General Business


MIT Enterprise Forum and GLEQ are presenting a workshop and panel discussion on "Operational Growth and Capital Investment Planning for Entrepreneurs" on Tuesday, May 8, 2012. Leading the workshop and discussion is our very own Don Baker. About the program: For most startups and early stage technology companies, raising investment capital is the first and most daunting task.  Lack of adequate capitalization puts a great deal of strain on what is already the difficult task of launching a new product or service into the marketplace and building an operational business.   Particularly in bootstrapped start-ups, diversion of management resources to fundraising tasks usually lengthen time to market, which feeds back into a need for even more capital to support the launch.  In the process of increasing the investor “ask,” valuation and terms become more difficult, and investor skepticism about the business can become a self-fulfilling prophesy. Of course, certain aspects of the capital raising process are inescapable.  There is no substitute for the startup business to working very hard in presenting to investors, meetings, follow-ups, and mental (and business) management of rejection and delays in the investors’ decision making and the due diligence process. Much heartache can be reduced, and the entire process including these time-consuming parts, can be streamlined and accelerated by developing and following a “Capital Fundraising Plan” (CFP): (1) Forecast your capital needs and compare those needs to your plan for achieving operational success. (2) Correlate needs to business valuation so that you can build a credible case for the investment proposition being offered to investors. (3) Decide what KIND ...


Our very own Don Baker will be presenting "Paying Your Team Members with Equity: All About Stock Grants and Options" as a MIT Enterprise Forum Savvy Entrepreneur Series Lunch & Learn Webinar on April 24th from 12-1 p.m. Informative Webinars to help emerging technology companies and entrepreneurs understand how to leverage equity forms of compensation.  Many entrepreneurs need to on-board early team members and leaders with limited cash flow, so they consider how to best leverage equity forms of compensation.  There are important business, governance, legal, and tax perspectives to consider the best approaches for your specific situation.  Bring your situation and questions to this informative and interactive program to help educate yourself.   This Savvy Entrepreneur Series Webinar program is free with pre-registration.  The web and phone link will be shared with those that pre-register. Please email or call (248) 646-9100 x10 to make reservations.


Business Law & Order: Funding 101

I'm going to be presenting Don Baker's "Developing a Capital Fundraising Plan" at Ann Arbor Spark tonight, Monday, February 20th at 5:00 p.m. Here are the event details: What: Business Law & Order: Funding 101 Where: Ann Arbor SPARK Central, 330 East Liberty, Lower Level, Ann Arbor MI 48104 Date: 2/20/2012 Time: 5:00 PM-7:00 PM Cost: FREE Also presenting are Bradley J. Wyatt from Dickinson Wright PLLC, Gary Kendra of Kendra Law Firm, and Jeffrey L. LaBine from Miller Canfield, presenting on Grant Funding, Securities Law Basics, and “How to Choose Your Investors Wisely”. Hope you can stop by.


MIT Enterprise Forum of the Great Lakes continues its Savvy Entrepreneur Series on Tuesday, February 21st from 5:30-8:00 p.m. with "Inside the Mind of an Angel Investor". Our very own Don Baker will be joining the panel and is sure to provide some interesting insights -- since he has both represented companies taking angel investments and been an angel investor himself. About the event: For most entrepreneurs, raising seed and early stage capital is arguably one of the most challenging steps of starting a company.  This financing stage is usually too early for most professional Venture Capital firms.  And after you've put in most of your own money and that of some close friends and family, it is probably time to seek out some Angel investors. Who is the best type of Angel investor for my company? Where do I find these Angels? What role should they play in addition to providing investment dollars? What does a typical Angel look for in a "startup" company? Is an early stage investor right for your business? If my business takes off, how might a Venture Capitalist look at the Angel Investor? The panel includes Angel Investor, Venture Capitalist, Successful Entrepreneur, and Early Stage Business Attorney.  The moderator will help coordinate across the live sites a chance to ask your top questions to help your idea or business move forward more quickly.  The panelists want to help you succeed and learn quickly. Register Online In Advance for Free Admission.


The Annual Collaboration for Entrepreneurship, better known as ACE, is Ann Arbor's premier event for entrepreneur networking. ACE '12 is taking place this Tuesday, January 31, 2012, from 2-9 p.m., at Skyline High School in Ann Arbor. From the website: Each year at ACE, you'll join an exciting, forward-thinking community of innovators, entrepreneurs and business leaders – people like you — who have the vision and drive to build new ventures for a new future. Each year's ACE event, along with the year-long activities of its supporting organizations, is helping to make the Great Lakes region a better place to start and grow a business. Join hundreds of attendees as they take advantage of learning and networking opportunities with fellow entrepreneurs, funding sources and entrepreneurial resources at this year’s ACE. Looking for an opportunity to showcase your company with hundreds of entrepreneurs, investors and dignitaries? Join as an exhibitor at ACE ‘12 and add your voice to the conversation driving entrepreneurs in Southeast Michigan.   Click here for more information.


This month, Ann Arbor New Tech Meetup, brought to you by a2geeks, is hosting Roger Ehrenberg, celebrated New York angel investor, UM alum, and founder and Managing Partner of IA Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on big data investments. Here's an abstract of Roger's presentation: Data has touched every industry for decades, so why is Big Data such a hot topic now? In this talk, Roger frames what Big Data means, how it's generated, and how scale companies and startups alike use data as an active asset. He compares sources of data and end-products for example companies, and discusses how to use data as a source of natural competitive advantage. You can RSVP here.  


The next Detroit Startup Drinks event is Wednesday, December 21, 2011 from 5:30-8 p.m. at Cliff Bell's, 2030 Park Ave., Detroit.  Come on down and meet like-minded individuals looking to support startup culture, help each other out, and share ideas…over a pint. Join the Facebook Group.  Don’t forget to RSVP.


The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition

In the crowded world of business plan beauty contests, the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition sets itself apart by offering the largest crown -- a cool $1 million. Here's the deal: The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition is an international business plan competition designed to highlight Michigan as a robust and vibrant venue for innovation and business opportunity. The competition will fuel innovation-based business growth by uncovering the best and brightest new business concepts from local and global entrepreneurs, exposing those opportunities to potential investment capital and fostering their growth within Michigan. The competition targets mid-to-late seed-stage businesses with potential to generate an immediate impact on Michigan’s economy, as well as student concepts with longer-term business viability. With more than $1 million in cash winnings, plus in-kind awards of services and staffing, the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition is the world’s largest business plan competition. The competition is led by the Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan (composed of four of the region’s key business accelerators: Ann Arbor SPARK, Automation Alley, Macomb, and TechTown), the New Economy Initiative, Business Leaders for Michigan, and the University Research Corridor (Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University). Premier sponsors of the event are the Business Leaders for Michigan and the University Research Corridor. These groups have aligned their efforts to bolster and advance Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem through a variety of collaborative initiatives, including the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition. The mission is focused on job creation, increased capital and statewide economic and resource development. The Com­pe­ti­tion is from Novem­ber ...


Safford & Baker is a proud sponsor of the" 2010-11 Savvy Entrepreneur Series" brought to you by the Great Lakes Chapter of the MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF), UM Dearborn, and Great Lakes Entrepreneur Quest (GLEQ). The Series is co-produced with, and hosted by, a number of the region’s leading innovation accelerators and research institutions, the series provides early to mid-stage technology entrepreneurs with guidance on key topics that all startups and early growth companies must navigate to realize success. The next event in the Series is "2 + 2 = Infinity" on Tuesday, November 8, 2011, 5:30 PM-7:30 PM, covering compensation for the early-stage company: Building a team with passion, critical skills and connections is critical to your success. If your company is starting out, or one with limited resources, and can’t really afford a Fortune 500 pay package, what can you do to attract and retain the talent that you need to compete in this highly competitive world? Learn how to build awesome teams that match your current stage of business development and your current funding status. Learn steps for supporting highly creative and innovative team environment. Collaboration site locations in: Dearborn, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Flint, Midland, and Houghton. I'll be attending the Ann Arbor location. RSVP here.


Ann Arbor New Tech Meetup: TechArb Venture Showcase

This Thursday, October 13, 2011, Ann Arbor New Tech is breaking from its usual format for a very special event with U-M's Center for Entrepreneurship and The Ross School of Business Zell-Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies: a showcase of the latest batch of startups coming out of TechArb, U-M's student business accelerator, in their new (expanded) incubator space at 500 E. Washington St., Suite 10 (just west of N. Main). Opening remarks and presentations to begin at 5 PM, followed by (free!) dinner and networking until 7:30 PM. All are welcome, but you must RSVP.