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Commentary & Insights on Entrepreneurship The Top of Mind blog brings an array of editorial views to current events shaping the world of entrepreneurship. Engage, exchange, and expand your own view of the world!

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Increasing Popularity in Angel Funding Gets Help From New Educational Platform

It might not hit the national news like big venture capital deals or trendy crowdfunding, but good old fashioned angel investing is on the rise. These individual investors, who usually invest before a company is VC-ready, fund more than 67,000 startups every year and in 2012, their startup contributions reached nearly $23 billion. That amount represents a 36 percent increase compared to 2008.

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Taylor Brown
on September 11, 2014
Naps in the Workplace: Productivty or Slacking Off

Progressive work atmospheres are getting a lot of attention lately. From Daniel Pink's video on Founders School where he talks about motivating with autonomy, to the summertime buzz about the importance of extended vacations, it's on everyone's mind. Next subject: naps.

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Taylor Brown
on September 05, 2014
Women Outpace Men in Raising Money Online

The stats on women in entrepreneurship can be depressing. The Kauffman Foundation has done a lot of research on this topic. But simply put, women aren't starting many high tech companies and they aren't raising much venture capital. A recent Chicago Tribune article reiterated all this, despite any "lip service" to the contrary.

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Taylor Brown
on August 29, 2014
Top of Minds 5 Must Read Articles in Entrepreneurship

It looks like Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies is out to buy the next big thing in consumer health and wellness. Late last month, the $300 billion company announced its plans to partner with CircleUp, an equity-based crowdfunding platform. The news was all over the national entrepreneurship-focused media outlets. An article on Entrepreneur.com explained that the behemoth business made this move to get early access to the pipeline of emerging innovations in its market. Then it can acquire and add these products to its own product line.

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Taylor Brown
on August 08, 2014
Top of Mind's 5 Must-Read Articles in Entrepreneurship

The media seems to be a buzz with the nation's small business decline. From the increase in the number of startups failing, to the decrease in the number being started, this trend--not the reason for it, much to my disappointment--is being spun across the nation's news outlets. Entrepreneurship certainly ebbs and flows and while policymakers and entrepreneurial ecosystem members (hopefully) figure out what's causing the current ebb, I am encouraged to see another source stepping up to increase a form of entreprenruship: intrapreneurship.

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Thom Ruhe
on June 04, 2014
Top of Mind's 5 Must-Read Articles in Entrepreneurship

Angel funding hit the news last week in a big way with the Angel Capital Association launching its "Protect Angel Funding" campaign. This professional and trade association supports the success of angel investors in high-growth, early-stage companies. It launched the campaign in an effort to keep startups from losing this source of funding if the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) increases the financial qualifications for accredited investors.

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Thom Ruhe
on May 30, 2014
Top of Mind's 5 Must-Read Articles in Entrepreneurship

Venture capital certainly has its place within the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Some of our nation's largest companies (and employers), like Apple, Google and FedEx, have secured this form of funding. But plenty of Kauffman Foundation research tells us that VC funding isn't as mainstream in startups as one would gather based on its common place in startup news. In fact, less than 20 percent of the fastest growing young companies ever take venture capital money.

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Thom Ruhe
on March 18, 2014
Casting A Wider Net With Community Colleges

Innovation Fund America (IFA), our program delivering high-impact education, coaching and pre-seed funding to scalable, technology-based startups via community colleges around the country, has quietly been having a big couple of months. It's a complicated and demanding program to launch and it's taken nearly a year and a half to get to this point, but we're excited that IFA is now open for business in two communities--and we're really just getting started.

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Jonathan Robinson
on January 30, 2014
iKC Event Raises Vital Startup Questions

Last Thursday, I joined 400 problem-solvers from around the Midwest at the iKC event at the H&R Block Headquarters. The event was an un-conference, meaning there were no pre-set rules or even an agenda. We came together to choose and vote on several topics of discussion we found interesting, and we then had four breakout sessions throughout the day to meet and discuss the 28 selected topics.

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Nathan Kurtz
on October 09, 2013
7 Things I Didn't Know About Crowdfunding Before Today

Crowdfunding is a hot topic in the entrepreneurship space these days. Many startups are asking about it, and are trying to decide if seeking funding from the crowd is the right for their company. Sensing this demand, we hosted a three hour event on the subject a few days ago which you can view here and here.

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Cameron Cushman
on August 29, 2013

Twitter Updates

  • How Apple Stopped Listening to Its Customers... and tried to make us like U2 http://t.co/qBNwy0dv3Z @ErikSherman via @Inc
  • “It's new & young companies that create most jobs & innovations, not necessarily small companies" @danestangler http://t.co/kqWmVyxg7A
  • Why it's important to define from the beginning what will happen if one or more co-founders leaves the company http://t.co/kANnHsFbeQ
  • Educate yourself on the ins and outs of taking equity in early-stage companies http://t.co/MrxXFpYdsx #investorIQ
  • What's More Important to an Investor? The Company or the Founder http://t.co/w6ZHIyQNRl #TopOfMind