How To Start A Business With No Contacts And Little Money: American Lawyer Launches Shoe Brand

A former California lawyer and television host, Michael Paratore started a shoe business with no supply chain, no formal funding, and no contacts in the business. That too, sourcing from the villages of India.

Paratore’s story is movie material. In 2012, after having worked at a law firm for nearly two years, post a career in television at Current TV, Paratore was ready for something else. “It was now or never,” he says.

With no children at the time and a supportive wife (who had a full-time salary), he began on a journey to turn a beloved leather sandal, made by artisans in villages on the outskirts of Kolhapur, into a business.

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Social Enterprise Accelerator Solvey Gets Over 3 Million Views On YouTube

In May, I met YouTubers Dave Erasmus and Louis Cole in Delhi.  They were on their third stop on a fast-paced world tour called Solvey, to find entrepreneurial individuals, interested in giving back and solving problems in their home countries.


Erasmus, a serial entrepreneur, and Cole, a travel vlogger on YouTube with a massive global fan following, hit 8 cities in 30 days. Two months later, I spoke to Erasmus, now back home in England, to see what the results were of that mega trip.

“I’ve finally recovered from my travels.  Today, I woke up with a spring in my step,” he says, laughing.

That’s one month after their whirlwind tour ended.  While it may have been ruthless on their bodies, it did yield the results they were hoping for: 145 people applied from around world and that too across generations (ages 12 to 67).  Plus, the vlogs garnered over 3 million views on YouTube.

Read the full story on Forbes.

How A Bootstrapped Idea Made It Onto Apple’s Online Store

Say hello to the future of filmmaking — on an iPad or smartphone.   A small bootstrapped startup is now selling an aluminum and urethane contraption on the Apple Store that can turn any iPad into a movie-making machine.

Since DSLR cameras start at $500 (for a very basic kit) and lenses alone can run upwards of $10,000, filmmaking can be an expensive hobby.  That’s why Josh Apter, a filmmaker and founder of the Manhattan Edit Workshop, created the Padcaster.  “I literally took my iPad to a framing store and had it framed like a picture,” he says.

Perched on a tripod and with space to attach a microphone, a light, and even lenses, the $400 iPad in this “crude prototype,” as Apter refers to it, had transformed into a proper filmmaking camera.

He took the first iteration to the NAB Show, a massive conference for all things film, technology, and content.  Though Apter was there primarily to promote his film school, he attracted more attention for this one-eyed, odd-looking contraption.

Apter started testing it out at events, illustrating to consumers that this device could give rise to what he jokingly calls, “Video Twitter”  After interviewing folks, he’d do a quick edit on the tablet, using iMovie, and then post the video online on social media platforms — all within hours, if not minutes.

“People were amazed by the speed.  They expected to see it up online in a week or two, not in an hour.  Their mouths hung open. And that’s when I knew that we had something. That was the draw.”

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The 3D Printed Car That Could Transform The Auto Industry: On Sale In 2016

Imagine the car of the future.  It’s not a Tesla.  Rather, it’s 3D printed and recyclable.

Arizona-based Local Motors plans to debut its new LM3D in 2016, which would be the first 3D printed car to hit the highways and be available for purchase (for about $53,000).

3D printed cars have been popular experiments in recent years.  But turning them into a product for the masses has been a challenge.  That’s why Local Motors has made the process an open-sourced endeavor.  After collecting over  200 designs online, they settled on a winning entry from Kevin Lo of Portland.  Even Jay Leno, who sat on the judging panel, approved.

The design, seen in the image below, was selected in July.  By September, the model had been completed.  With an open-top and seating for two to four passengers, the car isn’t designed to fit all the needs of the market.  But it’s a starting point.

Photo Courtesy of Local Motors.

Photo Courtesy of Local Motors


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This Radio Station Crowdfunded €363,000 to Financial Stability

“Even the president of Estonia wanted to save us,” says Aleksi Pahkala, one of the producers at Radio Helsinki.  He isn’t kidding.  He works at one of the most beloved radio stations in the region.

Public radio is struggling globally, it seems.  Radio Helsinki, one of the largest Nordic radio stations (in terms of listeners — about 115,00 each week), faced its demise over a year ago.  Sanoma, a Helsinki-based media company that owns several leading newspapers, decided to stop funding Radio Helsinki, back in 2013.  The Helsinki Sanomat, the country’s most read newspaper, had featured Radio Helsinki in their Friday content every week; but that ended too, Pahkala says, when the company backed away.


Aleksi Pahkala, in front of Radio Helsinki HQ.  Photo Credit: Esha Chhabra

To raise money, Radio Helsinki did the rounds with investors who Pahkala says had no interest in reviving a dying media house.

“Big money people were laughing at us. Why would we buy it?  We are not going to get any profit from it,” he says, sitting in their eccentrically-decorated offices in Teurastamo, a trendy new area of Helsinki outside the city center.

What could have been another sad tale of death in media, miraculously, has became a success story and provides hope for independent journalism.  When the Sanomat dusted off Radio Helsinki, producers gave up on top-dollar investors and turned to crowdfunding to save the city’s iconic radio station, known for gutsy journalism and showcasing new musical talent.

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