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Category: Startups

CitizenTekk covers startups and startup companies

Switching from iOS to Android

Thinking of switching from iOS to Android? This post will help by addressing some of the areas of hesitation or concern, particularly as it relates to the new iOS continuity announcements.  more


5 Strategies for Strengthening Your CFO’s Connection to Business Metrics

This is a guest post by Asha Saxena of Future Technologies Inc.


If your CFO isn’t engaging with business metrics at a departmental level, she may be missing the bigger picture.

When you’ve got a great CFO, it’s tempting to keep her siloed in the “money corner,” slaving away in Excel and making projections. You rely on her to monitor cash flow and paint an accurate picture of your company’s financial health — now and in the future.

To most CFOs, business intelligence means being able to assess the company’s finances. But only looking at marketing metrics, sales numbers, etc., doesn’t mean they completely understand them.



Why You Should Work at a Startup

Startup communities are cropping up all over the world. Global News called 2014 ‘The Year of Startup Communities’. Almost every day, a new accelerator program is announced. We prefer the announcements and results coming out of existing accelerators than to hear another one has been born, but still - the spirit of the entrepreneur is spreading. Since anyone with a computer and an internet connection can start a company, and learning to code is becoming cooler than ever; the growth and unwavering hype around everything startups does not look like it’s going to slow anytime soon.


If you’re reading this you might already have an interest in startups. You might not have a ‘big idea’ right now, and might not be an innovation leader yet - but have you ever considered working for a startup? Your interest doesn’t need to be as a co-founder, and you don’t need to aspire to be the next Zuck - startups need good people and people need to do work they’re passionate about. You don’t even need to necessarily have experience - fresh grads and startups are a great match.


Here’s why we think YOU should consider working for a startup:


  1. Startups need good talent arguably more than large companies do. Lets face it, large companies have enough man power to get things done while they are busy looking for more staff. They’re going to get by. But for a startup, every day missing a key skill or knowledge can be crippling.
  2. Second-to-none experience to be gained. In large companies there are teams of people working on key tasks or objectives. You won’t always get a chance to try something new. Startups need confident and ready risk-takers. The best lessons and experiences come from diving in and having a go because there’s simply no time to waste! With your contract you’re handed a lot more responsibility at startups than you might find at established companies, which leads us to number 3…
  3. Maximum impact. Being with a company from its humble beginnings means you get to see your passion and hard work make real impact over time, influencing the outcome of the team’s work. Been chipping away at your established workplace for years, but not feeling fulfilled or like you’ve made an impact? Startups are everywhere and they’re ready for your influence. Alex Lynn of Real Ventures told MTL NewTech last month that people working for startups benefit from seeing the future before it happens - meaning these people are also shaping the future.
  4. Savvy graduates need not be just a number. Large companies are full of faces. Numbers, even. Fresh grads are often lured by well-known brand names and companies with impressive history. But will you be just another number? Choose a startup and you might just skip years of waiting for promotions, waiting to be noticed and waiting to make an impact - for your moment to shine. You can step into high-level positions right away, or maybe even just something closer to the job you really want; you don’t always have to spend years working towards that if you find the right fit at a startup.
  5. Increased flexibility. Although a lot of companies are switching it up to let you work remotely, (P&G major announcement last year, Work From Home Program) many startups don’t have offices yet and working from home or the nearest cafe with WIFI can often be the norm. Plus, if your startup hooks up with a local co-op space, you’ll experience a fresh and new kind of environment. These kinds of shared spaces can spark creativity and innovation just by being surrounded by people equally as passionate from other like-minded companies doing all kinds of different and amazing things.


Busbud CEO and Co-Founder LP Maurice, a leader in the Montreal startup community thinks you should work for a startup too. “I think that startups offer some of the most exciting career opportunities right now, partly because you can learn a lot very rapidly, partly because you can play an active role defining your work environment, but mostly because of the potential to have a big direct impact on society.”.


Even the PPLCONNECT Co-Founders Jenviev Azzolin and Denzil D’Sa left a large, Fortune 500 company to begin PPLCONNECT. Jenviev shares her view on the appeal of startups;


Startups offer very meaningful experience, especially for young graduates eager to learn quickly and accelerate their career. Typically, startups have very little to no hierarchy, which means you can gain a wide-breadth of experience and exposure to complex corporate challenges, which would otherwise be reserved for more senior employees. At the end of the day, you can have a major direct impact on your team, end-users and tackle a worldwide problem.


The trending keyword here seems to be ‘impact’. Having an impact in your daily work ultimately leads to fulfilling work. And the best part? The growth of startups means that supply of ready and willing startup employees is always low. If you find a startup you’re passionate about and you’re an intelligent person smart enough to know when to take risks, then the chance to shape the future is yours for the taking.



Stories Behind the Apps: Powerslyde


Tell us about your app and the idea! Brett Bauer (BB): My friend Ken Robinson came to me with the original idea behind Powerslyde.  During Christmas, 2011, Ken and his children were on the east coast visiting extended family. All the kids received iDevices as gifts that year. The kids began to download and play apps from iTunes. In a short time, they all started asking the others “what apps do you have?” and tried to search the app store to find the apps.  Even though the kids were all of an age where they could read, they were searching and looking to match the icons. That is where the idea was born.

Ken then came to me with the idea looking for assistance. We spent over two months thinking of what it would look like ultimately, not just as an app, but as a business. Once we determined the path we wanted to take, we worked together to make it a reality. Even though both of us love technology, neither of us could code and so we needed to use outsourced development to begin the process of creation.


How is the app different from similar apps? Ken Robinson (KR): Powerslyde is a unique social app sharing app, it answers the questions what apps do you have and allows you to see and share great apps from your friends and people whom you follow. Powerslyde is different because it helps you find the apps that your friend and influencers actually have on the device.

BB: Powerslyde is social app discovery. It populates the database of apps with the apps that people have taken the time to download and that remain on their device. Our approach was to be anti-piracy and direct people to the app store(s).

One of the things we analyzed was the path that a user went through to download an app, as well as the various means of app discovery. We found that while search ranked first in terms of method used, we knew from experience and research that it was also an inefficient method. The second most used method was referrals from family and friends. While word of mouth is more effective, the greater challenge is remembering the name of the app if you don’t take the time to download it at the time when it is mentioned. So with that in mind, we created a shortcut to the app store to eliminate those barriers and make it easy to find the exact app.

Powerslyde detects the apps installed on a users device. When Powerslyde is running, only the apps that the user has installed on their device are displayed. We respect the privacy rights of the user and allow them to “hide” any app they have installed on their device, that they do not wish to share with their friends.


When a friend installs Powerslyde and they connect with their friends through the app, they are able to see the apps that each other has installed, with the exception of any that they may have hidden from view. They can see all the apps own in common and those they have that are unique. At any point in the process, if they are interested in an app a friend has, they can easily see if it is paid or free, get a description and screen shots or go directly to the app store to download the app.

If they install a new app, their friends are notified through a feed, if their friend recommends an app to them through the sharing mechanism, they also receive a notification in their feed.The networks are created through the tight network of friends and the loose connections created through friends of friends. The entire system is built on human interaction, and the relationships that have been created to emulate real life as much as possible.


Tell us about the design and UI. KR: The icon was truly an experience in creativity our design team at Clockwork couldn’t have done a better job incorporating all the feelings of motion and ease of use into the simple display seen on the device it intones all the freedom of sharing that the app itself does so well. The user interface acts as well as the icon looks. It was designed to put the minimum number of steps needed in order access all the functionality within the app.  We approached our design solely from the user experience and not with a specific user in mind. Our mantra was the simpler the better.

BB: In the end, the final design came about as a result of three factors. First, we had a different name originally for the app we discovered we could not use. We were in love with the name and the icon that was created.  We failed to check to see if it was available. Second, as we were working with contract developers as Ken mentions, there was a second icon that we were presented with that due to time and budget constraints lacked inspiration, was unimaginative and was being forced on us in order to stay on budget – theirs not ours. I was willing to let it slide, Ken wasn’t. He also wasn’t vocalizing his true feelings in meetings, so in a meeting to discuss it with the whole development team, I had to get Ken to open up. He and I knew the designer was capable of much better work, because we had seen it. In the end we agreed to pay the difference to create the icon we knew the designer was capable of. Eric was his name, and he did a fantastic job.


What tools or resources assisted you in building the app? KR: Our first try at making an app out of a simple idea was met with little appreciation from a contract developer…they just could not see reason for the app.  We found this to be the case from most people in the tech field- as they are normally pretty technically efficient they didn’t see app discovery as a problem. But this app was built for the masses which quite frankly need help with even simple functions of today’s powerful smart phones and tablets. Our attorney Yoichiro (Yokum) Taku at WSGR provided the most help in creating the company behind the app and the fantastic design team and technical professionals at Clockwork in Minneapolis provided the right amount of guidance and insight to bring the first version of the app to life.

BB: As Ken mentioned, we used third party contractors. They were a firm that had a reputation for quality.  Quality was a more important criterion than price.  In all there was a fantastic team who were able to understand our vision. They had the bench strength to help us get it done. One of our requirements was that there could be no open source software used in the coding, because we wanted to make sure that we had something original that we could protect if necessary.

What lessons did you learn and went right/wrong with the release? KR: That expert help is quite expensive and on the development side too many voices can cloud the vision.

Being new to the development process was one of the biggest advantage and biggest frustration. As novices in app development we were uninhibited in dreaming up what should be done and not limited by what could be done and we didn’t entirely fit the mold and systems that our development partner had in place. Often times people say “you can’t do that” because they only know what they have done already. We found that this may also have been one of the problems in dreaming bigger than what the team had the limits to develop. In the end a great product was produced and I couldn’t be happier.


BB: First lesson is to make sure the name is available. We spent lots of time building with a placeholder.  Coming up with the first was hard enough. Coming up with a replacement was even more difficult. Next, because of the technical knowledge that the team brought, they were able to execute on a number of things we could not afford to hire for at the time. They allowed us to accomplish a great deal more than we would have been able to left to our own devices, but there are disadvantages in that you lose control of timing. Because they were managing multiple client relationships, the amount of time they were able to commit to our project was less than we wanted and as a result it took much longer than anticipated.

The last lesson, because I was functioning as the leader of the company, I attended many conferences and was fortunate to hear how others had built their businesses and as much as possible take the advice they proffered. One of the greatest was to bring development in house. We did that as soon as we could once we submitted the iOS version of the app.

Development took much longer than anticipated and the complexity of the app was underestimated. The design, UI and UX was designed to be super simple and easy to use. Because of that, the back end was super complex, very robust and required a great deal more time than anticipated. We submitted the app originally in early December 2012 for approval. It wasn’t until early March 2013 that it was approved.

Who is on the team and what are your roles? KR: Brett- CEO,  Andy-CTO, Fred- CFO, Peter- SVP of roduct & Marketing, Ed- Lead Developer, Ken- co founder/ advisor.

BB:  Ken did a good job explaining that, although we have also hired others for short term engagements as needed, typically when we are in development mode.

What were you doing prior to building the app? KR:  Prior to my foray into app development I have been a paperboy, a doughnut maker, a gas station attendant, a US Marine, and airplane mechanic, an avionics technician, a landscaper, and a stay-at-home dad.

BB: I had been in the investment sales for most of my career.  In 2004 I started working with venture backed and early stage companies focusing on capital raising, due diligence and strategy. I was working with early stage companies assisting with due diligence and getting them ready for investment.

What other apps do you use or which inspire you? KR: I’m inspired by simplicity in design and functionality among my favorites: Kahn Academy, Flipboard, Dropbox, and Noteability…and of course Powerslyde.  My current favorite games: Charades by Fat Chicken Studios, Blek by Konabi brothers and Logo Quiz v2.6.  It may be true that the smartphone has eliminated boredom; I’m just not sure that’s entirely a good thing.

BB: I have had a smartphone since the Treo. Of course at the time, you couldn’t get apps easily. For me, the smartphone was a productivity tool and a phone all in one. I don’t believe that has changed.<

Since 2007 when I obtained my first iPhone, there has been a core of apps that I work with. The apps I use most often are the ones I use in daily life – LinkedIn, Starbucks, Delta, my banking apps, IHG, FItbit and dropbox. I would consider these all lifestyle apps even though some are not categorized as such. Since we are constantly meeting developers in our business, I usually download and play their games. A couple of my all time favorites are racing games, anything that is mindless and helps me decompress, like Angry Birds or Plants vs. Zombies.

Head over to the Apple App Store or Google Play to download Powerslyde.

Hey you app devs!  Wanna be featured likePoweslyde? Be sure to check out http://www.powerslyde.com/get-discovered


Tips to Write an Amazing Press Kit/ Press Release for Startups

Startups need press coverage. There are so many examples of how one good exposure in the media has sparked a viral story across the internet. It sounds easy, but a lot of legwork goes on in the background to make this happen. And that’s if you’ve even got the time/resources to spend ‘doing’ PR for your startup. In most cases, a bootstrapping startup’s team members will be wearing every hat in the book; coding, marketing, funding - media relations and PR can easily be pushed aside. People will tell you PR doesn’t work for startups and it’s low priority. You do need to make sure you’re laser focused on building a good, solid product/service - but keep PR in mind. It is possible to be smart about Startup PR.

Here’s how to build a great press kit that will do a lot of the work for you. (Click the image below to expand)

Also check out the PPLCONNECT Media Kit to refer to as an example.


Infographic messages expanded:

What is a Media Kit? A media kit contains resources that members of the media would need to run a story on your startup.
-Logos: be sure to include both web and print appropriate files
-Screenshots (if applicable): web and print appropriate files
-Press Releases: add these as you release them, be consistent
-Backgrounder: 1-3 page summary document (preferably PDF) with extra background information about company history & other useful information
-Awards & previous media recognition: this is the place to holla freely about your awards and media coverage to date
-Contact details for further information: writers need to know who to contact for interviews or product demonstrations. Make it easy for them!

1-2 Formula to Get it Done
1. Spend a week collating the pieces of the kit & getting them live on your website. We know your time is valuable in a startup, so grab a co-worker or a friend who might be in the PR field and some coffee and get cracking.
2. Dedicate an hour each day that week, and by Friday polish & publish the kit. That five hours will pay you back five-fold by acting as your new 24-hour PR pitch-deck. Once it’s done you’ll have a great base that will only need updates and tweaks when things change.
Tip: Find yourself an enthusiastic public or media relations student in 3rd year at a local university and get them to intern on this as a summer project #GiveAndTake #WinWin

Add your flavour. Tech companies may need a heavy & technical review guide as part of their Media Kit… If you’ve had a particularly good run with awards or previous media coverage, it’s easy to see how things can start to get long and (potentially) boring. Keep it fun where possible by adding your unique flavour to how you present and write the entire kit. The more engaging it is, the more likely viewers will spend more time there.

Edit, Edit, Edit! Have someone with a keen eye for design and proofreading take a look at the kit. Check that presentation is uniform where necessary, fix any typos and refine the layout.

Final Advice. The important thing is to have a bare minimum press kit available at least. Right now you can start by putting a contact email address on the website for media enquiries. After that work towards getting at the very least some press releases & useful graphics that the media can use in a story. Don’t feel like you have to have the whole kit ready before uploading. When we began working on our press kit we came up with two lists, one short and one long:
1. All the press kit elements we are happy to start with (shorter list)
2. All the press kit elements we would love to have (longer list)
Get started with the first and work slowly towards the second over time.

Click here to download PPLCONNECT + also share your advice in the comments on creating a media kit!



Stories Behind the Apps: Trunx

Greetings CitizenTekk readers. We want to briefly introduce this new feature Stories Behind the Apps, where we will be interviewing mobile app developers on the process, pains and pleasures in creating their apps. We hope that this series gives some unique and valuable insight as you develop or think about your next app and the lessons these folks learned. If you have an app and would like to be featured as part of the series, find the link at the bottom. Now on to a unique and powerful visual library app, Trunx. Enjoy!

Tell us about TrunxMore than just an app, Trunx is a platform designed to hold your entire visual library - all of your photos in one place in the cloud, accessible to you at all times.  Our vision is to be the world’s biggest memory bank.

With Trunx, users can easily browse, manage, store and share photos in addition to importing all of their visual memories from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Dropbox to ensure that they never lose a moment. Users are also able to record videos via Trunx and store them directly in the cloud. The new, beautifully designed app brings usability, functionality, and design together to offer the best possible user experience in cloud-based management and mobile accessibility.

Available for free, Trunx allows users to organize and search for using tags and share any individual photo to multiple social platforms. Trunx’s SharedPix feature (available now on both Android & iOS) also allows users to create private albums to share with friends and family on the app, enabling any member of the album to contribute photos. By providing a place for people to store all of their photos from various platforms as well as videos taken with the app, Trunx ensures that everything is always accessible and easily searchable.

With Trunx, you can utilize:

  • Integration: users are able to export files from Dropbox in addition to transferring and integrating photos from hard drives, phones, Facebook, and Instagram
  • SharedPix: create shared photo albums for friends and family to add to and view together
  • EchoPix: add audio recordings to pictures, a new, unique way to tell a story
  • Organization: arrange photos by date, time, and tags to easily find a clip from any moment

How is Trunx different from similar apps?  Trunx is squarely focused on the experience of making and keeping photos.  We’ve designed our app specifically to solve the issue of findability and accessibility of users’ visual lives. While other players are coming into the space from a utility or storage perspective, Trunx is only focused on making peoples’ visual lives safe, secure, and always available to you no matter where you are.

Tell us about the design and UI. Our app was designed with experience and ease of use at the forefront. Additionally, we wanted to ensure that the brand was represented in the product. Our elephant mascot Max is a character designed to represent our maximum storage offer, while communicating a sense of relatability and peace to our users, knowing that their visual lives are safe and secure. You’ll see that character as well as our purple brand colors infused throughout the product.

What tools assisted you in building the app? For our design cycles, we find Flinto really helpful to mock up and test experiences on our phones. We also spent a lot of time with our community, interviewing potential consumers that came from our target markets.  We spoke with moms, students, young professionals, and more, watching the way they navigated within the app and gathering their feedback.


We learned to engage with our market regularly and religiously. We learned that by involving consumers in our early design conversations, we could eliminate future confusion and frustration. Additionally, using Flinto helped us save time and avoid wasted development resources by giving the team the ability to get a feel for the experience on their phones.  Even when it seems like everyone is on the same page about how something should work, there is no substitute for actual, real-time interaction.

What went right and wrong with the release? In terms of release, we found that a major misconception is finding success by achieving a Top 10 ranking in the app store. Most developers are beyond crazed with a coveted spot on that list, however, we found that this obsession can lead to poor decision making. This includes using boost campaigns to rocket your way into those top positions, when the focus really should be on internal app development and creating a tool that will make users flock to it organically. At first we almost fell into the trap, but we shifted our focus on creating an app that is exceptionally beautiful by weaving together utility, accessibility and design. Trunx’s interface and usability keeps users coming back, and since our initial beta launch less than six months ago, it has experienced an average monthly growth rate of over 190%.

Who is on the team and what are your roles? Jeff Chen - CEO & Founder, Jay Shen - CTO & Founder, Sandra Ponce de Leon - VP, Marketing , Joe Frabotta - Director of Marketing, Juan Francisco Veramendi - Lead Product Designer, Ariel Phipps - Community and Support Manager. We also have several developers working internationally.


What was the team doing prior to building TrunxMost of us were working at other tech startups, but we came together through our love of mobile and photos.  In Sandra’s case, she was leading marketing for B2B Saas company but eager to get back to her passion of consumer mobile marketing.  Jeff built Maxthon from the ground up and it’s now the world’s 6th largest browser.  Jay has had a number of successes - he founded Billpoint and later sold it to eBay, and more recently he work with TVU networks, a leading provider of wireless electronic news gathering equipment for broadcasters.

What other apps inspire you? While we’re working we all listen to music, so music apps like Spotify and Pandora are naturally a major source of inspiration for us. Other apps that we love and that have inspired some of Trunx’s design and interaction include Wechat, Path, Instagram and Facebook.

Head over to iTunes or Google Play to download Trunx!

Hey app devs!  Wanna be featured like our friends at Trunx? Click Here.

Top Tech Devices to Enhance the Classroom

Any tools that enhance the classroom learning experience should be embraced – whether those tools are tried and tested or brand-new. One such tool is digital technology, which provides a unique opportunity to improve overall learning outcomes by making instructional materials and information more accessible than ever. Digital technology can put the world at the fingertips of young boys and girls, and present the world in such a way that students actually want to engage with it. Text books, for as thorough and comprehensive as they may be, often fail to achieve like results.

There are a wide range of tech devices available that can benefit the classroom. For the purposes of this article, you’ll notice that we’ve left off software programs and Internet connectivity – their inclusion is a foregone conclusion. In many ways, what is more important is the devices on which these programs are accessed. After all, a software is useless if it doesn’t find its way in front of a user – that’s what these devices allow.


When it comes to buying computers for the classroom, cost is a factor that must be taken into consideration. It’s simply a fact of life: classrooms have limited budgets and any cost savings can reap huge dividends when purchasing dozens or hundreds of a particular tool. What the Chromebook offers in spades is incredible performance and capability at an extremely competitive price. It also helps, of course, that the Chromebook is a laptop, making it portable and easy to move about a classroom. With performance to match entry-level desktop devices, a full keyboard, and a full suite of software programs, the Chromebook should be the computer of choice for schools looking to empower their students.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

As powerful as modern laptops may be, many schools are finding that their educational and instructional needs are better served by tablets – children in particular seem to find their touch-screen interfaces to be intuitive and engaging. For schools looking to bring tablets into the classroom, there is one choice in particular that bears consideration: the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1. This latest version of the popular Galaxy Note tablet is more powerful, advanced, and useful than ever. Among its unique features – and the features that make it a great option for classrooms – are its stylus, which allows students to write on the tablet in a natural manner, and its split-screen functionality. It is a tablet that makes serious inroads into the world of the laptop computer, and with some carriers offering free 4G LTE coverage for schools, it’s a no-brainer for the classroom.

Nintendo Wii U

It may not seem an obvious choice for inclusion onto this list, but anyone who has ever played with a Nintendo Wii device can tell you that it’s no ordinary game console. It eschews outright performance and adult-oriented games for colorful and fun graphics, a collaborative play mode, and titles that encourage both physical activity and mental aptitude. The latest device from Nintendo, the Wii U, carries forth with this tradition, offering a number of unique game titles that are perfect for the classroom, such as ScribbleNauts Unlimited, an open-world game that allows for creativity and exploration, Big Brain Academy and National Geographic Challenge. The Wii U, perhaps more than any other tech device, has the ability to make the learning process interactive and fun.

SMART Whiteboards

Digital whiteboards, such as the line of SMART whiteboards, combine the features of a projector with a traditional chalkboard or whiteboard for an enhanced learning experience. Images can be projected onto the whiteboard and the teacher can interact with the whiteboard in a range of novel and compelling ways, all of which can help him or her make the teaching experience more engaging for the student. SMART whiteboards also allow for the teacher’s notes – in effect, the day’s lesson – to be saved with a simple touch of a finger. No longer does the day’s notes have to be permanently forgotten once erased from the chalkboard.


3 Reasons Equity-Crowdfunding Should Be Forbidden

As the crowdfunding industry is looking forward to welcome equity-crowdfunding as a legislated form of startup funding, the impatience about the slow rate of its introduction is growing. There are some serious issues however that makes it worth considering whether or not every potential investor should be exposed to the possible dangers.


Startups fail

After 10 years, about 80% of the companies have went bankrupt. A big number has big consequences that most equity-crowdfunders might not always realize, especially when the entrepreneur is somebody you know. It’s hard to keep in mind the numbers and not be swept away by their persuading manners, well-developed business plan, and enthusiasm. Crowd-investors aren’t familiar with developing portfolios or spreading risk. Think, would you let your 10-year-old drive a car even though he knows where the steering wheel is?


Scams are rising

Companies might fail due to external developments (bankrupt customers, imploding industries, etc.) despite all the talent an entrepreneur has and the effort, time, and money invested. There are people out in the field however, who are actually looking to harm investors via scams, like the infamous Kobe Beef Jerky. The list with scams is growing and though the awareness is growing, there is no standard policy that protects crowdfunders. 


The crowd is uneducated

Though some claim that “the wisdom of the crowd” will filter out faulty projects, the “crowd” exists from uneducated individuals that simply aren’t as educated as most professional investors. The private investors are accredited for a reason. Crowd-investors don’t have a background in startup development, company organization, revenue models, or finance.


Many of them might expect a quick win, while investing in companies usually locks you in for 3-7 years. There is also no way to get rid of SME shares as a standards way that is implemented in every campaign. So how are you going to get your ROI? Dividends are easier to grasp, but most startups won’t make profits within the first few years, and when they do it might be better to reinvest instead of paying dividends.


Let’s work towards safer funding!

Let’s get real: equity-funding is not going to be forbidden. Though there are still some growing pains in the equity-crowdfunding industry, the potential is enormous. In order to create a healthy funding sector, policies and accreditation should protect the crowd-investors. The opportunities are to promising, and it’s unlikely anyone would want to stop a way to further develop our economy by democratizing capital streams and empowering the crowd.


Insert Coin To Continue: Using Games On Social Networks to Enhance Your Marketing

How much time do you spend each day checking in with your social networks? Odds are good you not only use social media extensively, but you spend more time on it than all other online activities. We spend more than three and a half hours per day on social media, reports Ipsos, which accounts for about one-fourth of the time we spend awake. Companies have long since realized the marketing value of social media but still struggle to make their brands stand out to consumers. Gamification—applying the typical elements of game playing (think scoring points, competition and rules of play) to nongame applications to encourage engagement with a product or service—helps bridge the gap between quality content and user interaction. What can gamification do for your social sites?

Demographics And Spending Power

Perhaps the strongest argument in favor of gamification lies within the purchasing power of those who use social games most frequently. Though millennials spend more time on social sites than any other age bracket, it’s their parents—who have much larger wallets and more discretionary income—who spend more time on social games. Go-Gulf reports that one in four adults over the age of 46 plays social games, a higher percentage than any other demographic. A company or brand offering gamification will be more likely to attract these coveted social users.

Phone Frenzy

When it comes to marketing your brand, what medium should you expect your customers to utilize? It’s a mobile world out there for social gamers, with nearly 70 percent of casual social gamers reporting they prefer to game on an iPhone rather than an iPad. There’s no need to program an iOS app to specifically run on one or the other, but it’s important to keep in mind that the majority of your users are accessing the Internet via their mobile devices. You will, however, have to create a platform that runs on both iOS and Android devices in order to reach a greater market. Develop a game that can be played on a lunch break or on a bus by a smartphone owner and you’ll be more likely to have smartphone and tablet users share the game among their friends than if you develop games better suited for a desktop computer.

Pay To Play?

It goes without saying that your company’s game should be free to play. This does not mean, however, that you cannot recoup some funds. Microtransactions have become the engine for successful game development, allowing users to directly purchase anything from extra lives, to character clothing, to cheats by dropping a dollar or two into the game. Users like it because it lets them game without paying $60 for a game station disc; developers love it because they pull some two billion dollars annually, according to insidesocialgames.com. With a microtransaction system within your company’s game, consumers become financially, as well as emotionally, invested in the product before they ever go to your site’s actual sales page.