Oakland Boot Camp 2016

The Oakland Boot Camp 2016 is the latest Boot Camp that we planned, managed and executed for PowerMoves NOLA. Nine companies took part in the Boot Camp which consisted of five virtual classes and two days of "on location" classes at the ImpactHub Oakland in Oakland, CA on August 25 & 26 culminating in a Demo Day on August 27th.

During the Boot Camp classes, we used our Self Acceleration curriculum to focus on guiding companies in creating market-viable business models and investor-ready pitches. Using our business modeling assessment tools, each company provided data and information about their business model. We used the business model assessment data to assess the state of each company's business model in order to provide relevant guidance.

During the two days of "on location" classes, our instructors went in depth and "peeled the onion" of each company's business model key components in a peer learning environment. 

Key components of business models were throughly vetted as founders had other founders digging deep into their business models asking clarifying questions.

The founders also had the benefit of hearing from various mentors, investors, experienced entrepreneurs and representative from accelerators including Don Loeb of Techstars, Clayton Bryan of 500 Startups and Jorge Estrada of Kapor Capital.

AdThrill, a company working to improve the efficiency of ads walked away with $5k for the best pitch and business model on Demo Day.

AdThrill won $5,000 for the Demo Day Pitch.

AdThrill won $5,000 for the Demo Day Pitch.

The following are the companies that took part in the Oakland Boot Camp 2016:

RainbowMe Kids

Diverse entertainment for kids.


Providing the fastest and easiest way to obtain your ethnic groceries, through the use of the OjaExpress app.


Helping construction firm contractors manage and grow their business.


Storing all your career experiences in the cloud, uniquely organized for quick filtering to create dynamic sharable documents, giving you a better faster way to present yourself to the professional world.


A social network where squads create and share content to form group identities.


Helping marketers create their best advertisements by paying their target customers to watch, rate, and provide feedback on the ads they create before they go live to larger platforms like TV or Social Media.


Banks and educates those that are unbanked, underbanked, or under-resourced by providing untraditional banking options.


Accounting solutions for today's small business owners.


Connecting current students and alumni through mentorship at universities. 

These companies are now members of our alumni network community where they virtually engage with other founders from around the country, exchanging information and ideas and supporting each other. In addition, they have free access to continuing education classes, Self Acceleration classes, peer learning events, access to tech ecosystem networks and cost reducing perks from service providers.

Oakland Boot Camp Class of 2016

Oakland Boot Camp Class of 2016

If you are interested in taking part in a future boot camp, contact us here with details about your company and traction.

Startups Illustrated Summer School 2016 is here!!

We have kicked off the Startups Illustrated Summer School 2016.  

The goal of the Summer School classes is to provide continuing education to early stage entrepeneurs as they build and grow their businesses.

The content of the classes is focussed on Self Acceleration.  Our goal is to provide continuing education on topics that lead to meaningful GROWTH for early stage startups.

How does one attend the Startups Illustrated Summer School classes?  The Startups Illustrated Summer School classes are by "invite only" to members of the Startups Illustrated alumni community.  If you'd like to attend, please submit a request to attend via this contact link.

Fore more information on upcoming classes, check out the Startups Illustrated Summer School 2016 site.


A glimpse into revenue figures that are interesting to investors

I often get asked by first-time minority entrepreneurs how big (revenue-wise) their company has to be to be of interest to VCs. Brad's article is a MUST READ for entrepreneurs who have the same question. Although not the intent of the article (the article is about product/market fit), it offers a glimpse into ball park revenue figures that are interesting to investors. Most importantly, it's offers a glimpse into the level at which the game is played. For first time entrepreneurs, it is important to know where the revenue bar is in order to be fundable startup. Here are the some of the key revenue ranges

This is your competition for investor dollars

Early stage first time founders, part of the reason why you are not having much success raising funding for your startup is that the competition is much stiffer today and in some ways the quality of the competition is much better than in the past. In my opinion, the bar is getting higher, especially for first time seed/early stage entrepreneurs, even with the abundance of capital in the market. This is who you are competing with for investor dollars (taken from my observations of companies that are getting funded and those that are in top accelerators)

Self Acceleration Principles by Tom Chikoore

1 . Education

Self-educate. Startup entrepreneurship education resources are ubiquitous today. Find the 20% that matters.

2. Customer Problem/Need

Focus on a single customer problem/need.  Focus not on the problem/need but on "WHY" the problem/need exists. 

3. Value Creation

Focus on creating value that your customer will pay for from day one and nothing else.

4. Growth

Grow every week. Nothing else matters but exponential growth.

5. Unit Economics

Establish unit economics that can sustain your business model in the long term.

6. Network

Do not walk the startup journey alone. Create you own network from day one.


 - Tom Chikoore