Investor Meetings: by Referral Only

Most VCs don’t have time to look at the thousands of unsolicited deals that are sent to them "over the transom," an interesting phrase defined by Wikipedia. Most only look at deals that are referred to them by people they know and trust.

So when VC Forum comes to your town looking for local deals that are promising, the Forum requires them to be submitted by a local VC firm that has of course screened the deals.

So local companies that want to pitch at the VC Forum events will need to have already gotten in front of credible people and started telling their story. You have to get noticed, you have to have a good team and a good story, and then you get the referral you are looking for.

The team at FundingUniverse.com has been very grateful for the support of hundreds of angel investors, VCs, sponsors, and entrepreneurs in Utah that have turned its online angel investor matching service and its Speedpitching events into key components of the Utah funding scene.

We heard today that all of the deals but one that were featured at Utah VC Forum event last week had previously attended FundingUniverse.com Speedpitching Events.

Many of the best deals that I have seen at the Speedpitching Events were looking for more money than is usually available from angel investors; so I’m glad to see that some of these are moving on to the VC arena. I hope the coaching and feedback they have received at the Speedpitching Events will help them land the venture capital they are looking for. I bet that it helped some of them get the referral they needed to present at this prestigious VC Forum event.

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MyFamily.com Alexa Chart

It is interesting to look at the 5-year Alexa chart of MyFamily.com–a web site that was a high-flying pioneer in user generated content, photo sharing, free voice chat, and viral marketing; but which has been neglected in both development and marketing for nearly 5 years. Now that MyFamily.com has opened an office in Seattle and is recruiting web 2.0 developers and experienced internet marketers, you wonder if this web site will make a resurgence.

While we’re at it, here is the chart for Ancestry.com, the chart for Rootsweb.com, the chart for genealogy.com, and the chart for familysearch.org from the LDS (Mormon) Church.

It would seem that people are losing interest in genealogy. 😉

I hope not, because WorldVitalRecords.com launched its subscription web site today. Starting with several dozen databases, WorldVitalRecords.com is seeking to become a significant player in the genealogy industry over the new few years. We add at least one new database to our web site every day. The subscription fee is only $49.95 per year; but since we are just getting started, we are offering a 2-year subscription for $49.95 during the month of October.

We have a wonderful content acquisition team and advisors who are finding databases around the world that we can digitize or license. We also have on our team the two engineers that wrote the original search engine at Ancestry.com and prepared the first 3 billion records that Ancestry.com has online. We are excited to re-introduce many of the original ideas and practices of Ancestry.com and MyFamily.com to see if we can help people worldwide connect with their families.

Our current effort is small, but with the support of customers who believe in what we are trying to do, and of partners who want to provide access to their content to our customers, we hope we can make a mark.

We will be starting our search engine marketing and affiliate marketing programs in the coming weeks, and launching some incredible new databases and features — so stay tuned.

Please check out our vital records databases, tell us how you like the online mapping features that we have associated with most of our databases, and let us know what you’d like to see us do next. We have hundreds of ideas that we hope to implement in the future, but your input matters most to us. So please tell us what you want to see!

Note: I have not been associated with MyFamily.com in any official capacity since leaving the company in February 2002.

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Help Wanted: World History Blogger Network Technical Manager

Worldhistory.com is looking for a talented developer who can work part-time to help us maintain our current blogger network and launch new blogs as we add new editors.

Experience setting up WordPress blogs and web analytics software is required.

Eventually we hope to have hundreds or thousands of historical bloggers in our network, so we need a developer who can not only set up WordPress blogs on new domains for our new bloggers, but can also improve our efficiency by automation the creation of blogs in the future, the cross-promotion of those blogs, and the tracking and reporting of site traffic and revenue for all of our editors.

If you are interested, please contact Amy Rhoads, at amyrhoads “AT” gmail.com.

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Provo Labs Academy Training Schedule

Provo Labs has opened an Academy for Entrepreneurs in Provo, Utah, in the new office building adjacent to BYU on 9th East in Provo. Our address is easy to remember: 1234 N. 900 E., Provo, UT 84604. (See us on a Google Map.)

We have 18 spaces for 1-3 person startup companies and they are starting to fill up. Pat Sheranian is managing the office. If you want a tour of the building or learn about our Bronze, Silver, and Gold Membership packages at the Academy, please call Roger at 852-6163.

More important than the office space, phone, internet access, and computer that you receive as an Academy member are the business networking opportunities that we provide and the entrepreneurial training that you receive.

On Monday at 4 pm, 50 potential members showed up for the Provo Labs Academy open house–more than we expected. It was exciting to meet all the potential members, to hear about the companies they are running, and to talk about the many topics we will be covering in our training meetings and in the brainstorm meetings that will be held almost daily.

Our facilities are still not completely finished; but members are signing up and moving in. This is getting very exciting.

So, for those who have signed up already (or who do in the next few days), here are some of the training sessions that I’m going to be running in October:

Thursday, Oct 5th, 10:00 am.
“Using LinkedIn to Open Doors and Build Your Business”

Tuesday, Oct 10th: 4-5:30 pm. “Introduction to Search Engine Marketing: Running Your First Pay Per Click Campaign”

Wednesday, Oct 11th: 9:00 am. “Online Lead Generation: Easier than Online Sales”

Friday, Oct. 13th: 9:00 am. Brainstorm Session–What is the Biggest Challenge You Face in Business Right Now. (This will be limited to 12 attendees. Each will be able to get brainstorm help from all other attendees. This will be patterned after our traditional Entrepreneur Brainstorm Lunch, otherwise known as “Twinkie Talk.”)

Monday, Oct. 16th: 4:00 pm. An Invitation to Use My Rolodex. (I will invite 10 attendees to sit with me and go through my Corporate Alliance CARMA database, my gmail contacts database, as well as my LinkedIn database of 1.5 million people, to see if I know anyone who can help them with their immediate business concerns.)

More events will be scheduled later.

We’ll do some on raising money from angel investors, using online surveys with prospects and customers, and lots of other internet marketing topics, including web site design, email marketing, affiliate marketing, online PR and much more.

Plus, all Provo Labs Academy members can schedule a brainstorm meeting at any time on any topic, and invite other members to join with them. I’ll attend some of these as well.

Let me know what other topics you’d like to see covered.

If you live outside of Utah, stay tuned because we’re trying to determine how to do a national Academy for Entrepreneurs as well. Then I hope we go international as well.

Our goal at Provo Labs Academy is to help entrepreneurs increase their chances to succeed. Most startup companies fail, but we don’t believe this has to be the case. We’d like to enable entrepreneurs to learn from successful entrepreneurs and mentors, and to network with each other as they try to get their business off the ground.

We also want to teach dozens of important internet marketing tactics to our members so they can use the internet to find customers and partners. The world is embracing the internet and every company needs an internet strategy to be competitive in the 21st century. Companies who do this right have an excellent chance to succeed.

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Jumping into Online Video

I wrote an article for Connect Magazine’s September issue about skating to where the puck is going, not to where it has been, and I specifically addressed online video. I encourage companies to rush into online video, to take advantage of this new trend, and gain a competitive advantage by being an early adopter.

There are so many ways to take advantage of the low cost of producing and distributing online video: marketing, PR, training, recruiting. The conversion rate of video can be much, much higher than of traditional online text or banner ads.

Yesterday at the Provo Labs open house, one of my friends told me that Current TV — the cable TV channel that plays only user generated content — is now paying producers of video content. Current uses its web site so internet users can vote on the best video segments. Then the company plays the best ones on its cable TV channel. This is a remarkable business model!

A couple months back Revenue Magazine had an excellent article written by its publisher about how affiliates are starting to use online video to increase conversion rates. That is the trend 10Speed Media is trying to lead.

It works! This past week 10Speed Media launched several test campaigns and achieved an overall result that thrilled me. Our team met yesterday and decided how our test campaign results are going to affect our strategy moving forward. The results suggest we should launch more campaigns (I think we have 35 more planned) so that we can determine which industries and merchants to focus on first.

Last week, a MarketingVOX article reported that at OMMA a panel of advertising executives agreed that 15 second online video advertisements are most effective.

Today, a press release reported on a survey of more than 2,000 consumers, which among other things explored the length of video advertisements they are willing to endure based on the size of the screen they are watching: cell phone, iPod, computer, vs. television. Here’s an excerpt.

For the first time consumer receptiveness to advertising by device and screen size was explored. Applicants were asked what the maximum length of an advertisement they

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