A bit about my story
10 – 20 years
14 y/o: Turbo Pascal/C++ development ★ Selling my ﬁrst software to a bank
17 y/o: SysOp BBS, Developer PBNews ★ Selling Software (oops, illegal)
18 y/o: Security research and wrote a lot of exploit code ★ Founded Securax
21 y/o: Dropped out of university ★ Acquisition of Securax by Big Five company
20 – 30 years
24 y/o: Became partner at Cyber Defense Firm w/ Dubai/US Agencies ★ MBO
28 y/o: End of VOIP company Attractel NV (bankruptcy) ★ Failed !
29 y/o: Surveillance & cyber weapons ★ Too big legal exposure (stopped, but still haunts me :p)
And now ?
Angel investor at VOIP Depot ★ Built mobile banking channel for Fortune 500 bank
Founder of Argus Labs: The contextualization company
Fascinated by machine learning, transhumanism and anti surveillance technology
Opiniewolf ★ TEDx Speaker ★ Founder Institute Mentor
Currently writing a ﬁrst book “The Age of Dream Machines”
✔ I am passionate about …
✖ I want to be rich !
✔ I can solve a problem
✖ I want to be powerful !
✔ I see an opportunity
✖ I am bored …
✖ I want flexible working hours
Be committed ✪ It’s a marathon
Get rid of all distractions and develop laser-focus
Whatever you do, do it with your heart !
A story about
“ Broadcast SMS style messages and limit them to 140 characters ”
Twitter is the result of a 2009 internal hackathon at Odeo, 500M daily tweets, now US$ 1B pre-IPO
“ Combine a selﬁe with every picture you take ”
Frontback started as a side-project by CEO of Checkthis, over 200,000 users in 4 months
“ Building the nth better social network in a overcrowded space “
Out of a dorm room, Facebook blew Myspace (and nearly everyone) out of the water with 1,1B users
“ I want to give dogs and dog owners more freedom “
Engineer quit his job and invented the retractable leash, owned by virtually every dog owner globally
How is an
idea born ?
Serendipity, Confucius and moments of enlightenment
Reality check: Ideas most likely come to you because you’re an expert working on some hard problems
The random brainfart (most likely alcohol-induced)
Reality check: Your idea will either be an embarrassment or a huge success (small chance, however)
The seek-and-destroy style (I love military precision)
Reality check: Call up industry players and ﬁgure out what they see as a problem. Then ﬁnd a solution.
✔ Ideas need to be researched
✖ Hey, that was my idea
✔ Test ideas on real people
✖ An incubator will help me
✔ Validating assumptions
✖ My mom thinks its great
✔ Needs to be well executed
✖ Needs to be new
It makes an ass of u and me
Ideas are nice ✪ Execution is better
Ideas without execution are dreams.
A mediocre idea well executed is better than a superb idea badly executed.
Building a great
team takes time
✔ Builder & Seller
✖ Outsourced development
✔ A highly diverse skill set
✖ Friends are not colleagues
✔ Executers, not executives !
✖ More than 3 (co)founders
✔ Two pizza’s for one team
✖ Teams of > 7 people
ﬁre fast !
When the team is not invested in the vision
Check: A vision rarely changes, a strategy could change and tactics must constantly change
When the team is not agile or is reluctant to change
Check: It’s surprising how many people hate change and chaos, however that’s a startup’s playground
When the team is detached from the product
Reality check: Every startup must always dogfood its own product, continuously looking to improve
A team deﬁnes success ✪
Think about functional responsibilities instead of titles
* Finance and Administration are essential roles
Putting product in
the hands of users is hard
✔ Build on user feedback
✖ Build according to specs
✔ Two week Sprints for everyone
✖ Waterfall project mgmt
✔ Iterate and improve
✖ Big bang launch
✔ Lean methodology
now what you’re
The client’s problem ✪ is your problem
Build a user-centric product. Keep him in the loop.
* Sometimes the client doesn’t know what he wants
A typical story
about cash flow
Crossing the chasm / Buying time
“Patience” or “Guts”
How you acquire
cash deﬁnes you
✔ Cash flow: Revenue/Loan
✖ Cash flow: Angel/VC/IPO
✔ Small teams, founder centric
✖ Growth oriented, team centric
✔ Founder: 100% of 100M
✖ Founder: 10% of 1B
✔ Proﬁt driven
✖ Exit driven
29,6% owner of US$ 29M income
70,000,000 Google hits
100% owner of EUR 15M proﬁt
72,100 Google hits
Raising money ✪ Making money
It deﬁnes your business and vice versa
Your priority should be generating turnover!
Figure out how you will
distribute your product
Putting product in
the hands of users is hard
✔ Understand CAC & LTV
✖ “We are viral, don’t worry”
✔ Understand distribution model
✖ “Our product sells itself”
✔ Prioritize your market entry
✖ We do B2C and B2B and …
✔ Simple marketing mix
✖ Channel conflict
¢ Be your custome
An unused product ✪ is called waste
Apply general distribution mechanics, to modern means
Web, mobile, internet of things, … many new tools!
Failure will happen. Deal
with it and move on.
If you haven’t failed
you haven’t tried enough
✔ You will most likely fail
✖ Out of cash before traction
✔ Keep focused on your business
✖ Fail as a team
✔ Understand your runway
✖ Be so scared to fail, you
✔ Monetize immediately
¢ Be able to kill yo
Failure is part of innovation ✪
Separating the boys from the men. It hurts. Get over it.
Makes you become fearless. Not reckless !
Learn how to pitch to
everyone and everywhere
Practice makes perfect.
✔ Who are you ?
✔ What do you do ?
✔ What does it improve / solve ?
✔ How is it unique ?
✔ How does it make money ?
✔ How will you distribute ?
✔ Know your numbers !
Perfect your pitch.
Don’t waste time on a business plan ✪
Keep your pitch < 10 slides and to the point
Know when to stop pitching !
But you should’ve been working on your startup