June 29, 2010

FundingUniverse Event: Nobu Mutaguchi Wins the Angel Investor of the Year Award

Nobu Mutaguchi: Angel Investor of the Year

Nobu Mutaguchi: Angel Investor of the Year

FundingUniverse announced today that Nobu Mutaguchi, an early investor in Omniture and Allegiance, was named Utah’s Angel Investor of the Year. Mutaguchi was recognized for his leadership and track record of growing businesses in both Utah and his home country of Japan. Mutaguchi, however, has deep Utah roots and received his MBA from Brigham Young University in 1985 and has since been an entrepreneurial leader in the state. He has invested in over 25 Utah-based startups and emerging companies. His business philosophy centers around mentoring those entrepreneurs in whom he invests.

In addition to Angel Investor of the Year, Mentor of the Year was given to Boom Start-Up founders John Richards and Robb Kunz, both highly active entrepreneurs and investors in the community. Boom Start-Up is a mentor-focused program that facilitates entrepreneurship and local economic growth by pairing emerging technology companies with seasoned, successful entrepreneurs such as Kunz and Richards.

The Start-Up of the Year was awarded to OraBrush, a company that produced the industry’s first tongue-cleansing brush.  Started by Robert Wagstaff, PhD, the company developed a unique way to remove bacteria from the tongue that causes bad breath.

The award luncheon featured Michael E. Gerber, author of the mega-bestseller The E-Myth, who was recently touted as “The World’s #1 Small Business Guru,” by INC Magazine. Gerber discussed why entrepreneurs are the backbone of the economy and why they should look to transform the world, not just sell a product. “Go to work on your company, not in your company,” he told a room of investors and small business owners. “There is more to entrepreneurship than creating a successful venture. It’s not just about being busy every day, and it’s not about you, it’s about your God-given gift to create.”

“We are extremely proud to honor these distinguished investors and entrepreneurs,” said Brock Blake, CEO of FundingUniverse. “Our state has an unusual amount of talent which is clearly why Utah ranks among the top economies in the nation.”




June 18, 2010

Always Moving – No Standing Still – Which Direction Are YOU Headed???

Sit still, and the world inches past you slowly.  Over an extended period of time you will find yourself further and further behind.  Nothing relates better to this premise than business.  Doing something just to do something isn’t always a bad thing.  It’s tough to do stuff sometimes in this historically difficult economy that has a sudden impact, provides immediate results, or gives your business a big shot in the arm of revenue.  Sometimes it does, but it has gotten harder and harder to find things that make the turnaround move that many are looking for.

With that in mind, it seems like some are content to just “hang on” as the ride gets rougher.  That might work for some.  I myself would prefer to push down on the gas pedal and see if I can get further ahead of those whose pace has decreased.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s tough to keep a positive attitude sometimes.  Times are tight, bad news is in our face all day, and there are many stories inside and outside of our own front door that make this economic tsunamie a very personal reality.  That doesn’t mean it’s time to move to the basement though and wait for things to pass.  Get busy preparing, rebuilding, helping others and preparing for the next time.  The one thing about tsunami’s is that they are in areas that typically have them often.  When the real estate market recovers (it will), and the stock market continues to climb (it will) and unemployment decreases (it will) and other types of “good news” come around, that doesn’t mean your business or job will immediately be saved.

This is the newest of the new economy.  The drastic nature of the things that have happened in business in the last 18 months will burn an image in the brain of every business person on the planet.  Many of the “norms” we knew before are forever gone.  Credit will always be tighter then it once was, Federal oversight will be more invasive then ever, many employers will be slower to hire and expand at the same rates that they once did and overall I think you will find the risk tolerance of many will have permanently decreased.

What does this mean for you?  Well, two things.  You are either going to beat em’, or join em’.  You are either going to push forward during difficult times to try and create more distance from those that have slowed or stopped – or you will keep pace and be in the same boat as most others when things “get better”.  I know this – if you work as hard or harder than ever – if you continue to try to innovate, listen, sell, build, sacrifice and try your very best, you will be more likely (although not guaranteed) to be in a better position then many around you when things do turn around.  And they will turn around – in fact, sooner for some than others.  The ones who will feel recovery the quickest will be the ones who deserve to.  Are you out there pushing it?  Are you adding employees, raising/borrowing capital, innovating and working harder than ever?  If so, you’ll be on the forefront of prosperity as the circle turns.  If you aren’t, well, perhaps it’s because you are waiting too long for something to happen instead of making it happen.




June 14, 2010

No Victims Allowed

leviWhether you’re an aspiring or practicing entrepreneur, if you want to acquire funding for your business, then drop the victim attitude. It’s interesting to see people come in the front door (okay, our website is the “front door”) of our business with their risk profile in disarray, yet never accept accountability for their own predicament.

If your personal credit is unsightly, if your business credit is non-existent, if you’ve never considered whether your expansion plans can be profitable, if you’re still making excuses for not having a website a decade after it became commonplace for business owners, then how is that FundingUniverse’s fault? Why should we fix all your problems and not be compensated?

It’s interesting that people don’t want to pay to fix their own problems (created by their own actions). I can’t imagine going into a personal trainer pathetically fat and wheezing just from walking from my car to the gym entrance, telling him/her that I want to train for a marathon, but that I’m not going to pay up for anything until I win the marathon. What did the personal trainer have to do with my Big Mac, Twinkie, and Hershey’s problem? What about me would give the trainer confidence that I would actually stick with the work of getting my flabby body into rock hard shape? Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

Can you imagine a college student demanding that tuition payment shouldn’t be made until the degree is issued? Is it the college’s problem that the student is uneducated? What if the student sleeps through class, doesn’t take tests, or doesn’t study. Should the student get a refund of their tuition? Please. This is getting painful to even read as I type it.

Take ownership of your situation. If I want to hear whining and complaining I can go out into the consumer economy. Presumptively – in part anyway – people who start businesses do so because they are ready to take ownership of their own financial and emotional well being. So in the B2B economy I shouldn’t hear nearly as much bawling or see as much finger pointing as in the consumer economy.

After reviewing thousands and thousands of credit reports and other risk indicators attached to our customers over the years, I can tell you with conviction that the businesses on the most solid ground also take ownership of their personal and business credit, their financial and corporate hygiene, and their business image. If you want to be one of those successful businesses, the best place to start is by owning up to your marginal credit profile or bad financial habits, and work your tail off to fix them.

Of course you need to do it on your own time and your own dime, but we’d love to help.

Levi King
President
FundingUniverse