5 Startup Tips from the Startup Telepresence Roundtable at DC’s AT&T Innovation Center

February 17, 2012

1:00 pm

This past Wednesday, 20+ young entrepreneurs gathered across a 4-location telepresence, with one startup in each location pitching their concept and receiving feedback from the collected brainpower. The Startup Telepresence Roundtable at DC’s AT&T Innovation Center was a part of DC’s Social Media Week.

The startups that participated included:

  • E[nstitute] of New York, NY, a two-year apprenticeship program that allows 15 young adults to learn from and work with top NYC entrepreneurs
  • Ashoka Changemakers of Washington, DC, which provides the tools and resources to empower everyone to contribute to a better world
  • Boutiika of San Francisco, CA, which lets you search local boutiques for new arrivals from independent designers and favorite brands
  • VaultBox of Miami, FL, an app that we recently covered, lets you keep an accurate inventory of valuable items in your home

Our 5 startup key takeaways:

  1. Use press coverage to your advantage – Don’t just rely on giant news industry sites to pick up your product. Reach out to bloggers and other news outlets such as Help A Reporter Out. Use the initial press you get to leverage yourself into a position where you can to reach out to larger press outlets.
  2. Utilize organizations and users in your similar interest groups – Reach out to people in your industry (don’t forget your local university and also celebrities).
  3. Quality over quantity – Don’t just try to get everyone in the world to sign up and/or mentor your startup. Take the time to research what your target market wants and which mentors can really bring constructive value.
  4. Be transparent – The more your startup is willing to share information, the more feedback you’re able to receive. However, it’s your responsibility to sort through the the onslaught of advice.
  5. Use your network and your network’s network – Ask for help and make it publicly known. Sometimes that one contact you thought was impossible to reach may be closer than you think. Think serendipity (as suggested by Edward R. Barrientos, CEO of Brazen Careerist)

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Jeff Tong is a social media strategist in Washington DC and has been a long-time contributor at Tech Cocktail. You'll find Jeff at tech events, foodie hangouts, and possibly snorkeling somewhere tropical. Contact Jeff online at @gundamwing4132 or jefftong@tech.co.

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