA.

Everyone, stay tuned…This is just the beginning!

Few Strasbourg web link for more information:

Blog medtech : www.medtech-strasbourg.eu

Alsace Biovalley : http://www.alsace-biovalley.com/en/

How to get funded or invest through regulation crowdfunding: Mike Norman, co-founder of leading platform Wefunder

What is regulation crowdfundingTopics covered during this interview

  • How it works, where to start
  • Can you make a fortune out of this
  • The Wefunder process
  • How Wefunder came to exist
  • The types of ideas to submit through regulation crowdfunding
  • Who is regulation crowdfunding for?
  • Difference between regulation crowdfunding and reward based crowdfunding

Enjoy! This is progress and the future! Below are you audio and video versions

Here the video version:


Here the audio version:

Here is the deal here:

  • We bringing you the how to get funded or invest in a start-up leveraging the new regulation crowdfunding concept…
  • An interview of Mike Norman, one of those who lobbied in the US congress to have the law passed in May of 2016!
  • One of the co-founders, president of the first and largest regulation crowdfunding platform!

We invite you to listen to the talk below and get familiar with the platform by visiting Wefunder.com

Why is this important:

  • Wefunder is predicated upon the idea that anyone, regardless of wealth, should be able to invest in a company
  • Prior to their action only accredited investors could invest in a start-up (Taking the risk but also having access to huge opportunities)
  • Think about this: Only accredited investors could invest in early stage google, Facebook or amazon and get the returns
    • Think about how much money they made and how much money you could have made!
    • Of course, these are some unique examples but you get the idea…

Wefunder: The 1st and leading regulation crowdfunding platform!

  • Founders: Mike Norman, Nick Tommarello, Greg Belote. Founded in 2011, in Cambridge MA USA,
  • it raised $1.4-2 Millions in funding to launch from hundreds of investors
  • To date they helped 35 companies get funded, with 3 of them able to raise $1M each!
  • The community includes 75,000 investors and 10,000 investments were made
  • Investments ranges for the most part from 100-500 dollars.
  • Investors (You, me) invest in primarily companies they love, product they believe in and want to see succeed.
  • They currently own 80% market share and are by far the most successful regulation crowdfunding platform right now!

 

Dragon Innovation: Take your idea from prototype to mass manufacturing, the fast and innovative way!

It is with immense pleasure that we are sharing with you today a new, amazingly insightful webinar that we hosted earlier this month on Wednesday July 20th with Scott Miller, CEO and co-founder of Dragon Innovation and Bolt Partner.

DragonInnovation

In this webinar with Scott, we cover the timeline that led to the creation of a unique startup: Dragon Innovation. It has received millions in funding, launched about 400 manufacturing lines for their clients which include many startups and corporations.

Scott also shares with us what it takes to launch a product from prototype to mass production and discusses key manufacturing trends and more. Learn directly from a manufacturing, engineering expert by watching this recorded presentation! Dragon Innovation has been widely talked about since it was founded in 2009. It has been featured countless times for their novel business model in Techcrunch, Forbes, Venturebeat, Xconomy, Betaboston. The company has received more than $2.6m in funding since its beginning few years ago.

Dragon Innovation is a unique, most modern start-up partner that provides a clear path from prototype through production with unmatched manufacturing expertise and trusted connections. Dragon’s has helped many start-ups successfully manufacture their products: including Jibo, Petnet,Arccos, Zuli, MakerBot, Coolest, Pebble, LIFX, FormLabs to Perkin Elmer and over 100 additional companies paving the road for how new technology gets made.

They have integrated teams in Boston, San Francisco and China!

Here is the presentation that was covered during the event for those who requested it. click here to download

Enjoy this new webinar!

Resources for the hardware entrepreneur provided by Dragon Innovation:

Visit the Dragon Innovation site below and get access for free to loads of resources perfect for the hardware entrepreneur. You will find:

  • Free courses on manufacturing design
  • Learn and tools to create a Bill Of Manufacturing
  • Suppliers and partners to help you create your prototype and much more…

Visit the Dragon Innovation resources

2ea1c6b3-e470-4cca-8634-5d9a451c2bc5 download (2)

 

 

Music Audience Exchange (MAX): The power of music for businesses with George Howard and Carlos Diaz

In this webinar by startupsinnovation (a blog and online accelerator that helps entrepreneurs) and askmusiclawyer.com (a blog that helps artists entrepreneurs), George Howard and Carlos Diaz, two of the co-founders of Music Audience Exchange (MAX), talk about the power of music, the state and evolution of the music industry, and how MAX helps promote both artists and brands. MAX is a start-up leading the way and creating a new marketing method using big data, expertise and proprietary technology.

George Howard is a music industry key influencer, ex-executive of Rykodisc (music label), Co-founder of MAX, original founder of TuneCore, Adjunct Professor at The Berklee College of Music, and an advisor to Fortune 500 companies.

Carlos Diaz is the Chief Revenue Officer and a co-founder of MAX. He oversees all revenue and sales operations and has an extensive background in Internet, tech and sales (ex-ReachLocal).

Visit Music Audience Exchange here.

MAX received $3.5M in 2015 and leverages the power of music to provide a service that helps companies promote their brands through artists endorsements. The startup is led by Founder & CEO Nathan Hanks. In this webinar, we learned that MAX disrupts the traditional sponsorship model by offering a unique data and technology-based service that pairs brands to music artists. MAX helps “exchange” audiences between artists and brands to help cross-promote both parties and create a special and more emotional experience for the consumers. According to Carlos Diaz, these programs are extremely targeted and highly-measurable.

Some quotes from the webinar:

    • “You have to have a remarkable product and put it in front of people that are predisposed to care and you will shift the burden from you saying hey I am a great artist/entrepreneur to other people talking about your work. Unless and until you do that, you will not succeed.” -George Howard
    • “Laws and legislation follow culture. Culture and art can lead change. Civil, gay rights and other rights had, at their emphasis, art.” -George Howard (On the idea that inspired his commencement speech at the Berklee School of Music)
    • “All artists are entrepreneurs and the best entrepreneurs are artists.” -George Howard quoting Hugh MacLeod
    • “Artists need exposure. If they don’t get it, they won’t make it.” -Carlos Diaz
    • “The partnerships between artists and brands will only continue to grow.” -Carlos Diaz
    • “Entrepreneurs…just make sure that you have a problem you are solving that you don’t come up with a solution looking for a problem” -Carlos Diaz

George and Carlos elaborate on these quotes in this three-part recorded webinar about music and marketing:

Part 1: The music industry evolution, the power of music with George Howard and Carlos Diaz

– The music industry disruption and landscape today
– What should other industry learn from the music industry disruption
– George on his commencement speech at Berklee, the impact of art in the world

Part 2: How MAX works, why it’s great with George Howard and Carlos Diaz 

– How Music Audience Exchange works
– Who uses Music Audience Exchange
– Beats by Dre
– MAX success stories
– Artist social network profiling

Part 3: More insights on marketing leveraging the power of music

– How artists respond to the MAX value proposition?
– Music genres that are early adopters of the MAX service
– Artists in the corporations, will we see more of this?
– How does music help brands?
– Best advice to entrepreneurs and artists
– How to do business with Music Audience Exchange – who to contact, how to start!
– Carlos Diaz vision for the future

Special thanks to askmusiclawyer.com team for the help in promoting this event with us.

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