Student Resources

2019 Annual Conference Presentations

The following videos were recorded at LaunchPad’s 2019 Annual Conference. They cover a range of topics, including KPIs, accelerating sales, fundraising, and the power of networks.

KPIs Presentation

Ali Goldstein Norup is the CEO and Founder of kpiReady (Techstars Class 115), a startup that helps with customer success / account management reporting for B2B clients. Prior to starting kpiReady, Ali gained more than 10 years of experience in business development and relationship management, including several years at JPMorgan. In addition, she is an executive advisor of GDPRsimple, a SaaS solution for privacy implementation.

Ali’s presentation redefines KPIs as “key predictive indicators,” walks through a sample (B2B) sales funnel, and highlights how funnels can be remarkably useful in the areas of talent and recruitment, marketing and communications, and more.

Several strategic KPI takeaways from the presentation include:

  • That KPIs require putting numbers and cadence to reporting.
  • That those numbers should tell a story focusing on what their audience cares about.
  • That the practice of reporting may be as important as the information shared.

Sell More Faster Presentation

Amos Schwartzfarb, Managing Director of the Techstars Austin Accelerator knows how to help startups sell. In fact, he wrote the book on it – literally. Author of “Sell More Faster – The Ultimate Sales Playbook for Startups,” from the Techstars Press, Amos got his start in startups helping turn an old school mail-order company into one of the first e-commerce companies. After time with 6 other startups, he moved to the investor side when he joined Techstars in 2015. In November, 2019, Amos presented an abbreviated version of his “W3” (Who – What – Why) presentation to students at LaunchPad’s Annual Conference in New York City.

Amos’s “W3” framework helps entrepreneurs figure out if they can achieve product-market fit, and provides a roadmap for startups to get there. It also helps founders identify what of their beliefs still need to be proven – with data. His presentation is meant to be an interactive exercise utilized by multiple startup teams at once and collaboratively addresses three primary questions:

  1. Who their customer is
  2. What their customer is buying
  3. Why their customer buys their product (both business “why” and motivation “why”)

Within each of these areas, both in this presentation and in his book, Amos provides additional questions to dig deeper. Check out the video below to learn some of the lessons Amos shares based on hundreds of 3W conversations with the startups that he has mentored and coached in the Austin accelerator. 

Fundraising Presentation 

Jenny Fielding, Managing Director of the Techstars New York City Accelerator, knows fundraising. As a startup entrepreneur herself, she cofounded Switch-Mobile in 2006 and subsequently worked for the company that acquired it in 2009. Jenny joined Techstars in 2014  and has run the IoT and hardware accelerator, healthcare accelerator, and fintech accelerator, and has mentored (and invested in) more than 130 startups. 

As Jenny observes, we’re currently in a “buy” stage of the economic cycle – there is a lot of capital, a lot of funding opportunities, and even some new platforms beyond the traditional equity and debt options. However, she also notes, more capital is going to fewer seed-stage startups which means getting the fundamentals down right is more critical than ever.

Primary and secondary research are key: What is the right kind of capital? And what are the different paths and options a startup has? Once an entrepreneur knows that information, it is about finding connections. Who do you know? Who are the right investors for a startup? And how can you tap into the networks with the kind of people you need to meet? (PitchBook, Crunchbase, Bloomberg Beta, and even just Google are critically important tools for this research.)

Another piece of fundraising research from Jenny is to “start developing relationships early” and “treat investors as people, not just a checkbook”. This is particularly important for the angel, preseed-, and seed-stage fund investors.

LaunchPad student questions that Jenny addressed about fundraising include:

  • How do you initiate a conversation once you’ve found the right potential investor?
  • How do you pivot a relationship with a mentor, who has expressed interest in investing, without fracturing and damaging the connection?
  • What should student entrepreneurs do to prepare for their first potential investor conversation?

For Jenny’s answers to these questions and many more, check out our recording of her fundraising discussion:

Power of the Network Presentation

Whether it is a search for funding, sales, or startup job opportunities, LinkedIn is an invaluable network tool for getting to know “not who you know, but who those people know” – those critical second-level connections. And that is true for both the students you advise and yourself.

But what types of connections and affiliations make it most likely for requests for help to move successfully from person A to person B? 

Family and friends, of course, is number one. If a family member or good friend asks you to do something, share something, or communicate something, you’re most likely to do that. But the challenge with this group is the size (it may be too small) and alignment (it may not include connections to the kinds of people you need to find).

The second most effective affiliation, according to research by LinkedIn, is school: the connections between students, alumni, and institutions. And the third most likely is shared work experience: both industry, and organization.

With that in mind, check out John Hill’s ‘Power of the Network’ presentation: