Resources for Startups
The following is a list of the best startup websites. Bookmark it, and check back frequently for new additions.
STARTUP ACCELERATORS, INCUBATORS, PITCH COMPETITIONS, & SEED FUNDING PROGRAMS:
- Incubators / Accelerators—These programs have mushroomed in recent years, particularly in the web 2.0 space. Most provide very small levels of funding (in the five-figure range), coaching and exposure. Notable incubators include YCombinator, TechStars, 500Startups and SeedCamp (UK). Others include the Hatchery (NYC), AngelPad (SF) and Capital Factory (Austin). Longer lists of startup incubators can be found here and here.
- Platform Funding—Many large technology companies have set up incubation programs for coders developing on their platforms. Examples include Google's Android Developer Challenge, Facebook's fbFund REV, and RIM's Blackberry developer fund. Amazon has a competition for startups that use its AWS web services platform. Newer programs include Twilio's developer challenge. Other companies provide free or discounted software, hosting, and other technical services to startups, among them Microsoft BizSpark and IBM's Global Entrepreneur program.
- Business Plan Competitions—Numerous business plan and pitch competitions have sprung up, and they are a great way to gain exposure, practice your pitch, get feedback, and in some cases, get money (without giving up equity). Many are run by b-schools, such as the University of Texas, Wharton, Berkeley and Harvard. Others are run by companies, such as Qualcomm Ventures' "QPrize", and Dell's Social Innovation Challenge. A longer list of business plan competitions can be found here.
- VC Seed Programs—Several VC firms are getting into the game with seed funding initiatives, such as Highland Capital's Summer@Highland and Charles River Ventures QuickStart Loan program. Other dedicated VC programs include Kleiner Perkins' iFund (for iphone-based startups) and their sFund (for social media startups), as well as Bay Partners' Seed Program and the Greylock Discovery Fund.
- Co-working Spaces—Not ready to get your own office? Want the comraderie of working around other startups? Numerous co-working spaces have mushroomed up recently. Most offer events and networking activties in addition to desk space. Certain spaces require you to apply for admission such as RocketSpace, FoundersDen and WeWork in San Francisco; others with a more open-door policy include PariSoma and Citizen Space. In New York, be sure to check out General Assembly and DogPatch Labs.
STARTUP BLOGS / CONTENT:
- VentureArchetypes' list of Top VC Blogs—we are keeping a list of the top VC bloggers; reading VC blogs is a great way to 'get inside their minds' (particularly if you are pitching these particular folks).
- List of VCs active on Twitter— another good way to understand what investors are funding / thinking / doing / eating.
- TechCrunch— the go-to site for all things web 2.0 related, along with the accompanying CrunchBase directory of startups. Other good startup-focused sites are PandoDaily, Mashable and Read Write Web. (For a full list of recommended startup blogs, see the blogroll on the right hand side of our blog, SeedStageCapital.com)
- Wall Street Journal's Startup.com—articles, news, and resources. Great site, though it tends to have a "small business" focus (vs. a high-growth startup focus). Also see WSJ's VC-related blog.
- Venturewire—VC news and information. Most of the site requires a paid subscription, but the Daily Alert is free and useful to see who's getting funded. Other good newsletters to subscribe to are PEHub and Fortune's Term Sheet.
- Inc. Magazine—Online version of the well-regarded small business-focused magazine. Also see BusinessWeek Online Small Business Center which has decent articles, but is heavy on the pop-up ads.
- EvanCarmichael.com— Large collection of entrepreneurial articles. Includes lengthy list of famous entrepreneur profiles and case studies-- from Hugh Hefner to Jenny Craig and everyone in between.
- VentureArchetypes Facebook Page— About 1x per week, we post the most interesting and useful startup link we can find, with an emphasis on "how-to" resources such as startup finance, marketing, operations, etc. Become a fan today!
ENTREPRENEURIAL EDUCATION SITES:
- Startup Company Lawyer— a site run by Yokum Taku, a partner at Wilson Sonsini. An excellent resource for answering nearly every legal question a startup may face.
- Quora is another great startup Q&A site, as is FoundersSpace and OnStartups, written by the highly prolific Dharmesh Shah.
- Kauffman Foundation for Entrepreneurial Leadership—a site dedicated to all things entrepreneurial. Highly recommended. Also see the extensive resource site here.
- U.S. Small Business Administration—extensive resources for starting, managing, and financing your business, by the SBA. Another group is Young Entrepreneurs' Organization—Networking and resources for business owners under 40.
- VentureHacks—Contains a ton of great how-to startup content; the related AngelList is an incredibly useful and highly-efficient way of pitching angels. Be sure to read our blog, "Hacking Angel List" prior to setting up your profile. .
STARTUP GROUPS AND EVENTS:
- National Venture Capital Association—A VC trade organization. They publish a directory of venture capital firms.
- Angel Capital Association—Angel investor trade group. Includes links to most established angel groups around the country. Also see this slide deck for an overview of super angels / web 2.0 angels / micro-VCs.
- Silicon Valley Association of Startup Entrepreneurs—tech-focused networking organization. Hosts frequent events.
- For frequent (monthly / quarterly) tech startup events, check out SF NewTech, VatorSplash, PandoMonthly, Lean Startup Machine and of course, TechCrunch Disrupt. In New York, check out Ultra Light Startups.
- IBF Conferences—Hosts events such as the Venture Investing Conference and the Early Stage Venture Investing Conference, as well as industry-specific events. Expensive, but great conferences to network with investors.
- Startup Digest and WebWallFlower publish lists of events geared toward tech startups. Workit is another one.
STARTUP TOOLS AND FOUNDER RESOURCES:
- Check out Foundersuite for a collection of "tools to get startup sh*t done." The product line includes tools for fundraising, investor relations, new product ideation & validation. It also includes template sets for doing things like putting together an advisory board or hiring employees. Highly recommended.
- A number of law firms have (very graciously) put startup forms and contracts online for download-- things like terms sheets, incorporation filings, 83(b) elections, and so forth. Check out the sets from Orrick, Goodwin Proctor, and WIlson Sonsini. The Founders Institute also has a few docs for download, such as a Founders Agreement.
- Want to bang out your startup over a long weekend? Try a hackathon. Notable ones include Startup Weekend and Lean Startup Machine and AngelHack.
- Need a way to put up a landing page before going live? Use LaunchRock (one of our clients :). Need a way to build a site quickly and cheaply? Try Bootstrap from Twitter. Ready to start charging? Try Recurly or PayPal.
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