Posted by Ingrid Riley on February 18th, 2014
Kingston BETA February 2014
CONNECTiMASS, the triple award-winning media and events non profit that’s been empowering the next generation of Caribbean technology and business leaders through it’s media initiatives and community and capacity building events- kicks off Kingston BETA its 2014 Tech Startup Event series on Thursday February 27th 6 30pm at The Pegasus Hotel. $500jmd
ON THE AGENDA will be the Startup Weekend Jamaica winner showcase; Slashroots ICT4AG Showcase; Announcement about Caribbean Startup Week 2014. We will also have the Technology State Minister Julian Robinson speaking: and the stars of the event in our Idea Pitch Segment…followed by Drinks and Powerful Networking as usual.
NOW OPEN FOR PITCHES! Want to Pitch your Tech related Idea/Startup? Email Ingrid@connectimass.com with your name and a paragraph on your idea/startup. We accept pitches from the Caribbean and Caribbean Diaspora by Skype as well.
If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, developer, college student or tech enthusiast, we want to see you at the next KINGSTON BETA MeetUp. This year marks the 7th anniversary of Kingston BETA and us growing a community. We have held Over 50 events, 5000 attendees and 200 entrepreneurs are come to our events. Entrepreneurs and the event itself has been featured in local, regional and international media and events and we’ve only just begun.
Join us for the kick off of our 2014 series! Come to Be Inspired, Learn, Network!
JOIN : Follow @Kingstonbeta @connectimass in the meantime!
Posted by Ingrid Riley on November 12th, 2013
M.A.D.E. was selected as the winner for the Caribbean in the VentureOut Challenge on Nov. 1, 2013. Launched by the World Bank’s infoDev and CRDF Global, an international organization which promotes international technical collaboration, the competition sought to support mobile app entrepreneurs to expand internationally. The Challenge is directed at young start-ups from relatively small domestic markets, for whom expanding globally is particularly crucial.
Posted by Michele Marius on July 19th, 2013
Do you have a great business idea for which you need financing to get it off the ground? Are you in the process of implementing your idea, but need some more funds to take it to the next level? Many entrepreneurs get to a point where they need access to external funds to help start a business, or to scale it. Below are eight tips to help you (or an entrepreneur you might know) prepare for the process of speaking to investors.
1. Know your budget. First, it is important to know how much you will need to take your project from wherever it is now, point A, to point B. Although persons seeking funding tend to be happy to pitch their ideas, when asked how much money they think they will need, too frequently they tend to be vague. Sometimes that can be a deliberate strategy – to not scare off a prospective investor from the outset – but on the other hand, investors can interpret that as someone who is not truly ready for funding. More
Posted by Ingrid Riley on July 17th, 2013
I was first introduced to JJGeewax at the Developing Caribbean Open Data Conference held earlier this year at the University of the West Indies by Matthew McNaughton, Founder of Slashroots Foundation and co-producer of the conference.
After that, JJ and I traded we-must-meet up-and-chat emails with him, then I was included in an email thread by Julian Robinson, the Government’s Tech Entrepreneurship Champion in State Minister in the Ministry of Science, Technology and Mining Julian Robinson, as JJ announced his intention to open up JGXLabs. That thread included a link to the site which was not publicly live as yet.
JJ and I then finally had a sit down chat at Cannonball cafe in Barbican along with partners Imani Duncan-Price and Ashley-Ann Robinson-Foster and then after that at JGXLabs itself one Friday afternoon. In between all of that talking to JJ, his partners, I was listening to the various feedback I was getting from people from various sectors and from the tech industry. Yes the Google guy had landed in Kingston and everyone and their mother had an opinion about what he was doing and what JGXLabs was all about. I was constantly being asked by phone, email and what’s app what do I think of JJGxLabs, even was pressed for “my official opinion on it”.
So here goes:
Posted by Ingrid Riley on June 17th, 2013
Posted by Ingrid Riley on April 9th, 2013
Starting a company is a possible at any age.
To prove that innovation isn’t just a young man’s game, we gathered together a group of founders from successful companies like Box, Hubspot, and Poshmark.
These entrepreneurs say that it’s time we shattered Silicon Valley’s age bias. Many venture capitalists have openly stated their preference for funding bright-eyed, youthful founders. And thanks to initiatives like venture capitalist Peter Thiel’s “20 under 20,” which offers students $100,000 to forgo college, entrepreneurs are getting younger and younger.
“People under 35 are the people who make change happen,” said venture capitalist Vinod Khosla in 2011. “People over 45 basically die in terms of new ideas.”
“It may sound bizarre to outsiders, but we — investors — are keen on paying a premium to partner with very young first-time founders that simply think differently before the rest of us,” said Niko Bonatsos, a principal at General Catalyst.
And yet, a number of reports have surfaced in recent years to reflect that more experienced entrepreneurs can think differently too. The Kauffman Foundation posted a report on how 5,000 startups launched in 2004 fared over time. They found that “firms surviving through 2008 were much more likely than firms that exited over the period to have primary owners older than age 45.” More
Posted by Michele Marius on March 21st, 2013
The challenges of financing a start-up, and a tech start-up in particular, is a common lament across the Caribbean. Frequently this claim has also been a deterrent to many to develop their ideas and start a business. This post outlines six reasons why access to funding can be difficult in the region.
1. Not much funding is available
This is a cold hard fact. In addition to limited Venture Capital and few Angel Investors being available in the region, conventional financial institutions consider most tech operations as risky ventures. Start-ups might have a better chance of securing funding if they are working with more tangible products, than trading in services. Nevertheless, commercial lending rates, which tend to be exhorbitant, are normally applied, along with considerable collateral provisions, which a young entrepreneur might not readily have at his/her disposal.
2. The business model is not viable
Many tech businesses, especially those based on mobile applications, social media, or on developing a following, have been finding it challenging to develop viable business models. Traditionally, tech businesses built around websites generated revenue from advertisements (ads) placed on their sites.
However, based on the experience of wildly popular sites, such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, profitability through advertising is not as easy as it seems. Hence, start-ups owners in particular, cannot afford to be naïve or complacent, believing that revenues from ads alone will be sufficient to cover their expenses. More rigorous thinking is necessary, which it is advised should be captured in a business plan, especially since preospective financiers – even Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists – would be more inclined to support a start-up that is likely to succeed.
Posted by Ingrid Riley on March 12th, 2013
Startup fever is beginning to make the Caribbean even hotter. First there was Martinique, now Jamaica and Trinidad is launching their Startup weekends in 2013. What is Startup Weekend? Startup Weekends are 54 hour events where developer, designers, marketers, product and business heads and aspiring entrepreneurs- come together to share ideas, form teams, build products and launch startups. Yes all in a weekend!
Startup Weekend is an ideal space to find out if ideas are viable. By moving beyond having “great ideas”, participants are expected to create, craft and test a business strategy. Further, the “fail fast, succeed faster” mantra of Startup Weekend makes clear the critical role of agility to aspiring entrepreneurs.
Posted by Ingrid Riley on March 12th, 2013
Growing the Caribbean Startup Culture
As the words entrepreneurship and innovation move from being mere hype to becoming deeper rooted into the psyche across the Caribbean especially over the last 18 months a number of things have been happening. We’re starting to see the beginnings of a culture emerge and in some places – the growth is fast.
We’re seeing increased conversations across all levels of society – high school and university curriculum are evolving to include entrepreneurship, more entrepreneurship clubs are forming in schools and for young professionals, more online micro groups of aspiring and current entrepreneurs, developers designers have been forming and are busy with interaction; more tech meetups, code sprints, Pitch competitions and conferences are happening. I’d like to think that the Caribbean – the sleeping giant is awakening and I’m damn excited.
Posted by Cherie Dowdie on January 23rd, 2013
Caribbean Startup Digest
The Caribbean now has its own Startup Digest as Ingrid Riley, founder of ConnectiMass joins the organisation as the Caribbean Curator. ConnectiMass a media company that offers content, community and events for aspiring and current Caribbean entrepreneurs in technology.
The 3 year old StartupDigest email newsletter currently reaches over 230,000 subscribers across 99 cities and 43 countries around the world. It was recently acquired by the global organisation Startup Weekend, the organization behind the weekend-long hackathons encouraging entrepreneurship. Startup Weeknd has had over 300 events, across over 200 cities in 67 countries, with over 45,000 attendees.
The Caribbean Startup Digest will being first week February 2013 and will be published twice a month. You can sign up here. Each Caribbean Startup Digest will feature a mini profile on a Caribbean Startup as well as provide information on upcoming Meetups, Workshops, Classes, Competitions and Conferences happening across the region that is useful for aspiring and current tech entrepreneurs and startups. You can submit your startups and events here.
” This is again another step in putting the Caribbean Tech Industry on the global map and I know entrepreneurs, developers, designers will make full use of the information we publish,” Riley said.
Posted by Ingrid Riley on November 13th, 2012
OPINION- The argument for Caribbean tech startups to focus on going global is compelling if we’re to follow Dave McClure’s world view. In his 14 slide presentation he recently gave in Amman, Jordon he answers the question – Should startups stay local, go global or do both?!!
He kicks off his argument by sharing facts on the global languages, how many of each language block is online, do they have a low to high GDP and what’s their scope for growth. He then gives a snapshot on global markets, their available spend and if there’s anything special about them like infrastructure and mobile growth.
Dave then follows that up with a how-to-assess -the-global markets slide in a bid to show us where is worth pursuing, where may be better to create and launch a startup. He then offers up another snapshot of the current distribution mechanisms in play – social, search, mobile etc and their potential too.