DayOne Ventures in the News

According to Pat Matthews, a DayOne Ventures mentor, applications are still being accepted for its seed stage investment and mentorship program for technology-based startups.

We were delighted that Handshake 2.0 was the venue selected to announce the launch of DayOne Ventures.  With the program beginning May 31, 2010, we look forward to learning about the entrepreneurs and companies selected for mentorship in the inaugural session.

DayOne Ventures has been in the news.  Here's a list we've compiled, most recent first:

Mentorship program gives money and more to technology startups, Blue Ridge Business Journal, May 3, 2010

How To Get Funded or Get Acquired, Building 43, April 2010 (video includes DayOne Ventures mentor Bill Boebel)

DayOne Ventures Brings Small Town Flavor to Startup Incubation, ReadWriteStart, March 31, 2010

Mentors-Plus-Capital Programs – Intense Incubation by Jim Flowers – Startup Professionals, March 17, 2010

DayOneVentures @ VT KnowledgeWorks Launches, PRWeb, March 17, 2010

DayOne Ventures Launches @ VT KnowledgeWorks – Inside VT KnowledgeWorks, March 12, 2010

DayOne Ventures Launches – Seed Stage Investment for Technology Start-Ups – Handshake 2.0, March 12, 2010

DayOne Ventures @ VT KnowledgeWorks DayOne Ventures is a seed stage investment and mentorship program for technology-based startups. Each spring DayOne engages with up to three early stage startups through a competitive evaluation process. Winning teams can receive up to $16,000 to cover personal and business expenses related to participation in the summer mentorship program, plus class A office space and high-speed internet access during their stay. Throughout the summer, each team receives regular mentoring by successful entrepreneurs who have built and sold technology businesses. The program concludes in late August. At the end of the summer, each firm has the opportunity to present to potential investors via a demo day event.

You're invited to read more about DayOne Ventures on Handshake 2.0 and to follow DayOne Ventures on Twitter @dayoneventures.


DayOne Ventures is housed at the VT KnowledgeWorks Business Acceleration Center, located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg, Virginia.  VT KnowledgeWorks is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.

Entrepreneurs Can Polish Their Pitches to Angel Investors

460 Angels, a seed and early-stage angel investor group based in the New River Valley and Roanoke region of Virginia Having written several posts about Angel Investing on Handshake 2.0 and having heard questions about angel investing from the constituents of local angel investing initiatives in the Blacksburg, Virginia area, I was fascinated to receive this announcement from Bob Summers:

"The NewVa Corridor Technology Council's (NCTC's) Access to Capital Committee and 460 Angels are seeking local businesses which need capital to grow.  A business pitch is the first step to communicating an entrepreneur's idea and opening doors to the required $. The Pitch and Polish Clinic is an activity which is designed to help  entrepreneurs make their presentations better before they go to the funding source."

Bob Summers was open to answering the questions I've heard (and asked myself): 

Q. I'm an entrepreneur with an idea, but I don't have a company.  Can I still pitch?

A. Yes, but you need to have prepared a two-page executive summary to get the most out of the presentation.  A well-prepared business pitch includes details on the Market opportunity, the Technology/Product, and the Team that is going to lead it.
Q. I have a company, I have an idea, but I don't know if I'm an entrepreneur.  Can I still pitch my idea to see if this is the path I want to take with my company?

A. Depends.  The Pitch and Polish clinic is designed to help entrepreneurs tune an investor pitch to raise needed seed or early stage capital.  Time is best used for those product companies which have global scale that require angel or venture capital for rapid growth.
Q. I'm not sure my idea is good enough to pitch.  How can I decide whether or not it's good enough?

A. Is your idea the basis of a business that can have $50+ million in revenue in three years?  Software product companies that meet the needs of an untapped market can meet this metric and are good ideas.  Think hard about the market opportunity (who will buy) and competition (who will stop you).  If your product will solve a problem that is worth paying for and you can beat the competition, then it is a good idea worth giving a pitch.
Q. I want to pitch, but I'm not sure I'm ready.  How do I know I'm ready?

A. If you can explain the idea and business in 10 minutes with 6-8 slides, then you are ready.  The Pitch and Polish Clinic is designed to give you a chance to practice, so go for it!  This is not Shark Tank…we don’t bite.

Thanks for the information, Bob.  I'm still working on my killer app.  " $50+ million in revenue in three years"?  Piece of cake.  I look forward to being in touch with you when it's ready. 🙂


For more information about the Pitch and Polish Clinics, to learn about upcoming clinics, or to request a pitching slot, please contact Bob Summers, [email protected].

Pitch and Polish is open to all technology product companies with a 10-minute business presentation that want feedback from a room of experienced business people. The clinic provides an entrepreneur with the opportunity to give a 10-minute investor pitch and receive feedback on how to improve.  The clinic is held monthly at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center.  The first Clinic will be held in May, 2010.

460 Angels is a seed and early-stage angel investor group focused on funding and coaching hi-tech entrepreneurs with scalable business models based in the New River Valley and Roanoke region of Virginia.

The goal of the Access to Capital Committee, formed by the NewVa Corridor Technology Council, is to increase communication between technology firms that need funding and investors willing to fund them.

For more information about angel investing, feel free to read Angel Investor's Guide to Blacksburg, Virginia and our category Angel Investing on Handshake 2.0.

The NewVa Corridor Technology Council (NCTC) is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.

Ten Bottom Line Stats About Angel Investing


"Fast-growing young firms, comprising less than 1 percent of all companies, generate roughly 10 percent of new jobs in any given year." (Kauffman Foundation)


"…less than 3% of young companies raise equity from external investors." (BusinessWeek)


Nationally, only 312 seed stage companies received funding in 2009.  (National Venture Capital Association)


"…while venture capital is important for the development and growth of certain firms, it doesn’t appear to be universally important for creating high-growth companies. Of several hundred fast-growing companies on the Inc. list over the last decade, only 16 percent ever received a venture capital investment.” ("High-Growth Firms and the Future of the American Economy," Kauffman Foundation, March 2010)


"Industries receiving the most dollars in first-time financings in 2009 were Biotechnology, Industrial/Energy and Software. Industries with the most first-time deals in 2009 were Software, Media/Entertainment, and Biotechnology." (VC Investments Q4 '09 – Money Tree – Press Release)


"Women run 40 percent of privately-owned businesses, but only 8 percent of venture-backed tech start-ups." (Inc.) 


In 2009 women angels represented 11.3% of the angel market. In 2009, women angels represented 11.3% of the angel market. (March 31, 2010 report, Center for Venture Research)


At U.S. start-up programs, the mentors are predominantly male: Capital Factory, 18 of 20, DayOne Ventures, 9 of 9, LaunchBox, 29 of 31, Tech Stars, 144 of 158,  Y Combinator, 3 of 4.


"…when women do seek angel capital they lag behind the market yield rate by 5%." (Center for Venture Research)


"…at least half of all angel investments lose money and 48% of investments with final outcomes result in a 100% loss." (Wall Street Journal)


Angel Investor Guide to Blacksburg, Virginia

Handshake 2.0 on Angel Investing – All posts in the category

Three Months of Handshake 2.0

Handshake 2.0 launched three months ago today and I have been reflecting on what I have learned from the process.  I have been in the fascinating position of being an entrepreneur in a high-tech business acceleration center, previously known as a high-tech start-up incubator, so I have had guidance from great minds and from great experience.

I started my start-up, however, before I entered the acceleration center.  Let’s just say some legacy issues have been brought to my attention, now that I’ve been privy to the latest and greatest in entrepreneurship.

Although some pundits advise quitting a day job to devote oneself completely to one’s idea, others advise keeping a day job at least until one has customers for one’s products or services.

Uh, well, having already left my previous position, I pitched my idea, got it provisionally accepted on an experimental basis, i.e. no moolah, started a sole proprietorship and went chunk by chunk through my savings, converted that provisional accepter into a client, then realized my idea could be scaled up, so started an incorporated business and had beautiful business cards made and chunked a few more withdrawals and pitched my scaled up idea and got it provisionally accepted on an experimental basis, i.e. no moolah, and then I got a friends and family loan to cover my insufficient funds notice. 

What would I do differently?  Nothing. 

I, like many entrepreneurs with start-ups, have unrelenting passion for my idea.  If I had stayed in my previous position, done my idea piecemeal, slowly, slowly pitched it here and there, gotten a onesy-twosy customer thing going?  Soul pain.

I thought my idea was good when it was small.  Scaled up, it’s exquisite.  I think it can be something that inspires and moves and lifts and reaches.

I must be an entrepreneur.

I’m crazier about my idea than I was when I started.

As it turns three months old, thank you with the deepest gratitude to readers, clients, partners, and friends of Handshake 2.0.

Rules of “The Knack”

"I’ve been an entrepreneur for almost 30 years now–29 years and two months, to be exact, but who’s counting?–and one thing I’ve learned is that there is no formula for success in business…what we have in common is a certain mentality, a way of thinking that allows us [company builders] to overcome many obstacles and take advantage of many opportunities as they arise.  I call it the knack."

That’s an excerpt from Norm Brodsky’s Street Smarts column in the print edition of the October 2008 issue of Inc.  He and his co-author, Bo Burlingham, have written The Knack: How Street-Smart Entrepreneurs Learn to Handle Whatever Comes Up

In Inc., Brodsky writes, "Rather than repeat what’s there, I thought I would give you what I believe are the 10 most important lessons I have learned over the past 29-plus years, the rules I still rely on today."

Handshake 2.0 found Brodsky’s business advice of inestimable value.  Although the article is not yet available online (one assumes it will soon be on Street Smarts) and the text explaining the rules is stellar, we offer this excerpt as Brodsky’s Rules of The Knack:

  1. Numbers run a business.  If you don’t know how to read them, you’re flying blind.
  2. A sale isn’t a sale until you collect.
  3. When your short-term liabilities exceed your short-term assets, you are bankrupt.
  4. Forget about shortcuts.  Run a business as if it’s forever.
  5. Cash is hard to get and easy to spend.  Make it before you spend it.
  6. You have no friends in business, only associates.
  7. Don’t focus on the top line.  Gross margin is the most important number on the income statement.
  8. Identify your true competitors, and treat them with respect.
  9. Culture drives a company.  In the long run, the boss’s most important job is to define and enforce it.
  10. The life plan has to come before the business plan.

The Hypothetical Entrepreneur – Have You Got It?

From Adam Scouse:

You have a great idea that is going to sweep the nation, so you have decided to start a business. However, before you start, Jim Flowers wants to know if you have what it takes.

Jim Flowers, director of business acceleration center VT KnowledgeWorks, calls it moxie.

My generation would call it guts. Either way, in order to succeed as a small business owner, you need it.

Along with my drive to create a powerful product that is different from those of competitors, I need to take some time to better inform readers about my situation. As Thoreau wrote in Walden “I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well.”

After considering some feedback from fellow bloggers on Handshake 2.0 here and here  (thanks you guys!), there are a number of questions that I need to answer. The largest of these questions pertains to how I will be getting my supply of ginseng. Because I am considering this business from a student’s standpoint, I will not try to grow my own supply of ginseng by obtaining land. I do not believe that enough college students have the capital or credit available to purchase the required land. To learn more about wild-simulated, woods-grown ginseng, I recommend checking out page three of Virginia Tech's fact sheet about the herb.

Instead, I would like to center my focus on acquiring ginseng from public lands. From a student's perspective, this more accurately describes how non-timber forest products can be used in an effort to supplement income while allowing ginseng collection to be done according to best practices–and to fit a student’s own schedule.

Note from Anne Clelland:  As a member of the Virginia Tech Rugby Club, Adam Scouse understands the need for the business fundamentals of scheduling, teamwork and competition.

Adam Scouse - Scrumhalf - Virginia Tech Rugby Club

Adam Scouse - Scrumhalf - Virginia Tech Rugby Club

You can follow the full series of posts by Adam Scouse for Handshake 2.0 at The Hypothetical Entrepreneur.

Valley Business FRONT Post – Roanoke Regional Writers Conference

From Dan Smith, Editor, Valley Business FRONT:

Registrations for the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference, Janurary 23-24, 2009, started coming in this week and I guess it’s time to get pumped up again. The first conference, held this past January at the Jefferson Center in Roanoke, was such a success that one writer wrote a poem about it. Others talked about it for weeks.

I was tickled by that because the intent was to get people who write for a living and people who want to do so talking to each other, sharing experiences, techniques and resources. During the Saturday session, you’d see pockets of writers talking rapidly and enthusiastically as if what they had to say was going to roll under the couch if they didn’t get it out. Lonely professions can cause people to be socially clumsy.

Word got out about the conference and Hollins University jumped in and made us an offer we couldn’t refuse. Hollins is a natural spot for gathering writers (it has produced about seven Pulitzer Prize winners) and these lovely people genuinely wanted us. The Jefferson Center was great. Hollins is perfect.

This year, we have 25 professional writers teaching 25 classes and it only costs $50 (including coffee, lunch, wine, etc.). If you’re a writer, join us by registering.  We’d love to have you and I think you’ll enjoy it.

The Valley Business FRONT Post is written by Dan Smith, Editor, Valley Business FRONT, a monthly magazine featuring the business communities of the Roanoke and New River Valleys of Virginia. 

The inaugural issue of Valley Business FRONT will be on newsstands October, 2008.  To not miss it, feel free to subscribe (.pdf).

Dan Smith’s e-mail signature quotes Kingsley Amis:  "If you can’t annoy somebody, why write?’

The opinions Dan Smith expresses are solely his own and are not necessarily shared by Handshake 2.0.

Valley Business FRONT Post – Advice

Given that Dan Smith has been in the news business 44 years and his new venture Valley Business FRONT–a business news magazine covering the New River and Roanoke Valleys of Virginia–will hit newsstands October 5, 2008, I asked him for wisdom he would share in the form of advice.

He wouldn’t have it.

Given his challenging history, chronicled in his memoir Burning the Furniture, Dan Smith asked, “Who am I to give advice to anybody?”

He did share his advice to himself. 

I asked for permission to share it on Handshake 2.0.  Permission granted.

From Dan Smith, Editor, Valley Business FRONT:Dan Smith, Editor, Valley Business FRONT

1. Give what I have to as many as want it, free of expectation, free of obligation, filled with joy and the hope that the gift proves to be of some value.

2. Be involved. Deeply. Fully. Competently. I know some things that are of value and it is my responsibility to give those things to anybody who asks for them and to do it without hesitation. It is my privilege in having these things to give them away.

3. Do the right things for the right reasons. Understand why because it is important. A good result that emerges from a self-centered intent is tainted and at some point will spoil. Get it right up front and pursue with integrity.

The Valley Business FRONT Post is written by Dan Smith, Editor, Valley Business FRONT, a monthly magazine featuring the business communities of the Roanoke and New River Valleys of Virginia. 

The inaugural issue of Valley Business FRONT will be on newsstands October 5, 2008.  To not miss it, feel free to subscribe (.pdf).

Dan Smith’s e-mail signature quotes Kingsley Amis:  "If you can’t annoy somebody, why write?’

The opinions Dan Smith expresses are solely his own and are not necessarily shared by Handshake 2.0.

Twitter for Business

Jeremy Hart of the NRVLiving Real Estate Group, Coldwell Banker Townside, REALTORS®, and author of the blog NRVLiving – Real Estate. Simplified, comments on the use of Twitter for business, "in 140 characters, each line," he writes, "just like a good Twitter-ite would."

Anne, I read your recent post regarding using Twitter for business with interest and a side of humor – why IS Twitter so popular?

In fact, I’ve spoken to several groups just within the last few weeks, trying to describe why tools like Twitter are so good for business.

I’ve been using the service for almost exactly a year at this point, and I’m one of those Twitter-fanatics, just tweeting the day away.

Jeremy Hart of the NRVLiving Real Estate Group, Coldwell Banker Townside, REALTORS®, and author of the blog NRVLiving - Real Estate. Simplified Like most people, my first tweet went something like “Okay, I’m on Twitter, what’s this all about?” You could have heard crickets chirping.

I didn’t see the point.  Why would anyone care that I was at a home inspection with a client, or lunching at Gillie’s here in Blacksburg?

“Don’t people have better things to do with their time than worry about what I was doing?”, I wondered.

I was an early adopter, as the piece describes, but not an enthusiastic supporter. That changed with just one tweet, however.

A local follower contacted me to say that he and his wife were moving, and that he wanted me to come discuss selling their home for them.

Then someone else contacted me to say he was moving into the area, and wanted to begin looking for homes upon his arrival.

As this pattern began to repeat itself, I realized that there truly was business – serious business – to be done in 140 characters or less.

I was interviewing for my next job, my next listing, my next sale, with each new Tweet.

It’s interesting how Anita Campbell describes it:  “It’s a mosaic, a backdrop that helps you understand how they tick.”

It’s true – by learning more about the way the people I followed viewed things, I became engaged in their business, and vice versa.

Engaged customers are loyal customers, and I’ll take a loyal customer every day of the week. 

Now, I am certainly an enthusiastic supporter of Twitter. I’ve got it on my iPhone, on my laptop, and I check in often during the day.

Twitter is not a detriment to my blog, but instead augments the conversational aspect that social media provides. 

The keys to success are consistency and showcasing YOU, not your product. The consumer wants to engage to get to know you first.

If you engage them, they’ll seek out your product – and they’ll have already made up their mind, because they’ll consider you trustworthy.

I’d encourage you to seek out how Twitter can open you up to new customers. There’s nothing like doing business with loyal customers.

Twitter me, @NRVLiving, and let me know how you’re using the service to reach new customers. Happy Twittering!