Archive for August, 2021

A Nice Bit Of History

Frank Sinatra considered Kate Smith the best singer of her time, and said that when he and a million other guys first heard her sing “God Bless America” on the radio, they all pretended to have dust in their eyes as they wiped away a tear or two. 

Here are the facts; The link at the bottom will take you to a video showing the very first public singing of “God Bless America. ” But before you watch it you should know the story behind the first public showing of the song. 

The time was 1940 America was still in a terrible economic depression. Hitler was taking over Europe and Americans were afraid we’d have to go to war. It was a time of hardship and worry for most Americans. 

This was the era just before TV when radio shows were HUGE and American families sat around their radios in the evenings, listening to their favorite entertainers and no entertainer of that era was bigger than Kate Smith.

Kate was also large; plus size as we now say and the popular phrase still used today is in deference to her; “It ain’t over till the fat lady sings.” 

Kate Smith might not have made it big in the age of TV but with her voice coming over the radio, she was the biggest star of her time. 

Kate was also patriotic. It hurt her to see Americans so depressed and afraid of what the next day would bring She had hope for America, and faith in her fellow Americans. She wanted to do something to cheer them up, so she went to the famous American song-writer Irving Berlin (who also wrote White Christmas) and asked him to write a song that would make Americans feel good again about their country. When she described what she was looking for, he said he had just the song for her. He went to his files and found a song that he had written but never published, 22 years before – in 1917. He gave it to her and she worked on it with her studio orchestra. She and Irving Berlin were not sure how the song would be received by the public, but both agreed they would not take any profits from God Bless America. Any profits would go to the Boy Scouts of America. Over the years, the Boy Scouts have received millions of dollars in royalties from this song. 

This video starts out with Kate Smith coming into the radio studio with the orchestra and an audience. She introduces the new song for the very first time and starts singing. After the first couple verses, with her voice in the background, scenes are shown from the 1940 movie, You’re In The Army Now. At the 4:20 mark of the video you see a young actor in the movie, sitting in an office, reading a paper; it’s Ronald Reagan. You will recognize other old stars but have forgotten their names. You may remember George Murphy near the end, though . 

To this day, God Bless America stirs our patriotic feelings and pride in our country. Back in 1940, when Kate Smith went looking for a song to raise the spirits of her fellow Americans, I doubt whether she realized just how successful the results would be for her fellow Americans during those years of hardship and worry… and for many generations of Americans to follow. 

Now that you know the story of the song, I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Many people don’t know there’s a lead in to the song since it usually starts with God Bless America … So here’s the entire song as originally sung. Enjoy it! Click below:

Kate Smith introduces God Bless America – YouTube

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Good evening

My long time and dear friend Ron Coelyn sent me this email about assisting American and Afghans left stranded.

Please go to website below – do you due diligence to feel comfortable about supporting and donating.  www.projectdynamo.org

As the father of a former Israeli soldier and Officer in the US Army, “you have a moral commitment to leave no one behind”

This is about duty, honor and country

Best regards and Ron, thank you for sending.


Friday, August 27, 2021 Dear Steve, HONOR & COMMITMENT “Americans and Afghans applying for Special Immigrant Visas, tens of thousands of whom are stranded and facing almost certain death at the hands of the Taliban, now have a northern escape route opened today by the veterans’ coalition Digital Dunkirk.” I urge you to visit www.projectdynamo.org to add your support. Should you wish to visit our website please click on our logo at the top of this e-mail. Warmest regards,
Ron Signature
Ronald H. Coelyn972-342-5695

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Business Insider by

Shana Lebowitz , Jennifer Ortakales Dawkins , Emily Canal , and Alexandra York 

  • Successful entrepreneurship often starts with a compelling investor pitch.
  • We compiled insights from venture capitalists on what they’re hoping to hear from you.
  • For example: Hold your ground on important issues and demonstrate your path to execution.
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

Venture capitalists want to be convinced.

Ask David Rose, and he’ll tell you VCs wouldn’t be hearing your pitch in the first place if they weren’t interested in investing. Rose runs Gust, a digital platform for early-stage entrepreneurs and investors, and Rose Tech Ventures, an angel investment fund and incubator.

He said investors are just hoping you’ll give them a compelling argument for why they should partner with you.

We asked Rose, plus a series of other successful investors (listed below), what persuades them to sign on — and what leaves them skeptical. Below, we’ve compiled their best advice, on everything from building a pitch deck to writing a thank-you note.

Mark Stenberg contributed to an earlier version of this article.

Show how your product will benefit people

Estes previously told Business Insider’s Lydia Ramsey that biotech investors want to know how a new tool will fit into the current standard of care. “The biggest mistake I see is when someone spends more time talking about how a product would affect the market than they do talking about how it would affect the disease it’s designed to treat,” Estes said.

The same is true for any investor, who wants to know how your business will make people’s lives easier.

Don’t be cocky

In an interview with Business Insider’s Becky Peterson, Munichiello pointed to Stewart Butterfield, founder and CEO of Slack, as an example of an entrepreneur who didn’t pretend he had all the answers. (GV invested in Slack in 2014 as part of a $120 million round that valued the company at $1.12 billion, Peterson reported.)

“Stewart’s conversation with me wasn’t about all of the reasons why Slack was awesome,” Munichiello said. “It was, ‘Here’s how I think about the business. And you may think about it in a different way.’ And ‘Here are the metrics that I use to measure the business. How do you think about the business?'”

Hold your ground on the issues that matter most

“Entrepreneurs can, and should, articulate deal breakers to their prospective investors,” Selverian wrote on Business Insider. “If there’s something that’s important to you and your business, don’t compromise. As long as the entrepreneur’s reasoning is justified, many investors will be impressed by the vision and leadership conveyed through deal breakers.”

Read more: A CEO who launched her company 14 years ago says too many founders have it all backward

Ashton Kutcher. Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch

Show that you can sell your idea

“One of the critical tests that I try to run when I’m sitting across from a founder is: Can you sell me your idea?” Kutcher said at TechCrunch Disrupt in 2018. If not, he worries about the company’s future.

“If you can’t sell me, how are you going to sell your first hire, your second hire, your third hire?” Kutcher said.

Demonstrate your path to execution

At Business Insider’s Startup 2012 conference, Sachar said she needs to believe the entrepreneur can turn their idea into a successful business.

“If you can’t execute, you don’t have a company,” she said. “A lot of people have ideas.”

Read more: The glitz of ‘entrepreneurship porn’ leads startup founders to make fatal business mistakes. Here’s how to avoid them

Create a comprehensive pitch deck

The pitch deck is your chance at a solid first impression. According to McGinnis, creating “a decent-looking pitch deck” is crucial in convincing investors “that you can build an app or a product that will be excellent.”

Explanations as to how you will run your company, why and how your product will work, and any other necessary details must be clearly explained in the deck. A decent pitch deck should be exciting, but also error-free. All information regarding  your company metrics, competitors, or the current market must be accurate. Inaccurate information will cause investors to question your preparedness and the legitimacy of your proposed success.

Typos or grammatical errors are other mistakes to check for. Even the smallest oversight could distract from the key points of your business proposal, McGinnis says. 

And even if the investor decides they are not the best fit for your company, a flawless and comprehensive pitch deck could encourage them to connect you with an investor who might be. 

Tell investors how you plan to expand

Duggal previously told Business Insider every pitch deck should include a five-year growth plan.

Duggal added that she wants to see the costs of building your product or service, the potential profit “on a unit basis,” and how that changes at scale. In other words, she said, “As your business grows, do the margins get better?”

Prepare a detailed appendix in addition to the deck

Your deck should be simple and straightforward. During the pitch meeting, Selverian recommends having a detailed appendix that will answer any questions that come up.

Anu Duggal. Getty/Noam Galai

Address the potential competition

One common mistake Duggal sees in pitch decks is “not addressing competition or figuring out the market landscape.”

She added, “When we think about investing in a company, we want to understand — that’s great that you have an interesting idea or you spotted something that has the potential to be an exciting business — but we also want to understand what is already in the market.”

Explain why you could fail

In 2009, when entrepreneur Jim McKelvey began raising money to launch Square, McKelvey did something very few founders do when trying to secure funding: he listed all the reasons his company would fail, 140 in total. 

“We had robot uprising, Amazon attacks — we had all this stuff — and we made a serious examination of all the things that can kill a startup, and it turns out that nobody does that,” McKelvey said in a webinar address.

VCs loved McKelvey’s candor. They loved being presented with problems to solve, rather than watching yet another founder try to paste over their startup’s weak spots. And they loved how different the pitch felt.

Propose an action plan in a thank-you note

In your follow-up note after the pitch meeting, McGinnis said, “propose concrete next steps for them to react to — amorphous communication conveys amorphous management.” Reiterate specifically what you’re asking for, and ask whether there are other people you should meet who the investors can introduce you to.

You can also create FOMO by letting them know when another VC has already agreed to invest.

Determine whether you need to raise capital in the first place

If you’re bringing in a maximum of $1 million a year in revenue, “it may be a great, wonderful, much-needed business,” Rose said. “You may enjoy it and support your family.” But he emphasized, “the economics are just such that there is no way that you can get an investment from me at any reasonable number for that to make economic sense.”

This is because outside investors expect outsize returns on their money, often a large multiple of what they put in. And if there’s a low-millions ceiling on the revenue your startup can generate or eventual exit price, there’s not much incentive for a venture capitalist to write you a check.

In other words, your company may be a “lifestyle startup,” which doesn’t require venture capital and probably won’t ever be worth $1 billion.

David Rose. Fortier Public Relations

Wait to raise capital until you have proof of concept

An entrepreneur’s pitch is a “combination of science and faith,” said McGinnis — but you want to stay more on the side of science than faith.

McGinnis often sees founders who don’t have any proof their idea is viable. You’d be wise to keep your day job and acquire customers and data before you ask a VC for money.

Read moreKeep your day job, move slowly, and don’t worry about building a unicorn: A New York ‘startup school’ eschews everything Silicon Valley ever preached

Meet your ‘B list’ investors first

Start with the “B team,” McGinnis said, i.e., the VCs who would be nice to have but aren’t your first choice. Get feedback from them so you’re more than prepared when you meet the VCs you’re really targeting.

Show why you — not just your business — are worth investing in

Remember that you’re pitching yourself, Rose said — not just your business plan. “You bet on the jockey, not the horse.”

Show why yours is a “no trade off” product

Vanessa Dawson, founder and CEO of the Vinetta Project, is looking for businesses with “no trade off,” meaning customers get your service or product without having to sacrifice something in return. For example, consumers want to clean their home but don’t want to use chemicals that can do harm, such as adding to the increase in antibiotic-resistant bugs. 

“How are you producing opportunities and products that service the customer without a trade off?” Dawson asked. “I call it a triple bottom line: What’s positive for the environment, health, and all other things?”

What to do when you’re turned down

One failed pitch doesn’t mean investors are uninterested in your business. It may just indicate that you’re pitching to the wrong people or at the wrong time. Take it from founders who have been rejected by numerous VCs.

One of those founders, Kathryn Minshew, who is the cofounder and CEO of job-search platform The Musesaid in a podcast that she was rejected 148 times during the company’s seed round.

She took any meetings she could get, but in her Series A round, she was more deliberate and gave investors a specific timeframe to meet. She found that the investors who fit her into their schedules were really interested in her company, whereas the investors who didn’t make the time were probably not going to back her anyway. 

Jon Werner is the cofounder and CEO of a gift payment app Koya Innovations. One of his previous ventures was an app that pioneered using GPS in mobile phones before it was built into cell phones. He told Business Insider that investor rejection didn’t deter him, rather, it gave him time to refine his technology and connect with customers.

“We stuck to our guns, we talked to our customers, we did our research, and we kept going,” he said. Once customers were sold on the idea, investors began approaching him. 

Steve Martocci is the CEO of the music-creation platform Splice and the cofounder of GroupMe, which he sold for $85 million. In an interview with Business Insider, Martocci said timing is a major factor to meeting the right people.

He met one of his first lead investors at the same conference where he met his Splice cofounder and VP of engineering. “Timing and luck is at least one third of anyone’s success in entrepreneurship,” Martocci said. 

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