Rebooted Milwaukee startup, Nightstir, wants to be the ‘AIM Buddy List’ for your nightlife shenanigans

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After dissolving the company three years ago, nightlife mobile app Nightstir recently relaunched at Milwaukee and Chicago area universities. The app, available currently only in the App Store with an Android version in the works, claims to take the guesswork out of the pivotal question facing most 20-somethings come the weekend: “who’s doing what, tonight?”

At it’s core, Nightstir wants to solve the logistical problems of nightlife planning between close friends and new acquaintances. This platform offers a unique way to express your nightlife intentions and plans. The app tells you when and where your friends are “pregaming,” “going out,” or “nightcapping” (going to a party after bar close) — all in real-time. If a user doesn’t want to be bothered because they’re staying in for the night, they can indicate that using the app, too.

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The startup aims to give students a taste of the time when social platforms like pre-public Facebook and AIM were primarily used to exchange plans and availability for the night (without being judged by the prying eyes of parents, coworkers, and prospective employers) — as opposed to the more political, media-centric Facebook of today.

“When I was in college in 2009, we utilized a combination of the then college-dominated Facebook, with AIM to figure out who, what, when and where it was going down that night,” says LeMarc Johnson, Nightstir cofounder. “Those days are long gone, but the need for a discreet, social, nightlife logistics platform is still alive and well. That’s what we’ve built. It’s like an AIM Buddy List for your nightlife. Nobody likes group texts”

Back in July 2013, Startup Milwaukee featured Johnson as Startup Milwaukeean of the Week. He and his team graduated from Vetransfer’s inaugural business accelerator program with a $20,000 seed investment.

“To put it bluntly, we failed. But we failed forward. It was my first venture and due to a couple of bad decisions, we ran out of funds when it came time to execute our user acquisition strategy. I was a novice entrepreneur, making novice business decisions,” says Johnson. “But it didn’t fail because there was no need for it — it failed because of poor execution. This time, we know exactly what needs to happen. We’re going to be the world’s first major nightlife logistics app.”

This time around, they’re currently bootstrapping while they continue to grow their user base in Milwaukee and Chicago. There are significant changes to the core team behind the venture, which is still lead by CEO Johnson.

You can follow Nightstir at @nightstirapp.

Intern with RoofMarketplace.com

RoofMarketplace.com is the first online solution to enable consumers and contractors a means to conduct the estimating, review and selection process all on-line without any calls or onsite meetings. In less than 3 days consumers have 4 estimates from local contractors.

Intern Role:
RMP is looking for a marketing intern who is looking to be a pat of an exciting early stage e-commerce company. In this role the intern will help mange social communications, coordinate online advertising campaigns, create web content and work on projects to drive Consumer adoption. The intern will work directly with the founders.

Location: RMP’s office is located in the 5th ward of Milwaukee. The intern will not be required to work out of the office. Some meetings will require an office visit.

Financials:
This position is unpaid but has the potential for career opportunities after graduation

Hours:
10- 20 hours

Requirements:

  • Marketing major
  • 2014/ 2015 expected graduation
  • Familiarity with ecommerce marketing such as Google Adwords, Facebook Advertising

We are looking for an individual who wants to be part of a team that is changing the way consumers and contractors conduct business. Interested candidates should contact William Bazeley at buy naprosyn wbazeley@nexvex.com to coordinate a meeting.

How to Build a Tech Startup if You Don’t Write Code

1) Come up with an idea that solves someone’s problem. (Check out the ULTRA BrainStorm Workbook.)

2) Make a Powerpoint. Here’s my example (I recorded it).

3) Go talk to 25 potential customers and show them your presentation.
a) Try to sell it to them.
b) Get feedback on your idea.

(Related: Crazy Might Work? The Importance of Market Validation)

4) Repeat step 3 until you have five people willing to pay for it (not a friend or family member).

5) Go to CoderNights and tell anyone willing to listen to you about your traction.

 

About the Author
Steve Anderson is an entrepreneur who lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Steve is a co-founder of Snapifeye. He has a masters degree from the Wisconsin School of Business and is a previous Startup Weekend winner.

Pitch your startup to corporations at OnRamp!

In an effort to increase connections between Wisconsin’s start-ups and established corporations, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and gener8tor are launching an event (OnRamp) that will give young companies the opportunity to pitch their products and services to established corporations. Startups wishing to participate in the event are encouraged to apply through the program’s f6s portal.

The inaugural OnRamp event will be held Friday, December 6, 2013 at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel headquarters. The event is intended to help startups in the critical effort to find sales channels and to provide a way for established companies to engage with the entrepreneurial community. It highlights the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and gener8tor’s commitment to helping Wisconsin’s emerging entrepreneurs succeed.

Participating corporations include the Milwaukee Bucks, American Family Insurance, Assurant Health, Granite Microsystems, Menasha Corporation, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Nordic Consulting.

Startups wishing to apply are encouraged to research each of the participating corporations to better understand which corporations they would like to pitch. Each participating corporation will receive those startup applications that requested to pitch to them and those whose applications indicate a potential customer opportunity. Participating corporations will then choose 4-6 startups to pitch them at the event.

Those startups selected to pitch at the event will be notified on 12/4 and 12/5 and offered a time slot to pitch at the 12/6 event. Because of the short turn-around time, we ask that each startup be prepared to pitch any of the participating corporations on 24-48 hours notice. Selected startups are requested to arrive at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Headquarters at 333 W. State St. at least 30 minutes before their scheduled pitch.  No technology will be available at the event. Startups are encouraged to bring brief handouts of powerpoint presentations or sales collateral to aid in their presentation. Startup pitches will last 15 minutes with 10 minutes available for Q&A. 

To prepare for the event, gener8tor and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel are hosting a Meetup at the Milwaukee Ale House at 5:30 pm on 12/5. The Meetup will feature the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Marty Kaiser (editor-in-chief), Betsy Brenner (president and publisher), and George Stanley (managing editor) in addition to the gener8tor founding team. Startups wishing to learn more about the OnRamp Wisconsin event are encouraged to attend and ask any questions. 

At the conclusion of the OnRamp Wisconsin event, participating corporations will select one startup to either purchase from or mentor (at least two lunches/coffees). Organizers will notify each selected startup with appropriate follow-up steps.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and gener8tor are grateful to each of the participating corporations, volunteers and supporting partners including StartupMKE, Digital Fertilizer, and Capital Entrepreneurs. 

Anyone with additional questions or follow-up is encouraged to contact Joe@gener8tor.com.

gener8tor Winter 2014 Application Deadline

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The application deadline for gener8tor’s Winter 2014 accelerator program in Madison is Monday, December 1st.
gener8tor invests its community, capital, expertise, mentorship and network in capable, early-stage entrepreneurs with innovative business models. gener8tor works with the startups in its portfolio to create successful, scalable companies.

gener8tor is seeking to invest in technology-enabled businesses, including software, IT, web, SaaS and hardware. Accepted companies receive $70,000 and 12-weeks of mentorship-driven programming. gener8tor is a proud member of the Global Accelerator Network (GAN) and is sponsored by American Family Insurance.

If you or anyone you know is interested in applying gener8tor, check out gener8tor’s website and application page on f6s by December 1, 2013.
Please email Joe@gener8tor.com with any questions.

Does Your Business Have Innovation?

According to Eric Ries of the Lean Startup the difference between a small business and a startup is innovation.  A small business executes on an existing model and a startup creates a new one.  So what is innovation?

“Innovation is the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, inarticulated needs, or existing market needs.” – Wikipedia

A new restaurant can be innovative in it is marketing or styling’s.  A cheese company might age their cheese a bit differently than its competitors. It might do things in a distinctive way that is innovative. However, compared to Facebook it seems these businesses are a bit less innovative.  Restaurants and cheese have been part of the human fabric  for hundreds of years and Facebook has been around about ten.

So what is innovation and does your business have it?  This question is based on a false premise.  It is not a question about the existence of innovation, rather the questions is about the degree. We should be asking, “How much innovation does you business have?” or  ”How can your business be more innovative in its space?”

In general there are two kids of innovation, disruptive innovation and incremental innovation.  Incremental innovation is the improvement of an existing system.  It is an innovative way to make something that exists better.  Disruptive innovation is a new system that completely replaces an old one.  Stay tuned for to find out more about the differences between incremental innovations and disruptive innovation in a future blog post.

About the Author
Steve Anderson is an entrepreneur who lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Currently he is the CEO of Snapifeye.  In addition, he is the Founder of Laylines Consulting and previously worked at a San Francisco based consulting company.  Steve has a masters degree from the Wisconsin School of Business and was the winner of Startup Weekend Madison

Create Your Winning Press Kit

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So you want to see your name in lights. Media coverage is one of the best and least expensive ways to let the world know about you and your company (or rock band for that matter). The trouble with media coverage is that you can’t buy it or send a regular email to get it. With a couple of simple tools you can create a press kit that will help you attract the attention of local media outlets.  (This is part 3 of a 3 part series. If haven’t already, start with Part 1: The Media List and Part 2: The Press Release.)

The press kit provides additional support for your media campaign. Typically you send a press kit to follow up if a journalist is interested in your story. Every press kit is a bit different. However, there are a number of standard documents you should include. You can be creative with the press kit and include more than what is listed here.

FAQ:  People are likely to have additional questions about you and your product. Provide answers to those questions here. Include relevant details that were not critical to your press release.

Bios: Provide background information about your core team in this document. This is similar to a resume–however, it is written out. Start with most recent items and work your way backwards. This should be fairly straight forward.

Fact Sheet: The fact sheet is a bulleted list of all the important information contained in your press release and press kit. Think of this as an outline of your press release and press kit.

Company Background: Write about your company’s background and history. You can talk about previous accomplishments and important events.

Picture: Include a picture of you or your product. Make sure it is relevant to the story.

Now that you have a great media list, a compelling press release and an awesome press kit, it’s time to find your business some exposure. Send your press release to the people listed on your media list, then follow up with your press kit when reporters and journalists contact you!

About the Author:
Steve Anderson is an entrepreneur who lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Currently he is the COO of LessonLogs and the Founder of Laylines Consulting. He has helped numerous companies obtain seed stage funding and is a previous winner of Startup Weekend Madison. In addition, Steve has a Masters Degree from the Wisconsin School of Business. Find him on Twitter: @LaylinesSteve

 

96square has launched.

Dear friends,

The Startup Milwaukee team is excited to announce the launch of 96square, a co-working space for high-growth startup companies in Southeastern Wisconsin. Located in the historic Blatz Wash House, 96square provides entrepreneurs with access to affordable  scalable office space; mentorship; potential investors; talent and a community of like-minded entrepreneurs.

96square is a game changer for Milwaukee’s community of innovative entrepreneurs. As research shows, the startups are responsible for all net new job creation–and we all know Milwaukee and Wisconsin desperately need more jobs. At Startup Milwaukee we are happy to step forward and provide a place where entrepreneurs, talent and capital can collide and accelerate the growth of Milwaukee’s top startup companies.

We are excited to have great companies such as Alithias, Find My Spot, Onkol, Rent College Pads, SAR32 Technologies, UCAP, LLC, Voxelmetric, Wisconsin Super Angel Fund and more already located at 96square.

The meaning of 96square goes beyond having a “cool name.” The city of Milwaukee is approximately 96 square miles, and 96square will be the epicenter of entrepreneurship and innovation in our great city.

Are you a startup, designer, developer or engineer looking for affordable dedicated desk or private office space for your team? Learn more and apply for 96square membership at 96square.org. Memberships start at just $110/month.

Your first chance to check out 96square is this Thursday, October 24 at our Capital Connections event featuring CSA Partners and Scanalytics. RSVP to reserve your free tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/event/8508341679

Thanks to the many people who have made this endeavor possible: Ronnie Reum of SAR32 Technologies, Heather Johnston of Find My Spot, Marvin Bynum of Godfrey & Kahn and many more.

See you at 96square!

Matthew J. Cordio, Executive Chairman
Alicia Boknevitz, President
Tim Grove, Corporate Secretary
Joe Poeschl, Treasurer
Michael Anderson, Community Outreach Director