What Green Tech Inventors Need To Know – CSUF Entrepreneurship Event

green-energy-csuf-entrepreneurshipThis Wednesday at 6pm at the CSUF Startup Incubator (Placentia) we welcome green tech inventor Dan Schuephach to talk about his experiences in the green tech industry. Since he is an inventor we think he will be able to provide an interesting viewpoint that is valuable to you whether you are an inventor, entrepreneur, or investor. We hope to see you there! Details are as follows:

Registration link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/what-green-tech-inventors-need-to-know-csuf-startup-incubator-tickets-31824799833?aff=blog

Dan Schuephach is a veteran inventor in the green technology industry and he will be visiting the CSUF Startup Incubator to discuss the many lessons that he has learned over the years. If you are an inventor in this area or would like to work with or invest in green tech investors then this talk is meant for you.

We hope to see you there!


#CSUF

For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship: http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs: http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Incubator

For more details on how CSUF Consulting can help businesses thrive: http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Consulting

Attend one of our events for entrepreneurs or sign up for a free mentoring session: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurEvents

Entrepreneurs Must Build Their Core

entrepreneur-core-damon-brownIf you want to get into shape one of the main things you have to do is build your core, the muscles that support the rest of your body. Being a successful entrepreneur is no different but, instead of muscles, entrepreneurs have to develop key skills that will enable them to be successful. Entrepreneur and author Damon Brown explains how to achieve this, no matter who you are.

Damon Brown: http://damontalks.strikingly.com/

#CSUF

For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship: http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs: http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Incubator

For more details on how CSUF Consulting can help businesses thrive: http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Consulting

Vincent Yancoskie ’13 – CSUF Entrepreneurship Success Story

Next Level Entrepreneurship: Breaking into the Mobile App and Web Design Markets

Vincent Yancoskie '13

Vincent Yancoskie ’13

At Cal State Fullerton, I never imagined I would have the opportunity to delve into the video game industry. The possibility arose when my friend approached me with an idea for a mobile game for the iOS platform and an offer for partnership in the game once it was released. My job consisted of creating most of the graphics interface and marketing the product once it was in the App Store. I immediately jumped on the project in late 2011 and began teaching myself to create graphics in Photoshop.

Meanwhile, I opted to take an Entrepreneurship class which involved a student consulting project. Professor John Bradley Jackson’s “Marketing for Entrepreneurs” class brought on a fresh perspective as to how I could take the business further once the game launched in the app store. Through various presentations and projects, the class raised my levels of awareness as to how I could leverage various avenues to promote the app.

One of the most significant projects in the class opened the door for me to analyze a local business with a team of students in a sophisticated student consulting project. The semester-long project permitted me to garner real-world business experience that later gave me several valuable tools to market the app and also begin contract work designing websites for two consulting groups and a doctor.

The entrepreneurship class challenged me to apply the vast majority of my marketing skills and provided me with a clear vision of drive, passion and the conviction that it takes to start a new business. It also served to invigorate my motivation to finish developing the iOS game and release it to the market.

As the last weeks of the entrepreneurship course began to draw to a close, the iPhone game, officially titled “Lightning Assault” cleared Apple’s approval process and was officially released to the world on the app store. My feelings of accomplishment and excitement when Lightning Assault launched on December 3rd, 2012 were indescribable.

Then came the challenge of marketing the game. Naturally, the first approach was getting all my friends to download the app, a resource that quickly exhausted itself. Within a few weeks of the game’s launch, I had the website LightningAssault.com up and running, as well as several social media channels in an attempt to push traffic towards the website and collect downloads.

However, it was soon evident that I needed to go beyond the most obvious methods of raising awareness for our game. I decided to contact a friend in the journalism industry. She sent my name out, and I soon had an interview scheduled with the OC Register, which resulted in the following article.

Today, Lightning Assault maintains a small yet steady growth in downloads. There is still much room for experimentation in aggressive promotion techniques, yet it has been stated that the game holds potential for massive popularity. Above all, it stands as a beacon of the accomplishments of the three person team that created it, and as an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Joanne Vo ’11 – CSUF Entrepreneurship Success Story

Joanne Vo

Joanne Vo ’11

I have nothing but great words for the Center for Entrepreneurship. The program was phenomenal and was played a substantial role in my self-growth as the entrepreneur that I am today.

Shortly after graduating in 2011, like all my peers, I was in search of what to do and pondered on what career path I was going to take. During my college career, I struggled between deciding what major to commit to. I jumped from Business Administration to Marketing and then to Finance; all of which I never felt fulfilled in. It wasn’t until I stumbled into my business counselor’s office and discovered the Entrepreneur Major that I subconsciously coveted.

In between juggling a full-time workload of school, I have always been very active in diving into the workplace for experience. I have always been into fashion and have held internships from different spectrums of the industry. I did sales at a fashion buying agency, then at a small independent fashion brand in downtown Los Angeles, a fashion PR company and then as an intern to an established fashion stylist.

At each one of my positions, I was able to excel greatly and make substantial impressions because of the knowledge I had gained while working on the consulting projects and the course work at CSUF. I was able to contribute ideas and solutions to problems that I have worked on with small business owners from our consulting projects. These consulting projects gave me a hands on approach and challenged me to seek more than what was shown. It taught me the most valuable lesson of all: what the essence of an entrepreneurial spirit is.

I am currently a co-founder and co-owner of Shop D∧J, an online women’s retailer specializing in street chic fashion apparel and accessories. We launched in December 2012 and have slowly been progressing and expanding as we are fulfilling a niche and manifesting a permanent and respectable place in this industry. I feel so blessed and grateful for the opportunity and the support thus far.

I owe a lot of what I know and what I have done on my own to the Center for Entrepreneurship. They gave me the tools to be able to pave my own path and follow my dreams. Everything I learned has been my guiding foundation as I set forth on this journey to push this company to a level where it becomes a positive and influential impact to girls all around world.

Joanne Vo, CSUF Entrepreneurship Graduate 2011


#CSUF

For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship: http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs: http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Incubator

For more details on how CSUF Consulting can help businesses thrive: http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Consulting

Phillip Stinis ’11 – CSUF Entrepreneurship Success Story

phillip-stinis-csuf-entrepreneurship-success-story

Phillip Stinis ’11

“I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has had to overcome while trying to succeed.” – Booker T. Washington

As a child, my father told me inspirational stories of my grandfather – an immigrant who came to America with nothing and built an empire as an inventor and entrepreneur. He invented Sky Typing, a process that utilizes five skywriters to “puff” out the World’s Largest Billboard in a dot-matrix format; he grew that company to be an internationally recognized advertising media company that is still in operation after 50 years. I knew at that point that I wanted to be successful like him and started to ask myself: “If he could do it, could anybody be a success?”

Like my grandfather, I enjoyed coming up with outside-the-box solutions and was passionate about seeing them come to fruition. In 2000, I graduated with an Electrical Engineering degree and worked for Boeing designing military satellite power amplifiers. All throughout my life I envisioned how things could work better and while I was able to save my employer millions of dollars through innovation in engineering, I still felt my creativity was stifled. I wanted to find a way for my own ideas to reach the public domain and concluded that I needed to learn how to start a business so that I could bring my own ideas to life.

I looked at the best schools for Entrepreneurship and when I found out California State University, Fullerton was both the largest business school in California and provided a world-class education, I was definitely intrigued. Since I went to USC for my Master’s degree in Engineering, I wanted my MBA experience to be comparable. I was sold when I found out I would be the first class to start in the new state-of-the-art Steven G. Mihaylo school of Business and it had the hands on curriculum that would provide me the resources I needed to be successful.

Immediately from the start of the program I grew close to my advisors and the successful business mentors who helped me in my projects, especially during the Venture Creation and Venture Launch courses. While I had many ideas and didn’t know exactly what business I wanted to start at first, I did gain a better understanding of what would succeed and what wouldn’t so I was able to refine my thinking.

Halfway through my program and specifically in my queuing theory class, the mathematical study of wait times; I came up with the idea of ordering drinks through a mobile device to “skip the wait.” In that class I met my business partner who persuaded me to consider including restaurants and introduced me to his friend and our soon to be programmer who later created our iPad and iPhone app. After flushing out the idea for a couple semesters, I then refined our business plan and launched immediately after graduation.

The first six months I literally went door to door talking with hundreds of restaurant owners and they had no interest in changing the way they did business. While we knew wireless ordering would increase table turnaround and profitability, owners were too afraid of the change and I felt a pivot was needed in order to get our solution in the door. I started from the ground up, looking at what restaurants were interested in learning about when I stumbled upon a term called “menu engineering” and learned that people order food based on where their eye looks at the menu. I then noticed our iPad app interface was different from our competitors in the way that we had an array of photos vs. listing items. I felt people would choose the most appetizing photos, especially based on placement from menu engineering, therefore increasing sales on the items restaurant owners wanted to feature on our iPad menu.

This led me to build marketing strategies around our distinct product and sell our system as “menu optimization” software. It was at this time I went back to CSUF and asked my former advisor, John Jackson (JJ), for advice. He had me discuss my plan with his students for feedback and leads and shortly after he found some restaurant clients who had hired the CSUF entrepreneur classes for strategic advances in their businesses and thought they might be interested. One restaurateur in particular told me “no” when I was going door-to-door, then changed his mind and said “yes, I trust JJ’s recommendations and would be happy to try it out.”

That fine dining restaurant was my first beta test and using our menu optimization software, my team and I were able to improve sales for a stellar performing server by 24% and 36% for an underperforming server. In that environment, I personally introduced our digital menu to over 500 end-users (restaurant guests), all which gave me positive feedback, most notably how our menu was easy to use and see in the dim lit restaurants without putting on reading glasses.

In my next beta test, the owners of a casual dining restaurant recorded samples from 125 random customers – they reported to me they received an average increase in guest checks (sales) of 21.3% throughout the month. My next proof of concept came when a restaurant using our system told me their Margarita Pizza sales were slow and wanted our help. I asked them what was wrong and they told me their Margarita Pizza wasn’t selling because it wasn’t on my iPad menu system – this told me items on my menu system were selling more than items solely on their paper menus. Within 5 minutes of them sending me a photo of their pizza, I was able to have it remotely synced up and placed on their iPad menu. After a week, they told me the Margarita Pizza sales went up 225%!

These were the proofs of concept I needed and with the help of the CSUF staff and mentors who had decades of restaurant consulting experience, they helped me create marketing material that got restaurant owners’ attention. With renewed confidence, I started creating channel partnerships with restaurant influencers. These partnerships became our sales channels which allowed us to reach into international markets and expand Tap Tap Order.


#CSUF

For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship: http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs: http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Incubator

For more details on how CSUF Consulting can help businesses thrive: http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Consulting

David Soria ’10 and Billy Becerra ’10 – CSUF Entrepreneurship Success Story

metal institute

David Soria and Billy Becerra, recent graduates of the class of 2010, met in New Venture Creation class. Working with Professor John Bradley Jackson, David and Billy built a business plan for “Metal Institute”. Much like a “school of rock”, Metal Institute had a goal of providing a opportunity for aspiring (as well as working) musicians the opportunity to learn and play hard rock in real life bands. Metal Institute was eventually renamed as “Metal-Society” in Professor Evans’ New Venture Launch class.

We are proud to announce that Metal-Society received funding commitments from investors of almost $450,000.00 and is looking to open in the fall of 2011.

Upon graduation, David and Billy realized two basic reasons why Metal-Society was able to become successful through the class. Aside from the great advisement from Professor Jackson, Professor Evans and the mentors/volunteers that helped them with their projects, their equal passion in music and the required weekly class meetings allowed them to stay focused on the project.

David living in Lake Forest and Billy in Glendora often found that outside of class, the ability to meet on a weekly basis was difficult and often impractical. That was until they decided “well if we’re promoting kids to create bands, shouldn’t we have one of our own?” This was the perfect excuse, if you will, to meet on a regular basis.

David, a guitarist of 13 years, picked up the bass guitar and Billy, with years of experience on drums, formed up with guitarists Sean Hall and Greg Tannourji to create “ROTUS”. Rotus has been hitting the stage at full speed opening for acts such as Great White, having special guest play on stage with them such as Michael Anthony from Van Halen, as well as gaining a headline spot at the brand new University of Southern California music venue “Tommy’s Place”.

Rotus has been reviewed on blabbermouth.net (the CNN of music), various other web sites and has an interview write up in the upcoming MUEN Magazine. Rotus is teaming up with promoters and may get an opportunity to play at this year’s Coachella and gain an opening spot for Chickenfoot at the Greek and possibly even the world tour.


#CSUF

For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship: http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs: http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Incubator

For more details on how CSUF Consulting can help businesses thrive: http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Consulting

Steve Schoenhals ’12 – CSUF Entrepreneurship Success Story

metal institute

Steve Schoenhals ’12

Two years ago, I packed up as many belongings as I could fit into my car and drove from Michigan to California for the purpose of finishing my education at CSUF. My plan was to learn as much as I could at CSUF while also starting a company on the side. About half-way through my first semester, I joined my colleague, Chris Brockman, and together we co-founded GamerComps.com. GamerComps.com was to be a gaming network that would enable mobile gamers to compete in tournaments for prizes. We believed in our business idea, but only had a general understanding of the necessary steps to bring it to market.

We decided to take the ‘normal’ route: write a business plan, and then use it to find funding. We did our best and created a plan that we believed would attract investors. When the plan was ready, it was time to inform investors of our amazing business idea and then sit back and let the money flow in. We called and applied to almost every angel, venture capitalist, and private equity group we could find on the West Coast. After two weeks of efforts, we had not received a single response. Three long weeks later we received a call from an investment group who was interested in our concept. This was finally our big break! We met with them and gave what we felt was a great presentation, but the very next day we received a call informing us that they had decided to pass.

We remained optimistic, thinking that our last meeting was only one of many chances to come. After waiting another month or two, there were no more calls, there were no more chances. At this point, Chris and I had used up all the contacts at our disposal; we were dead in the water. As hard as it was at this point, I knew what we had was special and there was no way I was going to give up. I had one last place in mind that could be of help, the CSUF Center For Entrepreneurship.

I grabbed my business plan and headed to the CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship on a mission to find a way to get GamerComps.com off the ground and running. I still remember my first talk with John Jackson, the Center’s Director. I was hungry to succeed, and after months of failure, I was not going to let our meeting be another loss. I explained my concept, past losses, and asked if he could help. I could tell John understood how special our concept was and that he saw the fire in my eyes. John was kind enough to begin mentoring me while also introducing me to the faculty involved at the CSUF Center For Entrepreneurship.

Getting involved with the Center For Entrepreneurship was exactly what I needed. The faculty there are very knowledgeable, experienced, and took the time personally to help me better prepare my business. I learned everything from how to best protect my intellectual property to improving my business plan and much more. Most importantly, the center was a safe place to share ideas and receive very knowledgeable feedback.

After a few months of mentorship, John connected me with Michael Sawitz, who was then starting a new business incubator called Fast.Start.studio in Orange County. Michael informed me that he was offering a scholarship through CSUF for a free year at his new incubator; I immediately applied. I met with Michael on a few occasions to discuss my business and the progress I had made. After a few weeks of agonizing waiting, Michael informed me that I was the recipient of the first annual scholarship to Fast.Start.studio worth over 55k.

As a resident of Fast Start Studio, Michael has provided me with amazing services, workshops, and has opened a tremendous amount of doors. The mentors and advisors at the incubator are incredibly experienced, connected, and helpful as well. Since joining Fast Start Studio, GamerComps.com has now teamed up with three established mobile gaming publishers, our user-base is growing rapidly, and the site is quickly moving down the path to success. If it were not for the base of knowledge I received from the CSUF Center of Entrepreneurship, and the incredible backing of both CSUF and Fast Start Studio, GamerComps.com would not be where it is today!


#CSUF

For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship: http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs: http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Incubator

For more details on how CSUF Consulting can help businesses thrive: http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Consulting