Unsafe Notes

Originally published on avc.com

I was reminded yesterday how much of a shit show raising seed capital via SAFE notes is. I can’t and won’t get into why I was reminded of that, but let’s just say nobody wants to go there.

So I thought I’d repost the important parts of a post I wrote on this topic a couple years ago.

I have never been a fan of convertible notes. USV has done quite a few convertible and SAFE notes. We are not opposed to convertible and SAFE notes and will not let the form of security the founder wants to use get between us and investing in a company that we like.

But I continue to think that convertible and SAFE notes are not in the best interests of the founder(s).

Here is why:

  1. They defer the issue of valuation and, more importantly, dilution, until a later date. I think dilution is way too important of an issue to defer, for even a second.
  2. They obfuscate the amount of dilution the founder(s) is taking. I believe a founding team should know exactly how much of the company they own at every second of the journey. Notes hide this from them, particularly the less sophisticated founders.
  3. They can build up, like a house of cards, on top of each other and then come crashing down on the founder(s) at some point when a priced round actually happens. This is the worst thing about notes and doing more than one is almost always a problem in the making.
  4. They put the founder in the difficult position of promising an amount of ownership to an angel/seed investor that they cannot actually deliver down the round when the notes convert. I cannot tell you how many angry pissed off angel investors I have had to talk off the ledge when we are leading a priced round and they see the cap table and they own a LOT less than they thought they did. And they blame the founder(s) or us for it and it is honestly not anyone’s fault other than the harebrained structure (notes) they used to finance their company.

The Series A focused VC firms that often lead the first priced rounds get to see this nightmare unfold all the time. The company has been around for a few years and has financed itself along the way with all sorts of various notes at various caps (or no cap) and finally the whole fucking mess is resolved and nobody owns anywhere near as much as they had thought. Sometimes we get blamed for leading such a dilutive round, but I don’t care so much about that, I care about the fact that we are allowing these young companies to finance themselves in a way that allows such a thing to happen.

Here are some suggestions for the entire angel/seed sector (founders, angel investors, seed investors, lawyers):

  1. Do priced equity rounds instead of notes. As I wrote seven years ago, the cost of doing a simple seed equity deal has come way down. It can easily be done for less than $5k in a few days and we do that quite often.
  2. The first convertible or SAFE note issued in a company should have a cap on the total amount of notes than can be issued. A number like $1mm or max $2mm sounds right to me.
  3. Don’t do multiple rounds of notes with multiple caps. It always ends badly for everyone, including the founder.
  4. Founders should insist that their lawyers publish, to them and the angel/seed investors, a “pro-forma” cap table at the closing of the note that shows how much of the company each of them would own if the note converted immediately at different prices. This “pro-forma” cap table should be updated each and every time another note is isssued. Most importantly, we cannot and should not continue to allow founders to issue notes to investors and not understand how much dilution they are taking on each time they do it. This is WRONG.

Honestly, I wish the whole scourge of notes would go away and we could go back to the way things were done for the first twenty years I was in the venture capital business. I think it would be a better thing for everyone. But if we can’t put the genie back in the bottle, we can at least bottle it up a bit better. Because it causes a lot of problems for everyone.

3 Easy Ways To Identify Buying Intent

By: Masha Finkelstein

If you are like me and probably every other sales or marketing professional, you most likely ask yourself, your colleagues, your friends, and the internet this question everyday: how do I know if and when the accounts we are targeting are on the market for a solution like ours?

Let me share what has worked well for me over the years at various startups for identifying intent signals among our prospect accounts.

Intent signal #1: they are on your website.

You may not know the exact person or their email address (yet), but what you can identify is what company they are from when they come to your site. There are numerous solutions out there for this starting with your basic marketing automation systems (i.e. Marketo), ending with more complex platform tools that have this feature as part of their overall ABM functionality (like DemandBase, Leady.com, and many others). This is as easy as 1–2–3:

  1. Find the tool that is right for you (reverse IP lookup based, for example)
  2. Set up the Google Analytics integration for that tool, and
  3. Enable alerts for your sales team whenever the companies from your target account list are on your site.

Intent signal #2: they are searching for your keywords.

This is a powerful one. What if you knew that your named accounts are looking for solutions to the pain points you are solving right when they did it? Well, there is a way. There are companies out there that can tell you when your prospects are indeed searching for the keywords you identify. My favorite one is Bombora — we start by giving them a list of our named high fit accounts that we target, then we get a list of companies every week that “surge” on our keywords within a few topic areas that we identified. We then flag these prospects in Salesforce for our inside sales team to outbound to and also add them to account based marketing top of the funnel campaigns. Guess what? Companies that surge on our keywords tend to convert better for us. 😉

Intent signal #3: they are asking their peers for help.

How do you know when they are asking for your peers for help? It really depends on your target audience, but it could be anywhere from Quora, LinkedIn groups, social media, to product specific user communities. For example, whenever I have a marketing question I like going to places like Marketing Nation community, FlipMyFunnel.org, Salesforce Trailblazer community, and other similar type places where like-minded super smart peers of mine hang out. I then post my question there. So why aren’t you monitoring user groups where your target audience would be questions that you could help them with yet??

There are more ways to identify buying intent among your target accounts than just these three, and it really depends on where your prospects like to spend their time. I can tell you how I personally display intent of buying a solution to solve a current problem…

I usually start with good ol’ Google. Usually that gives me some ideas and gets me thinking in a direction that may end up being relevant. I then ping my marketing friends to see if they have faced a similar problem in the past. Sometimes they have and are willing to share how they solved it, other times not. If not, I go to peer communities and look for threads where people discussed similar type problems in the past. If I don’t find any pre-existing relevant threads I usually start my own by describing my problem in detail and asking for ideas on a solution. I also tend to go to industry events where I talk to technology vendors and peers alike. If I have a question at hand that I’m trying to solve I usually bring it up in those conversations. I go to sessions that sound like they may be helpful in finding the answer (think: when signing up for event sponsorship try to get detailed information on session attendance as well as part of your sponsor package). Once I get a few ideas for solutions to check out I research review sites, consume a ton of content about those solutions, and schedule in depth demos with the top few. By the way, the amount of content consumed could also be a great intent signal. Check out PathFactory for that.

See? There are so many indicators along the way that I am looking for a solution… I’m sure when you try to get into the mind of your target audience and think how they think you’ll find many opportunities for surfacing ways you could help them at the right time and in the right place.

How to Develop Best in Class Sales Efficiency

Originally posted on Tomasz Tunguz

May 10, 2019

A public market investors asked me if there are any patterns in the list of recent software IPOs with the best sales efficiencies. As I looked through the list, I noticed one.

All of these businesses sell bottom up with small initial ACVs that grow dramatically. Atlassian, Zoom, Twilio, Slack, New Relic, Elastic. All of them target small groups of users within larger organization who introduce the vendor. Over time, usage grows, accounts expand. Some acquire through open source, others through virality (Zoom).

And since expanding an existing customer costs significantly less than acquiring a new one, these expansion dollars require far fewer (and potentially zero) sales and marketing investment. If a majority of bookings come from expansion, then the business develops an incredible sales efficiency.

Let’s walk through an example. Imagine a $100M ARR business growing at 50% annually. Suppose the business generates 130% in net dollar retention (NDR). The business will grow this year by $50M. $30M will come from account expansion. The remaining $20M is new sales. So, this business must build a sales team large enough to generate $20M in new bookings; something like 30 account executives at $1M in annual quota and 70% attainment.

Contrast the same business with 110% account expansion. The business must staff a sales team of 58 AEs, about 2x. Holding sales and marketing costs constant, that means the sales and marketing spend of the second business is 2x, and the sales efficiency is half.

A few questions arise:

First, in order to generate great NDR, does the business require a small ACV?

Yes. The companies above with greater than 1.0 in sales efficiency have an average ACV of $5.5k with a standard deviation of $0.9k; a very tight band. But there’s an important caveat. These businesses have smaller initial ACVs but target mid-market and enterprise accounts, where total account values can be $100k+. For example, Slack’s ACV is $4.5k but accounts worth $100k generate 40% of revenues.

Second, if a business has a very good NDR, is sales efficiency the right way to analyze a business?

Probably not since the expansion dollars boost the implied sales efficiency materially. In many of these businesses, customer success drives the expansion, rather than sales. To get a better sense of the sales and marketing performance, the sales efficiency should be calculated on new logo acquisition solely, unless the sales and marketing teams exert significant effort in the expansion motions.

Third, to have a great sales efficiency number, do you need a great NDR?

The answer is quite likely yes. 42% of sales efficiency is explained by NDR.

Fourth, do companies with great NDR spend materially less on sales and marketing (and is the theory proposed in the second question validated in practice)?

It’s a very strong yes. NDR has a -73% correlation with reduced sales and marketing spend as a percentage of revenue.To summarize, if you want to build a business with world class sales efficiency develop a product that is adopted bottoms up but that grow to $100k+ ACVs in a large market.

What Start-Up Founders Should Learn From The World’s Best Poker Player

A Story About The Power Of Peer-to-Peer Learning

By: Feliks Eyser and Fedor Holz | May 9, 2019
Article originally posted on Medium

The Las Vegas sun usually glares brightly in July, but the casino playing

room is so dimly lit that only the poker table and the two remaining players are visible. When the dealer flips the turn card, it takes only a split second for Fedor Holz’ lightning-fast mind to realize what has happened. Holding a 7 and 8 of clubs in his hand, he hits a flush. That makes him the winner of the “Super High Roller” tournament in the World Series of Poker earning him 4.9 million USD in winnings. On top of that, the title makes him the highest ranking poker player in the world at the time. Fedor is 22 years old at the time.

Flashback to five years earlier. Fedor is an unimposing teenager, struggling at university. Below-average grades and lack of purpose make him drop out to travel the world. He plays a little poker on the side, but his results are underwhelming.

From Drop-out to World Champion

To understand this incredible transformation from unimpressive college drop- out to multi-millionaire world champion, our journey takes us to an unusual place in Canada.

Illustrations by Ariane Frida Sofie

Cherry Island is a private island, located 2 hours north of Toronto. After the boat drops you off and disappears, you don’t hear a sound apart from light breezes streaming through the trees and distant ripples from a waterfall. Right at the shore, you’ll hardly spot a luxurious cottage. It’s the only house on the entire island.

Fedor has invited a group of eight ambitious but unknown poker players to the island. He met them online and selected the ones he thought would best fit his mission: To learn from each other and improve their skills together. All the participants are skilled in different aspects of poker and willing to share their experiences, but none of them have had any significant success in poker yet.

The group spends four weeks on Cherry Island. They play, and play, and play. Thousands of online tournaments against other players. Hundreds of thousands of hands. Everyone is pushing their limits. When Fedor wakes up at 6 am, someone is already playing. When he goes to bed at 2 am, somebody else is still at it. The group lives and breathes poker. Sitting in the jacuzzi or at the dinner table, they discuss their games with the rest of the crew. In a constant stream of thousands of conversations, they learn from each other, sometimes discussing one single hand and sometimes taking apart game strategies or mathematical models. Eight intelligent perspectives merge into one combined steep learning curve for the group.

Four weeks later, something impressive had happened. Between them, the players had won almost 1 million USD, a number far higher than their wildest expectations. Even more remarkable: Less than three years after the retreat, nearly every participant of the “Cherry Island group” has reached the top 100 (or 0.0002%) in poker globally, with Fedor reaching number one in 2016. The combined cash winnings of the group today exceed more than 100 million USD.

It’s hard to believe that this is a coincidence. The story of Cherry Island is one of the best examples of the power of peer-to-peer learning and structured improvements through group reflection.

From Poker to Start-Up-Land

I first met Fedor when I asked him to speak for a small group of ambitious entrepreneurs in Frankfurt, Germany. Sitting in a bar between old whiskey

bottles and chesterfield sofas we discussed the similarities of poker and entrepreneurship.

Both disciplines can seem lonely. In poker, it’s every player for themselves. In entrepreneurship, you might have a co-founder or two, but in the end, the CEO-role can still feel solitary. “It’s lonely at the top,” they say. Success in start-up-land is a matter of countless decisions under high uncertainty, just like in poker. On top of that, you start to get biased and emotionally attached once you start playing. It’s impossible to observe your company from the outside once you’re working in it.

“It’s lonely at the top.”- anonymous first-time founder

That’s why — like in poker — in entrepreneurship, it’s so important to assemble a strong support team: By learning from each other’s perspectives and experiences you’ll personally grow much faster. Your personal growth will be the foundation of your start-up’s growth.

My Start-Up Support Team

When I scaled my marketing company Regio Helden from zero to over 300 employees, tens of millions in revenue, and ultimately exited it, I could also rely on the experiences and perspectives of eight great minds, almost working together as one.

I remember our first meeting like it was yesterday. Eight sleep deprived and ambitious internet entrepreneurs are sitting at a rickety IKEA table in a small meeting room in Berlin Mitte. The carpet is dark blue and covered with stains, but we couldn’t care less. Albert, the host of the meeting, is more concerned with the monthly growth of his e-commerce sales, than with office furniture. We’re meeting at night because we work all day. It’s hard to stay concentrated, but our thirst for knowledge (and supply of caffeine) keep us going. After Stephan shares an in-depth look into the latest growth hack for his online education product, I talk about the structural challenges of my sales organization. We go around the table and one after the other share our experiences on the topics. We challenge what we hear and offer our own perspectives. Like on Cherry Island, every member has different skills that they bring to the group. We talk for hours and share the most confidential insights. After an intense meeting, everyone goes to sleep a little bit smarter.

We keep meeting monthly and start to travel together twice a year for a couple of intense days. Throughout the years, we’ve done the most amazing things together like snowmobiling in Finland, swimming in Iceland’s lagoons, and climbing volcanoes in Italy — all while learning from each other and working on our companies. I always return from the trips with fresh energy, a new set of perspectives, and possibly a solution to my current barrier of growth. Whenever anyone of us faces a challenge like hiring a new head of sales, changing their strategy, or selling their company, they turn to our group first.

Over time, some members dropped out, but we recruited new ones, raising the bar every time. Almost ten years after our first meeting, all the experience sharing has paid dividends. Today, our companies employ thousands of employees and make hundreds of millions in revenue. We’ve come a long way since our first meeting on that cold night in Berlin. All of our members have grown immensely on a personal level.

What Your Support Team Does For You

If I had to compile all the lessons of 12+ years of entrepreneurship into one single piece of advice, it would be this:

As a first-time founder, don’t try to solve every problem yourself. Build a strong support-team of other entrepreneurs to access their experiences and perspectives.

Think of it as your version of The Avengers. Every superhero is talented in their own way, but the true power evolves, once they all come together. If you find the right peers, you’ll benefit from your Avengers support-team in several aspects:

It can give you a different perspective. It might appear to you, that you see the world objectively, but your viewpoint is just a handful of sand on a vast beach of reality. Having different perspectives will lead to more informed and better decisions. When one of our member’s companies was struggling, we figured out, that the situation was excellent to buy out an early investor at a low price. That new perspective turned out to create a lot of wealth for the founder years later!

You’ll gain a new set of experiences. As a first-time founder, you’ll face new challenges and might think they are unique to you. They are not. 99% of your problems have been solved before. Look for best practices and find a person who has done it before. Avoid trial and error whenever possible. It’s slow, painful, and inefficient.

It can give you honest feedback. Who else is going to provide you with that? Probably not your employees, investors, or customers. When one of my guys once told me that I could unintentionally come across as disinterested when discussing business, it surely made me think.

Your team can be your coach in essential situations. In poker, emotional players make mistakes. But it’s tough to stay objective when you’ve been sitting at the final table for six hours. Unfortunately, poker players cannot be coached during a match. But in start-up-land founders can! Selling a company or handling a significant setback can be mentally challenging. Don’t get caught up in these emotions! Use uninvolved eyes to gain a more objective view.

How To Put Together And Make The Most Out Of Your Support-Team

For first-time founders, it’s easy to get lost in the constant pull of the day-to- day business. So, first, make the conscious decision to join or start a group and put in the time and effort.

Pick the right people. Fedor and I tried to surround ourselves with individuals who had great ambition, high potential, as well as a thirst for learning. Try to find founders with aligned values but diverse skills.

Start small. Four to five people are enough in the beginning. Expand later and be very picky.

Start locally. Since physical meetings are crucial, put together a team in your area, if possible. I found the first members of my group through a local chapter of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization and their Accelerator Program, but there are many other options like meet-ups, start-up associations or other local accelerators.

Establish a meeting routine. Try to meet at least once a month for 3–4 hours. Agree on a structured agenda and find a way to make the meetings productive. For my group, it works best when members present a current challenge for 10–15 minutes before everyone contributes their experiences and perspectives in 3–5 minutes each.

Travel together. Intense time together in new surroundings is an amplifier for trust. It also enables more in-depth discussions than in monthly meetings. Remember Cherry Island and the value those four, intense weeks created for the group. The value and enjoyment of group travel are some of the reasons why I created Digital Founders Camps, where 10–12 founders learn from each other in four-day “workations” in places like Mallorca.

Feliks and Fedor at Coachella, April of 2019

Most importantly: Enjoy the ride and have fun. The path of entrepreneurship (and poker) is much more interesting than any goal. Walk it with people whose company you enjoy! If you surround yourself with great people, to learn, grow, support each other, travel and have fun, the journey will be worthwhile, no matter what the result is.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” — African proverb

Master the subtle art of pitching perfect

April 4, 2019 | Moonshot

Originally published on medium.com

To pitch is to convince, compel, to persuade and sway. It’s a subtle art and one that needs to be mastered if we hope to close an investment round, secure the needed support, or convince whichever audience of whatever worthiness. Moonshot has worked with hundreds of companies to craft convincing pitches, whether it’s for the big stage or the boardroom, and we put together

this list of “truths” for creating stand out pitches that win your audience. It starts with the game plan.

I. Define your play-by-play objectives

Clearly understand and articulate your end goal and then break it down into the play-by-play of getting there. Understand success at each step or each contingency, not simply the end game. You don’t get $10M out of one meeting. And if you do, congratulations, you definitely don’t need to read this article. Getting $10M starts with one meeting, the goal of which is to get to the next meeting to get to the due diligence to get that lead investor closed so you can get to doubling down on all your other prospects who are thrilled to come together and close your round. Framing up the succession of wins that get you to $10 million helps you determine what you present, to whom, and when exactly.

Too many founders are ready to shove the whole burrito down the throats of potential investors in the first email or meeting. One deck does not serve all. You need to send the right version at the right time to the right people. In the first outreach, send just what will create the intrigue you need to get a response. Don’t be overly mysterious but don’t let all your cards show either. The goal is to get in front of the investors or decision-makers first. You don’t do that with 60 slides and an appendix.

Pitching is a subtle art — know your goals and tailor content accordingly. The Cheshire Cat perhaps said it best in that, the way you ought to go depends a good deal on where you want to get to.

II. Do your homework on them

Figure out and communicate why XYZ investor/ supporter/ benefactor matters to you. Why do you want them specifically? Why should they, as smart, successful, busy individuals, give their attention to you? If you don’t have a direct connection or a warm intro, it is essential to do your research. In a cold email or call, demonstrate that you know who they are, what they value, how they invest, who they work with — something that shows you can see them for who they really are and you’ve done some homework. This

immediately sets you apart from the spam, canned email, and the lazier unimaginative people who cram the inboxes of investors with the next greatest idea ever.

With those prerequisites out of the way, you can then really start crafting your pitch — the one you’ll use once you’ve got their attention.


III. Be unique, not a template

Don Draper said, “you can’t stand out if you look like everyone else.” Don’t settle for the traditional template. You might be one in a thousand pitches that investor sees each year. There is a standard template approach and trust us, nobody sees it more times than they do. So if you want to cultivate glazed eyes and disinterest, follow suit with the status quo.

Successful companies have a product (something you sell), a market (someone who buys), and a team to orchestrate that opportunity. Investors are obviously looking at these criteria, but they’re also looking for a story. How

you present your story — something they can engage with, something that emotionally moves them in some way — is how you can hook investors into the mission, and the round.

IV. Start by distilling the essentials

Not all templates are bad though and a famously successful one is AirBnB’s first pitch deck. It’s an awesome specimen of brevity and business positioning. Nine content slides! Instead of trying to duplicate AirBnB’s deck though, break down the constituent parts to distill the essential questions you need to answer for your own company. AirBnb covered the baseline material so clearly, concisely, and successfully that the exercise is absolutely worth doing on your own to lay out key pieces that you can then weave into your own story.

Those essentials are:

1. Problem: clearly define it in one strong statement.
2. Solution: clearly articulate it in one strong statement and ensure that it’s

related to the problem in the most poignant angle possible.
3. Market validation: what is the most impressive (and accurate) way of

demonstrating the opportunity you have in your market.
4. Market size: what numbers best show the size of the pie.
5. Product: articulate the simplest, clearest ABC of your product.
6. Business model: in one sentence, how are you going to make money. 7. Market adoption: in a few bullet points, how you will find your

8. Competition: who are the top players you’re up against? Plot them on

an XY graph with variables that demonstrate the industry ecosystem
9. Competitive advantage: 4–8 bullet points on what really gives you your


V. Craft a compelling narrative

Once you’ve distilled the raw ingredients you can weave them into a potent narrative. A strong story takes the audience on a journey. There are highs and lows, places of tension, suspension, and ultimately closure that drives the

underlying moral or meaning home. Find areas in your story where you can create a little less linearity, more intrigue, and a bit of drama.

This can also be correlated to neuroscience and the attention of your audience. At the start of your pitch, before an investor hears anything, they’re likely dreams of ways of giving you all the money you’re about to ask for. No, they’re more likely in a state of healthy skepticism mixed with some impatience, complacence, distraction, and don’t ever underestimate hunger as a real-time factor. They’re likely comfortably situated in their “croc brains” — our animal brains that have developed over millennia in the domain of survival, instincts and emotions. Our frontal brain, developed much more recently, is in charge of reason, problem-solving, and complex analytical thought. Both are useful, but often work against each other.

As you pitch you have the opportunity to appeal and satitate the croc brain, opening a safe pathway for the prefrontal cortex to engage. Starting a pitch with the big picture and some emotional hooks, will enable you to garner the attention to move them into the prefontal cortex and actually pay attention to and absorb your graphs, diagrams, and financial projections. Don’t start out technical. Be aware of what part of the brain you’re speaking to.

As the founder, when it comes to telling your own story — the personal journey of how you got to this place — make it super brief, no matter how rockstar you are. Figure out a way to communicate what is best and most relevant about you in 90 seconds.

VI. Master eloquence

Eloquence is defined as having or exercising the power of fluent, forceful, and appropriate speech. If you can say it in fifty words, you can say it in fifteen. Be discerning and disciplined to avoid TMI. Information overload is one of the surest, fastest ways of losing your audience. If you can explain what you’re doing to a 10 year old in 10 minutes, you have achieved an amazing degree of self-understanding and succinctness.

VII. Clean & beautiful (but not extravagant) design

Bad design hurts your message and good design will beautifully support your message without getting in the way. You don’t need the most amazing design in the world and if your visual design is stronger than the message, you could come across as having spent unnecessary resources dressing up a half-baked idea. Get the content strong and then go for clean visual design that absolutely supports the message. This is especially true if you’re in seed stage and haven’t invested in or built an identity and brand yet.

VIII. Energy & power dynamics

The final piece in perfecting a pitch is in how you tell it. Somewhere between 70–93% of what gets communicated happens non-verbally. Awareness of the energy you bring, the energy in the room, and who holds the power in any given moment, goes a long way in determining the outcome of the pitch. For example, if you show up with a vibe of neediness, you give the power away. Walk into that room pretending you need nothing from them and notice how the playing field stays more equalized. A vibe of humble confidence goes further than egotistical idealism. The best thing is to show up authentically as if you have nothing to lose (even if you have to pretend) and pitch from your heart.

To really conquer all of the above, an outside objective party can be extremely helpful. Nobody knows your company/product/idea better than you do, but your deeply subjective understanding can get in the way of clearly defining the essence, telling the right story, and in keeping it brief and concise. Seek honest feedback and somebody who can help see things you may be subjectively blind to — find somebody you trust or hire Moonshot. And, remember that a “no” can be valuable feedback — ask why when you get turned down. Pitching perfect takes practice and refinement. Be creative and use your story as a captivating invitation into the future of your dreams and convictions.

StartUP FIU Food Expands North, Launching New P.R.E.P. Program in Partnership with Pro Kitchen Hub

The pathway to recipe development, entrepreneurship, & product creation (P.R.E.P.) will serve the Broward County community.

Miami (May 13th, 2019) – StartUP FIU Food announces a new partnership with Pro Kitchen Hub to launch the P.R.E.P. program. This program was designed to help food entrepreneurs gain the basic understanding of what it takes to manage, grow, and sustain a food business.

The P.R.E.P. membership program offers eleven industry specific courses in finance, marketing, and food science. Members can join the StartUP FIU Food round tables to network and learn more from our industry experts. Members will also have access to the student led labs for assistance in all three areas of concentration. At the end of the year-long membership program, participants will receive a StartUP FIU Food certificate of completion. This certificate will grant members priority admission into StartUP FIU Food’s more advanced programs such as StartUP FIU Food F.E.E.D. or Incubator program.

“Shared commercial kitchen spaces provide local entrepreneurs an amazing opportunity to expand, which is why we are very excited to launch this partnership with Pro Kitchen Hub. StartUP FIU Food will offer consulting, food industry courses, and technical assistance. Collaborating with kitchen incubators such as Pro Kitchen Hub is essential to small businesses in need of support, resources and knowledge. We look forward to expanding our services to the Broward community.”– Anna Etienne, Program Director of StartUP FIU Food

In addition to the P.R.E.P. membership program, Pro Kitchen Hub will offer the finance, marketing, and food technical courses ‘a la carte’ style. These one-off courses allow entrepreneurs to pick & choose the courses that will help them grow & manage their startup food business.

“The partnership between StartUP FIU Food and Pro Kitchen Hub is the missing link in our ability to give ultimate support to our community of food entrepreneurs. Most culinary entrepreneurs have great innovative ideas but need professional supports so they can mitigate the number of mistakes that can prevent their growth in the long run.” – Chef Vicky Colas, Founder of Pro Kitchen Hub.

For more information on P.R.E.P programming at Pro Kitchen Hub, please contact prep@prokitchenhub.com.


About StartUP FIU

StartUP FIU is a university-wide initiative to foster innovation and entrepreneurship to pursue opportunities in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. These opportunities include the development of breakthrough technologies, the pursuit of enterprises that close social or environmental gaps and the creation of companies that can create meaningful jobs of the future.

About StartUP FIU Food

StartUP FIU Food is an industry focused incubator that serves local food and beverage business owners. The Chaplin School of Tourism and Hospitality partners with StartUP FIU to bring world-class expertise and practical knowledge about every aspect of the food and beverage industry. The industry focus is complemented with a full range of training in small business management and entrepreneurship.

About Pro Kitchen Hub

Pro Kitchen is a modern concept in commercial shared kitchen space and food business incubator. The 7,430 square feet Pro Kitchen Hub facility is not only a shared-use commercial kitchen, but also a culinary incubator that works directly with food business entrepreneurs to assist them in starting and developing sustainable businesses. This includes helping our members through the state required paperwork and providing them with secure 24/7 access to a commercial licensed kitchen.

Media Contact:
Nicole Valle