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.

Two not-to-miss events this week for the entrepreneur:

First up, Detroit Startup Drinks is back and visiting The Bronx Bar tomorrow, Tuesday, October 25th, from 6:00pm - 8:00pm. Come on down, have a drink, and talk about what you’re working on. S&B is buying the first round. Details at the Facebook page.

Then, come on out to Ann Arbor for a very special Halloween edition of Fourth Friday at the Tech Brewery sponsored by newcomers LanguageMate. There will be catering, an amazing dessert display, kegs of Michigan micro brews, and more birds of prey (no really). Details and RSVP here.

Hope you can make it.

Workshop and panel discussion for determining best operational growth and capital investment plan.

May 17, 2011, Tuesday, from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM

2010-2011 Great Lakes Savvy Entrepreneur Series (MITEF-GL with GLEQ and TiE)

The series provides early to mid-stage technology entrepreneurs with guidance on key topics that all startups must navigate to realize success.  This expert panel of angel investors, business advisors and successful technology entrepreneurs will answer your toughest and most important questions on raising investment capital.  Generate new high value contacts across the Great Lakes region to ratchet up your plans and accelerate success while gaining technology entrepreneur best practice insights.  Active and want-to-be entrepreneurs have said this is a great investment for success.

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.

Let me suggest, though, that 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).  We will cover:

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 of financing is needed, what type of financing/investment source is best for you, and what investment terms are reasonable to offer in light of your enterprise needs.

4) Questions and Answers raised in developing a CFP.

5) Comprehensive case study of CFP development.

If finding out the answers to this question is important to your venture, then please join the MIT Enterprise Forum and GLEQ on Tuesday, May 17, 2011. More information at:    www.mitgreatlakes.org

It’s on! April 21st starting at 5:30 p.m. at…

Angelina Bistro
1565 Broadway Street
Detroit, MI 48226

Right across the street from Comerica Park and the Opera House.

Half off Appetizers/Pizzas during happy hour.

Ann Arbor New Tech, brought to you by a2geeks, is a group of people from various industries and backgrounds (e.g., entrepreneurs, technologists, investors, lawyers, marketers, students, etc.) interested in fostering local technology startups by organizing events, sharing resources, and building a supportive community.

Ann Arbor New Tech’s signature event takes place on the third Tuesday of each month, at 6:30 p.m., at Blau Auditorium, UM Ross School of Business, 701 Tappan Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104.  The monthly event features three to five companies who are each given five minutes to demo and five minutes to answer questions.  Open announcements and networking follows.

This month’s meetup is on Tuesday, July 20th.  Hope to see you there.

The Great Lakes Innovation and Technology Report (GLITR) is a daily read around these parts.  Matt Roush has covered the tech world from a Michigan perspective for almost ten years now.  That’s one of the reasons why we’re all very honored that our firm is featured in this GLITR article highlighting our commitment to working with technology startup companies.  From the article:

Added [Don] Baker: “We’ve made a commitment to working with startups, because we felt like in addition to the legal part, we had skill sets and network relationships that could be helpful to folks that were trying to get something started.”

[Randy] Safford said tech startups “have a lot of special needs — a high intensity need for legal services early in their lives. They have to plan their intellectual property strategy, go get patents, plan your fundraising, go get money, all o fwhich is extremely time consuming.”

The article also highlights our startup legal products.

Clients Myine Electronics and Livio Radio are featured in this New York Times article on the new wave of Internet radios.  Livio ImageFrom the article:


A wide variety of stand-alone players are now available that allow consumers to listen to Internet radio without using a PC.

One compelling feature: many offer wireless connectivity — with a wireless router, you can place the player anywhere in the home within range of the signal, and use the player as you would with a normal radio.

Livio Radio’s wireless line includes its AARP, NPR and Pandora models. (Pandora’s music service allows listeners to “create” a radio station based on an artist or genre they like. Then, Pandora automatically plays other music that the service believes fits the same category.)


If you are an employer, are you monitoring your employee’s personal emails sent from work?   Can you?   Until recently, courts have generally accepted the argument from employers that they can monitor anything over their corporate computer networks, including personal emails sent from work.   The Wall Street Journal recently reported, however, that courts are now more likely to side with the employee, unless the employer has put the employee on notice that personal emails may be monitored.  In the absence of such notice, courts have said that employees have a reasonable expectation that their personal e-mails will remain private and will not be accessed by the employer.

The whole article can be read here.

Kauffman Foundation’s CEO,  Dr. Carl Schramm, believes the city can revive itself through entrepreneurship.

From the article:

The rise of Detroit in the 20th century was a result of entrepreneurs such as automotive icon Henry Ford taking risks, innovative thinking and start-up companies that provided jobs.

“This city can do it all over again,” he said.

One of the Kansas City, Mo.-based foundation’s missions is to foster and advance entrepreneurship, promote entrepreneurship-friendly policies and facilitate the commercialization of new technologies by entrepreneurs. The foundation last week released a study showing that young companies are the main drivers of job creation. Companies less than five years old created nearly two-thirds of net new jobs in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Detroit’s greatest assets are the plethora of “human capital” and a new mayor who is well-versed in the business world, Schramm said. Mayor Dave Bing, who founded The Bing Group, an automotive supply company, could be a real boost to the city’s economic growth.

“I have a hunch if there’s a blessing (for Detroit’s business climate), it’s Mayor Bing’s experience,” Schramm said.

Read the entire article here.

Safford & Baker client Nextep Systems, Inc., a Troy-based touch-screen kiosk developer, is featured in the Great Lakes IT Report for their next generation drive-thru kiosks.  ”Nextep and MRI have introduced a new concept of touch screen drive-thru kiosks that empower customers, improve order accuracy and efficiency, boost upsell opportunities and can increase revenue.”