Startup Recommendation: Use Crunchbase

crunchbaselogoCrunchbase is a database of startup companies built and maintained by TechCrunch. The site relies on user-generated information; and while it is tech-centric, it’s the best all around source of early stage funding information.

angelMD encourages medical startups to create and maintain a profile on Crunchbase, mostly because it’s a solid repository of historical funding information. We have integrated the Crunchbase funding database into the angelMD profiles because we are firm believers in sticking to what you do best – and there is no value in re-creating what Crunchbase has built well already.

Marketing 101 stipulates that you should have something good to say and say it over and over again. Spend 15 minutes and build out a Crunchbase profile to include your funding story. It will augment your story on angelMD and it just might help attract your next key investor.

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Put up a Website as Soon as Possible

Often startups are hesitant to with put information online because they’re still trying to figure out exactly what they want to say about themselves. They also worry that a website is a significant expense they’re not ready for. Both of those are valid concerns, but neither should stop you from putting up some kind of website. Building your internet presence early is important.

Concern 1: I’m not sure exactly what we want to be saying yet
Do you have even a few broad sentences that you’re comfortable with? A good stock image with a couples of lines of text can be a fine website for the moment. At least put up a plain, single page with a sentence about yourself and a way for people to contact you. Then as you decide on your messaging, you can update that page.

Concern 2: We’re not ready for the expense of a website
You can set up a very basic site for $50 – $500.

  1. You can register a domain name for about $10.
  2.  Then you’ll need to set up hosting, which can be $5 – $10/month. This sounds technical, but some hosting company are set up specifically to help individuals host their sites easily. CNet has options worth looking at. Once you’re ready for a more substantial website, the people you hire for that project can help you switch your hosting to another service if necessary.
  3. Now install WordPress on your domain, which is generally free. Your web hosting company will usually have an FAQ page about how to do it, or have phone support that will walk you through the process. You do not need high level technical skills to do this.
  4. Add some content to your site. WordPress can be a little tricky at first, but a moderately internet-saavy person at your startup should be able to set up something basic. Alternatively, you could hire someone for a few hours of work, to set up a very simple site for you.

Bare Minimum
At the very least, you could install WordPress and then get a free plugin like Ultimate Coming Soon Page. This will let you add an image and a little text, and show visitors that you have website coming at some point. A nice benefit of this plugin is that you work on your website in the background and see what it will look like, while making sure that any site visitors just see your Coming Soon page until more of your site is ready.

It is worth a day of time to get a very basic internet presence started for your company, as early as possible.

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Want Funding? Get Introduced

When it comes to funding, a warm introduction matters. As a colleague responded when I shared this idea: “This is sales 101.” Yes, it is, but the challenge is that most entrepreneurs don’t have sales backgrounds. They don’t realize the critical importance of a warm introduction.

David Hornik of August Capital wrote a basic but important piece on the importance of getting an introduction when pursuing venture capital funding. The reality is that this is not specific to VC funding at all. The corollary for angelMD is that startups are going to have the highest degree of success raising money with our network if they are introduced through one of their physician investors or advisors.

Startups that don’t have physician involvement are behind the eight-ball because our investor network is comprised of physicians. This doesn’t mean the end of the line, but it does mean a startup needs to consider building momentum from this base because physicians will be their advocates within the network.

Read Hornik’s full article here

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Your Startup Needs a Domain Name

Some startups that contact angelMD don’t yet have a domain name  – but every one of them should. Getting a domain name is not expensive or technically difficult, and it has several important benefits.

There’s no rule that says you absolutely have to own the exact domain name of your company or product name, but it’s preferable if you can. It’s less preferable, for example, to own acme-inc.com than it is acme.com if the name of your company is acme. Knowing if someone else owns the domain name you want is an important step in planning your company’s identity.

Why?

  1. When people start to hear about your company, they will search for it on the web. Having a domain name makes it easier to appear legitimate.
  2. Having a domain name allows you also lock in email addresses correlating to your company name. For example, if your company name is WellVu, and you own the domain welvu.com, then you can have email addresses like info@welvu.com and david@welvu.com. An official, branded email address gives a substantially different impression than a gmail, yahoo or AOL account.
  3. Finally, even if you are operating in ‘stealth’ mode right now, at some point you will want to have a website that is searchable. Having a domain name does not mean you have to put up a complex website, but it does allow you to put up a simple – even single page – web presence. Your own domain name will give you a level of control over your internet presence that you will not have otherwise.

When?

At the point when you’re thinking about your company name or product name, that’s the ideal time to look for domain names. Use the search feature on a domain registration site to look for domains related to ideas you have for company names. If you find a name that you’re considering, you should register it just to be safe. At $5 – $15, getting a few extra domain names for a year shouldn’t break anyone’s budget.

How?

Although some people refer to “buying” a domain name, what you’re really doing is “registering” it (i.e. renting). The average cost for a .com domain registration is usually under $15/year.  However, if a domain name you want is owned by someone else, they’re sometimes willing to transfer that domain to you. This can cost anywhere from a few hundred to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on several factors.

Godaddy.com is an easy and popular place to register domain names, but there are other options. You could also try networksolutions.com or register.com. If you go to one site and find the domain name you want is not available, you do not need to check other registration sites for the same domain. That information should be standard across all sites.

The internet is a part of every business in one way or another, so getting your domain name should be an early part of getting any company set up.

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3 Resources for Finding Images for Your Startup

First impressions count, and if potential investors are considering your startup, how it looks from the beginning will matter. We’ve seen many early startups with almost no internet presence, and if people are considering investing in you – they will try to find you online.

You can create a very basic internet presence without spending a lot of money. A few strong images can make even a page or two of information look substantially more interesting and polished.

Can you take any free image you find on google? We’d highly recommend that you do NOT do that. Many of those images on google – which appear so easy to right click, save, and then add to your website – are owned by others. There are companies like Getty Images that are well known for sending letters to even very small companies, or bloggers, demanding thousands of dollars if they find a site has been using one of their images without the proper license. (Search “Getty Extortion Letter” to see what kind of experiences people have had.) Whether you consider Getty’s actions “extortion” or a fair response to the many people that have taken their images despite copyright infringement, that is not a situation any start up wants to deal with.

Fortunately, there are several good stock image websites where you can license images to use for a very reasonable price. Here are 3 sites to try:

  1.  BigStockPhoto: with images priced at just a few dollars each, this site is a favorite. They even have a subscription where you can get up to 5 images every day for $69/month. This is a great deal if you intend to build quite a few pages into your website, or are going to blog often.
  2. iStockPhoto: although somewhat more expensive than bigstockphoto, istockphoto is a great option. They have a very nice site layout and great image options. A recent pricing change has substantially dropped the price on half their photos, so this is a site worth looking into.
  3.  Shutterstock: advertising a library of over 25 million photos, illustrations and vidoes, Shutterstock has plenty of choices. Buying 2 images for $29 is the lowest price option, but their package of 25 images for $229 should be enough to give any startup a solid library of images to work with.

With any image source, make sure you understand the copyright associated with it. Using a few strong images in your presentations and website can make a big difference in your first impressions.

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