Entrepreneur Resources

How to Build a Start-up

A free course titled “How to build a start-up” is taught online at Udacity by Silicon Valley entrepreneur and Stanford/Berkley professor Steve Blank. Steve was deemed “the Master of Innovation” by the Harvard Business Review.


1. Sample Executive Summaries

The Executive Summary may be the most important part of your business plan. It is the first – and sometimes the only – part potential investors and other stakeholders will read. Following are a few samples of Executive Summaries written by recent Springboard companies. Thanks to MindTouch and Remora Pharmaceuticals for making their Executive Summaries available for viewing on this site.

Remora Pharmaceuticals

2. Business Plan

A business plan is the pen-to-paper “rallying cry” of any start-up venture. Sound business plans not only help companies raise capital but they also help create enduring value. The business plan acts as the operations manual for the company and as a reference tool for investors and board members. It’s therefore very crucial to think through and write a good business plan. This guide will walk you through the whole process in writing a successful business plan that will fit your technology company.

Sample Business Plan (PDF document)
10 Common Mistakes That Startup and Small Companies Make
(PDF document)

3. Business Presentations

A compelling PowerPoint presentation on your business is a vital tool for any start-up company. CONNECT has developed a presentation template that can help you tell your story to investors and other stakeholders.

“Secret to Compiling your Thoughts for your New Business Venture”
TED talk
on pitching tactics
CONNECT Springboard Presentation Template
(PowerPoint presentation)

Watch and listen to a perfect pitch below. Click the enlarge icon for full screen view.

4. Business Valuation

Any small business entrepreneurs expecting to find equity financing from angel or venture capital investors should be aware of the many ways sophisticated investors use to value a candidate business, and should be prepared to supply information to the investor to help in that process.

Business Valuation by David W. Berkus (PDF document)
How To Pump Up Your VC Valuation
by Matt Bartus

The following presentations were developed by David Kramer, CFO and member of CONNECT’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) team in collaboration with several other EIRs and CONNECT staff. The presentations provide examples of business valuations at various stages for three different types of startup companies:  Bio-Pharma, Medical Devices, and High Tech.

Choose your industry of interest:

5. Due Diligence

This due diligence checklist was developed and borrowed from Express Ventures and AvTech Ventures

Check List (PDF document)

6. Tech Coast Angels – The Art of Angel Investment

Learn all about the Tech Coast Angels, their organization, their investment preferences and profiles.

About Angel Investments (PDF document)

7. Term Sheets

Term Sheets are an essential part of the entrepreneurial process.

Sample Term Sheet by Richard Horning of Fish & Richardson P.C.
Term Sheet Series
by Brad Feld
Term Sheet Generator
for Venture Financing (WSGR)

8. Marketing

The following workbook was developed by members of the CONNECT Staff and EIRs as a general reference workbook to “go-to-market” strategy and development.

Springboard Workbook (Word document)

Mike Harris is the founder of Harris Consulting LLC and is an expert in resolving challenging marketing situations. He has served as the top marketing and business development executive for companies or divisions in consumer electronics, software, data storage/networking and others with revenues up to $120 million. He has also served as a corporate officer and head of investor relations for NASDAQ:NM companies. He is a former management consultant with PriceWaterhouse Coopers.

Mike holds a B.S. from the University of Tennessee and an MBA in Marketing and Finance from Vanderbilt University. He is a frequent guest lecturer at the Rady School of Management at UCSD, where he is also a student mentor.
Contact: E: mike.harris@harconllc.com, T: (858) 481-8665

Click here to view a paper on market concept testing by Mike Harris.

Adam Harris, Principal and Founder of Calacles Consulting Group, developed this presentation on “Building Sound Financial Models” for our Springboard Clients.

Building Sound Financial Models (PowerPoint presentation)


9. Grants

In partnership with Calit2, access is provided to an interactive federal funding database which is parsed to focus on opportunities open to private companies.  Users may create a profile which is used to email them funding alerts or they may search based on keyword, agency, dollar amount, or due date.  For access, please click here http://ri.calit2.net/connect.

As of late 2008, the NCI SBIR & STTR Programs requirements and processes have changed. Linked below is the latest information on these programs. For additional questions please contact: Ali Andalibi, Ph.D. of the National Cancer Institute – SBIR Development Center.
Phone: 301-496-9686
Address: Building 31, Room 10A19
31 Center Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892-2580

SBIR Phase II Bridge Award Flyer
Overview of the NCI SBIR & STTR Programs Flyer

SBIR & STTR Resource List

Other Grant Resources:

10. Legal

How to Work with Lawyers at a Startup by Mark Suster
Legal Issues for Social Media / User-Generated Content Sites
by Quora
Employment Law Traps for Technology and Media Startups
by Bottom Line Law Group

11. Funding

Survey results regarding current state of the VC funding market by Wall Street Journal
Types of Angel Financing
by Scott Edward Walker
Seed Funding Best Practices
by Mark MacLeod
“Series Seed” Financing Documents
by Ted Wang

12. Founders and Advisors

How To Pick A Co-Founder by Naval Ravikant
The Founders’ Pie Calculator
by Frank Demmler
When and Where to Incorporate, Corporation vs. LLC, etc.
by Yokum Taku
Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Advisors
by Babak Nivi

13. Access to Grant Writers

Ann Ronan, Ph.D. – www.grantright.com 909-717-1113
Richard Hake – rich_hake@msn.com 858-675-1163
Michael Huber – mhuber@scripps.edu
Tina Huth – thuth@rndbs.com
Vivian Lauderdale – vivianlauderdale@cox.net
Jules Miller – julesmillerlaw@att.net 714-550-1734
John T. Ransom – jtrconsulting@sbcglobal.net
Candace Chandra – canarytx@yahoo.com
Mahasweta Sarkar, Ph.D. – msarkar2@mail.sdsu.edu 619-594-7797
Ingrid Stuiver, PhD – ISGconsult@yahoo.com 619-977-8689
Frederick Zarndt – frederick@zarndt.net

14. Courses

CONNECT FrameWorks Workshops
FrameWorks Workshops are half-day, in-depth sessions addressing various topics of interest to technology or life sciences entrepreneurs. Our workshops offer targeted information needed by entrepreneurs in technology-based companies in order to more effectively start, develop and grow their companies. Each workshop features subject-area experts and interactive instruction. Most workshops are limited to 30-40 people, and early registration is encouraged.

Springboard offers free guidance and development to life sciences, clean-tech, high tech and consumer product companies in all stages of development, ranging from concept, technology transfer to start-up, to companies that have reached a significant inflection point. Innovators are matched with Business Advisors (BAs) with related domain expertise and experience in raising capital and/or growing companies. Springboard Presentation

15. Other Mentoring Programs in San Diego

Analytics Ventures
Analytics Ventures is a San Diego based venture capital firm that invests in early stage technology companies.  This startup accelerator works with talented entrepreneurs to create the next generation of great companies. Analytics Ventures brings to entrepreneurs its strong understanding of technology, marketing, sales, capital, and early stage growth.

Ansir Innovation Center
Ansir Innovation Center is a startup hub located in the Kearny Mesa area of San Diego. Ansir is dedicated to growing and nurturing the startup ecosystem in San Diego through offering affordable coworking and private office solutions in a collaborative environment, mentorship and incubation of qualified companies, and providing a space for technology or startup-focused meetups and events.

Bio, Tech and Beyond
Bio, Tech and Beyond (BTNB) is the first and only totally neutral collaborative biotech research facility in the San Diego area which is different to how a university or non profit research institute functions. BTNB offers affordable lab space so you can get your proof of principle experiments done before you need to raise a lot of capital. This biotech hub zone also has an extensive network of scientific and business experts on hand to offer you advice on all the steps you need to take to turn your idea into a viable business.

Chairmen’s RoundTable
The Chairmen’s RoundTable is a non-profit volunteer organization comprised of successful Chief Executive Officers with diverse industry backgrounds who provide businesses in San Diego County advice on how to manage and grow their businesses through a well-defined mentoring program. CRT members provide this service free of charge to qualified area businesses as a way of giving back to the community.

As part of the CyberTECH Community, CyberHive is a unique, innovative business shared workspace and incubator program that delivers business and technical support to early stage companies providing cybersecurity and high tech related products and services. CyberHive is located in a quality office suite in downtown San Diego and at the center of an exploding high technology (Blue Coat, Sony, AccelerateIT, AIS) and defense community (SPAWAR, BAE, General Atomics, SAIC, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics NASSCO) and near San Diego State University, National University, UC San Diego and University of San Diego.

EvoNexus is San Diego’s only community-supported, fully pro-bono technology incubator. With a passion of helping startups grow, EvoNexus provides office space and puts on over 75 programs and events a year to help its startups achieve sustainability. Unlike many other incubators, EvoNexus provides these services entirely free of charge. The incubator does not take equity, does not charge rent, and its companies are under no financial or IP-related obligation to EvoNexus when they graduate.

Hera LABS is a unique business accelerator for aspiring entrepreneurial women. The program provides female start-ups, in all industries, a safe place to test ideas and grow their business. This is achieved through specialized, Do-It-Yourself, hands-on LABS at Hera Hub (at Hera LABS classroom); making it a one-stop resource for enterprising women to work, connect, and flourish. The program provides participants with mentoring and resources delivered by accomplished entrepreneurial women in the community. This includes access to experts with industry know-how, labs, tools, and investment capital to efficiently launch and achieve sustainability.

Janssen Labs
Located on the Torrey Pines mesa at Janssen Research & Development’s La Jolla-based West Coast Research Center, Janssen Labs provides access to modern equipment, facilities and operations management – thereby enabling new companies to focus on their research. Companies are able to save capital funds and eliminate facility construction and set-up costs, therefore, reducing the time to get operational while gaining access to the benefits of a class A corporate R&D facility.

The Moxie Center
The Moxie Center, located in the Jacobs School of Engineering, is funding a business incubator and educational programs to offer undergraduate students the opportunity to become entrepreneurs. This program will enable students, faculty, and alumni to develop exciting new ventures, and in the process contribute to the development of a new group of business and community leaders. Combined with the University’s extensive faculty, facilities and other resources, the Moxie Center will provide a synergistic effect, ultimately seeding numerous ventures that can provide enrichment to its participants and strength to the local economy.

Plug and Play San Diego
Partnering with principals of StartupCircle and Interwest Capital, Plug and Play San Diego has a goal of accelerating entrepreneurial companies in the San Diego area, increasing their access to the dynamic resources of Silicon Valley and San Diego, and increasing the chances of commercial success. Partnering with Startup Circle and Interwest Capital, Plug and Play intends to co-invest in early high-tech companies in the city, accelerate their growth and provide them with a direct route to success.

San Diego Sport Innovators
San Diego Sport Innovators (SDSI) offers a comprehensive list of programs covering business mentoring, education, networking and access to capital. SDSI works closely with CONNECTs preexisting programs such as Springboard, FrameWorks Workshops, and MIT Enterprise Forum San Diego to make appropriate and relevant opportunities for the sports industry such as SDSI specific networking events, educational panel discussions, and capital funding opportunities with our SDSI Angel Group and our Capital Forum.

San Diego Venture Group
San Diego Venture Group (SDVG) is a non-profit business association with a mission to support and promote the venture capital and start-up company eco-system in the San Diego region. SDVG’s 800 members include venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, experienced executives, and professionals who support them. This is the place to network, get information, and find support for your start-up dreams. The association gathers more than 300 people on a regular basis to learn about the venture capital industry, make new connections, and visit with peers.

SoCal EED is a new 501 (c) (3) organization, focused on creating entrepreneurial successes that lead to sustainable job creation in Southern California. The organization is approaching the high rate of startup company failure and slow job growth by facilitating regional entrepreneurial ecosystems, or startup communities. SoCal EED’s vision for startup communities ensures that startups have a place to create and refine their idea (Seed Accelerator) and then a place to turn their idea into a product/service and associated business (Business Accelerator).

StartR is a free, six month-long acceleration program held twice a year on the Rady School’s campus. Six teams are selected per each program. One member of the team must be a current student or alumni of the UC San Diego Rady School. The acceleration program is focused on hands-on company development and mentorship.  At the conclusion of the program, StartR teams are given an opportunity to pitch to investors and industry experts.

von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center
The von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering is dedicated to mentoring faculty and student inventors through the proof-of-concept process. The Center provides commercialization support to bridge the gap between exciting laboratory discoveries and products that address market needs. The Center primarily serves the UC San Diego engineering and science community, but many of its programs extend to universities in the Southern California region and well beyond.

West Health
The West Health Incubator provides expertise and resources to young businesses that share the mission of West Health—four organizations pioneering new and smarter technologies, policies and practices, to make high-quality healthcare more accessible at a lower cost to all Americans. The Incubator is a for-profit venture, with all returns committed to medical research and other charitable activities.

The Zahn Innovation Center
The Zahn Innovation Center includes a state of the art business incubator and access to a  wide variety of engineering laboratories and other facilities. The Center holds competitions, providing incentives and awarding cash prizes to student teams that come together with promising entrepreneurial ventures. The Center is designed to accelerate ideas into functioning, growing companies. The Zahn Innovation Center works closely with SDSU’s Entrepreneurial Management Center.

16. Blogs

17. Other Resources

Assay Depot operates cloud-based research exchanges that provide access to all the tools that scientists need to make breakthrough discoveries. By streamlining purchases from more than 8,000 global vendors, Assay Depot saves time and money and promotes innovation.

Bio, Tech and Beyond is a non-profit, open innovation laboratory dedicated to life science research and education. BTNB provides a home in which bioentrepreneurs, inventors, and citizen scientists can develop elegant solutions to costly problems and build companies that change the world.

Center for Business Planning

A library of resources that covers topics such as market analysis, competitive analysis, investment financing, production management, tax problems, legal issues, financial statements and writing a business plan.

Center for Entreprenomics at the San Diego North Economic Development Council

The center for Entreprenomics serves as a regional clearinghouse of information and resources for entrepreneurs and a support system for new business development in North County.

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering the development of the art and science of Entrepreneurship.

Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer

Search for federal laboratory inventions that are available for transfer to business partners. From this page you can locate a particular type of technology from the nationwide system of federal labs and research centers.

Kauffman eVenturing 

To help entrepreneurs start and manage businesses, the Kauffman Foundation recently launched Kauffman eVenturing™.Designed for growth-oriented entrepreneurs, the new website provides access to current information, organized around key subjects such as finance and accounting, people and human resources, sales and marketing, products and services, operations, and the entrepreneur. New collections of articles will be featured monthly, including original material and an aggregation of “the best of the best” existing articles. Fresh content also will be added through a link-blog to articles and tools on a variety of subjects.

Pacific Community Ventures (PCV)
Pacific Community Ventures (PCV) is an innovative 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that has pioneered a new approach to community economic development. They provide capital, mentoring and resources to businesses that have the potential to bring significant economic gains to low-income communities throughout California. PCV targets companies, generally not high tech, that draw a significant portion of their workforce from low/moderate-income communities, and offer free business and workforce service programs and targeted equity investing activity. Launched in the SF Bay Area, they commenced operations in San Diego earlier this year.

San Diego Advanced Defense Technology
San Diego’s advanced defense technology cluster, provides small businesses with services such as training, mentoring, consulting, potential funding, etc. to fast-track technologies in the areas of C4SIR which include command and control, network sensors, robotics, Internet and communications solutions, surveillance and advanced autonomous systems and cyber security.

SCORE offers free expert business advice from highly successful executives and entrepreneurs.

SDSU Small Business Institute
The Business Consulting Program at San Diego State University is designed to assist local businesses by providing cost-effective business and management consulting services.

ShoreTel Sky
Extensive list of resources for start up businesses with articles on start up ideas, creating business plans, communication and outreach, marketing plans, finance, and other resources.

Small Business Development Center (SBDC) of North County
The SBDC of North County is hosted by MiraCosta College and is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration. It serves all of San Diego County north of Interstate 8. SBDC offers no-cost assistance for small businesses and entrepreneurs and low cost seminars and workshops.  For more information contact Joe Molina, jmolina@miracosta.edu, 760-795-8740

Small Business Development Lead Center (SBDC) at Southwestern College
The SBDC is a leading provider of consulting services and workshops for small businesses in San Diego. SBDC has the knowledge and resources to help you build and maintain a successful business. The SBDC is dedicated to increasing the economic vitality of the community by helping small businesses and entrepreneurs build a foundation for success. THe SBDC Lead Center staff and consultants are available to assist in answering your business questions along with providing many resources that can help you start and/or expand your business.The SBDC assists potential and existing companies through one-on-one counseling, seminars and training, information, referrals, and more. It is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

U.S. Small Business Administration
Small business is America’s most powerful engine of opportunity and economic growth. That’s where SBA comes in. SBA offers a variety of programs and support services to help you navigate the issues you face with your initial applications, and resources to help after you open for business.