The digital disruption brings great challenges for every business. To stay competitive, companies need high adaptability, innovation and market know-how. But don’t worry, you are not alone! Innovative startups and experienced corporates can team up and use the enormous potential that lies in the synergy of their strengths. And yes, no matter if you are looking for an innovative startup or an experienced corporate – there is a company out there that offers those qualities that complement your business. Together you will be able to conquer all challenges! But how to find your perfect business match? That’s what CODE_n CONNECT is all about. Read more to learn about the benefits of CODE_n CONNECT for startups and corporates.
An innovative idea is the starting point of every new business. The new product solves an existing problem or brings a whole new world of possibilities for the industry. However, we all have experienced that identifying the problem is only the first step on the long road to an innovative solution. This road called ‘generating a great idea’ is paved with many creative and strategic challenges. But no worries – there are also as many techniques for creative thinking and business model development to guide you through this road. Whether you are about to launch a startup or update your existing business model, we’ve got you covered with a selection of the best three creative thinking techniques. Get inspired by them!
Many reasons why startups and corporates seek collaboration are clear: startups benefit from funding, expertise as well as from a business and sales network, while large corporates profit from startups’ innovative power, operational speed and creativity. A large percentage of corporates stated that they require startups to enable innovation for their business. In an equal collaboration, the vital effect of startups for the innovation process of big companies meets the need of startups for a powerful patron. But when new and established businesses come together, they most likely face challenges like a culture clash or the struggle of control and independence. However, equal and successful collaboration is possible! Find out how with the best practices in incubations, accelerations and partnerships.
As CODE_n finalists from 2014, they are attending CODE_n15 at CeBIT as start-up veterans: GPredictive from Hamburg analyzes buying behavior from customer data to derive patterns for the future. The young company offers its analytical expertise as software-as-a-service. This means that it is affordable for smaller and medium-sized companies too.
As alumni, you’re again represented at this year’s CODE_n15 at CeBIT. Looking back, what were your impressions last year of your CODE_n premiere?
Björn Goerke (GPredictive): I think the entrepreneurial spirit at CODE_n is really exciting. There was a tremendous amount of energy in the venue. And the interest that our stand generated was simply overwhelming. It was usually after 4 p.m. before I managed to get anything to eat … Being mobbed by so many interested trade fair delegates was great fun. Everyone who came to see us really enjoyed looking at our business model.
What’s happened to your start-up in the last twelve months?
Björn Goerke (GPredictive): We’ve doubled in size and we now have a ten-strong team. We sourced a major investor in the form of Target Partners, and we’re now in a position to increase our team even further. Overall, we’ve massively optimized our product approach. Our analytics solution “Scores out of a box” now runs virtually fully automatically, which means that we’re able to respond much more quickly than we did a year ago. We now have a mature product and a growing number of satisfied customers. More…
A couple of years ago, it would have been impossible to build an electronic device from scratch in just three days – or at least it felt that way. Nowadays, this is a reality. In fact, it happens all over the world, all the time. Thanks to 3D printers, CNC machines, cheap and easy-to-use solutions like the Arduino, the Raspberry Pi or the Intel© Galileo, plus the availability of inexpensive sensors, people can transform their ideas into smart, connected products – working prototypes – all in a matter of hours. “IoT is at a tipping point right now – idea, product and market are closer together than ever. All you need is smart people with ideas,” says Philip Moynagh, Intel’s senior vice president regarding the Internet of Things. Ideas and smart people we found at the Hardware Hackathon in Dublin.
Kathleen Fritzsche is co-founder and head of marketing at Accelerate Stuttgart and StartUp Stuttgart, the entrepreneurial community for the Neckar Valley and Baden-Wuerttemberg regions in Germany. She has been captivated by the startup community since attending the first Startup Weekend in Stuttgart in 2010.
The brief, structured presentation of your business concept – the so-called “elevator pitch” – is a central element in garnering acceptance and enthusiasm for your business idea.
An elevator pitch can last anywhere from 30 seconds to five minutes depending on the situation. A key factor? Make sure you have thoroughly thought through the ins and outs of your idea before presenting it to larger audiences or potential capital investors. Initial feedback from your personal network and people who know your industry is incredibly valuable. These kinds of connections bring in new perspectives and helpful hints. The best thing to move you forward is critical thinking and shedding light on potential weaknesses early on. More…
Fundraising is a magic concept for every entrepreneur. It describes a difficult and tedious procedure of raising money to develop a venture and support all growth stages.If you ask me about that, after raising two rounds so far for my startup from six different investors (and hopefully more…), I would say that your initial objective should be bootstrapping and not fundraising. This will give you self-confidence, focus and will push you to the limits to finish your MVP (Minimum Viable Product) in order to get feedback and your first pilot customers. Fundraising is a tedious and time-consuming operation that eats your time as a co-founder from other important tasks, such as product validation and initial customer acquisition.
Fundraising comes after you have a prototype that can be used for customer feedback and can validate a business/revenue model, according to the LEAN approach. The initial money you will be asking for, from angel investors or early stage VCs, should go to one important objective: scaling up!
In every fundraising pitch, what should be stressed is not the technology, which already exists out there, but rather how the product or service can be scaled up as fast as possible and how it will follow a specific go-to-market strategy, already defined by your team.
An investor is not looking at the present, but the future. He uses your pitch and product to project his personal portfolio investment life-cycle, analyzes the risk of its current investment portfolio, calculates some financial and investment metrics and makes decisions based on that. So what you need is a good story to simply describe your idea, a well differentiated product with some initial customer contracts, a good emerging market that will help you evolve and take a good market share, and a pretty straightforward go-to-market plan to scale up your product quickly and efficiently.
When we feel ready to go for a fundraising campaign for our startup, we should be ready to justify and present the above arguments. In general, fundraising takes a lot of time from the co-founders, so we have to be sure that our product and progress are not left behind. The CTO should have a dedicated team to move on with development in a semi-automated way. Continuous progress is another key that we have to show to our potential investors. Investors and VCs always evaluate progress and milestones as a part of a continuous startup assessment.
The Intelen story so far…
Intelen started fundraising back in 2009, after winning its first international recognition in the Guidewire Innovate!100 Contest as a finalist. After that, some more international awards came up in 2010 for Intelen’s innovative prototype product on energy analytics and social game mechanics for energy efficiency (Red Herring Global, silicon valley launch, OECD eco-innovation, Siemens World Smart Grid Innovation Contest, etc).
This opened many potential doors and gave Intelen publicity and credibility for its innovative methods; but this also created many expectations and put pressure on the whole team to finalize the products, start acquiring customers, form a high level advisory board and produce a great success story for the fundraising. International recognitions and innovation prizes do not give you funding or money and do not create revenues. Happy customers do…! But, they create expectations you have to meet, and you have to continuously prove your point of differentiation and your will to succeed to people and potential investors. This is what Intelen did and still does, after two seed rounds. Create a success story and show people your agility and fast progress. Then, prove that you have an extremely well differentiated product, acquire satisfied customers, and as soon as your team progresses you are another step closer to success!
In general, when we fundraise we should:
1. Have a 1-2 page executive summary for the investors and a good financial projection (in the seed stage) 1-year ahead. No need for a big business plan, nobody is going to read it.
2. Have a good pitch deck to present: focus on scaling up and go-to-market strategies and use your success story!
3. Organize your development and company progress well: the co-founders will be very busy with fundraising.
4. Demonstrate agility and the will to go global: present contracts and initial satisfied customers. Also use this feedback to adapt your price models. This will give you good and accurate financial projections.
Be ready to meet any expectations you create around you and to work hard in order to prove that you can evolve, learn, adapt and stay agile!
Located in Israel, buymystartup is a marketplace for buying and selling startup companies, products and technologies. Michael Lugassy is the founder of the platform and has been passionate about Web and IT development for many years.
Janina Benz: When I stumbled over buymystartup, it made me curious to know more about the participating startups and potential buyers. Could you explain your business model to our readers in a bit more detail?
Michael Lugassy: Simply put, we let entrepreneurs list their startup company, product or technology for free. They only pay a 1.9% finder’s fee if we get them a buyer. After initial submission and careful consideration, we follow up with some questions and start sourcing for deals through various networks. Some startups get spotlighted on our blog and social streams.
JB: How did you come up with the idea?
ML: Being more of a builder-entrepreneur than a seller-entrepreneur, I’ve always been drawn to developing new technology rather than marketing it. I ended up with a bunch of fully functional products lying around, but no one to push them forward. Some products were missing that final touch, some were selling nicely but could benefit from a greater sales force. Having used and witnessed the popularity of flippa.com and angel.co, I thought why not develop a marketplace for entrepreneurs just like me.
JB: Have you closed any deals yet?
ML: We are going to announce our first ever sale really soon!
JB: How many people are working with you on buymystartup?
ML: The people working on leads include the very best of my 400 close friends, as well as thousands of their contacts.
JB: What is your strategy for gaining awareness in the startup scene?
ML: Get enough entrepreneurs on board to list their companies, which now means going door-to-door and helping them submit. List only products with viable technology or teams to keep standards high. Use proceeds from sales to reach more entrepreneurs in more places, rinse and repeat.
JB: I assume it’s very hard to get potential buyers on board. Are you well connected to investors or buyers? What kinds of interested parties are potential buyers – big companies or private individuals?
ML: Actually, buyers that look for teams to soft-land or acqui-hire are pretty known and accessible (Luma Partners). The tricky part, we’ve learned, is to get entrepreneurs convinced and prepared for sale. We try to encourage them to speak openly about what is still missing and get the right price tag. Most of the time, they will be bought for who they are – the product itself is just the shop window.
JB: Israel is famous for its entrepreneurial spirit and IT startups. In your opinion, is it easier to found a company in Israel and to scale than it is in Europe?
ML: I think so. Israel is well developed, but too small to run any kind of scalable business on its own. This makes entrepreneurs think global from day one, and avoid the temptation to try to (eventually) stay local. The startup community here is extremely friendly, ridiculously close-by and very approachable. Israeli entrepreneurs who have “made it” to key positions become ambassadors and fuel our success further.
JB: How well is the Israeli startup scene connected with investors from Europe or the US?
ML: There’s an obvious Americanization not only in the startup scene, but also well beyond. Israeli entrepreneurs feel much more “at home” speaking to an American counterpart than a European. UK-based companies, investors and private individuals seem more open in terms of cultural sensitivity and accessibility . Not sure about other countries, but various initiatives such as CODE_n could probably help change that.