Author Archives: Heidi

Fundamentals of a Winning Business Model

At the core of every successful company is a strong business model.

Your business model is the blueprint for how your business will make money (or not). But for many companies starting out, not enough time or effort is put into identifying the right business model for their business.

This can turn out to be a very costly mistake.

In a study by CB Insights on the top reasons why startups fail, a top ten reason (coming in at #7) is going to market with a product without a business model.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Designing the right business model for your company, product and goals are very much in your control. From our experience working with fast-growing startups to global corporations, we cover core elements to building a successful business model.

To read the full article on HelloAdvisr, visit here.

Founder & CEO

Ed Lee is a pricing and go-to-market specialist and trusted adviser to leading companies and brands. He is the founder of HelloAdvisr, a Los Angeles-based growth consultancy helping companies and leadership teams build and implement profit growth strategies.

Ed specializes in international and national marketing and pricing strategies, discount optimization, and salesforce management across retail/ecommerce, marketplace and platform businesses. Previously, Ed held leadership roles with LG Electronics and Simon-Kucher & Partners, a global management consulting firm and world’s leading expert in pricing.

Ed is regularly invited to speak on pricing strategy at leading universities and institutions including the University of Southern California (USC), UC San Diego and General Assembly as well as startup/tech organizations such as LA Cleantech Incubator (LACI) and Wayra (London, UK). Ed received an MBA from Oxford University, MSc from the London School of Economics and a BA from the UC, San Diego.

Three Ways to Know When Your Team Needs Sales Training

There are three common situations I run into that prompt businesses to look into sales training. Sometimes they may have tried to solve any one of these, for years, before having an awakening that professional training could be a solution.

1. Everyone is not using the same system.
2. Your company is not meeting its revenue goals.
3. You are having a lot of turnover.

If any of these challenges sound familiar, then sales training may be a solution for you. Using a proven sales system can have a dramatic effect on your company’s future, its revenue stream, and the overall cohesiveness and longevity of your sales team.

To read the full article, visit here.

Carrie Pobre

Carrie Lauby is an LA-based sales expert with over 25 years growing B2B2C SaaS companies in digital marketing and streaming media. Carrie and her team deliver customized solutions looking at all levels of the sales funnel including outside teams, inside SDR’s, client retention and online lead conversion. She is a regular speaker on sales and customer service with engagements that include EO, The Channel Company, AA-ISP and ASTA Global Convention.

Sandler Training is the largest sales consulting organization with over 250 training centers worldwide. Sandler utilizes distinctive, non-traditional sales and management methodologies, supported by continual reinforcement through ongoing training and individual coaching sessions. Sandler representatives work with all sizes of companies from startups to larger corporations which include LinkedIn, AT&T, Oracle, Accenture, American Express, Prudential and Salesforce.

If you have a question, a concern or a challenge relating to your sales, customer service, or revenue growth, please reach out to Carrie Lauby at BOOST Performance Sandler Training Los Angeles:


Preccelerator Workshop: Term Sheets w/ Caroline Cherkassky & Kelly Laffey

“Fundraising Essentials – Term Sheets 101”
Presented by Caroline Cherkassky & Kelly Laffey

Topics that will be covered include:

  • Type of financing: convertible notes vs SAFEs vs priced equity rounds
  • Convertible notes and SAFEs: caps, discounts, and other key terms
  • Priced equity rounds: economic provisions, voting rights, and other key terms

Tuesday, December 17th, 2019
12:00PM – 1:30PM


Caroline Cherkassky

Caroline Cherkassky is a partner of the firm.

Caroline’s practice focuses on advising emerging growth, development stage, and middle market companies on a variety of matters, including venture capital and other financings, employee compensation, securities laws compliance, technology transactions, mergers and acquisitions, stockholder agreements, equity incentive plans, corporate governance, and other general corporate matters, including serving as outside general counsel to early-stage companies. She also advises the funds and other investors that invest in these types of companies.

Kelly Laffey

Kelly Siobhan Laffey is an associate of the firm and the Director of Business Affairs at the Preccelerator.

Kelly’s practice focuses on advising emerging growth and middle market companies in the technology, digital, internet, interactive media (i.e., AR and VR), and entertainment industries. Kelly counsels clients on issues related to corporate governance and formation, venture capital and other financings, joint ventures, employee compensation, complex stockholder and operating agreements, securities law regulation and other general corporate matters. Kelly also advises investors and funds in connection with venture capital and other financings.

Kelly also counsels clients in connection with mergers and acquisitions matters, including asset and equity acquisitions and dispositions, cross-border transactions, spin-off transactions, secured lending transactions, financing restructurings, and corporate reorganizations.

Drawing on her diverse work experience in the entertainment arena, including time spent with talent agencies, and music and television production companies, Kelly also assists on matters related to licensing, marketing, and exploitation of intellectual property rights.

SAM Preccelerator
1316 3rd Street Promenade, Suite 107
Santa Monica CA 90401

*You must register with your name & email to attend this event.

Preccelerator Workshop: Employment Contracts & Alternative Compensation for Startups

“Employment Contracts & Alternative Compensation for Startups”
Presented by Louis Wharton

For a company founder, it is easy to understand the benefits of providing stock or stock options to employees. It’s a way of compensating employees that doesn’t drain cash from the business. Employees will feel invested in the future success of the company. Join us to get insights and wisdom about maximizing opportunities and minimizing mistakes in creating equity compensation.

Tuesday, December 10th, 2019
12:00PM – 1:30PM


Image result for louis wharton

Louis A. Wharton is a partner of the firm and president of the Preccelerator Program. Louis’ practice focuses on advising venture capital funds and angel networks, along with early-stage, emerging growth, middle-market and public companies in corporate finance, securities compliance, mergers and acquisitions, and general corporate matters.

He counsels clients in the technology, e-commerce, digital media and entertainment industries, among others.

SAM Preccelerator
1316 3rd Street Promenade, Suite 107
Santa Monica, CA 90401

We hope to see you there!

*You must register with your name & email to attend this event.

How To Do Your Own PR: For Entrepreneurial Companies

How many of you watch television news daily? Listen to news radio as you commute? Read your local daily newspaper? Or the Wall Street Journal?

Have you ever wondered how the stories on people and companies got there? About 75 percent are planted by public relations people. That’s public relations at work, getting companies such as yours exposure by strategically designing what you have to talk about in either a newsworthy or public service fashion. In fact, at The Blaine Group, we often say that nearly everyone can become famous overnight.

Keep this in mind as you contemplate and prioritize the possibilities. And, to borrow a phrase from one motivational speaker, “plan your work, then work your plan.”

Now that you’ve determined what you are going to do, who is going to do it?

Some of the most effective early-stage public relations campaigns have been handled by the president’s assistant. He or she is someone who knows the company, its customers and goals and has regular access to you. And, if that person is also articulate and writes well, it is logical for some public relations activities to be added to his or her job description. In fact, this may be the only way a new business can afford a public relations effort early on. However, it is important to realize that with limited staff available only part-time for communications tasks, the targeted outlets and anticipated outcome must be minimized.

Implementing a public relations campaign requires an extraordinary amount of time. Gear your expectations accordingly. And, in a situation such as the above, prioritization is particularly critical.

Then too, assuming the president’s assistant has no professional public relations background, he or she will need to acquire some media “savvy.” This includes:

  • Developing a broad-based knowledge of business hot topics;
  • Framing a story in terms of the trend it represents;
  • Understanding both the targeted outlet and your market;
  • Knowing how to pitch the piece in several different ways;
  • Offering exclusives;
  • Being aware of conflicts;
  • Persevering, even after several rejections, while accepting “no” gracefully;
  • Following AP style and double-checking facts, phone numbers, etc.;
  • Knowing what is and what is not generally accepted practice;
  • Following through on commitments in a timely fashion; and
  • Establishing a reputation for credibility and honesty.

When your company has expanded and its communications needs are greater than those that can be handled by the president’s assistant on a part-time basis, the next step is to add an experienced full-time public relations staff person or persons, retain an outside agency, or both.

A number of factors should be considered in the equation. Here are several possible scenarios.

  1. If trade publications are the only media important to your company, one professional who has specialized in your industry and knows the editors are your best bet. Then too, his or her specialized knowledge will be useful in writing brochures, collateral materials, and copy, etc.
  2. If penetrating one marketplace is critical to your success, whether it be the hospitality industry, financial services, car dealerships, retail stores, etc., who has the proven expertise to do the job? This could be an individual or an agency.
  3. If a mix of trade and general-interest publications plus financial public relations and investor relations is required, is there any singular person who can provide the diverse support you need? And, if so, can you afford him or her?

The more expansive and sophisticated your communications activities become, the more you’ll benefit from the combined expertise of a number of professionals. Then too, it is at this stage that the campaign truly needs to be managed. Will you feel confident assigning that responsibility to an agency that is off­site, to people you see only periodically? Or, would you prefer to have a solid generalist on staff, someone with whom you can meet whenever you choose, to oversee the agency’s effort? One is not necessarily better than the other. It is truly a matter of personal style and preference.

Should you decide to retain an agency, here are some questions to ask:

  1. Have you ever worked on an account in this field before? (There is both pro and con on this.)
  2. Is our account conflictual with any other account in the agency?
  3. Please provide references we can check.
  4. Who are your clients?
  5. With whom in the agency will we be working? (Sometimes the person who makes the presentation is not the person who will service your account. You must have a rapport with your contact.)
  6. How will you position our product/service?

In accessing the company, look for open and honest answers. Look for distinguished clients, a successful track record, strong creative concepts, a talented staff, energy, enthusiasm, flexibility, and ambition.

Also look at how the agency plans to correlate your public relations and advertising activities. When they are cohesively planned and utilize the same theme, they cross-index and cross-­collateralize and provide maximum visibility for minimal expenditure.

As far as budget appropriation is concerned, agencies work in several ways: an hourly fee, a per-project fee, or a monthly retainer. Ask for a quotation and get several estimates. Plan to spend more on a new product/service launch than on an established one. Do appropriate an amount annually for public relations; stealing from another budget does not serve any area of the company well.

About the Author
Devon Blaine is experienced in all facets of the communications industry. Formerly an actress, model, and stunt driver, she founded the agency in 1975. Besides designing communications campaigns that help businesses maximize their success, she has long been active in numerous entrepreneurial organizations, thus earning a reputation as “the entrepreneur’s entrepreneur.” She has incorporated the knowledge gained from these ventures into the philosophy of The Blaine Group. The agency has an award-winning track record in serving the public relations needs of fast-track emerging-growth companies and major corporations alike.

She was three times president of the Los Angeles Venture Association (LAVA), a founding board member and a past president of the Los Angeles chapter of (NAWBO) National Association of Women Business Owners. Devon also serves as a mentor for the Stubbs Alderton & Markiles Precelerator, the South Bay Entrepreneurial Center, and the Innovation Incubator at Cal State University Dominguez Hills.

About The Blaine Group, Inc.
The Blaine Group specializes in developing and implementing public relations campaigns and marketing strategies as comprehensive communications campaigns or as stand-alone entities.  The firm represents many authors and fast-track, emerging-growth companies.  It also handles investor relations and financial public relations activities for its publicly-traded clients.  The Blaine Group is located at 8665 Wilshire Blvd., Suite #301, Beverly Hills, CA 90211.  The telephone number is 310.360.1499 Visit


Preccelerator Workshop: Pivoting With Constraints W/ Jim Cooper, Braid Theory

“Pivoting With Constraints”
Presented by Jim Cooper of Braid Theory

Direction and position of a company’s pivot, relative to risk and other factors, strongly affects how a startup progresses through barriers and objects in the market. These constraints can be difficult for a startup to identify, navigate and adjust to. By applying the constraint model, allows alignment to pivoting. To know more about this characteristic of constraints, make sure you’re familiar with the “axis” of your company. Pivoting can be disastrous for some companies without intellectual capital and customer evidence to support the move. In this workshop we investigate the challenges..

Tuesday, November 19th, 2019
12:00PM – 1:30PM


Jim Cooper, CTO, Braid Theory

Jim has 20 years of experience in commercialization and concentrates on bringing to market novel early-stage technology startups in emerging market segments. He specializes in customer and market validation, competitive analysis, regulatory pathway, business modeling, and go-to-market strategy. He is an inherent of evidence-based entrepreneurship and utilizes the Lean startup methodology, design-thinking, as well as other more traditional approaches to business modeling, and creating a pedagogy for startups to coalesce around to create meaningful benchmarks, waypoints, and milestones. Educated in both Australia and the United States, his background in economics and the life sciences, as well as experience in both the public and private sectors, positions him to assist companies in the deep sciences and engineering fields: Ag and Food Tech, Biotech, Aerospace, Advanced Manufacturing, Transportation, Marine and Maritime spaces, at his company, Braid Theory. Braid Theory is a strategic advisory company, which also supplies incubation resources for early-stage technology startups, taking the nascent to latent demand, pathway. Braid Theory looks for opportunities for revenue, and matches startups in the relevant space, and has raised a fund to support startups in the above market areas.

SAM Preccelerator
1316 3rd Street Promenade, Suite 107
Santa Monica, CA 90401

We hope to see you there!

*You must register with your name & email to attend this event.

Preccelerator Workshop: Employment Law for Startups with Rachael Lavi

“Employment Law for Startups”
Presented by Rachel Lavi

Rachael Lavi, an Attorney specializing in Labor and Employment matters in California, will be speaking on the top employment law risks for startup companies in California, including: (1) best practices for hiring employees; (2) independent contractors and misclassification issues; (3) how to utilize interns; and other significant legal risks.

Tuesday, November 5th, 2019
12:00PM – 1:30PM


Rachael S. Lavi, Associate, Littler Mendelson

Rachael S. Lavi advises and represents employers in all matters of labor and employment law, including discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, and wage and hour claims. Rachael has vast experience representing clients in litigation in both California state and and federal court, as well as before state and federal agencies, such as the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement, the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, the Public Employment Relations Board, and the National Labor Relations Board.

In addition to managing a diverse litigation docket, Rachael also provides clients with direct advice and counsel to help her clients come to the best legal and business decisions regarding compliance with state and federal employment and labor laws, including wage and hour requirements, leaves of absence, paid sick leave, handbooks and written employment policies, best practices for hiring, disciplining, and terminating employees.

During law school, Rachael was a judicial extern for the Hon. Andrew Wistrich of the U. S. District Court, Central District of California and was a volunteer law clerk for the Cancer Legal Resource Center. She was a lead articles editor on the Pepperdine Law Review, a teaching assistant, and a magister of the legal honor society, Phi Delta Phi. As an undergraduate, she was an intern for Hagen Resources International in Switzerland and U. S. Senator Dianne Feinstein.

SAM Preccelerator
1316 3rd Street Promenade, Suite 107
Santa Monica, CA 90401

We hope to see you there!

*You must register with your name & email to attend this event.

Save the Date – Preccelerator Class 12 Demo Day

Clear your calendar – It’s going down!


The Preccelerator ® Program Class 12 Demo Day kicks off on November 13th @ 6:00 pm, and you’re invited to take part in the festivities.

What a wild ride it has been! Preccelerator cohort companies are early stage, and we work hand in hand with them throughout their term to know their market and users, foster their leadership skills, build and test their product, avoid legal pitfalls, ensure the defensibility of their products, acquire users and partnerships and prepare them for the fundraising process. Now it’s time to showcase their efforts!




Expy Health is a digital health platform designed to optimize orthopedic recovery. The platform helps patients prepare for & recover from orthopedic surgery while improving clinical efficiency through remote monitoring. By tracking real-time data, they are able to provide health analytics and insights that lead to increased patient engagement and better health outcomes. Working with healthcare providers, they deliver the tools to educate and support patients during at-home rehabilitation which expedites recovery and reduces costs.




nēdl (as in, “the haystack”) is a free app that converts audio into text so radio listeners can search live content as easily as they search the web— by keywords (being said at this moment!), and songs & artists (being played right now!)— and, then discover what comes next on over 120,000 live radio stations worldwide.

Users can even add their own voices to the live search results of premium live news, sports, talk to become searchable by the words they say. It’s as simple as tapping the microphone button in the app to go live – no signup necessary.


Checkplis believes people should feel like they are visiting friends when they go out for a meal or drinks with their friends. It’s all about the experience. They are solving the last mile problem of the hospitality industry service. Whether a solo lunch, a brunch with girlfriends or a table with friends at a club, paying the check can ruin what otherwise would be a great experience after an amazing meal or drinks with friends.

Checkplis is a mobile app integrated into POS systems so customers can pay, tip and split the check themselves, all from their phones. They are strategic partners and experience creators for restaurant, bar and nightclub industry leaders.


Trufl is an on-demand seating platform that allows guests to wait less at busy restaurants by bidding on the next available table. The total amount bid may be used as a credit towards their food and beverage dining experience. The Trufl platform includes a guest profile CRM system that allows restaurants to create a more personalized hospitality experience. Trufl also allows restaurants to managed their waitlist, seated guests, and floor plan.



1316 3rd Street Promenade
Suite 107
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Preccelerator Workshop: Building a Growth Engine for Your Startup w/ Chris Bechtel

“Building a Growth Engine for Your Startup”
Presented by Chris Bechtel

Learn how to attract, convert and retain users/customers to validate your business model, grow revenue and demonstrate traction for your start-up. Get a proven framework and practical advice during this engaging talk from Chris Bechtel the Managing Partner at Growth Engine Labs, a growth services firm.

Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
12:00PM – 1:30PM


Chris Bechtel

Chris Bechtel is a growth consultant, start-up advisor, former SaaS CEO, and marketing executive.

Chris brings 20 years of sales and marketing expertise, specializing in demand generation, customer acquisition, and revenue growth. Chris has extensive experience in B2B SaaS, and enterprise software, as well as mobile apps and B2C eCommerce. He works primarily with Seed and Series A start-ups and enjoys helping founders make their visions come to life. He is currently actively driving growth for Boost AI, an enterprise-class conversational AI platform for banking, insurance, telecom, and government.

SAM Preccelerator
1316 3rd Street Promenade, Suite 107
Santa Monica, CA 90401

We hope to see you there!

*You must register with your name & email to attend this event.

Preccelerator Workshop: Are You Ready to Fundraise? with Ronette Kite

“Are You Ready to Fundraise? ”
Presented by Ronette Kite

Months before you fundraise you need to make sure you have your business and revenue model aligned, company decks and summaries available, in compliance with financial records, business licenses, taxes. Come by to find out more and be ready fundraise!

Tuesday, October 1st, 2019
12:00PM – 1:30PM


Ronette Kite

Ronette Kite

Startup CFO Consultant
Accretive Solutions

LinkedIn | Twitter | Website

*CFO Consulting, Digital Media, E-Commerce, Operations

Experienced StartUp/Interim CFO with operational expertise in high-tech, e-commerce, on-demand, and digital media businesses. Financial partner to Founders and CEOs with an emphasis on accounting, finance, human resources, and operations. A progressive career in private and public industries with a focus on planning, operations and financial responsibilities in start-up and early-stage companies.
– Startup/Interim CFO for a number of known startup and early-stage companies in Los Angeles
– Raised over $100M in Convertible Debt, Series A and B funding for StartUp companies within the last 2 years
– Launched an e-commerce website, successfully sold within two years
– Led finance and accounting operations efforts, reported directly to the Founder/CEO for a high growth technology company, successfully sold within a year
– Implemented SOX globally, SEC reporting, Board and Audit Committee presentations for a public established company
– Six years of Big-4 Public Accounting experience, early promoted to manager. Focused on SEC clients in the internet, high-tech, biotech and entertainment industries.

SAM Preccelerator
1316 3rd Street Promenade, Suite 107
Santa Monica, CA 90401

We hope to see you there!

*You must register with your name & email to attend this event.