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Ryerson Guest Presentation 6th August 2010

Ryerson Guest Presentation 6th August 2010

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Ryerson 6th August Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Starting and running a technology company & taking investments
    By: Alex Blom
    Twitter: @alexblom
    Web: www.alexblom.com
    E-mail me: alex@alexblom.com
  • 2. Agenda.
    Who am I?
    On Technology
    Starting a technology company:
    Idea
    Bootstrap
    Traction
    Taking investment
    On Social Media
  • 3. Australian Citizen, living in Canada and selling to Americans (confused).
    Nominee for YAA Young Business Person of the Year, winner of numerous YAA marketing titles, awarded Shoalhaven Young Citizen of the Year.
    Regularly profiled as a digital media influencer.
    Who am I?
  • 4. First company at 14. Door to door selling websites through offshore lab
    Within two years had 7 employees
    At this point have founded / sold four technology companies.
    Co-founded not for profits, trouble-shooted retail operations and worked as a Sales / Marketing Manager.
  • 5. What I do.
    Digital Media Consulting
    Live seminars
    Angel Investing
    Strategy consultant
    Idea no.5
  • 6. And of course I blog on Digital Marketing & Technology entrepreneurship.
    http://www.alexblom.com
  • 7. On technology.
    Things move fast
    Most barriers to entry are gone
    Push to remove software patents
    Core technologies are free
    Techniques and KPI’s are common knowledge
    Everybody is savvy
  • 8. The ‘consumer’ internet is only around 12 years
    old, it is not even a teenager.
    We are still in the pioneering days.
  • 9. Getting started in technology.
    Idea
    Bootstrap to a prototype
    Gain traction
    Grow
  • 10. Idea.
    You will not get investment for ideas, prototypes are expected
    Because of competition you almost always need traction too.
    You are probably not important enough for stealth mode. Ring up potential customers and ask. Get feedback.
  • 11. All you need is a rough business case. Can you make money? Who will buy you? Who are the players? USP?
  • 12. Entrepreneurs ‘create’
    Most have many ideas and need to execute on their best
    It is a huge risk to move forward. There is no safety and no salary. If you don’t like the risk don’t take it.
    Idea.
  • 13. Bootstrapping.
  • 14. 1-2 people; sometimes 3-4
    All members add to core value
    Not necessary for a business person yet
    But they can add value (I am non technical)
    Culture is as important as skill
    Structure a team.
  • 15. Rules of Bootstrapping.
    Just do it
    Your projections are meaningless (hence 1)
    It shouldn’t cost any more than $10,000 to prototype
    Only do things that add to your core value.
  • 16. Everything will be happening all at once.
    Can you keep up?
  • 17. Traction.
  • 18. Now is when we go traditional.
    Fill out company
    Add real data for realistic projections
    Formalize business plan / investment proposals and shop around
    Is this idea still worth it?
  • 19. Traction is hard, you are trying to get users into something ‘new’
    It is unlikely you have a budget
    This is why social media has become so huge
  • 20. Figure out where your customers are and target them:
    Are they on Twitter? Facebook? Or something more obscure.
    Leave comments on blogs and forums.
    Don’t blast press releases but talk to journalists.
    What is your cost of acquisition? Look into PPC.
    Get to as many events as possible.
  • 21. Success Factors.
    Visibility
    Relevance
    Simplicity
    Speed
    Follow-up
    ROI
    Authenticity
  • 22. Bring on somebody non technical.
    Bring on somebody non technical
    Your struggle will be staying afloat, scaling and adding new features
    Engineers, even co-founders, should not be doing anything else
    Let the business guy do the business stuff
  • 23. This is why a non-technical founder early on is useful. You should have already built relationships, lined up media and spoken to customers.
  • 24. Angel Investing: I won’t bore you with Term Sheets
    • Brad Feld has a solid, practical summary: http://bit.ly/feldtermsheet
  • On Taking Investments
    Taking Investments.
    Wait for a good deal
    For technology companies, a minimum of $1.5m post
    Please do not mention Dragon’s Den
    Investments are like marriages
    Are you aligned with your investors?
  • 25. On Taking Investments
    Taking Investments.
    Investors rarely get a proposal in the post and say ‘yes’
    Even if your idea is good they want to get to know you first
    Shop around for investment before you need it and take more than you need
  • 26. Pivoting.
    Sometimes users end up doing ‘b’ when we were expecting ‘a’
    Don’t fight it, go with the flow
    I wrote a very simple article on Pivoting
    http://bit.ly/pivotingsmb
  • 27. Technology & ecommerce start-ups are like teen sex. Nobody is entirely sure what to do, but you get the hang of it eventually.
  • 28. On Social Media
    Social Media.
    2/3 of the Global population (and ¾ of Americans) use social technology.
    93% of users think you should have a presence.
    85% of these users think a presence is not enough. They want you to interact with them.
  • 29. Social Media is not a new thing
  • 30. Two high growth areas
    Small business SaaS
    Geo-local commerce
  • 31. Thanks. Do get in touch.
    By: Alex Blom
    Twitter: @alexblom
    Web: www.alexblom.com
    E-mail me: alex@alexblom.com