Past Meetup

What Entrepreneurs and Angels Should Do Before They Dance

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Price: $10.00 /per person

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Join New York Angels' Education Committee and New York Education Meetup members in person for a continental breakfast followed by speaker John Mullins and networking.

First 20 RSVPs attend free!

Content - John will be presenting some of the ideas from his newly-released book, The Customer-Funded Business: Start, Finance, or Grow Your Company with Your Customers’ Cash. (

A widely accepted notion in entrepreneurial circles is that the way to start and grow a thriving business is to come up with a great “idea”, write a great business plan, raise capital from angels or VCs, flawlessly execute the plan, and (Voila!) get rich! But it hardly ever happens this way, and the vast majority of successful businesses don’t ever raise venture capital. Angels who make money don’t invest this way either.

The most cash-efficient entrepreneurs – including those who created iconic companies like Microsoft, Dell, Banana Republic and many more – get their seed funding and sometimes their growth funding not from investors, but from their customers, through a range of intriguing approaches. Angel or venture capital comes later, once at least some customer traction is in hand.

By telling the seldom-heard stories of their surprising origins and those of some more-recent 21st century entrepreneurial companies from around the globe – from Europe, India, and the USA – John will bring to life five distinct and distinctive customer-funded models that today’s entrepreneurs can, and often should, put to work to fund their start-ups or finance and grow their companies. In so doing, they (and often their angels) will, like Michael Dell, end up owning more of their companies, too.

Angels who want to make good money should ask that those seeking their capital put one or more of these models to work, too. “Come back when you’ve got customers (even before producing the first product),” they should say, “and I’ll then help you grow.” For angels and business incubator and accelerator professionals and mentors, John’s talk will identify the key junctures in the lives of entrepreneurial ventures when you should get involved. If you are such a person, ‘John’s Business Angel Checklists,’ found at the end of each of the book’s chapters, are certain to aid your due diligence and improve your investment returns.

Target audience - Business angels or angel ‘wanna-be’s,’ serious entrepreneurs, and those who support them

Desired learning - Participants will come away understanding the five models through which innovative and scrappy entrepreneurs can start, finance, and grow customer-funded businesses at the outset:

o Matchmaker models (e.g., eBay, Airbnb)

o Pay-in-advance models (e.g., Dell, Threadless, India’s Via)

o Subscription models (e.g., India’s Tutor Vista, the USA’s H.Bloom)

o Scarcity models (e.g., Gilt Groupe, Zulily)

o Service-to-product models (e.g., Microsoft, Denmark’s GoViral)

Speaker - John Mullins is a veteran of three entrepreneurial ventures, an associate professor at London Business School, an active investor, and the author of two previous business best-sellers targeted at entrepreneurs and business angels: The New Business Road Test, 4e (London: FT Publishing, 2013) and, with Randy Komisar, Getting to Plan B, (Boston: Harvard Business Press, 2009).

For more information on The Customer-Funded Business: (including where to purchase the book), visit (