Fall 12’ Grad Khisaun Ferguson Shares Advice for Spring 13’ Applicants!

We just wrapped up another great and very successful cycle with 7 amazingly talented founders! With that said applications for Spring 2013 have been rolling in so we are bringing back our Founder Stories! In our Founders Stories a few founders from the previous cycle share their experiences in getting into the NewME program where they had to stand out among hundreds of other start-ups in the application process.

CEO and Founder of DWLLR, Khisaun Ferguson:

I applied to NewME because…

I felt connected to its mission. To accelerate, educate and empower minority and women entrepreneurs. Founding a technology start-up was a “brave new world” to me. Even though my corporate experience has run the gamut of real estate, finance and marketing. Technology was something I consumed and not created. Consequently, I knew that if I was going to be serious about my transition to creator, I would need help and for me, it was NewME.

Unique factors that made Khisaun and DWLLR stand out…

For me it was domain expertise and drive. DWLLR came out of a pain that I experienced day after day for over ten years in real estate. I had vision to innovate but the question that every start-up founder must answer is, can you build it? Here’s where my drive came in, I didn’t have a technical co-founder nor did I know many developers, was I going make an excuse for not creating a product? Absolutely not. I locked myself in my house for six months and spent nearly $30K and developed a product. I think being a single founder with the hustle, drive and determination to “get it” was the factor. My theme song is “Who Gon’ Stop Me” by The Throne which is the mentality you have to have as a founder.

The main factor that stood out from the other hundreds applications…

SWAG! I think it was the fact I knew my problem, my market and my solution intimately. DWLLR was a the engagement ring to a ten year relationship, but we already have two kids, so its bittersweet. I wish it would have came about five years ago.

My application experience was…

For me it was easy. I was honest, and tried to lay my cards on the table. One of the rules of being a start-up founder is you have to “know your problem”. That goes for — knowing the problem your trying to solve and knowing your problem as a founder. If I didn’t have a problem I wouldn’t need the program.

Khisaun’s advice for new applicants…

Be honest. Be open. Most of all be clear. If people are confused reading your application chances are your pitch is confusing. You have to look at the application as an “unsigned term sheet” and depending on your answers determines whether an investor will sign it or not. NewME is not some college admission essay you just blow off the answers to with no forethought and expect to get in. This real life and real money. Don’t think about the fairytale meetings with angels, VCs or billion dollar Facebook acquisitions. That’s not reality.

Reality is you will spend your life on your start-up, not just three months. You will sacrifice time, money, frustration, and even tears. You don’t have time to stop and smell the roses here. If you want into the Silicon Valley world, make it apparent by showing that you’ve ate, breathed and slept your company before NewME so that all the program has to do is turn up the heat and either show your perfection or your impurities.

Make sure to read Randy and Sharron’s Founder Stories!

Apply for the Spring 2013 cycle here. Deadline is December, 14 5pm PST.

  • Jsamuel

    Thank you for the advice, much appreciated!

  • Eric D. Mc Farlen

    The work that Newme is doing is very important, introducing new technology is difficult for the African American Community. It is a very encouraging organization. Thank you for what you do. Eric D. Mc Farlane (Green), Tablet PC Inventor.

  • bewit

    Recently I was REALLY low on money and debts were eating me from all sides! That was UNTIL I decided to make money on the internet. I went to surveymoneymaker dot net, and started filling in surveys for cash, and surely I’ve been far more able to pay my bills!! I’m so glad, I did this.. – 7pvu