[ Photo by: Owen Geronimo ]
YouNoodle Camp 2012 and Startup Monthly presented a showcase of the world’s best startup ideas on July 26th with back-to-back Demo Day presentations by startup entrepreneurs for investors and mentors at the new “Ecobator” NestGSV flagship campus in the heart of Silicon Valley. The YouNoodle Camp 2012 represented innovation from around the globe with presentations by SecQ.me, Piktochart, FanCross, Invisergy, Tryouts, Biogen, Epicrisis, SonicPollen, ThinkGo, VouchHEREs.com, Dub5, Okuul, and MiTrono. Startup Monthly early stage startup presentations included SmartWall,MapsWithMe, GigBasket, TropicMind, Message.me, and fan-favorite Goodwillion.
Following the Demo Day presentations, and a NestGSV Soft Opening Reception featuring a keynote by Bill Draper, hundreds of enthusiastic entrepreneurs, startups and friends from around the Bay Area arrived for the Startup Summer Party. Guests enjoyed sponsored drinks, hip music and all-star mingling in the NestGSV atrium courtyard. Reminder: Startup Socials are always a great reason to put on something stylish, go outside, and meet interesting real people who are making things happen and interested in meeting you too.
Guests included, fresh from Fashion+TechSF pitch night, John Rocha of MyFit.co, Gal Rozov of Foldimate, and Wolf Price, producer of Within The Four Walls movie. SF Design Week fashion designers Scott Ian McFarland and Jennifer Schmidt,Innovation Management Institute’s Julian and Raphaelle Loren, Benjamin Taran and the Keiretsu Forum team, and Owen Geronimo, Robert Burns Nixon and Nichelle Cole of SFFAMA/Fashion+TechSF were also in attendance.
~ by: Robert Burns Nixon via @fashiontech_sf
[ Photo by: Owen Geronimo ]
Gensler teamed up with San Francisco’s Center for Economic Development to reveal new research on hot spots for tech companies locating in San Francisco and some surprising results for the best new location based on value, incentives, and criteria such as transportation, food, entertainment and proximity to other tech companies. SPOILER ALERT: the Market Street corridor from the Embarcadero to Van Ness is delivering the best value and the best location right in the center of everything. What you may not know is that the seedy, transient image of Market Street will soon be a thing of the past. Major property developers have already moved in with a huge pipeline of projects and economic incentives, such as payroll tax breaks, have made the Twitter relocation a cornerstone for the Market Street renaissance. Gensler and the SFCED are making the research, with beautiful infographic density maps, available to companies to try based on individual or unique criteria.
In addition to technology and real estate professionals, executives from the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, the San Francisco Center for Economic Development and the Governor’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship were in attendance, underscoring San Francisco’s renewed focus on technology, entrepreneurship, new startups, and initiatives to build and sustain growth and new economic development.
Gensler is a leading global architecture, design, planning, and strategic consulting ﬁrm that partners with companies to achieve measurable business and organizational goals through design. For more than 45 years, Gensler has been a pioneer in creating great places that enhance the quality of work and life. Today, Gensler has more than 2,000 professionals networked across 35 locations.
[ Source: Emily Harris/ Journalism Accelerator ]
As journalism and publishing continue to ride the wave of upheaval and innovation, what can we learn from people outside our own specialties, whether within the news industry or outside? We asked Robert Burns Nixon, Chief Financial Officer and a member of the board of the San Francisco Fashion and Merchants Alliance, Inc., to read the JA forum on local news publishing and reflect on similar challenges in the fashion world. Nixon dives straight into buzz, build and brand. The interview has been edited for clarity and length.
The San Francisco Fashion and Merchants Alliance (SFFAMA) is a nonprofit providing business and technology education through forums, mentorships and networking for designers, including many small startups. SFFAMA’s trademark event is San Francisco Fashion Week, held each fall, but CFO and board member Robert Burns Nixon is busy year-round. He develops partnerships and promotions for SFFAMA, plus handles the budget, planning and business strategy, which is evolving right along with the organization.
Robert Burns Nixon: We’re free right now, but we have a bunch of different groups (involved) and thousands of members. We’re planning to do a freemium model where you offer incentives; for a yearly membership, an automatic discount for all of our events, or other discounts that apply to partners, or special access to certain things. We’re still waiting for that critical number, whatever it is…say you have 5,000 people total and then you figure that maybe 5% of those may be willing to pay something.
Journalism Accelerator: What’s the value proposition you offer people? When you’re saying “become a member,” what’s in it for them?
RBN: We cap our membership first of all. We offer ongoing technology and fashion workshops. We have panel discussions and we do events where startups pitch, and then we have a whole range of different work functions.
JA: One thing that came up in the JA forum on local news was that community media startups trying to partner with bigger organizations, such as traditional newspapers, can find it difficult to come up with a way that would be mutually beneficial. What do you see in the fashion industry?
RBN: Every place is different. We do local. Local emerging designers, for the most part localized sponsors. But there is a big push in San Francisco to use redevelopment funds from the city to restart our garment district. San Francisco used to have 20,000 manufacturing facilities within the city limits and now there are only 200. So opportunities are there. Also, Silicon Valley is here so we really emphasize technology and fashion as a combination.
JA: Technology is driving change in publishing. What kind of partnerships do you see in fashion and technology that are helpful for small designers to grow and thrive?
RBN: Crowdfunding and crowd-sourcing. Designers should get direct feedback from a wide range of people all at once. Then they can find out instantly if there is interest in the designs they have.
JA: Would you give me an example?
RBN: There are different applications where you can submit prototypes of your design and people vote on it or give a comment on it. So you have automatic feedback from the actual market. Then you come up with a campaign and then you sell it. It’s feasibility testing, testing the waters to see whether is it a good idea.
JA: Can you imagine that working for news coverage in any way?
RBN: Well, everything’s about curation now, you know with Pinterest, you’re curating this and that. I don’t know if they still do things where you select your vote on what stories show up next, you vote on what you want and they show that story.
JA: Another issue that came up in the local news forum was engaging the audience – getting them to come back. Because you want steady readers, readers that maybe can turn into donors, or maybe will buy content. Do designers face that same problem of managing an ongoing relationship with their audience or their customers? How do they do it?
RBN: You make sure that you constantly have something to offer that people like. I would say you should figure out some way to either have an event, your own event on an annual basis or partner with people that are doing it. Then you can become your own story. People love to see the coverage of events they went to.
The ticket sales would cover your operating expenses. You also want to have merchant tables and have sponsorships and rent tables for other people who will be there. You could tie it in with shopping events or some other kinds of events. We got the official San Francisco Fashion Week trademark, and that’s another revenue source that we’re looking at. We can partner with people that want to be on the official Fashion Week calendar, we can get, maybe a small fee to register or we can license it for the production of products. It’s a whole other area of revenue.
Media could trademark something they do and build a whole series of events around that. That would give you a unique property that could be used in exponential activities.
JA: And what about keeping customers? How do designers get customers to come back?
RBN: You want to create a certain image that resonates with people. Everybody has a certain look and feel to what they do, like it’s the definition of luxury or it’s high-end rock & roll. And you have to have the quality to the level you’re selling. H&M is back in fashion, and they do really great cutting edge clothes but they’re not going to be near the level of something that’s couture, a handmade design and won’t fall apart anytime soon.
JA: So news sites should decide if are they couture or fast fashion?
RBN: Branding yourself is always going to be beneficial. You create your own mystique, you have your own areas of expertise. That gives you credibility in whatever you’re doing, whether it’s art, whether you’re going to create TV commercials, screen plays, write articles or have a serious journalistic venture. Even though you stay with just local news you can make sure that you’re up to speed on the really hot topics and find a way to relate it back to where you live. How people can get involved in this kind of stuff. So you’re like a business development role, almost in kick-starting things.
JA: Community engagement is a word that was mentioned a lot in the forum.
RBN: Community engagement, but more development. Because you bring people business or ideas. You become a knowledge center.
JA: Thank you very much.
Have you gotten useful insight for journalism or publishing from someone in another industry? What did you learn, from whom? Comment here to help build a living knowledge base.
And come back next week to meet AJ Leon, co-founder and Chief Maker of Trouble at Misfit, Inc., which develops marketing campaigns all over the world. Hear what he learned from reading the JA forums on sustainable news publishing. Sneak preview: “I could see a local site or a niche site creating places where people could come together. I would pay for that.”
Emily Harris is a Journalist and the Journalism Accelerator editorial director. Her areas of expertise are: News/Publishing, public radio, talk radio, international reporting, online community, Pacific Northwest. Contact Emily at: Linkedin @ http://www.linkedin.com/pub/emily-harris/10/473/851 and Twitter @ twitter.com/emilygharris
[ Photo by: Dario Smith ]
The eBay Fashion Selling Style Studio set up shop this weekend at Union Square in the heart of San Francisco. With the pop-up Fashion Selling Style Studio touring the country, eBay is focused squarely on the increasing popularity of fashionistas who buy and sell fashion items from their own closets. New mobile apps, celebrity stylists, and tips from top sellers are all designed to make the process of selling your excess fashion finds seamless and rewarding. New registrations were entered in a drawing for the new Apple iPad. Many thanks to our eBay consultants Nick and Melissa who enthusiastically gave us the grand tour of eBay’s new fashion initiative. Be on the lookout for more eBay “fashion industry” collaborations in the future! ~ Robert Nixon via: @fashiontech_sf
SFFAMA, FASHION+TECHSF and fashion incubator partnerINSPIRARE held a design presentation and networking event on May 17th at Pigment Cosmetics. Inspirare Founder and CEO Sean Peng gave an e-commerce industry and business model overview. Anne McEnroe discussed Inspirare’s operations and production. Kate Blank, Inspirare’s Fashion Director, completed the Inspirare team on hand to meet with local fashion designers and view their presentations. SFFAMA Founder and CEO Owen Geronimoadded, “We are thrilled to partner with Inspirare to foster local talent, hone their business skills and introduce other ways of getting their products to the market. I want to offer local designers funding opportunities beyond fashion shows and photo shoots by means of incubation and crowdfunding.”
Design presentations included a leather jacket and accessories line fashioned from custom car seats by Dustin Page, luxury knitwear designs for men from Scott Mcfarland, unique denim pieces byJulian Prince Dash and re-invented hi-end patchwork denim by Gerry Kelly of Sonas Denim. Women’s wear designs included the clean sophisticated silhouettes of Audrey Szeto, the London-meets-Los Gatos effortless glamour looks from Claire Farwell of Claire Farwell London, strong yet whimsical creations by Mariya Milovidova, a full range of pretty looks, price points and beautiful color palettes by Skylier Blanchard of Skylier Wear, and a collection of visually arresting color, contrast and dramatic detailing by Celina Martin Perez. Inspirare identified four designers for immediate inclusion in the program.
Additional presentations included a discussion on alternative funding sources by SFFAMA advisory board member Gwendolyn Wright, a product presentation by Brian Carey of HipSwap and a new product and category announcement by Gal Rozov, Founder and CEO of Fold4me. ~ Written by: ROBERT BURNS NIXON
From as far away as Singapore to Silicon Valley, 400 startup entrepreneurs, investors, digerati and friends descended on the Supper Club in San Francisco for the Startup Socials Party on May 3rd, proving that networking and networthing doesn’t have to be boring. The crowd of many languages included the posh and the glamorous as well as the ready-for-anything denim and plaid set. The agenda for the evening was mingling, dancing, laughing and partying the night away to the hip musical curations of DJ White Cloud, DJ Taj and DJ Tati. The Startup Socials Party is hosted by Startup Monthly, Monthly Ventures, Silicon Valley Socials, Eventbrite and FASHION+TECHSF. The next Startup Socials Party takes place on June 28 at Supper Club in San Francisco. ~ by: ROBERT BURNS NIXON via: @fashiontech_sf