HOTB Software Solutions
HOTB is a highly experienced software development company that provides in-kind angel capital to startup entrepreneurs with a viable technology based business. HOTB helps startups bridge the gap between their friends and family round and their venture capital round by subsidizing expensive technology needs. HOTB specializes in building custom software platforms to provide certainty of execution, experience, credibility, security and compliance. Additionally, HOTB Ventures has been formed for instances of passive investment when software development is not needed.

Manatt
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP is known for quality, for extraordinary commitment to clients, for integrated, relationship-based services, and for a range of capabilities typically found only in boutique firms. We are progressive and entrepreneurial compared to other major firms, and we are deeply committed to diversity, to public service, to involvement in the communities we serve and to excellence in all we do.

TriNet
Tech companies partner with TriNet Passport to compete for top talent by using our bundled HR products that cover the core services of payroll, fortune 100 benefits, risk and compliance, a scalable HR team all on a cloud platform. TriNet reduces the time businesses spend managing HR and administrative issues while providing enterprise-grade cloud capabilities. This enables entrepreneurs and management to focus on what’s important from raising funds to driving revenue. Join hundreds of executives in high tech who have experienced the TriNet Passport difference, working for companies in hardware, software, SaaS and telecommunications. Contact choy.chew@trinet.com for more information.

Eureka
The Eureka Building is a 3-acre technology campus in Irvine, California designed to help accelerate innovation. Founded in 2014 by Peter Polydor, our goal is to support local entrepreneurship by giving innovative companies and entrepreneurs in Orange County a home that is centrally located and easy to access. Through partnerships we are more than just a home, but are a support network hosting startup events while fostering mentorship relationships with our partners all within one of the most creative spaces in the region.

CrashLabs
CRASHLABS IS A VIBRANT COWORKING AND EVENTS COMMUNITY THAT ENHANCES WORK/LIFE BALANCE FOR THE NEW ECONOMY OF UNTETHERED WORKERS. CRASHLABS OFFERS CREATIVE AND FLEXIBLE SPACES SUCH AS OPEN DESKS, DEDICATED DESKS, PRIVATE OFFICES, AND EVENTS SPACE THAT SERVE EVERYONE FROM THE INDIVIDUAL TO CORPORATIONS.

Real Office Centers
At ROC you’ll find a cohesive and progressive working environment with professional support for entrepreneurs, innovators, and today’s leaders. Beyond merely providing the physical workspace, we contribute to your capital growth by facilitating innovation, inspiration, and collaboration. With professional support services, educational events, and a stimulating environment, ROC is where you and your company will grow. Our open-source work environment and friendly staff complete with private receptionists keep business running smoothly. ROC handles day-to-day operations and facility management so your company can focus on what it does best.

Identifying Your Competition

Posted by Jonathan Greechan on 2014-09-04

Founder Feedback gives you insight from the startup trenches.

In this post from his blog, George Deeb, Managing Partner at Red Rocket Ventures, explains the various levels of startup research and how to go about identifying your competition. He suggests starting with high level industry research and digging deeper to assess your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses.

George is a Mentor for the upcoming Autumn semester at the Chicago Founder Institute, which is currently accepting applications. If you or someone you know could benefit from expert training and feedback to help launch a technology startup in Chicago, then click here to apply today

"Lesson #19: How to Identify your Competition" originally appeared on the Red Rocket Blog. It has been republished with permission:

Lesson #19: How to Identify your Competition

Webster's Dictionary defines a competitor as "one buying and selling goods or services in the same market as another."  Pretty self explanatory at the high level.  But, I can't tell you how many times executives do not properly assess their full competitive set.  The goal of this post is to teach you how best to not miss any competitor that could get between you and your goals.

I typically start with high level industry research.  Find the major trade association in your industry and see who they are talking about as key players in your space.  Then do Google searches with the same keywords that will be important for your business, to see who is advertising around those keywords.  If those keywords are important to those advertisers, they are most likely directly competitive with you for all, or at least a part, of their businesses.  That should pick up the launched businesses.  But, you should also look in the venture capital funding records at sites like Crunch Base and Venture Beat, as well as as searching patent registrations at the USPTO to see if anything new is in the works, that directly overlaps with your business.

Once the high level research is done, you need to start digging even deeper.  This will include asking prospective customers of your business, if they are aware of any similar businesses in the market.  And, similar businesses could also include tangential businesses that could easily pivot into your space if you are successful.  For example, if you are launching an online restaurant reservation software, competition could easily pop up from tangential players like point of sale register manufacturers (e.g., Micros, Radiant) or other large online businesses in the restaurant space (e.g., Restaurant.com, OpenTable.com, Zagat.com).

Another example includes making sure you think about all players that are aggressively going after the same target audience, even if in very different businesses.  Let's say you are building a fishing website.  In addition to all the fishing websites, you are also competing with magazines like Field & Stream, cable networks likes Sportsman Channel, retailers like Cabela's, fishing gear manufacturers like Daredevil lures and online portals like Yahoo (that may have a fishing content section).  All of these businesses will be putting a lot of consumer marketing muscle to work to own the online fishing space, so prepare for a lot of competition from many different businesses all looking for the same fisherman eyeballs.

Once you fully assess who your current or potential competitors are, then you have to assess their strengths (e.g., customer base, revenue base, cash resources, product offering) and weaknesses to see if you can build a better "mouse trap" within your budget.  Some companies decide not to move forward at this point, because it is simply too much of an uphill battle to win the space, or will require much more monies than are available to spend.  But, if you are confident you can offer a better product, better pricing, better marketing tactics or bigger budgets than your competitors, then "bring it on!"

For more startup insights from George, check out more from the Red Rocket Blog and follow him on Twitter @GeorgeDeeb.

(Concept of team and competition in business image by Shutterstock)

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