Decoding the DNA of uber-successful startup companies

StartupTrek TV is launching a new class of blog articles (interviews) entitled: “The Great Ones: Decoding the DNA of uber-successful startup companies”.

We are pleased to announce that the first interview in this series will be conducted tomorrow with Mr. Ryan Engley, Director of Customer Success at UnBounce, Inc. (Vancouver, BC Canada).

We’ll update this blog post to provide additional details, and look forward to sharing the the first article in this series!

email announcement to Blastoff! Inc. customers, March 19 2014

March 19, 2014 San Francisco, California Dear prospective, former, and current customers:

You are receiving this email because you previously expressed interest in our products and services by completing a form online. You might be wondering why you haven’t heard from us lately.  

Unfortunately from Dec 4 2013 until March 1 2014 our Founder and CEO as well as our Company was hit repeatedly by a string of serious online, interstate, and intrastate federal wire transfer crimes, as well as felony thefts. The crimes involved both identity theft and physical theft of ALL of our desktop and server computers, 4 bank and 18 credit card accounts, a 2013 Toyota Prius, as well as numerous smartphone, desktop, and tablet computers (iPhones, iPad Airs, MacBook Pros).  

The perpetrators have been arrested, charged initially with a pair of Auto thefts as evidence is built for more charges, and have made their first two appearances in State Superior Court in Las Vegas, Nevada. Additional Felony charges are expected as the State of Nevada’s District Attorney investigators continue getting detailed information and evidence from us, and they look into into this complex case.

The case has been in the news media in Las Vegas, NV but Steve has refused interviews with national news organizations to date. However, at the appropriate time he will be issuing a detailed statement.

This email is ALSO to announce the much more positive news, that Blastoff Labs Marketing & Sales,which was forced into liquidation by these crimes, has rebounded, re-organizing on March 15 2014 as BLASTOFF! INC, a new Delaware Corporation with offices in downtown San Francisco, California; and Las Vegas Nevada. We are in the process of fully resuming the services previously offered by Blastoff Labs Sales and Marketing.  Last week, for example, we exited “stealth-mode” by announcing our re-launch at the SMX Search Marketing (SMX) Expo in San Jose, California, and the South-by-Southwest Music Festival (SXSW) in Austin, Texas.  Next month we will launch our new website and participate in more industry conferences.

fyi we have changed our contact information as a result of this incident; our updated contact information is included below. Our main number in San Francisco is temporarily down, as we rebuild our company telephone system to serve our prospective and future customers more efficiently. 

For a complimentary consultation, contact us at or via the updated phone numbers below.

Steve Bell
Online Marketing & Sales Specialist | founder & CEO
(650) 922-9074 Bay Area office, or (702) 994-7525 Nevada office

Ian Sweany Online Marketing & Sales Specialist | director of operations
(650) 922-9074 Bay Area office, or (702) 994-7525 Nevada office

BLASTOFF! Inc.555 California Street | Suite 4925 | San Francisco, CA 94104

SMX search engine marketing expo next week in Santa Clara, California: what you need to know

To: SMX West All Access Attendees Fr: SMX West Conference Team March 4, 2014

We’re looking forward to hosting you at Search Marketing Expo – SMX West next week! We appreciate your support and look forward to delivering an exceptional conference experience.

It’s his Duty?: Blastoff! founders support initiative to draft Dr. Robert Gates for Presidential run (

Las Vegas, Nevada March 1, 2014

Today Blastoff! Inc. founders Steve Bell and Ian Sweany announced support for a website, crowdsourced fund-raising operation, and human+social network formed with the sole intention of persuading the Honorable Dr. Robert Gates (ret., US Army) to seek the Presidency in 2016.

They sent the following email announcing the initiative, to friends, family, and business colleagues/associates:

Steve Bell, Blastoff Labs hit with identify theft

Steve Bell, Chairman & CEO of Blastoff Labs Sales & Marketing, will announce in a forthcoming Press Release that he has been a victim of identity theft, auto theft, account thefts, intellectual property and hard asset theft, a denial of service attack, and some cyber attacks.  He estimated the overall damages to be estimated between $1M and $5M.  photo ScreenShot2014-02-17at121932AM_zps6dba2835.png These crimes occurred over the past six to eight weeks and involved Steve’s personal auto, a 2013 Red Toyota Prius “Level 4″ model.  The perpetrator was arrested at 2:30 AM on February 12, 2014, while driving it on the I-15 Freeway near downtown Las Vegas, Nevada.  The Las Vegas PD, in a “triple gunpoint” arrested the perpetrator as he was driving the stolen vehicle at 2:30 AM on February 12, 2014, on I-15 near downtown Las Vegas.  The perpetrator was released on his own recognizance, and used that freedom continue to harass Steve by committing additional offenses of a second auto theft, account/asset thefts, intellectual property thefts, cyber attacks, all while taunting him via text messages and phone calls.  photo ScreenShot2014-02-17at121943AM_zps78b3a853.png
Steve publicly announced his intent to press charges and wants to make this case public as an example for the estimated 12M annual victims of identity theft.  ”I took many precautions and never dreamed I would be hit this hard.  I feel betrayed because the perpetrator has been working with me for the past six years.  I will prosecute civil and criminal charges to the full extent of my ability, and resources,” said Mr. Bell. Steve’s attorneys will hold a press conference to provide more detailed information on this case as it progresses through the Court system.  Criminal charges are being filed against the known perpetrator in Simi Valley, California; San Francisco, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada. Steve has been told that the District Attorney in Las Vegas, Nevada will likely take the lead; as Nevada is seeing a huge rise in identity theft. Contact information for the Press will be provided after law enforcement agencies and district attorneys make their decisions.

Starkey Technologies Hearing Innovation Expo (Las Vegas, NV)

Today Steve was at The Starkey Technologies Hearing Innovation Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada. We met the Director of Wireless, and CTO. It was a very interesting conference.

Since Steve is the surviving co-founder of Resound Corp., he was welcomed without registering.

However, President George Bush was addressing the conference, and The United States Secret Service would not let Steve into the conference session :( (

Steve Bell moves his operations and residency to Las Vegas Nevada

Following in the footsteps of legendary Silicon Valley entrepreneur Tony Hsieh, Steve moved his residence and his startup company “BLASTOFF!” to Las Vegas on December 27, 2013

 photo ScreenShot2014-02-17at120617AM_zpsa29a162b.png

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Startups seeking seed-stage equity investment


with seed-stage growth Capital

wall street journal ad May 2012

Wall Street Journal Ad - May 2012

I’m screening technology startups for a group of  investors who are putting together a seed-level venture capital fund to make investments in promising startup ventures.  You may have seen our ad online on popular entrepreneurship sites, or in the Wall Street Journal classified advertising section.

We are looking at early-stage ventures with some demonstrated market traction, who require capital for growth.

We are open-minded about looking at companies which may have be getting overlooked by the Angel and Venture Capital investment community.

We’re interested in startups with compelling products in the following areas:

  • Software as a Service (SaaS) applications
  • Social Media applications
  • Internet Service Providers
  • e-Commerce applications
  • Network security
  • Mobile applications
  • Online payment systems
  • Semiconductor technology
  • Bio-Medical products
  • Medical devices
  • (Physical) security
  • Defense-related technology and systems

Please tell us a bit about your Company:

  • Product or Service
  • Date founded, location, type of business entity, milestones reached to date
  • Competitive environment; differentiation
  • Your team: Founders, employees
  • Funding requirements and use of funds

Contact Steve, with an executive summary (no confidential information please)

Read the full article »

LeadsCon Lead Generation, Advertising and Marketing Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada

LeadsCon Las Vegas Plenary Tues AM Feb 28 2012

LeadsCon Las Vegas Plenary Tues AM Feb 28 2012

This week the StartupTrek team was immersed in LeadsCon, which one of the biggest, best conferences covering lead generation, which constitutes about 30% of the $475B annual global advertising and marketing spend worldwide.

Our focus, of course was to learn as much as possible about new online technology being developed by technology startup companies, for the lead generation and advertising industry.  We visited with, and attended sessions featuring some of those companies including Twilio, eLocalListing, and others; we’ll report on those visits here, as this post is updated.

Here’s a photo of the plenary session; we’ll update this post to add photos and notes from the conference sessions which are listed below, and from our sweeps of the trade show floor.

Monday, February 27, 2012

1:00pm – 7:00pm Registration Desk Open
1:00pm – 7:00pm Exhibitor Move In
1:00pm – 7:00pm Lead Buyer Summit

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

7:00am – 5:00pm Registration Desk Open
7:00am – 11:00am Exhibitor Set-up
9:00am – 12:00pm General Sessions
9:00am – 9:45am Keynote – Michael Norton – The IKEA Effect
9:45am – 10:25am LCLV ’12 State of Industry

Read the full article »

StartupTrek at AlwaysOn “OnMedia” conference in New York City

Update, post-conference: This was another terrific AO event.  We ended up doing about 60 Tweet-Photos… plan to post them as a photo gallery here; so earmark this url:)  Here’s a teaser:

AO On Media NYC 2012

I’m pleased to be attending, and reporting for StartupTrek via blog posts, Tweets, and video updates, one of Tony Perkins’ excellent AlwaysOn conferences – this week in New York City.

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