Team Members

i4class LLC

Web: i4class.com
Class: 2013 Summer Accelerator

Company Description

I4class is a web based learning system that makes teachers and students more effective and engaged both in and out of the classroom.

Updates

8-7-13

- Content managers are hard at work  - i might have a shot at pulling this off.

- Had 1-1 meeting with Sean Doran as a follow-up to his accelerator session. He opened my eyes to a number of legal issues where my business is exposed.  The operating agreement, use of contract resources, and customer contracts need a lot of help but it's going to cost a lot of money. Dilemma!!!! His advice was to win the $5000 legal prize as part of the accelerator.

 

The following are my notes from the pricing 101 session

Pricing 101 – Valerie Kijewski – umass lowell

Buyers want benefits/values least expenditure of money time etc

Price differentiation

Focus slide

Competitor perspective – only for big companies

 

Cost slide

Sunk cost/fixed cost/variable cost – can’t expect customers to pay for sunk cost

Fixed costs

Salaries

401k

loan repayment

employee tax withholding

rent

insurance

 

 

contribution slide

variable cost

material cost

 

breakeven volume?

Contribution  = sp-vc = cm


Economic value slide

What’s the next best alternative have for what they are giving them now

-       they can do it themselves

How values differ – understand value–in-use

            Business travelers will pay more than vacationers for airfare

Never talk costs!!!!!!!        

What services – which subjects how many students – do you want a site license – do you want per student.

Let me know what your budget is and I can let you know what I can do.

Never lower price – lower what is offered.

 

Perceived value

Give a reference price - this is what typically done by others/other companies

Only talk about value

            - Student performance improvement

            - Teacher time saving

            - More effective use of class time

            - Less tutor costs/need for extra help

            - Less frustrated student – more empowered

            - Extend faculty to include parents

            - Quicker identification of student issues

            - Instant formative assessment

 

Attributes – subset of values

-       Instant grading

-       Ease of use

-       Support

-       Use real math notation

-        

 

-Price is not part of attributes

- the above tries to put a price on

 

Conjoint

Find out if is it more important to have attribute x or attribute y

Used to determine importance of each attribute

Then you can rank against competitor.

 

Market segmentation can now be done

            Your product attributes are the same but each customer segment puts different weight to the attributes

 

Don’t be afraid to lose a customer base on price

– they might end up being the most demanding customer let your competitor deal with them

How to dump a customer – refer them to a competitor 

Spin selling workbook

8-1-13

Working with Raj and Pat on deleloping a takeway document. What I had at the piranha pond  snd learnlaunch events was pitiful.

 

8-1-13 fundraising 101

The following are my notes on the fundraising session.

Sources of funding

            Grants

            Crowdfunding

            Friends and family – they trust you – is thanksgiving uncomfortable

            Advisors/people working for free – get things in writing

            Strategic partners -

            Professional investors

            Potential customers

            Loans/banks – hard to get as startup – need collateral - zero percent default

            credit cards – make sure you can pay it off – short term vehicle

            VC – success rate 30%  – want the big returns – do not  like startups

            Limited offering – sell limited amount of stock. – requires legal advice

Attitude about money/asking for money

-       know who you are talking to and what their interests are

  • how much they generally invest
  • who they have invested in before
  • where did they go to college

-       30 seconds of smiling – put a pencil in your mouth

-       stand up and jump around to get invigorated

-       stand up and smile when making a call (smile and dial)

 

-       be comfortable about what you are asking for and what

-       what’s in it for them- look at it fro their perspective – they have to make investments it’s their job.

-       They want to give you money  - they feel good about giving the money and in most cases have to find someplace to put the money

-       If you want money ask for advice. If you want advice ask for monye

-       Give them reasons to invest in you

 

Why people give or invest

-       to make more money

-       to make an impact

-       philanthropists

-       believe in you

-       identification with a cause

-       tax dedcuation for non-profit

-       co-invest with someone that’s famous

-       Because they were asked

-       Because they saw the passion

 

Preparing for the meeting

-       be on time

-       ask them how much time they have for the meeting

-       leave enough time to ask how di I do/what do you think

-       after they say no interest- what could I do better next time

-       ask for a referral

Resources

7-30-13 Piranha pond pitch

- Gave my pitch at the piranha pond. lots of good feedback and made some good contacts. Ine of the investor judges wants to follow-up with me.

- Heads down in the hring/training process for content managers. Very nervous!

 

 

7-30-13 Legal  - The right way, the cheap way, and the things not to compromise on

The following ar my notes form the legal session 

 

-       Steve – attorney in the start up space

 

-       Akiyo – big law firm Edwards wildman – her focus – have startup discounts or deferments

 

-       Sean  - works with startups – from silicon valley – Edwards wildman law will  provide $5000 in legal fees for free at end of accelerator to one finalist

 

- Cambridge innovation center – open copy house for free legal direction

 

 Legal documents needed in your arsenal

 

 For entity – incorporation

 

            LLC operating agreement

 

             Founder agreements  

 

    

 

Contracts with customer

 

            Annual Software license agreement

 

 

 

- Employment - Human resources contracts

 

             equity agreements for employees - make sure of vesting

 

            Assignment Agreement from an employee

 

            NDA

 

            Non-Compete

 

            Offer letter to employee – on-boarding package

 

            if everyone doesn’t sign all the rest are invalid

 

       

 

- Outside Investor agreements - fundraising

 

◦    Equity

 

◦    Options

 

◦    Vesting - you get nothing if you don’t stay with company

 

◦    Restricted stock

 

 

 

-How do you choose an attorney

 

-       Ask about the types of companies they represent

 

-       Ask about their charges

 

-       Network to find one

 

-       Research the firm

 

-       Ask your accountant

 

 

 

- ip – get a specialist in the particular specific area – go use a generaist

 

◦    patents – exclusive grant to do something unique - govt

 

                        detail search before proceeding

 

◦    copyrights – concept idea – lines of code

 

                        not filed

 

                        need evidence that you created it on certain date

 

            trademark – visible emblem of your company

 

                        Brand yourself

 

                        Search for free to see if it has been trademarked

 

                        trade secret – coca cola formula

 

7-26-13

-       Pat and Raj gave me great feedback this week on preparing for my mid-pitch. I felt prepared.

-       The mid pitch went well. Everyone was very supportive of one another. I received some very useful feedback and now have a bit of work to do adjusting the presentation.

-       I participated in a learnlaunch beta teacher conference. Made a number of contacts and received some positive feedback and some  suggestions regarding my product.

- Raj and pat help me revise the mid pitch to accomodate the stringent requirments of my upcoming pitch at the piranha pond. 

 

 

7-24-13 Social media night 

The following are my notes of the social media session.

 

Bobbie Carlton – Carlton PR and marleting – mass innovation night – launch businesses

Roberto Del – blogger

Trish fontanilla – Vsnap – record video messages

Sopheak sam – branding and design FOB lifestyle and brand

 

What’s your go to social media

-       Bobbie – linkedin  b to b

-       Roberto – twitter – simple, widely used, 140 characters

-       Trish – twitter – face book is on its way out

-       Sopheak – Facebook – he is part of that generation – largest by far

What about the other platforms like google plu

-       too much like facebook

-       tumbler is used by blogger because it is more visual – blog lite

-       bobbie uses google plus because it helps your in bound lists for search optimization

-       trish wants so bad to use google plus but it has some – it is replacing skype

instagram- everyday use because its addictive – like pinterest - very visual and is very easy and gets

 

vsnap – video respponse

 

Vimeo is and alterative to youtube

 

Social media is a time suck – be careful – focus on limited things and do it well

 

How do you build your following – being human and give people what they need and want.  It’s not about you it’s about them. Need to have a point of view and a strategy. Remain focused.

 

Grab you name on all the social media sites before someone else does

 

Common social media mistakes

-       creating white noise – it alienates your audience

-       don’ mistakenly send out a message

-       less is more

-       don’t be lazy

-       poor grammar and spelling – if you look illiterate you will get less followers

-       make sure all the platforms work together and are integrated.

-       it’s the pony express on steroids

 

Twitter – 5 to 7 posts a day at very times of day

 

Linkedin – most people you should know before you connect to them

-       use linked-in groups

-       build out company page

-       get clients to recommend you on linked-in – better than  endorsements

-     tag immediately

 

 

 

7-19-13

Spent most of the week creating ad's and processing applicationsn for a new content manager. Not really what I was planning on doing. I'm very concerned that I am not going to be able to get my two school up and running for september. I'm also concerned that lthis is going to interfere with me being able to get the most out of my time with the accelerator program. Stay tumned.

David gave me some great advice about having a test for for the candidates to validate that they can do the job. I've created it and feel much better about the hiring process.

 

7-18-13 Branding

Lee Asher – umass Lowell makes things appealing –graphic design

Samir – green bikes of Lowell – web design and search optimization

Charu Gupata, Partner at VENG Group: Former journalist

– now working with people on brand and getting the message out

 

What should we be aware of and thinking about and focus and not focus on

 

Design

-       stick with the same color scheme and font design once you start and used it on

-       less is more – minimal

-       clean and consistent

-       have illustrator make it vector based not pixel based

 

- Lironash14@hotmail.com

 

 

Web strategy

-       strong clear message

-       easy navigation – no more dropdowns – people are using iphones

-       get started

-       straight to the point messages on website (30 seconds or less to get it

-       Google analytics – Google trends

-                   - great analytics on web traffic to your site and your competitors

 

Communication

-       Market research on your market position

  • Big things that drive competitors versus what makes you different
  • Focus groups

-       Think about communication strategy – email list – don’t over email

-       Social media takes a lot of time and effort – don’t dive in too early

-       Press strategy

 

Connect with an emotion

Make it funny