How to set up an advisory board for your startup

SmartHippo advisory board meeting (photo by Bill Rice)

We have an awesome advisory board at SmartHippo and I often get asked how we set it up and how we leverage the people on it. If you run a startup, particularly if you’re early stage, a good advisory board can be one of the best investments you can make.

Here are some tips on how to make it work:

Who to include on your advisory board

  • Thought leaders or other well respected people in your industry.
  • Door openers who can introduce you to customers, channel partners or investors.
  • Superstars who you wish you could have on your management team but can’t afford.
  • Strive for a balance of people with different areas of expertise who may not all think the same way. Continue reading
Blogroll, Conferences, Entrepreneurship, SmartHippo, Web 2.0

Montreal Tech Events for January

January’s a busy month for Montreal techno-geeks. Here are some of the events going on:

Speaking of web building, here’s a video about just that subject:

Blogroll, Reflexity, SmartHippo

Reflex CRM is now Reflexity, Inc.

Reflex CRM is now officially Reflexity, Inc. More on the name change in this blog post on the Reflexity web site.:

After a few years we drifted away from our original starting point as a company (read we followed our clients’ needs and the money) plus we didn’t have anything to do with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) anymore.

Although we still deal with customers everyday, our focal point and passion moved to new horizons (and new buzzwords); marketing, optimization, targeting, social networks, intent, scent, social marketing, crowd sourcing, behaviour, etc.

In a nutshell, we are now more than ever finding new ways to build new relationships with consumers for their benefit and the companies serving them. In a few more words, we are providing campaign management and lead generation, customers acquisition, marketing and revenue optimization services to large and mid size companies in the United States with a strong core in financial services.

Reflexity continues to push the boundaries and redefine the way consumers and financial service providers connect. One such example is the beta launch last fall of SmartHippo, with the participation of banks such as Quicken Loans, Bank of Internet and Countrywide Bank. And you can get community-contributed rates and reviews on almost any bank imaginable, from national banks such as Wells Fargo or ING Direct to regional or local players like Boston Pacific Mortgage or Safe Harbor Mortgage.

2008 is already off to a great start, so stayed tuned for many more developments. And in case you were wondering, yes, we’re hiring.

Entrepreneurship, Mortgages, SmartHippo

SmartHippo media review

I thought I would update my readers with details on what some bloggers and media are saying about SmartHippo, our community site where people help each other find the best mortgage rates. If you’re interested in what we’re doing, please subscribe to the SmartHippo blog.

  • “One hopeful developer is George Favvas, who wants to make an application to promote his start-up,, which lets homebuyers compare mortgage rates between banks. ‘What we’re doing is inherently social, using the power of community to share information,’ Favvas said. ‘We want to let users be advocates for an application that fills a need.’”
    Montreal Gazette

  • “What a huge step for consumers to be able to see the feedback on these companies, or just to have any information on these companies that are calling them.”

  • “I know the banks could use a good kick in the pants (I use a local credit union, myself) and maybe an angry herd of consumer hippos could be just the ticket.”

  • “Especially with the recent mortgage crisis in the US people are more cautious than ever about the rates that they are able to receive and maybe even a bit distrustful of the lending companies. This is the first website of its kind to offer a place to compare and contrast lenders.”
  • “There’s a strong imbalance in the information that each side has, and my friends at SmartHippo have just launched a site to help correct that imbalance. If you’re getting a mortgage, or just want to compare, check these folks out. I really like what they’re doing and where they’re going.”
    Emergent Chaos
  • “Encore en construction, (SmartHippo) ne s’adresse, pour le moment, qu’aux consommateurs américains. Plus précisément, à ceux qui désirent comparer différents taux hypothécaires obtenus par des gens dans la même situation qu’eux. Grâce à cela, ils seront mieux informés au moment de négocier leur propre hypothèque.”
    La Presse (article in French)