Zelkova Website Stats

April 19th, 2011 by Jay Levy View Comments

We have received visitors from 204 sources, here is the breakout of the top ones. It was interesting to see how few have come from Bing over the past year relative to the market share that has been reported.

Daily Visitor Trends

This graph depicts visitor percentage of each day. I was surprised by the similarity of vistors on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday but not surprised by the amount of visitors Friday & Saturday or Sunday. It makes sense the percentage of visitors would decrease Friday & Saturday but increase on Sunday because these numbers are in conjunction with # of emails received on those days.

Top Traffic Sources

We have received visitors from 204 sources, here is the breakout of the top ones. It was interesting to see how few have come from Bing over the past year relative to the market share that has been reported.

Top Pages

Great to see the top ages (besides the home page) are those entrepreneurs should be interested in such as the team and our portfolio.

Top Browsers


Kohort – How to Stealth Correctly

April 18th, 2011 by Jay Levy View Comments

Today TechCrunch announced that Mark Davis has closed $3m in funding for he and Steve Blood’s new startup Kohort. Along the funding announcement you can also go claim your username prior to launch, go to http://www.kohort.com .

Generally speaking I have been pretty vocal about my disdain for startups to be in stealth mode, but Mark was able to convince me why limiting the knowledge out there was important for Kohort and was more beneficial than being public. The team at Kohort is working on something that can have profound impact on many stakeholders and in the process disrupt many existing players, keeping tight lips on it was important in this case.

While Kohort is in stealth mode they didn’t walk around asking people to sign NDA’s or acting all royal, he instead engaged the right people at the right time.

The lesson learned here is that a stealth mode doesn’t have to mean tell nobody, it’s more have a plan on engaging and telling people what you are up to, but also think carefully if stealth mode is right for you and your company.


A Few Months, Pizza, Passion & Hard Work = TechStars DemoDay

April 15th, 2011 by Caroline Scheinfeld View Comments

Harvard and Yale acceptance’s rate look pretty good compared to the competitive NY TechStars incubation program, which only accepts 11 companies out of 600 applications. Yesterday, investors and other eager guests gathered at Webster Hall to witness the result of a few months of sleepless nights, hours glued to computers and an exuberant amount of brainstorming. The 11 companies, which constitute the most recent TechStars NY group each pitched their sites with the hopes of closing their first rounds. The CEO’s of each company captured the attention of the audience members ranging from the select older men dressed Don Draper-style to the majority of youngsters in Mark Zukerberg-esque garb. The bystanders were not all men, but for someone used to the fashion industry (me), the amount of women in the room seemed inconsequential.

David Cohen and Brad Feld started Techstars in Boulder, CO but spread the funding and mentorship to Seattle and New York City. David Tisch, ran this NY session flawlessly resulting in businesses with great teams, strong ideas and sufficient markets. Angels, institutional investors and other big tech names ooed and awed at the entrepreneurs blatant passion and ability to solve current problems online.

When evaluating startups, consider whether or not a current problem is being solved. How will this make my life easier and more convenient? Other important points of diligence include an intense evaluation of the team. If an idea is great and a market exists, one might assume success but not so fast TEAM IS EVERYTHING. Demo Day enabled potential investors to not only get a glimpse into their businesses but also get a feel for the entrepreneurs’ personalities.

Demo Day truly confirmed the expansion of the start-up industry with the instability of the corporate world, it seems many took the road of sacrificing fat pay checks in return for passionate jobs and a long journey to an exit.


Rocking an Anchored Boat – Summit at Sea

April 14th, 2011 by Caroline Scheinfeld View Comments

Take a cruise ship filled with 1000 people who don’t follow rules, innovate and provide hope for the future, and you get Summit Series 2011. On Friday, April 8, 2011, motivational speakers, techies, V.C.’s, entrepreneurs, actors, musicians and fashionistas left Miami for a weekend filled with sun burns, sand, speakers, networking and outstanding performances. As someone quite frightened by the idea of a cruise, to me, aka confinement on one large vessel for three days, summit series was to say the least, intimidating. With sea bands, Dramamine and 1000 interesting people, I soon forgot I was trapped amidst the Atlantic Ocean and became inspired by those on board. Summit Series’ motto could not have summed up the experience better, “Three days. One voyage. An ocean of possibilities.” Summit Series organizes and hosts events, which are invitation only with the goal to inspire and connect a new generation of successful leaders professionally and personally.

Sir Richard Branson kicked off the weekend along with talented pianist Eric Lewis, tech investor Chris Sacca, Tom’s Shoes Blake Mycoskie and renowned therapist Sean Stephenson. Those two and half hours completely rocked the boat before we even left the port. Talk about influential, inspiring, motivating, brilliant and thinking outside of the box. We hadn’t even been on the boat for more then a few hours and I was already in overwhelm overload if that even makes sense in the English language. Chris Sacca’s interviewed Branson capturing Branson’s uniqueness. Sir Richard Branson could have the most interesting life, with sentences like “I was just feeding a tiger with a bottle,” leaving the crowd roaring with laughter (pun intended) or “A hotel underwater might sound crazy now.” If I had any doubts about my ability to survive on a boat for 3 days, Tom’s shoes Blake Mycoskie certainly rid me of those as he’s been living on a boat for three years and could not be happier or more successful. Blake started Tom’s shoes, which not only sells cool slip-ons, but for every purchased pair, Tom’s donates a pair to a child in need. Pianist extraordinaire, Eric Lewis, played a myriad of songs without every sitting down. The last speaker of the first night, Sean, might be three feet tall and wheelchair bound, but he was one of the most charismatic and projected speakers I have ever witnessed. With his zest for life, Sean stressed the importance of eliminating the ego, confidence verse arrogance and it’s not the container but what’s inside. The impressive list of speakers and performers continued over the next three days including CEO of Zappos Tony Hsieh, Russel Simmons, designer Rebecca Minkoff, Shai Agassi and a myriad of others. Gary Vaynerchuck, founder of Vayner Media and Wine Library, not only made me laugh uncontrollably but also has a pretty unconventional fairy tale ending type story line showing people anything is possible. He turned a small liquor store into a multi-million dollar business by combining customer service and technology.

Not only were the speakers great, but the workouts and dance sessions were also unparalleled. NFL linebacker Dhani Jones kicked our asses on the beach with a pro-athlete beach workout. I thought I was fit until Dhani made us do suicides in the thick sand and wheelbarrows. To calm down after a day filled with countless amounts of information, Imogen Heap performed her incredible vocal range along with slight interludes of comedy and DJ Cassidy, ?uest Love and The Roots had everyone fist pumping on the boat deck’s dance floor.

The most ironic part of the trip was the boat lacked phone service and wifi, yet was filled with techies, early adopters and Internet dependent people. When an announcement was made on the loud speaker mentioning the word “wifi,” everyone stopped moving, the boat was so quiet, you could hear a pin drop. Despite our lack of connection to the outside world, we all managed to connect with each other in a powerful and inspirational way.

One of the most significant lessons I brought back to shore was the importance of organic networking. In many foreign languages, the word “network,” does not exist and often confuses those due to its inherent artificiality. The idea of going to an event with the sole purpose of “networking,” is quite a perplexing convention. While speed networking and other organized forms of meeting did take place on the boat, the relationships I developed were serendipitous. In order to meet women, I didn’t have to rely on the women’s happy hour but simply met people online for the ladies room or sitting by the pool.

Talks about our generation being a failure or letting global warming take over were completely negated on this trip. I was in awe of the people on this boat who were not just talkers but doers. These people don’t just want to solve the world’s most crucial problems, they are. From electric cars, to happier workplaces to overcoming the ego, every panel and discussion dramatically altered my thoughts on the world.

I have to thank the Summit team for truly capturing the innovation, creativity and brilliance that exists today. They inspired me to think outside of the box and illustrated that ideas do not have to be restricted to the minds but can be executed.


The NY Angels are Listening!

March 25th, 2011 by Jay Levy View Comments

Yesterday I praised Adam Neary for his willingness to share his fundraising experience. Entrepreneurs are often scared to out VC’s due to negative repercussions.

NY Angels, was a group criticized heavily in the post. Following the article I tweeted to David Rose, Chair of NY Angels the following:

Today, I received a call from Brian Cohen, a friend, a colleague and the Vice Chairman of the NY Angels, in reference to my tweets.  Concerned, Brian wanted to better understand the underlying reasons for my tweets and my overall thoughts about the NY Angels. It quickly became apparent to me Brian is aware of shifts in early stage funding and wants to see NY Angels evolve accordingly.

I believe that angel groups are an important part of the NY Startup EcoSystem as they bring great smart, successful eager to help people together with fledging entrepreneurs. I want to see NY Angels succeed and be recognized as a leader along with the rest of us in early stage funding. Given Brian’s openness to critique and candor I’m excited to offer any assistance they would like in the reinvetion of the NY Angels and hope the rest of the NY Startup EcoSystem does the same!


About Jay Levy

Jay Levy

Jay Levy is a co-founder and principal of Zelkova Ventures. Jay focuses most of his time in working with the current portfolio company and looking at new investments in the software-as-a-service, internet media and green tech space. More »


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