Walk into a startup event. Pitch. Find an investor.

An entrepreneur’s dream right? Well that’s precisely what happened one year ago to Jen Du , founder of Before Elixir, a new beverage startup here in Austin that recently launched and sold its first bottles online.


One year ago, Jen Du moved to Austin with an idea. Her goal was to make a beverage that prevented people from turning red when consuming alcohol, a problem commonly known as Asian Flush or Alcohol Flush Reaction. But Jen had no funding and no cofounders to help her. “I was brand new to Austin” says Jen, “I didn’t know the scene very well so I reached out to a colleague of mine who told me about meetups in Austin where I might be able to meet people to help me. One of them was Cofounders Austin by TheTechMap.

Jen came to her first Cofounders Austin meetup looking for a cofounder. What she got instead was her first angel investor. “I remember being disappointed because I was looking for a biochemist to help me with beverage formulation. There were many coders and people pitching cool ideas, but zero biochemists in the room!” (go figure…)

While no one in the room was a biochemist, CoFounders Austin draws entrepreneurs and investors of all sorts who have one thing in common: identifying opportunity. One such person connected Jen to colleague named David that just so happened to be the Department Chair of Medical Sciences at a local college. David was immediately drawn to Jen’s idea, and recognizing the market potential, gave her the seed capital she needed to develop Before Elixir.

Jen says, “Over the last year, I’ve used the funds to develop and test various ingredients to create our formula. David helped ensure my methodology was sound. Then I tested it to make sure it worked. And it does very well!” According to the company’s studies, Before Elixir works on 90% of people and reduces flushing by over 60%.

While the funding has gotten Jen this far, she still needs more to meet minimum run requirements and to distribute her beverage. To raise this money she is turning to Indiegogo.

Before Elixir’s crowdfunding campaign launches on Indiegogo today to raise money to produce its first 50,000 bottles. Jen is hoping that a successful crowdfunding campaign will not only help raise the money needed to produce and distribute the beverage, but also gain the company national exposure. “Right now our customers don’t know about us yet and I’m hoping that the campaign and tasting parties we’re throwing will change that.”

For those interested in taking their business idea or their startup to the next level, come join us at the next CoFounders Austin and be our next success story!

Don’t be fooled by April Fools Day’s biggest news: “Facebook Buys Nintendo”


On April 1, Mark Zuckerberg confirmed that Facebook now owns this legendary game company for the low price of $16 billion dollars. Nintendo had modest beginnings as a small business in Japan back in 1889. It started by, producing handmade cards, followed by toys and finally the electronic games we all know and love. This gaming giant once dominated the world of electronics for many decades, but recently they’ve slipped. Given the incredible power of social media today, the lack of online social gaming components in Nintendo games ultimately led to their decline in the market.  And that’s when Facebook swooped in.  Truly, who knows social media better than the #1 social media company in the world?  Their plan is to bring Nintendo franchises into the Facebook fold and to introduce a whole new generation of children to the magic of Nintendo (or so says Mark Zuckerberg).  Will they succeed? Who knows. I guess we’ll have to wait and see…

Though the article on Social News Daily that reported the buyout was, indeed, a joke, it does get to the truth about how successful companies have to continuously adapt. Just as nintendo means “leave luck to heaven,” it took a whole lot more than luck to make Nintendo a gaming icon and a billion-dollar company.  It took dedication, hard work, and innovative thinking — all necessary traits of successful, lasting companies.

So, for all of you entrepreneurs out there with a business vision – keep plodding away, and dream big. Beginnings are the hardest part, especially if you’re on your own, but that’s where we come in. Not only have we defined an ecosystem for all startups, we also provide, through our CoFounders Meetup here in Austin, the opportunity to share your business ideas and find the right team to take your vision to the next level.

We hope to see you all at the Capital Factory on April 14, 6:30 PM!!!

The Dark Side of the Startup Universe

RedtubeUpdated 1/7/2014 Yesterday I came across this article in the German government news channel Tagesschau about tens of thousands of people receiving extortion letters to pay up for a porn flick they allegedly watched online on Redtube. The DA of Cologne is now investigating.

This remembered me very much of the recent case of Kevin Bollaert’s ugotposted.com.

Apparently a Swiss company called The Archive AG purchased the rights for three porn movies, which for some reason are hosted on Redtube who believes it owns the rights to stream those movies.

Those Swiss guys now apparently developed a sophisticated proxy called retdube.net (notice the misspelling) which points to those movies hosted on redtube.com, and injects code which logs the IP of the browser as well as timestamps of hitting start, stop, and pause on the Flash player. But not just that, they also apparently lured people to their proxy via click-through ads, thought to have been disguised as thumbnails, which they heavily promoted via traffic generator Trafficholder.com.

Here is Jan Broer’s nice chart which shows the effects of that traffic generation.

Then The Archive AG involved the famous Internet trolling law firm Urmann + Collegen to go after tens of thousands of people who watched those three porn flicks, asking for €250 cease & desists. Notice some familiarities to the Takedown Hammer? Urmann + Collegen previously tried running a scheme where they published personal information of people who downloaded pirated porn, and for a fee of €650 could be removed. That site was struck down by Bavaria’s department for data protection.

The case gets even weirder, a court in Cologne forced Deutsche Telecom to translate IP addresses into postal addresses, even though in German law streaming any content is not a copyright violation, just the upload, download, or storage might be if the rights are not owned to do so. And the dubious Munich based patent firm Diehl & Partner “certified” a mystery software, which universally could track any user streaming any content without having access to the user’s host or the server, without actually explaining how it works. That miraculous software GLADII 1.1.3 was developed by the Delaware mailbox firm itGuards, Inc, which appears to be identical to the Swiss company The Archive AG.

It appears that the court in Cologne was not particularly tech savvy to understand the difference between streaming and downloading, or how IP addresses could be collected without having access to the server, besides having the means of the NSA.

The fascinating part here is, that this is quiet a bit of effort, not so much different from starting a company, likely involving an investment in the mid to high six figures. In particular considering that the transfer of the rights to the flicks and the registration of the retdube.net domain just happened this July, going into “revenue”, and profits for that matter, already in December. Unlike in the ugotposted.com case, it is not even clear whether any serious laws were violated. Crime might pay in the end.

In an update to this story, it turns out that The Archive AG does not even own the rights to those flicks. The rights were retained by the producer Combat Zone. Undisturbed by that discovery, Urmann + Collegen announced that they will send out a second wave of cease & desists anyway, apparently hoping that people pay up to keep their porn habit confidential. Such boldness makes you wonder – the DA of Hamburg is now going after Thomas Urmann, the CEO of the trolling law firm, for felony fraud and felony extortion, punishable with a minimum sentence of one year.

Update from 1/7/2014

In an update to this story, it turns out that The Archive AG does not even own the rights to those flicks. The rights were retained by the producer Combat Zone. Undisturbed by that discovery, Urmann + Collegen announced that they will send out a second wave of cease & desists anyway, apparently hoping that people pay up to keep their porn habit confidential. Such boldness makes you wonder – the DA of Hamburg is now going after Thomas Urmann, the CEO of the trolling law firm, for felony fraud and felony extortion, punishable with a minimum sentence of one year.

Finding a Co-founder and other partners for your Startup

finding a co-founderEveryone needs help, and when starting a business getting as much help as you can is not only recommendable but necessary. One of the most difficult and important tasks when starting a company is finding a co-founder. It is important to have someone who to bounce ideas with and split some of the work load. For this same reason it is also important to find co-founders that have different skills and experience than yours, you want someone with complementary skills and experience as this will help a lot, especially in the early days when hiring might not be an option.

Finding the ideal co-founder is really difficult and you should take your time talking and even working with potential candidates before formalizing a relationship. Choosing the wrong co-founder is one of the most common reasons for startups to fail, it leads to fights between founders, useless, endless and non-sense discussions and disagreements, low morale and it might be the one thing that can kill your startup. It happens more than you think! Continue reading

Notes from YCombinator Startup School 2013

Startup School 2013This year I had the opportunity to attend Y Combinator’s Startup School in Cupertino, CA. The Startup School is a one day event that brings well-known entrepreneurs to stage to tell their story to an audience composed largely of college students and probably recent college graduates. This is a very helpful one day event as attendees get a chance to listen without interruptions to the founders that are invited to talk and tell their story. This is how Startup School is different, there is nothing else going on around it, just this one auditorium, founders such as Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey, angel investors like Ron Conway and a relatively small audience when you compare it to other events. Continue reading

Weekly Newsletter – September 23, 2013

We are only a few weeks away from Austin Startup Week, make sure you RSVP to all the events you are planning to attend before it is too late! Our Co-Founders Meetup will be on the first night of Austin Startup Week on October 7th from 6:30 – 9PM at Capital Factory. We still have a few spots left for entrepreneurs wanting to present that night, but hurry up as these spots will fill soon and that night promises to be a great opportunity to expose your idea or startup and find the co-founder and talent that you need. If you want to present at the Co-founders Austin Meetup just send an email toteam@thetechmap.com for details.

Also, remember that this weekend is the Lean Startup Machine workshop, all of you are welcome to use the promotional code ATX2013 to save 10% off the ticket price. Continue reading

Top Tech News and Startup Events September 2 – 6, 2013

Another week full of awesome events and work is here! we hope you all had a safe and pleasant holiday. A quick reminder about our own meetup, it is happening next Monday September 9 at Capital Factory, if you are in Austin and are looking for a co-founder or talent to join your team this is the event for you. Check it out and RSVP today.


  • Happy Labor Day!




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