How to Start a Startup at Cornell

Cornell MBA student Mike Annunziata recently published a great article on starting a company at Cornell from the perspective of a student.  Mike has in fact started a company called Natural Cuts https://www.natural-cuts.com/, and no, it is not a hair cutting salon!

Mike hits the steps (getting started, course work, getting involved with entrepreneurship, taking ideas to market, and getting funded) and identifies which Cornell resources might be useful.

Here is Mike’s full article.

Hope you have a great weekend.

State of Startups 2016

First Round Capital just released its State of Startups 2016.  It is chock full of interesting stuff!  No need for me to recap it here.  Just view it for yourself.  Here is the link.  Thanks!

PS:  2 prominent team members at First Round Capital are Cornellians (Bill Trenchard and Howard Morgan)!

Make a Donation to UVC

Warning:  this is a non-profit fund raising email!

I am on the board of Upstate Venture Connect (UVC).   UVC is a non-profit focused on helping build the upstate NY startup community.  Among other things, UVC (i) connects people via events and newsletters, (ii) helps groups create seed/angel funds, which then invest in NYS companies, and (iii) maintains an ecosystem map and calendar.

As you plan your year end giving, please consider UVC.  It is worth the support.  All donations are fully tax deductible.

I have set up a simple way to give via GiveGab (yes, GiveGab is a CVF portfolio company).  Here is the link.   Thanks in advance!

New Podcast – Public Service Announcement

A colleague of mine recently told me about a new podcast called “How I Built This”.  It goes into the stories of famous entrepreneurs and innovators.  Guy Raz (well known radio host at National Public Radio) interviews founders, etc., and turns the interviews into compelling ~30 minutes narratives.  GREAT for car rides.  I just drove home from Maryland and listened to about 5 of them.  I think my 14 year old daughter even enjoyed.  I forced her to listen to one so she would better understand what I do with startups.

GREAT stories.  Enjoy.  Available on iTunes, etc.

Immigration Issues

Guest post today from Steve Yale-Loehr, a leading immigration law expert who lives in Ithaca.  Steve teaches at Cornell Law School and is a partner at Miller Mayer, LLP (a law firm in Ithaca).   Steve sent me this email today, which I thought was perfect for a post.  Immigration hurdles are a serious issue for startups.  The proposed rules are a step in the right direction.  Here you go:

Zach: Today the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a proposed rule to allow certain international entrepreneurs to be considered for parole (temporary permission to be in the United States) so they may start or scale their businesses in the United States.

The proposed rule would allow the USCIS to use its existing discretionary statutory parole authority for entrepreneurs of startup entities whose stay in the United States would provide a “significant public benefit through the substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation.” Under the proposed rule, the USCIS may parole, on a case-by-case basis, eligible entrepreneurs of startup enterprises:

  • Who have a significant ownership interest in the startup (at least 15 percent) and have an active and central role to its operations;
  • Whose startup was formed in the United States within the past three years; and
  • Whose startup has substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation, as evidenced by:

–      Receiving significant investment of capital (at least $345,000) from certain qualified U.S. investors with established records of successful investments;

–      Receiving significant awards or grants (at least $100,000) from certain federal, state, or local government entities; or

–      Partially satisfying one or both of the above criteria in addition to other reliable and compelling evidence of the startup entity’s substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.

Under the proposed rule, entrepreneurs may be granted an initial stay of up to two years to oversee and grow their startup entities in the United States. A subsequent request for re-parole (for up to three additional years) would be considered if the entrepreneur and the startup entity continue to provide a significant public benefit as evidenced by substantial increases in capital investment, revenue, or job creation.

The U.S. Alliance for International Entrepreneurs (USAIE) has written the attached summary (usaie-comments-on-proposed-immigrant-entrepreneur-rule-1 ) and initial analysis of the proposed rule.  It is also on the USAIE website at http://usaie.org/uscis-proposes-international-entrepreneur-rule-usaie-summary/.

I am a founding member of USAIE, and helped draft the summary and analysis.  Please forward to interested international entrepreneurs.

USAIE will draft a model comment on the proposed rule.  Please let me know if you or anyone else at Cornell would like to receive that model comment to help you submit your own comments on the rule.

Thanks, Steve