ChrisTiffin

Welcome, Chris!

Who are you?

Hey! My name is Christopher Tiffin, a current junior at Loyola University Maryland. While I am a leader in the classroom and on-campus, my true passions lie in entrepreneurship and design thinking. Starting at 16, I started a landscaping business with three of my best friends. What was intended to be a neighborhood-exclusive endeavor quickly turned into a small business, hiring a handful of fellow high school students. This grass roots beginning, no pun intended, brought on a myriad of entrepreneurial opportunities. I worked as an intern for a wearable tech startup, recognized as a University Innovation Fellow, and consulted on a few small-scale startups. In my spare time, I am working on an app that will (hopefully) revolutionize the college selection and application process.

What are you doing here?

I am blessed to find an internship opportunity where my outlandish ideas and thoughts are not only accepted, but encouraged. While it is my every intention to develop networking skills, I want to use this time as an opportunity to learn – a form of learning unachievable in a formal, academic setting. Moreover, and an interesting phenomenon nonetheless, our society has crafted a fantasized image of entrepreneurship – it’s “cool” to say that you are an entrepreneur. I want to learn what it actually takes to successfully start a business.

                                                             

Just for fun:

Pancakes or waffles?

Either, as long as it’s gluten-free. (No, I am not a hipster nor is it a voluntary decision)

Sarcasm or seriousness?

Neither. No matter what, I am perpetually happy!

Sneakers or flip-flops?

Crocs – the most versatile footwear on the market.

Morning or night person?

5am, every morning.

Winter or summer?

Summer.

Chocolate or Vanilla?

Chocolate-Vanilla Swirl, of course!

Favorite Expression?

“You are the summation of your five best friends” — Mary Tiffin

blog2017designtrends

Digital Design Trends for 2017

Looking back at design trends from recent years and examining new ones is a neat lesson in how user preferences and needs change over time. It’s the job of design to grow with those changes.

In 2015 and 2016, Flat Design and responsive web templates were everywhere in the digital world. Because these trends are minimal, adaptable to every screen, and easy to personalize or replicate they really took off. To give Flat Design credit where it’s due, this method really seemed to be among the first digital design trends that really embraced the screen as its medium. It really struck a harmony between usability and appearances.

There is a catch to the huge popularity and replicability of Flat Design. Maybe you’ve noticed this too: so many websites and apps now look exactly the same.

This infographic about 2017 design trends promises that the design world will shake this up in the coming year. Flat Design will still feature heavily in 2017, but this year is adding some much needed depth, color, and edginess to 2D design. Look out for neon gradient overlays and bold geometric patterns, as well as friendly and funky colors and hand-drawn illustrations.

Here is what you can expect to see across the web this year:

Design Trends 2017 Infographic
Infographic Courtesy of CoastalCreative.com

guestblogmarketing

Digital Marketing Strategy: Four Things I Learned in Class

By Hannah Spurrier, Content Developer at Orange Element

 

I signed up for Betamore’s Digital Marketing Bootcamp this winter for a refresher and to gain a few additional tips I didn’t learn while earning my degree. Three weeks later, I left the classroom with a Digital Marketing Bootcamp certificate, a yummy candy bar, and a head full of marketing tricks I had no idea existed. I was (pleasantly) surprised that I in fact don’t know it all when it comes to the digital marketing world, even if I’m fresh out of graduate school and immersed in it every day. Here are some key takeaways I scribbled in my notebook for future reference.

  1. Conducting Effective Keyword Research
    As Orange Element’s content developer, I’m in charge of creating content for our blog, social media, and other relevant platforms. In addition to content creation, I’m tasked with determining what keywords to use in our headlines, meta descriptions and more. I thought I had a pretty good idea of how to find the best keywords, but this class introduced new tools for even more accuracy and effectiveness: UberSuggest, Answer the Public, and Google Keyword Planner are all great resources to gather comprehensive keyword and topic ideas.
  2. The Importance of H1 Tags and Keyword Placement
    Before taking this class, I’d simply select a primary keyword and place it somewhere in the headline and body copy. Not a bad strategy, but there’s a smarter method to the madness. To improve search rankings, I learned, the primary keyword should ideally be in the main <h1> headline, in the first 90 characters of text, and mentioned three additional times throughout the piece. But that’s not all: secondary keywords are also important for your overall site ranking and authority, and should be placed in <h2> subheads (like the bold ones in this post) and at least once in the body copy.
  3. Tools to Improve Digital Marketing Strategy
    I always look forward to new tools that make my professional life easier. Our instructor showed us numerous tools to simplify our workflow, but two stuck out: Hotjar and Google Search Console. Hotjar provides HTML code to place into your website that produce user heat maps, visitor recordings, and conversion funnels, so you can get actual data about your user experience. Search Console is a free tool you can integrate with your Google Analytics to gather queries, traffic sources, and other search data to improve your search strategy.
  4. The Best Questions to Ask Exiting Customers
    While my background is on the agency side rather than B2C, it’s still useful to know what questions to ask website visitors to get the most valuable information about your business. I learned there are 3 questions to ask exiting customers (whether that’s via a popup form or chat box on your landing page) to discover any content gaps:

    • What were you looking for in today’s visit?
    • Were you able to find it? If not, why?
    • Would you like us to contact you? If so, leave your name and number and we’ll get back to you soon.

The lesson? Never assume you already know it all. Especially in the ever-changing digital landscape, new trends and tools emerge every single day. Everyone could use a refresher, whether that’s only six months after graduate school or ten years as a business owner. Consider signing up for a Google certification or taking in-person classes at community centers like Betamore. Your business strategy (and your brain) will thank you.

Visit Orange Element’s website and read the original blog post here.

 

betamore-cg-blog

Betamore at City Garage

We are excited to announce a partnership with Sagamore Ventures to bring Betamore to City Garage. We will be working together on a number of initiatives including increased educational programming, workforce development efforts, and a build-out of coworking space in Main Street of City Garage.

Through collaboration with The Foundery, the industrial-grade makerspace currently located at City Garage, this expansion will allow people to learn to code and weld under one roof. Our education programming will grow to include cutting-edge STEAM classes and workshops including coding, 3D printing, woodworking and welding that are unique to the location. This will create an optimal space for companies focused on product innovations to tackle their hardware, software, and business needs in one place.

The new coworking space will include 55-65 desks, two conference rooms, private offices and an open event space. Betamore’s original location at 1111 Light street will continue operations, and current Betamore members will be able to work at either space through a joint-membership between the two locations for a modest additional fee. The build-out of the space will begin in January 2017 and the design will be done by our incredible partners at The Verve Partnership.

The expansion enables us to offer entrepreneurs increased opportunities to launch and build successful businesses. Additionally, it aligns our mission with influential partners, who can help us move quickly and more effectively. Betamore will also become involved in the workforce development initiatives spearheaded by Sagamore Development Company, helping train and place employees in local technical and manufacturing positions. The more companies that we help succeed, the more Baltimore and our region will thrive. We are working to ensure that Baltimore continues gaining recognition as a destination for entrepreneurship.

We can’t wait to share more with you over the coming months as construction begins and new details arise. Stay tuned!

Cheers,

The Betamore Team

#neverstop

IN THE NEWS

“Federal Hill Incubator Betamore is Expanding into City Garage” — Baltimore Business Journal

“Betamore to Expand to Port Covington” — The Baltimore Sun

“Betamore Expanding, Launching Initiatives at City Garage” — The Daily Record

“Betamore is Expanding to City Garage” — Technical.ly Baltimore

“Betamore Partners with Sagamore Ventures” — citybizlist

welcomedavis

Welcome, Davis

Who are you?

Hi, I am Davis Booth and I am now a senior at The Gilman School, my final year of a twelve year journey. I am interested in a wide variety of subjects spanning the academic, extracurricular, and athletic aspects of life. Academically, I am very much so intrigued by two disciplines: computer science and entrepreneurship. I have pursued both avidly, taking an AP Computer Science course during my junior year and attending a summer program at Duke University meant to deepen my understanding of entrepreneurship and key business principles. Extracurricularly, I am affiliated with a number of clubs at Gilman, including Informal Debate Club, The Gilman News, and Cultural Practices Club. Athletically, I play two sports: basketball and golf (if you consider golf a sport). Currently, I am in the midst of the very stressful process of applying to college. For you underclassmen out there, I have to admit that it is just as bad as they say it is; start early. In the future, and as a treat to myself, I hope to finally find some time to catch up on an increasingly long list of movies that I am yet to watch, as I continue to lose touch with the pop culture that is so prevalent in today’s society.

What Are You Doing Here?

Honestly, I am surprised I did not stumble upon Betamore earlier in my life. It seems to me that Betamore perfectly fuses both of my burning passions: technology and entrepreneurship. I am super excited to continue to learn more about both fields and I am so thankful that I found a place where I can delve deeper into both, simultaneously. I am excited to see what it takes to keep a startup like Betamore above water, while watching other startups do the same. I hope I can help in any way possible and I hope to take every opportunity available to me to learn about both entrepreneurship and technology.

Just For Fun

Pancakes or waffles?

  • Pancakes. No question, no debate, non-negotiable, end of story.

Sarcasm or seriousness?

  • Depends on what side of the bed I wake up on.

Sneakers or flip-flops?

  • Sneakers. Flip-flops provide a higher probability of stubbing toes and I hate stubbing my toes.

Morning or Night person?

  • Depends on what you consider night and morning. I am a 2/3 AM kind of person.

Winter or summer?

  • Summer. Schoolwork and coldness = misery.

Chocolate or Vanilla?

  • Coffee.

What do you do when you are happy?

  • Drive on the little-known country roads in Baltimore County

What do you do when you are angry?

  • Hands down best way to take out anger: Wii Boxing.
salesforce-blog

How Google and Salesforce are changing the Nonprofit Landscape

by: Greg Meyers, President + Founder at AfterClicks Interactive

One of the most rewarding experiences any one person or company can make is do donate their time, money and/or services to the less fortunate. Since 2008, I have had the privilege of helping 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organizations increase awareness, volunteerism and donor funding with the help of “in-kind” programs like Google Grants and Salesforce.org “Power of Us Program”. However, these remarkable gifts from both Google & Salesforce which have significantly improved awareness and donor management for Nonprofits, desperately needs more of it’s own awareness about it’s existence and that is the reason for this article.

Online Tech companies such as Google and Salesforce realize the complexities of running fiscally successful Nonprofits in this digital age. Like all companies and organization, they are seeking the best people, strategies and tools needed to meeting and exceeding their annual fundraising goals.

In order to achieve these goals, there is no better combination than Google Grants and Salesforce.org. When we combine these (2) two service offerings together, it creates an invaluable tool that all Nonprofits need to stay competitive. Here’s what is offered:

  • Google Grants = $10k/month in FREE Website Traffic:
    • Google Grants gives away $10k/month in Free Advertising within the Google.com search results.
  • Salesforce = FREE CRM Management to organize leads, volunteers, funding and events.
    • 10 Free Subscriptions of the Enterprise Edition and deep discounts on all other services/subscriptions.

salesforce_img

What is Google Grants?

Google Grants is a unique one-of-a-kind advertising program that is designed specifically for 501(c)(3) Nonprofit organizations. The goal of this program is to utilize and transform the Google Adwords system into a powerful tool to spread advocacy, awareness, volunteer-ism and overall increase donor funding. Google provides approved 501(c)(3) Nonprofits with $10,000 per month in in-kind AdWords™ advertising.

Who is Eligible for a Google Grant?

According to Google, they have awarded these Grants to over 20,000+ nonprofits across more than 50 countries. Nonprofits that have 501(c)(3) status and are registered through the Internal Revenue Service within the United States are eligilble to apply for this grant.

Who is NOT Eligible?

  • Fiscally sponsored organizations.
  • Organizations already participating in the Google AdSense program
  • Organizations that are either religious or political in nature
  • Organizations focused primarily on lobbying for political or policy change.
  • Governmental entities and organizations, hospitals and medical groups, schools, childcare centers, academic institutions and universities are not eligible for Google Ad Grants

How does Google Grants Work?

  • If your organization is selected, Google will send you an award notification via email with detailed instructions for setting up your account, and contact information for a Google Grants specialist.
  • It is recommended that if you are not a certified Google Adwords Professional, hire an experienced Non-Profit Search Marketing Agency to help you get the most out of your Google Grants Program

Common FAQs about Google Grants

  • The Grant/Award Value depends on overall performance of the campaign. Typical Avg Contribution is around $10k/month.
  • Your maximum cost-per-click (CPC) will be $2.00 USD.
  • Google creates the account for you and funds it directly.
  • Your Google Grants account is subject to the same algorithms and policies as a regular account.
  • Google Grants ads appear on Google.com, alongside or above the main search results.
  • Google Grants ads are not eligible for distribution in the Content or Placement Targeting Networks.
  • You can use Google Analytics with this Google Grants Program.
  • Your ads will be entirely text-based (no videos or images).
  • They’ll appear only on Google search results pages.
  • All campaigns must be keyword-targeted.

To maintain your eligibility for Google Ad Grants, your organization must:

  • Link your ads to one (and only one) website domain, which should be the same one that was approved in your initial application.
  • Actively manage your AdWords account by logging in once a month and making at least one change to your account every 90 days.
  • Your ads and keywords should match your organization’s programs and services.
  • Strictly commercial advertising is prohibited. If you’re promoting products or services, 100% of the proceeds must go directly to supporting your program.
  • Your ads must not link to pages that are primarily composed of links to other websites.
  • Your ads may not offer financial products (like mortgages or credit cards), nor can they request donations of cars, boats, or other property.
  • Your site can’t display Google AdSense ads or affiliate advertising links.

What is Salesforce Power Of Us Program?

The Power of Us program gives Nonprofits access to Salesforce products and resources to help expand their goals. This program includes 10 donated (FREE) subscriptions and deep discounts on additional subscriptions, products and/or services from Salesforce.

Salesforce understands that the most valuable asset is the staff’s time and that is where Nonprofits manage their programs and services and deliver them in efficient new ways. One of the benefits of “moving to the cloud” is streamlining manual processes and reducing paper, that spend less time on administration and more time delivering quality programs.

To learn more about the “Power of Us Program”, please visit http://www.salesforce.org/nonprofit/get-started/

 

betacityblog

Beta City Year Two

Last Thursday, Baltimore’s brightest minds gathered at City Garage for the second annual Beta City. This year’s event truly exceeded our expectations. With a 72% increase in company pitch/demo applications, $75K in venture capital awarded, an international presence and over 1,000 attendees, it’s safe to say that the second Beta City was even better than the first.

Beta City, Betamore’s annual fundraiser, serves as an embodiment of our mission to make Baltimore a leading global entrepreneurship destination. This event is so much more than a gathering of leaders, makers and innovators. This day truly highlights the building commitment and growth of Baltimore and Maryland’s innovation sector. “Since our inaugural event last October, we have had an outpouring of support from local businesses, entrepreneurs and the tech community who continue to drive the growth of Betamore and the Baltimore community,” said Jen Meyer Betamore CEO.

That is exactly our mission at Betamore: to get people excited about Baltimore and help businesses grow by making the right introductions. The success of this year’s event would not have been possible without everyone involved past, present and future.
—Jen Meyer, Betamore CEO

The event began with the Venture Capital Pitch Competition, where 8 companies pitched for $75,000 in prize money. TopBox and Tissue Analytics took home top awards at the competition. TopBox, founded by Jeff Yentis, develops software to help companies understand, through trackable data, the issues that most affect their customers. Tissue Analytics, founded in 2014 by Kevin Keenahan and Josh Budman, is a mobile application that takes pictures of wounds to assist doctors in better analyzing them and tracking their recovery.

Among the other companies in the competition were emocha, Fixt, Sickweather, Sisu Global Health, SnobSwap, and Workbench.

Following the pitch competition, over 1,000 attendees filled City Garage for The Main Event. The evening included demos from over 30 entrepreneurs and an award ceremony revealing the winners of the pitch competition and the three recipients of awards honoring individuals for their contributions to Baltimore’s entrepreneurial community.

Betamore’s three awards recognize those in our community that continually contribute to building Baltimore into a destination for entrepreneurs to build their businesses. The Silo Breaker award is given to a member of the Betamore community that actively works to break down silos between people and institutions in Baltimore. This year the Silo Breaker award was given to the team behind Light City Baltimore. Light City demonstrates efforts that are a critical component of what Betamore seeks to do — illuminate the collective wisdom and experience of our community for the purpose of entrepreneurship.

The Beta award recognizes individuals with deep impacts on the local tech community who, over their lifetime, has benefited the entrepreneurial community in Baltimore through idea generation and testing. This year the Beta award was given to Paul Palmieri for his overall impact on Baltimore’s entrepreneurial community through his roles as an executive at Advertising.com, CEO and Co-founder at Millennial Media, and as an investor in numerous local and nationally based startups – just to name a few.

The RISE Award, a new addition for this year, recognizes an emerging entrepreneur who can be found supporting others and encouraging us to rise to our full potential. The RISE award was given to Luke Cooper, CEO of Fixt, who embodies the spirit of entrepreneurship in Baltimore.

What a tremendous event. You should be so proud of what you’re accomplishing. Our depth and breadth of cool companies that are making a difference is extraordinary. Stay focused on greatness-it’s working.
—Mike Gill, Maryland Department of Commerce

We are incredibly grateful for the support of our community; this event would not have been possible without you. Thank you to our sponsors, partners, vendors, judges, volunteers, attendees, board and Advisory Board. We are a lean team with an ever-growing community support system. We are proud of the spotlight that together we shine on Baltimore and the great companies that call it home.

Thank you for all of your hard work to make last night such a success. I don’t think I have ever been to an event with that much energy and excitement in one (or many) rooms.
—Daniel Thrailkill, Ellin & Tucker

Snaps from Beta City

Photos below courtesy of:
Tim Savage, @timsavage
Coyle Studios, @CoyleStudios

We’ll See You Next Year!


Looking for your Pixilated pictures?

Registration Badges
GIF Green Screen Booth
Flower Wall Booth
Digital Booth (in the tent)

beta-city-blog

Beta City 2016 Venture Capital Pitch Day Companies

We couldn’t be more excited to announce the eight companies that will compete for $75,000 in prizes at Beta City‘s Venture Capital Pitch Day on September 29. The live competition will kick off a day long celebration of leaders, makers, and innovators in Baltimore.

The Venture Capital Pitch Day selection process included several rounds of rigorous analysis and scrutiny, including an initial screening of each early stage business. To advance beyond the initial screening, each company’s application must demonstrate a minimum viable product, professionalism, and use of technology in an innovative way. Remaining companies are voted on by the Betamore Advisory Board, and lastly by a final judges panel, to then present in the live pitch competition at City Garage.

The eight finalists will have an exclusive opportunity to present their pitch to a distinguished panel of judges and influential leaders in the Baltimore tech community. The $75,000 in prizes are a collection of contributions by a number of local businesses, including TEDCO, Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures, Evergreen Advisors, Baltimore Angels, the University of Maryland System, Greenspring Associates, SunTrust and SC&H Group.

The selected companies also have a unique opportunity to present their company to a room full of venture capitalists, senior business and community leaders, and entrepreneurs from leading companies both inside and outside of Baltimore.

Venture Capital Pitch Day Finalists

emocha
emocha is a mobile health platform created at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Clinical Global Health Education (CCGHE) that provides real-time access to health data, and helps solve patient engagement and adherence in healthcare.
fixt
Fixt offers a mobile app that provides background maintenance for Internet connected devices, using motion sensors to find damage and automate device replacements, repairs, upgrades, and other troubleshooting.
sickweather
Sickweather scans social networks for indicators of illness, reporting and tracking these indicators in real-time. It is the largest illness crowdsourcing community, processing over 6 million reports per month.
sisu-global-health
Sisu Global Health is a medical technology company that focuses on improving healthcare access in low-resource settings, by building a medical device pipeline to strengthen health systems.
snobswap
SnobSwap offers exclusive access to a large collection of trusted boutiques, by displaying them on one simple digital platform.
tissue-analytics
Tissue Analytics uses one mobile app to make wound tracking, measuring and assessment fast and accurate, and gives both healthcare providers and patients a breakdown of progress over time.
topbox
TopBox‘s award-winning software offers Cloud-based interaction analytics for contact centers, helping organizations discover the root cause of customer impacting issues.
workbench
Workbench focuses on project-based learning and exploration to host a community of innovators, offering a space for educators to connect and create classes, as well as hands-on lessons and student monitoring in real-time.

“This year, the applications to present at our pitch competition grew by over seventy percent, attracting local, national and international companies,” said Betamore CEO, Jennifer Meyer.

Beta City is confirming what many already know: that our region is attracting top-tier talent and investment for entrepreneurs.”

New to the event this year and in preparation for the live pitch competition, finalists will have an opportunity to participate in eight hours of professional council with leading business executives in the week leading up to the event. These business advisors include: Jason Tagler of Camden Partners and CEOPitchCoach.com, Lynda Katz Wilner of Successfully Speaking and Henry Mortimer of Mortimer Communications.

In addition to the pitch companies selected, 17 additional entrepreneurs and innovators will be featured in the Demo Area at Beta City’s VIP + Main Event following the competition.

Beta City Demo + Featured Companies

We are excited to celebrate with more than 83 corporate and community sponsors and partners next week at Beta City. It is with the help and support of these sponsors that we lead a successful event and contribute to the growth of Baltimore’s ecosystem.

It is encouraging to see the enthusiasm and passion that so many entrepreneurs are bringing to our city – as business citizens we appreciate the responsibility to help these folks in any and every way possible.” — Mike Hankin, President and CEO of Brown Advisory.

We couldn’t agree more! If you are interested in attending Beta City, you can visit our event site at: betacity.co, you can also purchase tickets here!

We Hope to See You @ City Garage for #BetaCity!

BetaCity2016

style-blog

Will Your Personal Brand Sell Your Pitch?

By: Michelle Golding, Stylist

Style is not something you are born with and whether you are in technology, finance, a lawyer or artist, you have spent years honing your skills. Think of a personal brand as the package for those well honed skills. Knowing image is an unspoken language that speaks volumes, before you kick off the first line of your pitch is a powerful tool. We are all a brand, how we develop our personal brand will determine our success both in business and in life! Your image tells the world how you see yourself, how to receive you, and ultimately how to reward you.

Menswear Inspiration

Photo Source: handsomegents.tumblr.com

Photo Source: handsomegents.tumblr.com

 

 

Fit and details are the most important part of Menswear. It is critical that collars fit exact, if they are loose a necktie will never sit right. Sleeve cuffs need to have a 1/2″ exposure from your jacket sleeve. This classic grey suit with a pattern shirt and tweed tie will close any deal!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Source: yourhenry125.tumblr.com

Photo Source: yourhenry125.tumblr.com

Details make the man. On the left a conservative Brand and less of a risk taker. The Brand on right is very sure and rule breaker! Socks are the details to step-out with and give your Brand a voice. Paul Smith socks are perfect!

You can get this look at Nordstrom.

 

 

 

Source: Handsomegents.tumblr.com

Source: Handsomegents.tumblr.com

 

 

The subtle pattern mix will look great with every pant from denim to navy slacks. This look gives your Brand an edge that is confident but understated! See links to get the look!

 

All at Banana Republic:

Shirt- Moonless Night
Suit Jacket
Patterned Tie

 

 

 

watch

M24 Watch, Bergdorf Goodman

 

 

Watches are like cars, they create a conversation and that could be just what you need to launch your next business venture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Womenswear Inspiration

Gray Sheath Dress

Photo Source: memorandam.com

A classic sheath dress will take you everywhere from a pitch to the boardroom and on to a fundraiser. Whether you add a jacket or cardigan you will always be ready for the next step in your business plan! See links to get the look.

Check out these options from J. Crew:

Résumé dress
Campbell Blazer (Beautiful in a darker grey than the dress)

 

Source: yoox.com

Source: yoox.com

Add a winning color to your step and walk away with funding for your next big idea!

 

 

 

 

 

j-crew-top-and-zara-skirt

Photo Source: memorandam.com

 

Give a classic skirt edge with a waxed finish. Add this stripe shirt or dot and give a stand out performance on your next negotiation! See the links for the look.

Check out these options sourced from J-Crew:

Faux-leather pleated mini skirt

Tuxedo ruffle top blouse (This dot blouse is perfect with this skirt or a suit)

 

 

 

 

Photo Source: walletcase.worldpess.com

Photo Source: walletcase.worldpess.com

 

Command the room with this look when you deliver your winning pitch! See the links for the look.

Cropped wool pants from J. Crew

And a dot print tie-blouse from Banana Republic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

color block pumps

Photo Source: J. Crew

 

This rich color will look great with all your neutral, add them to this crop pant and captivate your audience! See the link for the look.

Get these Lucite suede heels from J. Crew

 

 

 

 


If you are interested in receiving personal style advice and tips, please don’t hesitate to contact Michelle at: meg@michellegolding.com

You can see more of Michelle’s inspiration on her website + blog.

Hope to see you looking sharp at Beta City on September 29!

Crowdfunding - Blog

Title III: Expanding Equity Crowdfunding

By: Steve Schwartz, Senior Manager, CohnReznick

Crowdfunding has been used for years to finance projects, ideas, and even early-stage companies. Through crowdfunding, individuals have the opportunity to contribute funding for the companies and ideas they like best. If enough people like the company or idea, those contributions can translate into a considerable amount of money.

Equity crowdfunding takes it a step further, offering investors a financial stake in the success of the start-up. But for a long time, only accredited investors (those who have a net worth of at least $1 million, or an annual income of at least $200,000), could participate in equity crowdfunding. This all changed earlier this year when the SEC’s final rules for Title III equity crowdfunding went into effect, giving entrepreneurs another catalyst to fuel their businesses.

A game-changer for growth companies, Title III enables companies to offer and sell securities through funding portals on the Internet, broadening the audience of people who can engage in equity crowdfunding. As of June 20, 2016, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is currently regulating eleven SEC-registered crowdfunding portals.

For companies considering an equity crowdfunding campaign to raise capital, there are a several important considerations to make.

Part of the plan

Crowdfunding under Title III provides companies with one more option for raising capital while also offering additional options for investors who want to get in on the ground floor of what could be a very successful business. Companies who choose to launch a crowdfunding campaign should do so as part of a strategic, comprehensive plan for raising capital from multiple funding channels. The launch of a crowdfunding campaign does not exclude a company from also utilizing venture capital or private equity to fund growth.

Marketing

In the crowd, companies will be competing for investment dollars with other exciting, innovative organizations, so it is critical to develop and implement a strategic marketing campaign that will elevate your offering over all others. A successful crowdfunding campaign will require a good story to tell investors—complete with business plans, financial statements, and projections.

Working with intermediaries

To launch a crowdfunding campaign under Title III, companies will need to utilize the services of an SEC-registered broker/dealer or online crowdfunding portal. These intermediaries connect companies with investors; they cannot offer investment advice or recommendations, or solicit purchases, sales, or offers to buy securities offered or displayed on their portal.

Each one has different services, fee structures, and reach, so it is important for companies to choose their broker/dealer or portal carefully. Getting the campaign in front of the right investors will be critical to achieving capital-raising goals.

Investor relations

By utilizing the portals, companies are opening the opportunity to invest in their company to the general public. Potentially, this means selling an ownership interest in the company to unknown investors. For this reason, it is essential that the terms of the investment are clearly defined and communicated to investors.

Once a company has executed a successful equity crowdfunding campaign, it will need a plan for continuing to communicate with new investors. Companies should ask themselves: How much information are we willing to share? Which rights to information will investors have? What information will we share with investors on a regular basis?

Companies may consider creating an investor-only section on their websites where periodic updates about your company’s progress, product, service or technology enhancements, financial results, etc.  can be posted. Transparency is the key if you want to keep your investors informed and hungry to make additional investment in the future.

Transparency

A successful crowdfunding campaign may require more transparency than a company is accustomed to sharing with external audiences. To build trust and confidence with prospective investors, companies should be comfortable with sharing operational and financial information publicly. If a company is not comfortable sharing this information with the world, it may be better to explore a more proprietary method of raising capital.

Balance

Before launching an equity crowdfunding campaign, it is crucial that companies have a plan for balancing the amount of money they plan to raise with the on-going reporting and communication requirements. The opportunity to sell to the general public is exciting for any company, but it is important to maintain a solid balance between fueling the needs of growth-oriented businesses and providing oversight to protect investors eager to support the next generation of innovation.

Enabling Baltimore’s start-up community

With the help of organizations like Betamore, the Baltimore region is establishing itself as a hub for entrepreneurs and start-ups pushing the limits of technology and innovation. Raising capital to grow these businesses is always a challenge, no matter your location or industry. That is why the additional funding channel that has been opened by Title III is so important. We are excited about the potential that equity crowdfunding can provide and look forward to seeing Baltimore-area entrepreneurs take advantage of this opportunity to take their businesses to the next level.

If you have questions about using Title III to grow your business, please feel free to reach out to Steve directly!

Email Steve

CohnReznick LLP is one of the top accounting, tax, and advisory firms in the United States, combining the resources and technical expertise of a national firm with the hands-on, entrepreneurial approach that today’s dynamic business environment demands.

 

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