How to Raise Money for Startups

From Ken Maready of Hutchison Law Group, a VT KnowledgeWorks sponsor:

St. Patrick was famed for charming the snakes out of Ireland, and this St. Patrick's Day, the NCTC has a double-header of programs to help tech startups charm the seed capital out of investors' pockets.  (And that lead-in sentence, ladies and gentlemen, is why lawyers don't do marketing.)  I'm writing on behalf of the NCTC Access to Capital Committee because I thought you would be interested in both programs, and wanted to make sure you kept the date available for these events.
Tech & Toast
First, at the NCTC's monthly Tech & Toast breakfast meeting at the Inn at Virginia Tech, Doug Juanarena will give us the inside story on DayOne Ventures, a funding and mentorship program based here in Blacksburg, similar to the yCombinator model that has lunched many, many successful startups in the Silicon Valley area.  Doug will be joined by Fred Cook, one of the founders of Heyo, a startup based here in the Blacksburg Innovation Center and a DayOne Ventures company.  DayOne is an exciting launchpad (and more) for bright ideas, and boasts a high-powered mentorship roster including the most successful tech entrepreneurs in our area.  Doug and Fred are both very knowledgeable about current early stage capital markets, both in our region and around the country, and will put on a good show.
Trends in Raising Capital Workshop
Then, immediately following Tech & Toast (and also at the Inn at Virginia Tech), the NCTC Access to Capital Committee has a very special half-day program that we're very excited about.  We have licensed a program from the Angel Capital Education Foundation called "Trends in Raising Capital."  This program is presented in a workshop format and will cover the following areas:

  • The Current Environment for Raising Capital
  • Analytic Methods & Tools
  • Term Sheet Mechanics
  • Meeting Investor Expectations
  • Company Valuation

An experienced angel investor and regular speaker for the Angel Capital Education Foundation, Bob Okabe (founder of the Prairie Angels), is coming in to run the workshop.  I've seen the materials, and think the program is going to be fantastic for those of you who may be seeking startup capital in the near future.  The Angel Capital Education Foundation is a spinout of the Kauffman Foundation and offers educational programs and other resources for angel investors and companies seeking angel funding.
I'm looking forward to these, and hope you will be able to make it to both events.  Even if you don't remember to wear green, these programs will teach you how to raise it! (again, the lawyer marketing thing…)
P.S. Don't forget that the VT Knowledgeworks Third Annual Entrepreneurial Summit and NCTC's TechNite Awards Banquet are just around the corner.

Ken Maready
Hutchison Law Group


DayOne Ventures is housed at VT KnowledgeWorks.  VT KnowledgeWorks encourages and enables creative entrepreneurship world-wide, through innovative curriculum, local business resource centers, and a global network of cooperating regions, all focused on three essential contributors to success: clear understanding of fundamental business principles; access to timely, relevant information; and meaningful personal and corporate relationships. It is a self-sustaining not-for-profit subsidiary of the Virginia Tech Foundation, funded through the continuing confidence and enthusiasm of its clients, sponsors and friends, both corporate and individual.  Its world headquarters is in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.

VT KnowledgeWorks sponsors include Attaain, Inc., BB&T, The Branch Group, Handshake 2.0, Harris Office Furniture, Hodges, Jones & Mabry, P.C., Hutchison Law GroupLeClairRyan, New River Valley Intellectual Property Law, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and The Becher Agency (TBA).

Heyo and DayOne Ventures Featured in Blue Ridge Business Journal

Following is an excerpt from an article by Annie Johnson for the Blue Ridge Business Journal on Heyo, Inc. and DayOne Ventures.  Heyo and DayOne Ventures are housed at VT KnowledgeWorks.  On November 2, 2010, Heyo, Inc. announced the release of its new social planning mobile application. Heyo was founded by Frederick Cook and Rishi Ishairzay with seed funding from DayOne Ventures.

In just three months, Frederick Cook's business model changed twice.

But, according to his mentors, that was the point.

Cook, 25, and his 20-year-old business partner, Rishi Ishairzay, were the lone participants in the inaugural DayOne Ventures incubator program, which is aimed at providing business guidance and financial assistance to startup companies.

The goal of the three-month program is to help entrepreneurs "iterate their business faster and hopefully eliminate some of the mistakes they would make along the way," according to one of the group's mentors, Bill Boebel, founder of Blacksburg-based

In collaboration with other founders, DayOne spent about $50,000 for the program and gave Cook and his company $15,000. That way, Boebel said, Cook could focus on his company without needing to work a second job.

What has emerged is Heyo, a social media application that allows users to tell friends where they will be hanging out.

The concept is much different from the fitness and nutrition application Cook began the summer with, and even more of a change from his original concept: a hyped-up, high-tech pedometer-type technology for rowers.

Cook said the most valuable part of the program was the advice and support he received from the investors, who will collectively have a 5 percent stake in Heyo, according to Boebel.

The Blacksburg incubator program is the first of its kind in the region. And while entrepreneurs such as Cook often look to join programs in Silicon Valley or elsewhere, Boebel hopes DayOne will help keep some of that talent in the area.

"If they want to go into an incubator program, we don't want them to have to go to NOVA or Raleigh or the West Coast. We want those companies to stay in Blacksburg," he said.

Boebel said the mentor group will try to bring three companies to the program next summer.



VT KnowledgeWorks is a unique growth enhancement program open to entrepreneurs in the New River Valley and beyond.  Acceleration center and incubation facilities are located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg, Virginia.  Programs for Members are divided into two categories according to the evolutionary status of the member company.  Pre-Launch program components are carefully constructed to help market-worthy ventures organize, formulate strategy, obtain outside investment, and launch in an efficient manner.  Enterprise class members benefit from emphasis on strategic support for ongoing growth, continuing intra-preneurship, and professional development for the corporate leader.

VT KnowledgeWorks sponsors include Attaain, Inc., BB&T, Handshake 2.0, Harris Office Furniture, Hodges, Jones & Mabry, P.C., Hutchison Law GroupLeClairRyan, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and The Becher Agency (TBA).