Changes in Tech Startups• LESS
Capital required to build product, get to market – Dramatically reduced $$$ on servers, software, bandwidth – Crowdfunding, KickStarter, Angel List, Funders Club, etc – Cheap access to online platforms for 100M+ consumers, smallbiz, etc – A few big IPOs @ $1B+, but LOTS of small acquisitions (<$100M)• MORE Customers via ONLINE platforms (100M+ users) – Search (Google) – Social (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) – Mobile (Apple, Android) – Local (Yelp, Groupon, Living Social) – Media (YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr) – Comm (Email, IM/Chat, Voice, SMS, etc)• LOTS of little bets: Accelerators, Angels, Angel List, Small Exits – Y Combinator, TechStars, 500 Startups – Funding + Co-working + Mentoring -> Design, Data, Distribution – “Fast, Cheap Fail”, network effects, quantitative + iterative investments
Web 2.0 + Lean Startup
1. Startup Costs = Lower. 2. # Users, Bandwidth = Bigger. 3. Transaction $$$ = Better. Building Product => Cheaper, Faster, Better Getting Customers => Easier, More MeasurableIterative Product & Marketing Decisionsbased on Measured User Behavior
500 Strategy: “Lots of Little
Bets”*1) Make lots of little 30% bets pre-traction, Capital early-stage startups2) after 6-12 months, identify 70% top 20% performers and Capital double-down higher $$$3) conservative model assumes-5-10% large exits @20X ($50-100M+)-10-20% small exits @5X ($5-50M) 10 *See Peter Sims book: “Little Bets”
Angel* List: It Rocks. •
Startups & Investors • Activity & Metrics • Platform & APIs • *ps – not just for Angels, or USA
Early-Stage Risk Reduction• 1st Mtg:
Crazy, Idiots, Liars or Crooks?• Product: does it work? (crappy, not perfect)• Market: are people using it? (not their mom)• Revenue: will people pay for it? (just a few)• Growth: how will it/they scale? (online? offline?)• Finance: what will it cost? – Q1: cost to get a customer? – Q2: how & when do you make money?
Early-Stage Startups: Your “Due Diligence”
Is An Illusion(Better approach = write a quick, small check then wait ~6 mo’s)• Problems in Early-Stage Due Diligence: – You Might Be Able to Detect Idiots & Liars, but… – Not much history, product, customers, or revenue (yet), so… – You probably can’t figure out Winners (yet).• The New Due Diligence = Incremental Achievements – “Due Diligence” Trusted Referrals + History – “Great Team” Functional Prototype + Usage – “Size of Market” Evidence = Customers, Revenue• The Odds Are: They Suck, You’re Wrong – You’ll Be Wrong 4x out of 5x. (If U Don’t Suck). – In 6 Months, You’ll Know If They Don’t Suck. – In 1-2 Years, You’ll Know If They’re Awesome.
Web 2.0 Business Model: KISS
(“Keep It Simple, Stupid”)• 1) Re-invent Web 1.0 Businesses – Make a Website, a Widget, an App – Sell Stuff (Transactions, Subscriptions, Affiliate)• 2) add Web 2.0 Technology – Search, Social, Mobile, Local, Media, Comm – Google, Facebook/Twitter, Apple/Android, YouTube – Email, SMS, Ecommerce / Payments• 3) Get Customers, Make Money – Distribution, Distribution, Distribution – (Customer Acq’stn Cost) vs. ($Rev. Per Customer) – Low CapX + Profitable Web Businesses
More Acquirers (tech + non-tech);
More & Smaller Acquisitions1. Mature Internet Platform Co’s: – GOOG, MSFT, YHOO, EBAY, AOL, AMZN, AAPL, INTU, ADBE, FB, TW, LNKD, GRPN1. Non-Tech “BigCo” / Consumer Verticals buying tech startups (for distribution)• BigCo = Lots of Customers, $$$• BigCo = Bureaucracy, Innovator Dilemma• Outsource Innovation; Buy Talent / Products• Acquiring LOTS (Small) Startups• Great for Founders, Investors * Mint acquired by Intuit in Sept 2009 for $170M
Product, Market, Revenue• Product: assess
functional use, improve design/UX• Market: test usage, distribution channels• Revenue: test cust acq cost, revenue, *timing*• Work on Pitch, Help Find Co-Investors, etc
Outlier Competition + Modeling Success
Behaviors• You want min 3-5 “rockstars” to compete• Rockstars to model success for others• You can’t assume >20% rockstars• Therefore, pick 5x5 = 25 teams• 3-5 rockstar teams emerge, compete, win• 5-10 *other* non-rockstars learn• Prune losers quickly
Winners, Losers, Tweeners• Winners #WIN
(with or without you)• Losers #LOSE (with or without you)• Tweeners #TWEEN – They might win with your help – They might lose with your help – Be helpful, but don’t dally – Note: you might be wrong about the losers & tweeners, so don’t be an arrogant a-hole.
fbFund REVfbFund REV: Facebook “Social”
Incubator: invest in startups, apps, websites based on Facebook platform & Facebook Connect.• 22 startups @ ~$35K each (< $1M total)• 3 month program: Technology, Design, Marketing, Business topics• Success: 8 startups raised $500K –> 5 Series A -> 3 Series B (+ 3 small exits)• Wildfire Interactive acquired by GOOG for $350M (>50X)
The Lean VC: Lots of
Little Bets, Incremental InvestmentMethod: Invest in lots of startups using incremental investment, iterative development. Start with many small experiments, filter out failures, and expand investment in successes… (Rinse & Repeat).• Incubator: $0-100K (“Build & Validate Product”)• Seed: $100K-$1M (“Test & Grow Marketing Channels””)• Venture: $1M-$10M (“Maximize Growth & Revenue”)
Investment Stage #1: Product Validation
+ Customer Usage• Structure – 1-3 founders – $25-$100K investment – Incubator environment: multiple peers, mentors/advisors• Test Functional Prototype / “Minimum Viable Product” (MVP): – Prototype->Alpha, ~3-6 months – Develop Minimal Critical Feature Set => Get to “It Works! Someone Uses It.” – Improve Design & Usability, Setup Conversion Metrics – Test Small-Scale Customer Adoption (10-1000 users)• Demonstrate Concept, Reduce Product Risk, Test Functional Use• Develop Metrics & Filter for Possible Future Investment
Investment Stage #2: Market Validation
+ Revenue Testing• Structure – 2-10 person team – $100K-$1M investment – Syndicate of Angel Investors / Small VC Funds• Improve Product, Expand Customers, Test Revenue: – Alpha->Beta, ~6-12 months – Scale Customer Adoption => “Many People Use It, & They Pay.” – Test Marketing Campaigns, Customer Acquisition Channels + Cost – Test Revenue Generation, Find Profitable Customer Segments• Prove Solution/Benefit, Assess Market Size• Test Channel Cost, Revenue Opportunity• Determine Org Structure, Key Hires
Investment Stage #3: Revenue Validation
+ Growth• Structure – 5-25 person team – $1M-$10M investment – Seed & Venture Investors• Make Money (or Go Big), Get to Sustainability: – Beta->Production, 12-24 months – Revenue / Growth => “We Can Make (a lot of) Money!” – Mktg Plan => Predictable Channels / Campaigns + Budget – Scalability & Infrastructure, Customer Service & Operations – Connect with Distribution Partners, Expand Growth• Prove/Expand Market, Operationalize Business• Future Milestones: Profitable/Sustainable, Exit Options
Global Trends• Growth of Global
Languages (see MyGengo.com) – 1B+ speakers: Mandarin, English – 300-500M+ spkrs: Spanish, Arabic• Smart Device Proliferation – mobile, tablet, TV, console, etc• More Young, More Old ($$$) Users Online• More Bandwidth, More Video, More Social, More Mobile• Wealthy Chinese + Indian, Web + IRL Globetrotters ($$$B)• Acceleration of Global Payment, E-Commerce• Dramatically Reduced Cost: Product Dev, Customer Acqstn• Global Distribution Platforms – US/EU: Apple, Facebook, AMZN, GOOG (Search, YouTube, Gmail, Android), Twitter – Asia: Baidu, Tencent, Alibaba, Sina, NHN, Yahoo-J, Softbank, Rakuten, DeNA, Gree
Thanks • Want more info?
Go visit: – http://500startups.com (our company) – http://500hats.com (my blog) – https://angel.co/500-startups-fund-ii (our fund)
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