Jesse Biroscak

Co-Founder at



SF Greens - Emergency Firestarter Kit

SF Greens

Firestarter - Emergency Kit


Meeting held:            

11/09/12; Blue Bottle Coffee – Mint Plaza


Jesse Biroscak

Ben Barenholtz

Michael Higgs

Beatrice Kemner

Dipesh Goel


Question 1:

A)   What surveys should Firestarter run to their early users?

I)      Surveys geared towards 4 distinct groups: (a) the 19% of investors designating Firestarter as a “must-have product”; (b) the 81% of investors who did not designate Firestarter as a “must-have product”; (c) the entire user-base of 10,000 users; and (d) the seeded startup teams.

II)   Quantitative surveys: (a) demographics; (b) A/B testing; and (c) multiple choice and yes/no questions.

III) Qualitative surveys: (a) fill-in fields; (b) “power-user” direct calls; (c) follow-up questions.

B)   What questions should they be asking in this survey?

I)     To the Investors

a)    You came with the intent to invest but didn’t. How come? Why didn’t you come back?

b)   What about Firestarter to you love? What makes it a must-have product?

c)    What led you to invest in a project?

d)   Did you find the listed startups to be professionally presented?

e)    Would you have wanted more follow-up with or reporting from the startups?

f)     Was the investment process easy? Why? Why not?

g)    What would you tell a friend or close colleague about Firestarter?

h)   Were the equity percentages sufficient for you?

i)     How did you find the selection of startups?

II)   To the Startups

a)    Did you feel satisfied with our online representation of your product?

b)   Would you have wanted advice or counseling from Firestarter before posting your startup?

c)    Did you find it easy to receive the investment money?

d)   Would you tell other startups to post their projects on Firestarter?

e)    Did you find the interaction with investors to be easy? Would you have wanted more? Would you have been able to offer more interaction with investors?


Question 2:

A)   What are the metrics they should track to determine if they have product/ market fit?

I)     Conversion metrics

a)    How many visitors signed up… and then invested?

b)   How many users invested more than once?

c)    How many users shared the site on facebook? Directly with a friend? Emailed to friends?

d)   What type of blogging / posting by startups about their experience AFTER their investment period ends. (Postive? Negative? Easy? Difficult?)

e)    Increases in startup submission rates.

II)   Concentration metrics

a)    Where was investment concentrated? (With one startup? Evenly spread across all of them?

b)   Differentiators of startups receiving investment (Proper presentation / description? Thorough follow-up? Higher touch points?)

B)   What are the vanity metrics they should avoid?

I)     Facebook page likes; Twitter RTs or posts – these are indirect and not actually recommendations.

II)   All branding metrics – it’s not about branding / marketing at this stage.

III) NOTE: There’s a difference between vanity metrics at this stage and at later stages, e.g. when branding and virality become more important.


Question 3:

A)   How will Firestarter know when they’ve hit Product-Market fit?

I)     Increasing referrals, increasing investor numbers (quantity of investors, not investment dollar amounts), increased conversion numbers, greater submission of entrepreneur/startup applications, increased hiring requests.

B)   What should Firestarter do next within the next month to get there?

I)     Evaluate their startup offerings (quality / quantity)

II)   Increase their “touch points” throughout the welome-convert-invest-follow up process.

III) Surveys and interviews with the 19% - qualitative

IV) Surveys to the non-“must-have product” investors – What did they expect? Why didn’t they continue?

V)   Customer segmentation and research on the 10,000 – Who are they? Demographics? Something specific about the demographics of the 771? Of the 19%?


Question 4:

A)   Is the market big enough?

I)     Absolutely. In 2004, angel investing was the single largest source of private equity capital for new venture development (Google search – valued at $22.5 billion). It’s the single largest source… but there could also be others, which would further increase the market size. Before the Jobs Act, only accredited investors could angel invest. With Firestarter, the public is now able to angel invest. According to this, it's even bigger than the above estimates. 

II)   For further research:

a)    How many active users of Prosper? LendingTree? LendingClub?

b)   How many search engine searches for “high-return investments” or other such keywords?

B)   If so, how can Firestarter be differentiated in the marketplace?

I)     Review barriers to entry

a)    Registration w/the SEC

b)   Website and billing technology

II)   Feature/Service Differentiation

a)    Better curation of startups

b)   Better presentation of startups (coaching, etc.)

c)    Self-investment – Firestarter invests in every single entrepreneur – they won’t bring in 9 bad companies simply to fill up the queue.

d)   Investors receive more interaction with each startup.

e)    From the above, investors get a better ROI.

f)     Offer a VC or Angel Investor of the month

(i)   Who can be most involved w/their investments? Maximizes ROI?

(ii) Who invests the most money? Rewards and incentives program?

g)    Opportunities to become an advisor to other new investors

(i)   Successful investors can sell their strategies to other investors to make money outside of their investments. 


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