Startup

Startup Roundup | September 20th, 2015

Startup Roundup | August, 13th 2015

Startup Roundup September 6th, 2015

Baltimore Startup Spotlight: Loople

How many times have you had an idea and thought this would make a great app? It seems so easy, but then you think, how do you even begin to start building an app? Along with most of the population, Ryan Gutleber, Phil DiMuro, and I had no idea.

While attending college together, we spent countless late nights brainstorming about “the next big idea.” With no experience in developing an app or building a business, we had to use every resource to our advantage. Whether it was watching countless hours of YouTube tutorials or reading thousands of pages of testimonials, we taught ourselves what it would take to make our dreams of entrepreneurship a reality.

After graduation, we dove into Corporate America working in fields, such as sales, finance, and construction engineering. However, we did not let this stop us from starting Loople. While maintaining full-time jobs, we created the idea, developed a logo, built a business plans, found investors, finalized the LLC, trademarked the idea, created the marketing strategies, and managed development for a year and a half before launching Loople. Finally, we realized we had to devote all of our time and energy in order to make this business a success. We decided to take the ultimate risk. We left great paying jobs, security, and steady career path in hopes to create something bigger then ourselves.

Fast forward two years and we launched Loople in Baltimore in June of 2015.  Loople is a free GPS based mobile application that allows users to search for current bar and restaurant specials around them at any time of the day.  Also, it allows bars and restaurants the opportunity to market their product to the users and highlight the deals they run on a daily basis. Our goal is to simplify your social life and help you explore everything your city has to offer. 

Currently, Loople is only located in Baltimore, MD and 30 miles outside of the city. We plan to grow locally and plan to grow our business from this city.

We plan to strategically expand into new cities when we have perfected our system. In a month and a half, we have 3,500 users, but we are not satisfied. We need to show the Baltimore market the advantages of using Loople.

We plan to form local partnerships and host a series of events and promotions over the next few months to increase our user base. We have received 4.83 out of 5 in both the apple and android app stores. The product is there, we just need to sell it!

Over the past two years, there have been many bumps in the road. However, all of these experiences have helped us learn and grow. Loople has successfully launched and has plans to successfully grow in the future. We are extremely excited to see what the future holds for us. With our team at Loople, we know that our tireless effort, drive, and vision will make Loople a huge success.

For more information visit Loople's website here

This was a guest blog written by Dave Phelan and Phil Dimuro of Loople Mobile LLC


Startup Roundup August 9th, 2015

RECHARGE BEFORE YOU BURNOUT: A CRUCIAL PRACTICE FOR ALL ENTREPRENEURS

RECHARGE BEFORE YOU BURNOUT: A CRUCIAL PRACTICE FOR ALL ENTREPRENEURS

Seven-day workweeks, unpredictable work hours, business development constantly on the mind, and little to no personal time are just a few things every entrepreneur becomes very accustom to while enduring the hustle of starting and growing a business. 

Startup Sunday Digest I

Local StartUp News, Founder Tips, and more!

Gaining a Competitive Advantage: Part 2 by Jes Gignac - "In today’s world of social media...your customers’ definition of your brand is ultimately what defines your brand" 

The Baltimore Startup 5: Volume I by Nic China - "...My perspective on who’s doing innovative & groundbreaking stuff in the Baltimore startup world."


Orioles 2015 Season Outlook by Marco Romanell - "There is certainly going to be a lot of excitement and likely even some magic in Camden Yards this season..."

"Kevin Plank, Paul Palmieri Invest in Crowdsourced High School Sports Scores" by Stephen Babcock - "ScoreStream is leveraging the wisdom of the crowd to turn social signals into valuable new digital content resources"

5 Cold Call Rules Your Business Needs to Know by Drew Hendricks - "There is a difference between good marketing and misleading marketing, including with cold calls."


The Baltimore Startup 5: Volume I

Baltimore Startup Nicolas China

The Need-To-Know Startups In Charm City

I’d like to introduce my new series on the Startup Soiree blog: The Baltimore Startup 5.

Every other week for the next 10 weeks, I’m going to give you a bit of my perspective on who’s doing innovative & groundbreaking stuff in the Baltimore startup world.

The bi-weekly Startup 5 will consist of 5 amazing young Baltimore area businesses that you should know about, if you don’t already.

So without further adieu, I’d like to announce the first group of companies that made the cut in The Baltimore Startup 5.

 

Chris Sachse Horsetail Technologies

Horsetail Technologies

Horsetail Technologies provides IT services and support for credit unions. This Federal Hill based company has chosen Baltimore as its home, but manages clients all across the nation.

Co-founder and CEO Chris Sachse is a leader in the credit union tech niche and speaks to the credit union community on a number of topics; from innovation to operational efficiency to security and digital marketing strategies.

In addition to his passion for the credit union movement, Chris has a vision to help evolve the Baltimore entrepreneurial community through innovation and technology.

 

Mozell Films Baltimore Startup Lee Morton

Mozell Films

Mozell Films is a Baltimore based film-making company driven by adventure and designed to enthrall. 

With a knack for storytelling, Creative Director & Lead Explorer Lee Morton founded the company paralleling his successful wedding film business, Clickspark.

Lee named his company “Mozell” after his grandmother, who embodied the values of his vision. Lee’s grandmother represented hospitality, authenticity and work ethic. She instilled in him, and thus his company, the values of resourcefulness, perfectionism, love and leadership.


Gundalow Juice

Gundalow Juice is the first cold-pressed juice wholesaler in Maryland.

Although only in the “juice game” at the moment, founder & CEO Dana Sicko has a vision for Gundalow to provide convenient, healthy and great tasting foods and drinks that fuel ambition. 

Dana sees Baltimore as a permanent home for Gundalow and views it as a place rich with opportunity. The product has been received incredibly well in its short existence and Baltimore is lucky to have Gundalow as a part of its startup ecosystem.

 

Treason Toting Co.

Treason Toting Co. creates quality toting goods, accessories, and lifestyle products right here in Maryland. They “create things we need and hope you love.”

Co-founders Jason Bass & Aaron Jones have found a way to seamlessly blend style, craftsmanship, and utility. Their true vision lies in the power of their brand, and what it stands for. Their mantra is “Bury Your Worries, Carry Your Stories”.

Keep an eye on Treason Toting Co., as they take their brand to the next level.

 

Yet Analytics Margaret Roth

Yet Analytics

Yet Analytics is a Baltimore based tech startup that is focused on “improving human capital through big data analytics.”

Founded in 2014 by Shelly Blake-Plock, Margaret Roth & Rose Burt, these Bmore enthusiasts have created a data analysis platform that aggregates, connects, visualizes and analyzes data from any source in real-time. Yet’s B2B solution creates the opportunity for companies to effectively measure employee training, efficiency and effectiveness.

Yet Analytics is making big data easy to understand. The opportunities are endless!


Be sure to keep the pulse of these 5 Baltimore startups. Big things are on the horizon!

I love you Charm City.

Follow Nicolas China on Twitter @Nico_C7.

Nic is co-founder and owner of Pixilated (@PixilatedPhoto) &Startup Soiree (@StartupSoiree).

Blood, Sweat and Tears

Nicolas China

Blood, Sweat and Tears: Startup On A Shoestring - Part 2 of 6

For your startup business to survive, you need to give it everything you’ve got.  Let me reiterate… Everything. You've. Got.

My first and most important tip in 5 Tips To Starting A Business On A Shoestring Budget is:  “Pour blood, sweat and tears into it.”

Starting a business can be daunting and isn’t for the faint of heart, but if you can muster up the courage to dive in to entrepreneurship, you’d better do so head first! And if you’re bootstrapping, you’re business will not survive without blood, sweat and tears.

Blood is thicker than water.

Your support system is integral throughout the life of your business, but it’s completely essential for survival in the early stages of launching your business. Whether it’s your family or a tight-knit group of friends, make sure everyone is on board.

Let them know your goals. Talk about your aspirations and ideas. The people who love you are the ones who will support you. They’ll have your back through thick and thin. These people want you to succeed as much as you do (or in my Mom’s case, even more!)

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Most importantly, your close friends and family will give you a sounding board. So if you have a strong support system in place already, heed their advice! It will help you “see the forest for the trees”.

No goal was ever met without a little sweat.

This one seems a little obvious, but I’ll say it nonetheless. Without action and effort, nothing will happen! Acting with a purpose and giving your business 100% effort all the time is not easy, but it is crucial. 

Entrepreneur Mark Cuban says, “Sweat equity is the most valuable equity there is. Know your business and industry better than anyone else in the world. Love what you do or don’t do it.”

Not only will constant action and effort propel your startup, you’ll also find that you’ll gain irreplaceable experience along the way. Learn the game, practice the game, and then master the game. Never quit.

A tear is made up of 1% water and 99% feelings.

Passion is immeasurable. It’s a feeling.  A fire that burns deep. 

Although you can’t quantify it, it is absolutely necessary. If you don’t love what you’re doing or the direction that you’re headed, stop now! Refocus. Figure out what motivates you and ride the wave.

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For true success, you must love what you do. Not just what you do in business, but in totality.

Go ahead! Pour blood sweat and tears into it!

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Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks!

  

This article, Blood, Sweat and Tears is part two of my six part Startup On A Shoestring series. 

Part one, 5 Tips To Starting A Business On A Shoestring Budget can be found HERE.

Part three, Lean, Mean Cash Flow Machine can be found HERE.

Part four, Master Social FREE-dia can be found HERE.

Part five, Lean Startup Founders: The MacGyvers of Business can be found HERE.

Part six, The Startup Scene Is The New Wild West. Be A Gunslinger can be found HERE.

For more tips, follow Nicolas China on Twitter @Nico_C7.

Nicolas China is Co-founder and owner of Pixilated (@PixilatedPhoto) & Startup Soiree (@StartupSoiree).

5 Tips To Starting A Business On A Shoestring Budget

Nic China

Startup On A Shoestring - Part 1 of 6

The Art of Bootstrapping: Own Everything. Owe Nothing.

Are you trying to launch the next big thing? Think you can’t afford it? You’re probably wrong. You just haven’t learned how to bootstrap yet.  

Bootstrapping your business simply means financing your company’s implementation and growth without the assistance of others.

It’s not easy, but there are 2 major advantages. It allows you to keep full control of your startup, and keeps you out of debt from day one. Bootstrapping is one of the cornerstones of The American Dream.

Master the art of bootstrapping and you’ll rely on no one. Trust me, I’ve done it.

So here we go…let’s do this thing on the cheap!

Tip #1: Pour blood, sweat and tears into it.

If you want to thrive as an entrepreneur, you have to work your ass off. If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times, but there’s a reason for that. It’s because it’s true! Ask any successful founder and they will tell you that drive and persistence are essential to your startup’s success.

Whether you’ve got $100 or $100,000, without good ol’ fashion hard work, you’ll never make it. So get to the grind!

Tip #2: Turn your company into a lean, mean cash flow machine.

When you’re bootstrapping, there’s no room for “fluff”. Every cent is precious, so make sure you spend wisely. Plan accordingly and figure out exactly what your necessary expenses are; then cut everything else.

Your team needs to be lean too. At the early stages, the most effective teams are made up of individuals capable of wearing multiple hats. Always adapt and never stop tweaking.  

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Tip #3: Become a master of social free-dia.

Social media is King…at least for now. So don’t miss out! It’s a great way to build a reputation, create a following, and test ideas before bringing them to fruition.

The possibilities are endless…but here are just a few ideas:

  • Crowd source feedback on Facebook to avoid costly mistakes and potential “flops”.
  • Convert client testimonials into tweets.
  • Build relevant pin boards that link to your robust blog content.
  • Instagram industry specific memes.

Tip #4: Stay clever with your resources.

What do you already have at your disposal? Probably more than you even realize.

Your cousin is a graphic designer? Free logo. Your old roommate is a CPA? Free tax prep. Your neighbor has a pickup truck? Free fleet. You get the point. We all have access to different people, assets and skills. No matter what yours are, be sure to utilize and maximize!

On another note, the amount of free technology, apps and other web-based tools makes things easier than ever before. Need to figure out how to do something? Google it. The internet will bombard you with websites, videos, tools, information and the like. Soak it in!

Tip #5: Barter like it’s the fuckin’ Wild West.

What value do you bring to the table? Do people want your services? Do they need your product?  

If you need something, then find an angle and trade for it. If you have a product, skill or service at your disposal, use it to trade other businesses for their products, skills or services that you need. Make sure it works for both parties, but don’t be afraid to ask and offer.

You’d be surprised how many people are in your shoes and would rather trade than spend!

Go ahead! Pick yourself up by your bootstraps and get started!

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 Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks! 


This article is part one of my six part Startup On A Shoestring series. 

Part 2, Blood, Sweat and Tears can be found HERE.

Part 3, Lean, Mean Cash Flow Machine can be found HERE.

Part 4, Master Social FREE-dia can be found HERE.

Part 5, Lean Startup Founders: The MacGyvers of Business can be found HERE.

Part 6, The Startup Scene Is The New Wild West. Be A Gunslinger can be found HERE.


For more tips, follow Nicolas China on Twitter @Nico_C7.

Nicolas China is co-founder of Pixilated (@PixilatedPhoto) & Startup Soiree (@StartUpSoiree).


If you liked this article, try this one: Top 10 Tips For Startups


Introducing the Startup Soiree Blog. And the people behind it.

The Startup Soiree Team: Nic China, Jes Gignac, Rachel Robinson & Patrick Rife (left to right)

The driving forces behind Startup Soiree: Community, Entrepreneurship, and Fun.

What is Startup Soiree all about?

Community. At it's most basic level community is about creating an environment that benefits all of it's members. This is the central concept of Startup Soiree. A community meeting to celebrate successes, harness our collective knowledge, and build a vision for the future; all while having a blast!

Entrepreneurship. A title reserved for visionaries, creators and inventors. Entrepreneurs have a knack for finding solutions, while creating value in a place where before there was nothing. Have you created something? Started a movement?  

Fun. One of the things that makes us so passionate about Entrepreneurship is how much FUN we have! Interesting ideas come from having fun. Smiling stimulates the brain, shakes off the cobwebs, gets the blood flowing, and the conversations going.

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What are we going to talk about on the Startup Soiree Blog?

The Startup Soiree blog will feature columns written by the primary Soiree-ists, interviews with entrepreneurs in our community and guest posts from other Founders about their personal hustle.

We'll be profiling great businesses, the innovators in our community, and highlighting where we are headed.

Who is Startup Soiree?

Startup Soiree is masterminded by five individuals from different backgrounds, with diverse areas of expertise.  One common trait: the entrepreneurial spirit.

Without further ado, the founders of Startup Soiree:

Nicolas China, Co-Founder & Owner of Pixilated

Nicolas China is a young Baltimore entrepreneur with a knack for the creative side of developing and growing a business.

His passions are learning, creating, innovating...and all things Ravens and Orioles.  Dad of two boys, Nico and Luca.

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Rachel Robinson, Co-Owner of Intrinsic Events

Rachel Robinson is an event management extraordinaire whose passion is to help individuals achieve their goals through events.

When she isn't spending time building an empire with her business partner, you can find her on the water with a cocktail in her hometown of Annapolis, MD.

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Patrick Rife, Co-Founder & Owner of Pixilated

Patrick Rife is a Baltimore dude fiercely dedicated to growing business, connecting with like-minded individuals, and working to make his city a better place.

In downtime, he can be found making music, reading marketing blogs, and hanging out with his wife and two boys, Emmett and Cassius.

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Jessica Gignac, Co-Owner of Intrinsic Events

Jessica Gignac thrives the thrill of the creative process that goes into building events for success.

Independent and introverted at heart, when she isn't producing amazing events, she is on a never ending quest for her next great laugh, adventure and dirty martini. 

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