Top FivE: HOW to Protect Your Brand


When we launched our company in 2012, we almost lost our MiMA brand, but thanks to the awesome legal team at HIPLegal, they saved the day. We'd love to share their top 5 advice we learned to protect our brand.

A trademark is a symbol used by a company to identify the origin or source of a good or service.  It is generally a word or a logo, but can also include slogans or phrases, sounds, and occasionally colors.  Trademarks are designed to protect the public, so they are not confused about the origin of the product or service.

  1. Choose the name carefully.  The closer to “arbitrary” it is, the stronger.  Apple is a stronger mark for selling computers than International Business Machines.  Do not pick a generic name (“Computer Sellers Inc.” has no trademark.  Neither does ”Windows.”)

  2. Search to make sure the mark is available, before investing in marketing and branding.

  3. Consider how your trademark will sound outside the US if you intend to use it internationally.  

  4. Consider registering your trademark.  Common law protects your brand locally (to protect local consumers) but a trademark filing can extend that protection through the country (and internationally).

  5. Police your trademarks.  Because trademarks are to protect the consumer, you must keep an eye out for misuses of your mark, and address them.

    1. You can do so by providing permission to benign uses

    2. Be aware of social media risks if you are aggressive.

Will Tesla Go Top Dutch?



Top Dutch is an initiative formed by entrepreneurs and governors to promote Northern Netherlands. In a bid to become the greenest energy region in Europe, the Top Dutch region is building the largest joint solar array in the world and regional businesses are investing heavily in electric driving.

A recent survey of 400 business owners shows 75% of companies in the Top Dutch region plan to electrify their fleet in the next few years, resulting in a demand for 20,000 electric cars, a business deal of over $1 billion. In addition, there are plans to develop solar parks with a capacity of 1.75GW, creating demand for an additional 5 million solar panels to complete the solar array, an estimated purchase of $1.5 billion.

“Our main goal is for Tesla to build their Gigafactory here in the region. But, of course, supplying solar panels and cars to our region is also fine,” says TT-chairman Arjan Bos. This message is not just for Elon Musk. “Anyone who produces solar panels and electric cars is welcome to help us achieve our renewable energy goals.”

For more information, please contact:

Gerard de Boer: +31 (0)6 551 88 958

Stef van der Ziel: +31 (0)6 234 06 348


Reputation Conference / August 16 / SF

Join industry professionals along with Media Coach and Stanford Graduate School of Business Lecturer Allison Kluger for a Reputation Conference. All funds from ticket sales go to Girls Who Code. General Admission ($10)

Wed, August 16, 2017; 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM PDT

Whether you’re using the internet to find a job, get a loan, obtain a service, or stay in someone’s home, digital reputation plays a key role in determining success. Reputation Conf is a meeting point for product experts to discuss how digital reputation can be leveraged in online and offline systems to facilitate better decisions.

9AM Registration
10AM Keynote: Digital Reputation & Decision Making in 2017 - Hari Srinivasan & Yolanda Yeh (LinkedIn)
11AM How Trust Drives Community at Airbnb - Angeli Jain (Airbnb)
11:20AM Building Quora's Writer Community - Jonathan Brill (Quora)
11:40AM Manage Your Reputation - Allison Kluger (Stanford GSB)
12PM Panel: Ratings and Reviews - Brittany Cheng (Yelp), Martin Williams (TaskRabbit)
12:30PM Lunch
1:20PM Identity and Online Lending - Trisha Kothari (Affirm, Inc.)
2PM Panel: Digital Reputation in Social Systems - Dianna Yau (, Barney Jackson (Handup), Sonali Kothari (Kiva)
3PM Happy Hour & Networking

Empowering Women for the Future

Women in Finance Celebrate International Women's Day
by Helping Girls Find Paths to Success

Wednesday, March 8, 2017 from 11:30 AM to 3:30 PM
at the Metropolitan Club, 640 Sutter Street, San Francisco

The Bay Area Financial Education Foundation is proud to present the second annual “Empowering Women For The Future” – a volunteer event celebrating International Women’s Day, where local women in finance will spend an afternoon mentoring Bay Area middle and high school girls participating in the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship’s enrichment programs. The event is generously sponsored by Wells Fargo, Jackson Square Partners, National Association of Securities Professionals and Financial Women of San Francisco. Volunteers from our allied organizations including 100 Women in Finance, CFA Society San Francisco’s Women’s Initiative Network and the Financial Planning Association will also participate in the event.

During this structured program, women who participate will be serving as coaches to the young women, helping to develop the students’ personal mission and offering advice on how to improve their business plans and presentation skills.

Volunteers will be paired 1 on 1 with NFTE students, assisting them with developing their ideas fully, focusing on the areas they have difficulty understanding or articulating, and helping them to prepare them for presenting their ideas before an audience and a panel of judges. NFTE program directors will lead the session and provide support throughout the afternoon.

The event includes a luncheon and inspiring address from Van Tran, CFO of Jackson Square Partners.



Local Hero Spotlight

   (Top) Deputy Center Director, Chris Allen with a happy employee of 17 years (Bottom) There are lots of rules at the Job Corps, but we like the #NoBullyZone best.


(Top) Deputy Center Director, Chris Allen with a happy employee of 17 years (Bottom) There are lots of rules at the Job Corps, but we like the #NoBullyZone best.

We have local heroes in our communities and they are working hard at the Job Corps Centers in your neighborhoods! We had the pleasure of touring the San Jose site with Deputy Center Director, Chris Allen who transitioned from public education 8 years ago to join Job Corps. His passion and dedication to the program was an inspiration to our team.

"Along, the way I had people who believed in me and that is why I do what I do. I believe everyone deserves the chance to live their dream, an opportunity to better themselves through education and career technical training. If I could make it, I believe anyone can make it. Sometimes it just takes the right people in your life. I believe in being the difference and making a difference in young adult lives. When you find something you love to do, you never work a day in your life." - C.Allen

Job Corps is a no-cost education and career technical training program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor that helps young people ages 16 through 24 improve the quality of their lives through career technical and academic training.

20 Things Angel Investors Want to Know

MiMA's executive team with the Innovation HUB entreprenrus from the US-Polish Trade Council.

MiMA's executive team with the Innovation HUB entreprenrus from the US-Polish Trade Council.

Earlier this month, we had the opportunity to take part in the US Polish Trade Council's Innovation HUB Program, where we spent two days with brilliant entrepreneurs launching their startups in Silicon Valley from virtual reality film-making to diabetes innovation. We spent our time together addressing their marketing strategies for US launch.

"The US-Polish Trade Council seeks to be your information technology and bio-technology bridge for building business relationships between the U.S. and Poland. To accomplish this goal, the USPTC works in partnership with a network of Polish and American organizations, including corporate, academic and government entities." -

The Innovation HUB Program concluded at the prestigious Stanford University, where the entrepreneurs pitched to distinguished judges in Silicon Valley from business leaders to angel investors.  

We noted 20 questions from the panel one should think about when pitching and launching a product or service. Most of these questions were directed from Dr. Ronald Weissman, Chairman of the Band of Angels. The Band of Angels is Silicon Valley's oldest seed funding organization. They are a formal group of 150 former and current high tech executives who are interested in investing their time and money into new, cutting edge, startup companies and seeded over 277 companies. Here are the 20 things angel investors want to know: 

  1. How will the funding you are seeking get you there?

  2. What specifically will you be doing with the funding?

  3. What is the customer acquisition cost?

  4. What is the long term value?

  5. What is your competitive advantage?

  6. What is your legal framework?

  7. How are you connecting with customers?

  8. What is the competitive landscape?

  9. How long is the sales process?

  10. What have you learned from your initial launch?

  11. What reactions are you getting from the potential partners?

  12. What have you done from an IP (intellectual property) standpoint?

  13. What is your survival strategy in a quick or slow market?

  14. What is your pricing strategy?

  15. Have you questioned the market?

  16. What do you do that is different?

  17. Would you consider going deeply vertical where others are not?

  18. What is your competitive differentiation?

  19. What is your go-to-market strategy?

  20. What are your lessons learned so far?

We hope these questions help you with your next pitch! The startups are detailed below by By Jeff Wallace, President of Global Kinetics. It was an honor to collaborate with these entrepreneurs. Keep an eye out for their successful launches in Silicon Valley and beyond.

Automater – this is an online shopping platform for selling digital products which is integrated to leading auction portals such as eBay, Aukro and Allegro. Automater allows users to sell products across all channels from one place. They have amassed over 10,000 sellers across the world and aim to help sellers sell 200% of sales goals. When questioned by the judges about such topics as customer acquisition costs, fulfillment and selling digital products, Mac Zielinski, COO/Co-Founder from Automater, fielded the questions with confidence and addressed some understanding of the differences between doing business in Poland and in the U.S.

APS Energia JSC – this renowned manufacturer of wide spectrum of power applications for various industry sectors such as oil & gas, transportation, telecommunications, mining and more, is more than 20 years old and operates in 6 countries across the globe. They strive to provide solutions that enhance the reliability and stability of energy supplies. Ireneusz Konarski, the Sales and Marketing Director, responded to judges about their expansion goals by stating that they are not seeking investors here in the U.S., but rather looking to expand their sales efforts to the U.S. marketplace and that given the 20+ years of experience, they believe they have superior products and better pricing capability to the competition.

Booke – this company developed the first ever companion application to search, create citations and annotate printed books. Furthermore, Booke’s smart app for phones or tablets allows users to interact, collaborate and otherwise socialize around actual books. It also gives authors, educators and publishers means to enhance the reading experience through the incorporation of video, audio, photo and text based content additions within the application. To date, they have secured Silicon Valley based pilot tests in both libraries and universities as well as obtaining excellent media coverage. Based on judges’ questions, Grażyna Szczepaniak, Co-Founder, described how current research continues to demonstrate that users still often prefer the physical book to an electronic alternative and that Booke is completely in compliance with fair use doctrine for copyrighted materials. All in all, they have developed something which enables readers to “experience a book” vs. merely reading it.

Circus Digitalis – this virtual reality (VR) film production company comes with over 12 years of experience of film production and post-production of VR films including script development all the way through to release. According to Jacek Naglowski, CEO / Founder, Circus Digitalis is initially focusing on being a VR content creator using technologies in-house. Later on, they may create market-ready products from tools they developed and use to create content. Jacek also indicated that he believes that VR will sustain in the long-run based on the fact that ’everyone is in’, such as Microsoft, Facebook, Google, and more. He stated that he believes his team has the knowledge, experience and research results to enable them to succeed in both Polish and international markets.

Fido labs – this is an artificial intelligence company creating technology that allows computers to understand humans. Their AI engine reads and understands all social media, forums, blogs and reviews (almost any written text in English), and performs the cognitive work of understanding and extracting what matters. They call this the “Internet of Humans” – an exponentially growing untapped pool of knowledge. Michal Wroczynski, CEO and Founder, indicated that fido labs is already generating revenue and focuses extensively within the pharmaceutical sector given much prior success in that space. Fido already has offices here in Silicon Valley and a strong team in Poland and has created some solid intellectual property.

PolTREG – this company spun off from the Medical University of Gdansk to develop and commercialize patented TREG (T-regulatory Lymphocytes) method treatments for Type 1 Diabetes. TREG therapy lowers the risk of complications associated with Type 1 Diabetes, has no side effects, and thereby reduces indirect costs of the disease. Given the vast reach of this disease, PolTREG is addressing a large and (sadly) growing market. Bartosz Kakol, Financial Director, fielded the judges’ questions around topics such as patient improvements to date, PolTREG’s desire to create a ”cure” vs. a ”treatment”, FDA trials and technology licensing. To date, the results of their trials have been quite impressive and they hope to license the technology to additional markets across the world.

RTB Tracker – this is a company focused on proximity and beacon based marketing solutions, predominantly focused on retail sectors. The award winning solution (2015 Bluetooth SIG Breakthrough Award & 2015 CES presenter) delivers customer communications, loyalty programs, coupons and more directly to customers’ smartphones. They see a competitive differentiation with their in-store location capabilities as well as their integration with offline data in addition to online data. Pawel Mizgalski, CEO/Co-Founder, replied to some challenging questions around competition, vertical applications, customer acquisition costs and methods and more. Pawel did admit that it is a challenge to convince possible customers to change their habits, but emphasized that they believe their holistic approach to enhance the shopping experience is rather compelling.

Media Coach & Stanford Lecturer Allison Kluger on Mistakes, Executive Presence for Women and Career Advice

Interview by Kathrina Q. Miranda, MiMA CEO


What is the most difficult decision (career wise) you had to make and what was the outcome? 

Leaving Good Morning America to go to Q2 (a nascent Home Shopping Network started by Barry Diller and Diane Von Furtenberg) was the most difficult decision I have ever made.  I had been at GMA for 8 years,  one as an intern, seven as a producer.  However, I had hit a ceiling and I did not see anymore upward mobility. By leaving and moving to a new niche, I was taking a risk.  Yet my move to Q2 led me to being an on-air host, a Line Producer in the control room and an Executive Producer at another Shopping Network, called Global Shopping Network, where I managed a staff of 100 people and 16 hours of live television a day. These were all things I would have never been allowed to do at GMA.  4 years later, ABC invited me back to help start up The View with Barbara Walters.  This time I was much more skilled and respected for my experience.  I was a leader and came back in a Senior role at ABC.  Sometimes you need to leave the nest, try something new, and come back stronger.

What mistakes have you made in your career and how did you recover? 

I rarely look at anything as a mistake, as I truly believe that the only way I have learned and grown is from my experiences.  Yet there are two events that stick out. One was when I was 23 and I got into a car accident during a field shoot in Iowa.  I was producing a remote at the actual farm where the movie The Field of Dreams was shot. I flew into Dubuque to survey the site and meet Don Larsen, the farmer.  I was a New Yorker and rarely drove a car.  I was most afraid of getting lost because I was terrible with directions.  The morning of the segment I got up at 3am to head to the site and I didn't realize how dark it would be on rural roads. I went to turn off the air conditioner with my right arm, and my left arm, on the steering wheel, mirrored the same movement at the same time and I swerved off the road, hit the accelerator instead of the brake, and I careened of the road at 90 miles per hour.  My car hit something and flipped twice and then stopped in the middle of a field in the middle of nowhere. This was when there were no cell phones and it was a holiday weekend. I was alone, it was pitch black, and there wasn't a person or car in sight.   I had severed a giant portion of my left leg right above the muscle, which was now open and bleeding, and sitting in my lap. I had broken my right arm in 4 places, broken ribs, injured my pancreas when the car flipped, and had assorted cuts and bruises. I knew if I remained in the car I would bleed to death. I managed to hold my leg together and tie it up with my shirt and get out of the car and make my way back to the road so I could walk for help--hoping to find a farm.  Fortunately,  after some time passed,  a car eventually drove by and gave me a ride to a paramedic's home 5 towns away.  Once there, the ambulance arrived.  After preliminary surgeries in Iowa, ABC flew me back to NYC where I was in a hospital for 6 more weeks where I had skin grafts and bone grafts and lost a big portion of my leg.  But the worst part was that I lied about the accident.  I said I had swerved on the road to avoid hitting an animal.  I was so afraid that if I admitted to losing control of my car that GMA would never send me out on another assignment.  I was so worried about my reputation.  I lived with that guilt for years.  What was amazing, and what took me years and maturity to figure out, was that colleagues, friends and family were so impressed that I had the determination and mettle to get myself out of the car, tie up my leg, save my life, and search for help.  No one cared how the accident happened.  What I realize now is that my work ethic never would have been called into question.  I was always known as a hard worker and as a resourceful and productive producer.  And a strong reputation will always speak for itself.

The second event, which I consider a misstep, was when I went to a new shopping network as a Producer.  I was paired up with another woman to produce one of the departments.  Our on-air Host quit a week into the start-up and I was asked to replace her.  I had never been on-air, but had produced enough Talent and coached enough people to know how to do what needed to be done. I also gave a hell of an audition selling a portable chair. When I was made the Host, my producing partner was livid.  She felt I had abandoned her (although the Senior Producers had made this decision, not me) and began to ostracize me in our department and create an abusive working environment.  During one tense conversation I lost control and argued with her when she insisted she was being supportive. I disagreed and told her, to her face, that she was being horrible and had been a complete B*tch.  This was a big mistake on my part.  By escalating the fight, using profanity, and inciting her even further, I gave her permission to play even dirtier.  She continued to torture me, even on-air, while I was selling products.  She would talk into my ear via the mic and distract me during live shows.  She would gossip about me and alienate me from group meetings.  I realized that by stooping to her level I had lost control and power and given her permission to treat me badly.  If I had remained cool and had just done my best and didn't let her ruffle me, I would have had a stronger position within the team.  As it was, I did confront her a few months later in a very calm manner.  I was one of the top sellers, everyone else at the network liked and respected me, and I told her that her behavior had to stop.  That it was counterproductive, that I was doing a great job, and that while we didn't have to be friends, at least let's both be professional.  After that she left me alone and seemed to respect me.  My lesson learned was to never rise to the bait, always keep my cool, and never let someone see how much he/she had gotten to me.

What advice do you have for any woman who wants to enter your line of work?

It is important in the Media to be competent, of course, but it is extremely important for people to enjoy working with you.  This is a business of communication-literally--so you need to understand how to be a good communicator, read the temperature of the room, not take people's personalities too personally, and to have a sense of humor.  Hours are strange and taxing, you deal with a lot of different, creative people, and each day is different and challenging just by the nature of the beast.  So you need to be a problem solver, not a problem identifier, and you need to be a positive person.  No one wants a whiner or a finger pointer.  As a woman, you can't be afraid to volunteer and to make decisions quickly.  To be a leader, others have to view you as a leader.  Hard work is fine, but don't just be the busy little bee.  You need to put yourself on the front line taking risks and leading the troops. 

Why do you feel compelled to teach Executive Presence for Women? 

Women are programmed to try and be perfect and this falls back on how we were raised: dress nicely, have manners, don't make too much noise, be polite etc.  All of this is good and helpful, but women are capable of so much more.  We are inherent leaders and are great at multi-tasking and great at intuiting a situation quickly and sizing up people.  We can do the work and also manage people seamlessly when given the chance.  We just need to be more confident in not waiting to be given the chance; we need to create the opportunity or situation to lead.  We don't need permission to lead anymore.  Some of the greatest leaders are women.  We can do everything men can do and many times our emotional intelligence gives us an edge that men don't have. Men can be wary of women in a board room, as a boss, or an advisor.  However, if we remind men of their strong wives, or sisters, or mothers or friends, they do realize that strong women are amazing and all around them and they hop on the band wagon pretty quickly.


Meet our CEO and Polish Entrepreneurs!

March 7-8: Marketing/PR Strategy Workshops at the US-Polish Trade Council in Silicon Valley

March 17: Poland-Silicon Valley Life Science Symposium: Clean Energy and Clean Water at Stanford University (TICKETS HERE)

Please join the Poland-Silicon Valley Life Science Symposium: Clean Energy and Clean Water on March 17, 2016, at Stanford University.

For fourteen years, the US-Polish Trade Council (USPTC), a nonprofit grassroots organization, has been building bridges between the United States and Poland through collaborations in industry and academia. The Symposium is driven by USPTC’s mission to exchange knowledge on science and technology developments relevant to U.S.-Polish collaboration.

The theme of this spring’s Symposium is opportunities and challenges in the clean energy and clean water economy. The event will center around a panel discussion led by distinguished experts from U.S. and Polish universities, government, and industry, with active participation by Symposium attendees. Together, we will explore the development and adaptation of breakthrough clean energy and clean water technologies and trends in Polish and American markets.

Overview of Symposium schedule:

1:00 pm – 2:30 pm Walking tour of Stanford University

2:30 pm – 3:00 pm Registration

3:00 pm – 3:30 pm Welcome and Introduction

3:30 pm – 4:45 pm Panel Session: “Clean Water: supply, storage, reliability, and security”

5:00 pm – 6:15 pm Panel Session: “Clean Energy: sources, grid security and reliability, and energy storage”

6:15 pm – 7:00 pm Networking Reception/Business Mixer

7:00 pm – 10:00 pm Gala Dinner and US-Poland Innovation HUB Program Commencement Ceremony

We hope you will join us on March 17!