Monday, November 3, 2014

Best Open Source and Free Design tools for Entrepreneurs

The cost of developing online products has dramatically decreased in the past 5 years with the advent of cloud computing and open-source code.  Many of the resources available now to online entrepreneurs are the result of open-source projects with active participation from growing communities.  

Contract Manufacturing Agreement

As mentioned in the book “Make It Big, Crossing the Entrepreneur’s gap, Contract Manufacturers are one of the most important partners for scaling a startup.  Production levels increase as the entrepreneurial team begins to move past the start up phase and into scale up.  

Consulting Agreement Example Template

It is common for entrepreneurial teams to work with consultants to gain access to specialized skills and information.  Early stage teams try and remain small with minimal employment commitments until the product and company reach a certain level of maturity and development.  

Private Equity Term Sheet Tutorial

We have covered a number of financing vehicles that are commonly used by startups at the seed stage; namely the convertible note, safe investment, and to a lesser extent promissory notes.   Companies that have progressed beyond their seed investment and are ready to raise a venture round will do so by issuing preferred stock.

Promissory Note Example Template

We get a lot of questions from entrepreneurs about how to create a simple financial loan instrument for friends and family.  As mentioned in the Make It Big book, these are commonly done using Promissory Notes.  This post discusses the basics and presents a template for use. 

Distribution Agreement Example Template

As mentioned in the book “Make It Big, Crossing the Entrepreneur’s Gap,” distribution partners are a major part of scaling up the startup.  Entrepreneurs typically start on distribution in phases (local, regional, national, international) in whatever order makes sense.  The distribution

Convertible Note Example

Funding from startup to scale up happens in stages as noted in the book “Make It Big, Crossing the Entrepreneur’s Gap.”  Different types of companies have different types of funding options.  Hobby and lifestyle companies bootstrap and often use friends and family funding as noted in the related post on promissory notes.  Those companies that have a view toward equity funding overtime often start with a convertible note.  

Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) Example and Template

As mentioned in the Make It Big book, Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) is a great tool for identifying the critical to quality (CTQ) points that are tracked in the book's quality plan.  This post presents the basics and provides a template for use.

Sampling Plans Using MIL 1916

As mentioned in the Make It Big book, sampling plans are a commonly used to tool in quality and production.  The book reviews a number of standards, the concepts behind them, and uses the Department of Defenses (DOD) specification 1916 (i.e., MIL-STD-1916) as an example of how sampling plans work.  Download the spec from this post. 

Audit Checklist Example for ISO Facilities

As mentioned in the Make It Big book, visiting a contract manufacturer is a fun and highly interactive process.  Entrepreneurs often visit several in one trip to keep travel expenses low and while covering as much ground as possible.  This post presents the basics and provides a template for use.  

Patent Search Methodology Example

The book “Make it Big, Crossing the Entrepreneur’s Gap” covers intellectual property in detail.  In order to file a patent entrepreneurs have to know their idea is unique as compared to prior art.  Prior art includes (1) patents and patent applications that are publicly available, (2) patent applications not publicly available, 

Nondisclosure Agreement Example (NDA)

As mentioned in the Make It Big book, a mutual nondisclosure agreement (NDA) is useful for protecting intellectual property.  The book reviewed both one way and mutual nondisclosure agreements.  The NDA below is a mutual NDA.  Note that the “Confidential Information” term covers the areas discussed in the book. 

Bringing Products to Life

This post was originally written for Stanford University’s Entrepreneurship Week.  It was provided to attendants as a complement to the lecture and panel discussion on bringing new products to market.  The book, “Make it Big, Crossing the Entrepreneur’s Gap” talks about this process in detail and

Safe Spreadsheet for Y-Combinator Safe Primer Examples

In December 2013, Y-Combinator announced the Safe, a Replacement for Convertible Notes via their terrific blog post written by Paul Graham.   In short the “Simple agreement for future equity” (Safe) was created by Y-Combinator partner (and lawyer) Carolynn Levy is a

Beta Agreement Example

Testing a product with customers is a necessary step prior to finalizing a design for launch.  Once a startup has what they believe to be a stable product, they will often provide it to some ‘test’ customers in order to gather feedback.

Design Guide: Top 5 Rules for Injection Molding

Injection molding seems like a very simple process given the mass amounts of plastics parts and products in our world today.  There are however a number of critical design issues that can impact part appearance and quality.  Luckily there a number of key design guides to