Ryerson 6th August


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Ryerson Guest Presentation 6th August 2010

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Ryerson 6th August

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