Lessons learned from an entrepreneur


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Lessons learned from an entrepreneur

  1. 1. Awarded byNewsletter #18, 06th December, 2012TradeDare among the 20 lucky guys at Slush BGI announces the 3rd Ed. Finalists & Honorable 3rd Ed. P&S Track Mentions Honorable Mention represented Portugal atSlush in Helsinki, Finland. The startup summit is On 13th November, in a packed full auditorium, the semi-finalists pitched liveprobably one of the largest of its kind in the world andcertainly the most prominent in Europe. TradeDare and the Award Partner announced the 4 Finalists, each one receiving €100k inenjoyed international exposure with many institutionaland corporate investors. TradeDare has created a web financial support from Caixa Capital: RDFixer (Life Sciences), Veniam (E&T),platform that integrates customer loyalty and stock faces.in (IT & Web), D-Orbit (Products & Services).management that allows businesses to increase,sustain and drive sales through their channels in anefficient way.faces.in on Vodafone and RobiAfter having successfully launched with Vodafone PT,the 3rd Ed. IT & Web Finalist is now available for RobiAxiata subscribers. Faces.in was first launched forsmartphones and works by displaying on a singlescreen all your friends in social networks in yourproximity. Faces.in also works in non-smartphones via a And the 4 Honorable Mentions are: Cardiocare (Life Sciences), RetroSiMproprietary geo-location algorithm based on SMS texts -integrated with carriers LBS platforms. It enables users (E&T), Fidesys (IT & Web) and TradeDare (Products & Services).to check-in and find their friends through simple textmessages, allowing millions of users worldwide toparticipate in geo-location and social discovery on any Congratulations to all teams, this is only the start of a challenging processdevice without a data plan or GPS. that is creating a technology-based company! The competition next steps will be to prepare Finalist teams to the GrandMIT: At the Top Finale (28th February 2013, Lisbon, Portugal) where one selectee will double the award to €200k in non-dilutive financing. Out of the 20 finalist How did MIT become the candidates, the top 12 will enroll in the international catalyst program. most important university in the world? Hint - it has a lot to do with the Institutes focus on tech entrepreneurship, theTrust Center, and the unique, innovative students thatMIT attracts. Lessons learned from an entrepreneur João Afonso, Founder & CEO of Musikki, 2nd Ed Grand FinalistUnlugg on its way to Plug & Play Tech Center Lately, everyone keeps asking us what we have learned over the past year.Silicon Valley recognizes the quality of the 3rd Ed Well, we have learned a lot and we could sit all day discussing that but IBuilding Global Innovators E & T Semi-finalist –Unplugg. The start-up was offered a 3-month stay in the was taught to be objective and synthetic. If we subtract all the daily tasks ofPlug and Play Tech Center by Leadership, aPortuguese-based consultancy company, to do further running a company which I must admit - we also had to learn what thosedevelopment on their energy management B2B2C are, I come to the conclusion that there were four major lessons.solution. Unplugg is an IoT, cloud-based start-up thatfocuses on Home energy management platform,
  2. 2. Awarded bygathering data from smart meters and delivers potential 1. It is a long run, not a sprintsavings of up to 20% to its customers via a mobile app. Just over a year ago we entered a bootcamp at ISCTE-IUL, a prominent Lisbon-based social sciences school, for the first day of the e-teams I crash course. We had no idea of what was about to happen, so we were a little nervous. In the afternoon, all teams were invited to stand in front of theSome of the emerging accelerator programs are classroom and pitch their ideas. On that day, I probably made my worstsponsored by some large Turkish corporations. presentation ever. And I really mean it! When we left the campus later atTurkey today is a fast-growing dynamic economy in avery dynamic part of the world. Many large corporations night, I thought I had ruined every chance of succeeding in the Buildingsee the entrepreneurship-related activities as part of Global Innovators competition. Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves we gottheir social responsibility. The government, throughmany different programs, has been aggressively back the other day and tried to make it better. Seven months later we wonpromoting entrepreneurship. More universities areintroducing courses, programs, and facilities towards the Grand finale. So, who would have thought it possible? To us this meantentrepreneurship to attract better students to their that it does not matter how or where you start and what sort of mistakes wedegree programs. The outlook for entrepreneurship isas bright as ever. Further advancement of make on the way. What really matters is how you respond to thoseentrepreneurship depends on the skills to develop newand creative ideas and business models. Read more. challenges and where you get to. So if you start behind your competitors, this only means that you will have to run faster somewhere down the line. It just means you have to adapt your product offering or strategy because atConsumer, Internet startups Increasingly Targeted the end of the day, your mission is still the same: to succeed. In fact, thefor VC Backing mission is probably the only thing that will not change throughout the life ofVenture dollars have shifted to early rounds from late- your startup. There is no problem on stumbling as often as you might, asstage deals over the past several years. It is a shift thatproved fastest in quick changing industry segments, long as you are not afraid of falling and starting again.such as the consumer Internet, and slowest insegments like semiconductor, which are lessdynamic…Since the Great Recession of 2008 and 2. The only thing that is constant is change2009, venture capitalists have shifted substantial dollarsto the early stage. Read more. When you are in a startup you fail in the morning to succeed in the afternoon. It is an action-reaction pair that pushes your learning processAll Desk, mobile launching forward and pushes you to the limit. This all seems logical. Everyone knows about the trial and error process. You learn from experiment and make it better the next time. However, it is very difficult to keep everyone in your , 2nd Ed. IT & Web team motivated and aligned to work this way. Some people do not like to Finalist, can now be accessed via a mobile work for two weeks on a task and find out later that what they haveApp. In this version you can: 1) See locations around achieved will be thrown to the bin or that you have to start all over againyou, 2) Search all over the world and 3) Makereservations. The startup will extend these because now theres a different layout or a different programming language.functionalities in the future and for that they are eager toget your feedback so feel free to let them know of your It is your job as a CEO to persuade and convince your team that this is theopinion. right way. Being opened to change allows a continuous iteration, which will result on a better product at the end. If you work in innovation and disruptive products you have to be extremely open to change without losingDIGITAL 100: The Worlds Most Valuable PrivateTech Companies focus. That seems easy, but those who have been there will certainly shareIts been a crazy year for technology companies. Many this experience. And you only have 24h in a day, 7 days a week, which isof the top companies from last years list have gone
  3. 3. Awarded bypublic. Some (most) of their stocks have gotten never enough. If you have someone on your team that is not aligned 100%clobbered lot of young companies are receiving wildvaluations that are starting to get corrected by the down that probably means that he or she is not the right person for your startup,market, and theres a new mentality shift in startups: no matter how good he/she might be. There are a lot of opposite strengthsusers arent everything; making money matters. Clickhere to scroll through the Digital 100. By Alyson when you are trying to build a successful company. You just cannot affordShontell, Business Insider. loosing efficiency as time is of the essence. And dont forget: time is money. A scarcity a startup typically does not have.Top 15 U.S. Startup Accelerators and IncubatorsRanked 3. Consistency of speechThere are a number of startup accelerator and incubatorprograms in the United States. We are fans of these We have defined our company’s culture as “a company that is all aboutprograms (not to be confused with pure co-working music. That perceives technology as a mere tool to achieve an end, to offerspaces) as they offer entrepreneurs a way to spend afew months laser focused on a single idea... With all the the perfect musical experience to the user". That aims for the user sensesstartup accelerator programs popping up across thecountry, one is curious to find out which programs through music and other forms of art expression like photography, film andwould offer the biggest bang for the time, money and design. Users that love simplicity. We know that to convey such messageeffort spent in the program. TechStars Boulder narrowlyedged out Y Combinator for the top spot, read more. we have to be very careful on how we communicate. What we forgot is that this must be applied in the most simple of tasks, like writing an email. When I first started contacting possible partners within the industry I wrote detailedSmall but Mighty: Startups Are Shaking UpHealthcare introductory emails, explaining what the company was all about, all the product benefits, how the world would be a better place with us and so on. “…it has become abundantly clear that startupcompanies can play a big role in healthcare innovation Guess what? No one replied. I then decided to take a different approach.and should not be ignored. While their company size Instead of a detailed email I sent one with a short phrase and the companymay be small, their ideas and determination are mighty.What they may lack in the way of ability to scale, they links on the email’s signature. “Hi, we would love to get your comments onmore than make up for in creativity and rapiddevelopment… Rising costs, skyrocketing demand and what we’re trying to do here.” The difference was huge. Almost 100%a need for improved safety and efficiency makes the conversion rate! What happened was that, in the second approach, wehealthcare industry ripe for out-of-the-box thinking. But,no single company holds all of the answers. Read more didn’t let them any other chance but to actually try the product. “Who are these guys? Oh, here’s the link!” We advocated that we were all about simplicity and let what matters speak for itself but we sent long complicatedMobilize 2012 discusses emerging trends in mobile emails that showed exactly the opposite.Each year GigaOM’s Mobilize conference explores thenext frontier for connected devices. Watch the world’s 4. Be prepared to act fastleading mobile thinkers and doers discuss the wealth ofopportunities spurred by the skyrocketing expansion ofdevices and apps. Speakers include Dave Morin (Co- I have always been an advocate of less talk and more action.Founder & CEO, Path), Dennis Crowley (Co-Founderand CEO, foursquare), Spencer Rascoff (CEO, Zillow) Consequently, this also meant less planning and more action. Although Iand Vlad Sejnoha (CTO, Nuance). Watch an authenticdiscussion of whats happening in mobile lead by still believe this can be achieved when we are talking about productGigaOM Pro analysts and writers. development, I have completely changed my mind when it comes to business development. The only way to move fast is by planning everything ahead of time and collect as much knowledge and information as youNew job postings available - here for moreinformation. possibly can about your market segments. This will allow you to respond quickly to every move of your competitors or approach a possible investor. For example, if you are planning to go for a funding round you can start by
  4. 4. Awarded by screening every venture capitalist firm out there in your field or industry and ask yourself: what is their selection process? What kind of information areSave the Dates – update your calendar now: they looking for? What are they looking in their investments? Can they bring 04 – 06.12.2012 LeWeb more than money (smart money) to you? Who have they invested in? Are 17.12.2012 UTEN Portugal Annual Conference there any competitors on their portfolio? What is there track record? Who 26 – 29.01.2013 Midem do you know on their network? Is there anyone you could talk that could 28.01 – 18.03.2012 Start Smart Class 28.02.2012 Building Global Innovators give you more information about them? Who in their team seems to be the Grand Finale best lead? What are you looking to achieve with your round? More events around Europe? Here This may and indeed are simple and obvious questions, but so of then left poorly answered. So beware when you start down the funding path. ThinkFollow us on big but act small. With this information you can prepare your line of action and make your choices depending on your strategy and roadmap. If you research all of this in advance, when the time comes you will have all the required data ready, you will know who to contact, what to expect and even to whom you say no. Being able to draw a line and being assertive is really key in such a funding process. By the way, saying no is probably one of the difficult things you will have to do in your job but also one the most common and you must be prepared for that. It is great to found a company, lead a group of people on trying to achieve a common goal and fulfill a dream. But you must be ready to understand that such a great job comes with great responsibility. It has been more than a year since we entered the Building Global Innovators Venture Competition and a lot has happened since then, most of them I could never have dreamed of possible. We were inexperienced, we had no clue on how to run a company and we had this crazy idea that we could change the world of music. We have grown, matured and established the foundations of a promising company and… guess what? We have this crazy idea that we can change the world of music. The Organization wishes to thank to João Afonso & Musikki for contributing to the current Newsletter issue with this press opinion article.Need more Information? Unsubscribe
  5. 5. Awarded by