5 Business Apps for Startups

By Andrés Uribe, Expedition PR

Starting a company in this modern age is easier than ever thanks to technology. Have an interesting idea? – use crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and IndieGogo to get the funds you need to get it off the ground. Need a logo for your new company? – start a design contest on 99designs and have dozens of graphic designers compete for your project. Ready to incorporate and start hiring employees? – visit legalzoom for help with all the legal papers you’ll need to file. The list of tools and services to help you get from idea to your first sale goes on.

business-appsAlong with all these services to help startups get off the ground are business apps geared at increasing your productivity so you can spend more time being creative. Here are 5 business apps every startup should take a look at regardless of industry.

MailchimpWhether you’re sending out that first email to family and friends asking them to participate in your crowdfunding campaign, or you’re alerting your 10,000 beta signups that your product is ready for them to test, Mailchimp has your back. Create beautiful emails using provided templates or ones that you’ve created yourself, manage email lists to ensure that the right people see the right content, and see how each email campaign performs all on platform.

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Achtung! German Startup Supermodels Coming Your Way

By Katja Schroeder, Expedition PR

Today five German startups will strut their stuff on the New York stage for the second German Innovation Showcase, hosted by the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany New York and ifridge & Company. Among the line-up are Kisi, The Peak Lab, Fundcuisine, Henrichsen and Qumram. They will pitch to a panel of experts from Gotham Ventures, Venture Capital and VentureOutNY with the goal to gain valuable feedback on how to wow U.S. investors.

Since the ‘Wirtschaftswunder’, small and midsized businesses have always been a stronghold for Germany’s economy. But for long there has not been an entrepreneurship culture à la Silicon Valley. Sometimes German entrepreneurs ventured outside of the country to pursue their business dreams. In 2012, an article by the Economist stated that there are about 50,000 Germans in Silicon Valley. Times have changed since. Opportunities have increased for German entrepreneurs that stay in Germany to start a business.

In fact, Germany is emerging as a major hub for tech startups. According to Startup Genome Report in 2012, Berlin ranked 15th on the global startup ecosystem ranking. Germany’s capital attracts the most foreign investment than other German cities according to the results of the German Startup Monitor 2013,[1] published by the German Startup Association and the Berlin School of Economics and Law together with its partners, including Google and KPMG. Every second VC-funded startup in Berlin was able to bring foreign investors onboard. As a result, startups in Berlin tend to be bigger and hire employees faster compared to startups in other parts of the country.  For example, Berlin startups employ on average 15.3 employees, a 50% higher hiring rate than the rest of the country.

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Forget Diamonds. Social Media Are A Women Entrepreneur’s Best Friend

By Patricia Martinez, Expedition PR

According to a recent study from the National Federation of Independent Businesses called Small Business: Lessons from the Recession, in 2007 less than 4% of women-owned businesses used social media for business purposes. Fast forward five years, the picture had dramatically changed. Half of the women-owned businesses were using a range of social platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to market and grow their business in 2012.

The marketing budget for direct mail, print, broadcast and trade show presence had decreased, and the investment in Internet marketing had increased to 35% (see table 1). What had happened? Female business owners had turned to social media during the recession. When the economy slowly stabilized, the use of social networks had become an integral part of their business and marketing strategies – and stayed. About 56% of the surveyed female entrepreneurs consider social media tools to be important or very important for their businesses.

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JOBS to Open Up Equity Crowdfunding, Tread With Caution

By Andrés Uribe, Expedition PR

The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, commonly known as the JOBS act, is inherently a great thing for small businesses. Part of this piece of legislation will serve to amend archaic rulings regarding the advertising of equity issuances to the public. This is aimed at allowing ordinary unaccredited investors the opportunity to have startups advertise their equity offerings to them, and it will also serve to make it easier for accredited investors to invest in early stage companies. These rules will eventually change the options available to small companies when they seek crowdfunding dollars.

crowdfundingWhile these initiatives sound true to their name in seeking to help ‘Jumpstart’ startups seeking early stage investors, the legal ramifications of such amendments are tricky to say the least. The laws that the JOBS act is attempting to amend were put in place in the 1930’s to help protect grandma and grandpa, or any unaccredited investors making less than $200,000 annually or who have less than $1 million in assets, from being swindled out of their retirements by a questionable small business seeking investments. It is for this reason that lawmakers are moving with caution as they attempt to fine tune the amendments that the JOBS act is calling for while still protecting all potential investors.

Without reading all of the crowdfunding exemption of the JOBS Act, here are a couple of points you will want to be vigilant of before you decide to invest in an equity-based crowdfunding campaign.

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Buffalo New York’s Start-up Scene, Hotter Than Their Sauce

By Andrés Uribe, Expedition PR

Buffalo New York, the land of amazing chicken wings, a mediocre football team (no hard feelings, I’m from the Miami area..woo hoo ‘72 Dolphins), and a bubbling startup scene. That’s right, Buffalo has a startup scene that’s been quietly gaining momentum over the years. Here are three factors that are contributing to this up-and-coming tech hub:

9583301-buffalo-new-york-red-flag-pin-on-an-old-map-showing-travel-destinationThe Buffalo Billion. To help Buffalo in reviving its economy, Governor Andrew Cuomo has committed a historic $1 billion in investments to the Buffalo economy. Known as the Buffalo Billion Investment Development Plan, the governor introduced the plan earlier this year with a roadmap for six signature investable initiatives aimed at helping all areas of the economy. Most notably for the startup world is the Buffalo Breakthrough Business Challenge.  This initiative will feature a “world-class business plan competition to catalyze the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.” With prizes such as incubator space, mentorship, VC intros, and funding, plan to see even more scruffy looking programmer types invading the local coffee shops once the competition kicks off.

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Endeavor: Supporting billion-dollar companies… in development

By Patricia Martinez, Expedition PR

Linda Rottenberg, CEO of Endeavor, participating in the roundtable discussion SME Summit, hosted by SAP on November 29, 2012

Linda Rottenberg, CEO of Endeavor Global, shared a quote from a startup that her organization supports during the SAP SME Summit in New York City in November 2012: “I’m not a small business. I’m a billion-dollar company … in development.”[1]

Since 1997, Endeavor is leading the global movement to catalyze long-term economic growth by focusing on startups. But not any startup; Endeavor pioneered the concept of High-Impact Entrepreneurship in emerging markets. It identifies and supports entrepreneurs with the greatest potential for impact in growth markets, then supports the startups throughout each stage of their business “life-cycle”, multiplying their impact by showcasing Endeavor Entrepreneurs as influencers in education and policy reform, helping them to become change agents in the organization and in their cities/countries.

To read the full article, click here

To see the document “The Power of Small: Key Factors for Small Business Growth. Lessons from the SAP SME Summit”, click here

[1] The Power of Small: Key Factors for Small Business Growth. Lessons from the SAP SME Summit. November 29, 2012


Entrepreneurs Partner Up to Boost Economies. A Look at Latin America

By Patricia Martinez, Expedition PR

Entrepreneurship is growing in many regions around the world, and Latin America is no exception. As an alternative to stimulate the economy after the global financial crisis, many countries expressed their commitment to promote entrepreneurship initiatives as a growth strategy. This includes emerging economies like Brazil, Colombia and Chile.

Bogota, Rio de Janeiro, Montevideo and Santiago are some of the cities with growing tech hubs and cradles for new business models. Those initiatives moved up Latin America in innovation and entrepreneurship rankings.

Let’s take a look at what strategies are being used to support startups and innovation.

From the public sector, countries like Colombia, Brazil and Chile have opened up their legal framework to make the process of registering a new company less time consuming and more accessible. In El Salvador, there is a governmental institution in charge of assisting entrepreneurs to start their companies from scratch, providing free training sessions and personalized consultancy services at a very low price. This price is even lower for women or youth living in at-risk neighborhoods.

In Brazil, the SOFTEX Program, already created in 1992, has the goal of promoting the country’s international competitiveness in the software sector. Initially conceived to increase the export of software, it’s now centered on strengthening entrepreneurship and business development in Brazil. It fosters partnerships between the public and private sector, giving participating companies access to industry contacts and events.

To read the full article, click here


Perfect Pairing: Food & Tech

By Katja Schroeder, Expedition PR

Last night, tech writer Jon Brodkin of Ars Technica tweeted “Did you know there are still people who take photos of every meal they eat and post them on Facebook?” Having just celebrated the launch of Falansai, a new Vietnamese restaurant in Brooklyn, which included the set-up of its social media channels, I could not help but thinking that sharing pictures of food is a good thing. While I might not want to see every single meal my friends are devouring, I trust their taste buds.  Sites like Yelp that are packed with consumer reviews and pictures of dishes help me and others decide where to grab the next lunch or dinner.

According to the 2011 State of the Social Media Survey NM Incite, 60% of social media users create reviews of products and services. That includes restaurant reviews, often with pictures.

Technology has created new visual and consumer-content driven marketing tools for the food and hospitality industry. A great picture of an amazing meal posted by a guest can be a restaurant’s best word of mouth.

At last week’s NY Tech Day, the world’s largest startup fair, a number of startups used technology to innovate the food services industry. Here are three of the companies who exhibited at the show.

Culinary Agents:  When stopping at the booth, the Culinary Agents team positioned their service as a “LinkedIn” for people who work in the food industry.  Right now, most of the LinkedIn users are some type of knowledge worker. Very few cooks are to be found on LinkedIn. Culinary Agents is building a community of talent from all walks of the food and beverage industry to feed a robust job search/match tool that drastically improves the process for both talent and talent seekers.

Plated:  Frustrated with having to think of recipes and to shop for all the ingredients to make a delicious meal? Plated is out to change that. This e-commerce platform provides gourmet dinner kits. Customers can cook delicious meals at home without the need for meal planning, recipe hunting or grocery shopping. This is how it works: Plated features a variety of new chef-designed meals each week. Choose the meals you want and order online. No need to grocery shop or recipe hunt (they do it for you).

FoodtoEat: FoodtoEat  proposes a new way to order food online from restaurants and food trucks.  The company created a common online hub for customers and vendors alike. Customers can customize their dining experience through a large selection of vendors that can be combined for one order. I immediately envisioned myself ordering a couple of my favorite foods from Williamsburg’s Smorgasburg to my home.

From POS systems like Breadcrumb to new types of food delivery services, technology is creating new ways to produce, serve and enjoy food – and share these experiences with others.

And congratulations to FoodtoEat. They are the winner of Expedition PR’s NY Tech Day raffle.



Startups Get Serious: The First PR Push for the Company Launch

Free eBook Series Offers Help to Launch New Company


By Katja Schroeder, Expedition PR

Let’s start with some positive news. According to the Small Business Administration, there are more than 28 million small businesses in the United States, which employ half of America’s workforce.

Unfortunately, the not-so-good news is that stats published by SCORE reveal that one-third of these businesses fail within one year, and 70 percent go under by year five.  Some scary metrics for any budding entrepreneur.

Stan-07-ConclusionWhen starting a busy, it is easy to get caught up in product development and operations, and forget about marketing. However, marketing should be a critical element in your business plan to launch – and grow the business.

It’s time to stay focused and utilize tried and true strategies in your Marketing Communications efforts.

To help small business owners, Expedition PR is offering a free Startup Series eBook “How to Prepare for your First PR Push.”   In this eBook you’ll learn how to navigate five stepping stones on the path of your first PR push. Continue reading