Nathan Furr earned his PhD from Stanford Technology Ventures Program at Stanford University and is currently an entrepreneurship professor at Brigham Young University (recently ranked in the top five entrepreneurship programs nationally). Nathan has acted as the founder or advisor to startups in web 2.0, clean technology, professional services, retail and financial services industries. Nathan also sits on the investment board of the Kickstart Seed Fund, an innovative early-stage venture fund and is an expert contributor to Forbes. Nathan also worked as a consultant at Monitor Group, a premiere international strategy consulting firm, working with senior executives on a range of strategic and market discovery initiatives. Nathan writes a blog for Forbes, “The New Entrepreneur.” http://blogs.forbes.com/nathanfurr Paul Ahlstrom is an entrepreneur and investor who focused most of his career on the early-stage startup process. Paul has founded multiple high-technology startup companies and investment funds in the United States and Mexico. Paul’s current focus is opening up capital sources to Mexican entrepreneurs and supporting Mexico’s vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem. As a leader of Mexico’s venture capital industry, Paul and his partner, Rogelio de los Santos, have launched Alta Venture Mexico located in Monterrey, Mexico. (www.altaventures.com) Prior to founding Alta Ventures Mexico, Paul co-founded vSpring Capital (www.vspring.com) (2000) and Kickstart Seed Fund (www.kickstartseedfund.com) (2007) in the Rocky Mountain region and Alta Growth Capital (www.agcmexico.com) (2007) in Mexico. As an entrepreneur and through his funds, Paul has founded and invested in more than ninety startup companies. Some of these companies include Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com, NASDAQ:ACOM); GlobalSim (www.globalsim.com), which was sold to Kongsberg Maritime (KOG – Oslo Stock Exchange); Senforce, which was sold to Novell (www.novell.com, NASDAQ: NOVL); and Altiris (NASDAQ:ATRS), which went public and was then sold to Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC). Paul has also served on the boards of many successful venture-backed startups. including Rhomobile (www.rhomobile.com); Public Engines (www.crimereports.com); Aeroprise (www.aeroprise.com); 7degrees (www.mypeoplemaps.com); The American Academy (www.TheAmericanAcademy.com); and FamilyLink (www.familylink.com ). In addition to fund creation and investment experience, Paul has direct entrepreneurial and operating experience, having personally founded multiple startups, including Knowlix in 1997. Knowlix was a knowledge management IT company which raised venture capital financing in 1998 and sold to Peregrine Systems in 1999. Peregrine in turn sold to Hewlett Packard (www.hp.com) (NYSE: HPQ). Paul was a founding advisory board member of Brigham Young University’s Rollins eBusiness Center, and he is listed as one of the Founders of Brigham Young University’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology. Paul also serves on the executive committee and board for the University of Utah’s Technology Commercialization Office (http://www.tco.utah.edu), which is ranked number one in university-generated spinouts in the United States.
Q: What is common to all of these regions? A: Entreprenreurs trying to change the world
How to create breakthrough innovation. What is within your control? 1) management, you are who you are, 2) Tough to change markets 4) we will worry about the deal if the other things are in place 3) you can innovate 5) great innovation creates momentum
How often do we approach life like the seat of the pants entrepreneur. I have spent my entire career trying to understand this guy As an entrepreneur myself, as an mentor trying to help him as an angel investor as a venture capitalist in the US and Mexico
If entrepreneurs have enough money, they eventually get it right… don’t they? Pareto principle named after Italian economist in 1906 Vilfredo Pareto, 80/20
As entrepreneurs, we are failing 80% to 90% of the time. We are not beating pure chance. This drove me to the research behind the NISI book. Can someone explain to me why it is perfectly acceptable in our industry to have an 80% failure rate? In which other industry in the world is this acceptable?
I started seeing patterns of success and patterns of failure Here are a few of the patterns of success and failure I have observed over the years
“ If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would have mortgaged my house and still not have figured it out, I would have said you are crazy.” Steve The level of sacrifice is not the only factor of success. (Pay to work :-) The problem is most startups never leave the “Pay to Work” stage.
Most new ventures die before they even reach the chasm. Book Crossing the Chasm addresses how to cross the chasm. Paul asked Geoffrey Moore, author of Crossing the Chasm, how to companies can get to the Chasm. His answer? I have no idea This training is intended to help you reach the chasm. Future book / training will detail how to scale an emerging business.
Most attention, research, and publishing has been either on: Chasm and Mainstream Market The Idea creation and business plan The early stage has been treated like a voodoo, black art category Successful teams tend to be serial successes They fail for a number of different reasons, related to process and experiment problems
[What drives entrepreneurs? We all have a deep need to create. We also have a built in instinct to “protect our creation” defend that creation to the death … whether it is the Mona Lisa or Frankenstein, we don’t know.. It is still our baby.]
All are working hard to innovate, but few can give me the definition of innovation. Innovation means connecting your invention with the customer (putting it in context)
There are many types of innovations. Innovation is one of the ways to build a moat around your business. It is these breakthrough innovations that create a sustainable competitive advantage.
Most people don’t know what their core competency is. If you don’t know what your core competency is, then go work for someone else until you have identified your inner genius. Not everyone should be an entrepreneur, that is OK.
Easier to create a breakthrough value proposition in smaller teams
Easier to create a breakthrough value proposition in smaller teams
Why do entrepreneurs misprioritize their activities? That is how they have been taught… human nature… investors also contribute to the problem. Too much money, too early encourages premature scaling.
Clark Gilbert & Matt Eyring. Why do entrepreneurs misprioritize their activities? That is how they have been taught… human nature… investors also contribute to the problem. Too much money, too early encourages premature scaling.
Not the Hindenburg problem
This is where Nathan and I connected. His PHD research and my street level observations Doing goo things, but doing them out of order. What is the right order and process we should follow to have consistent success?
In the middle of the disruption, interesting things are happening…
More then 40 members of the Techstars network
Entrepreneurs are starting to reject the tired & failed models
The difference is the companies are leveraging and building off of their core competency. Known problems, known core competencies
The problem is that entrepreneurs are working on “unknown problems” and this model was developed for “known problems” What’s the difference? Unkown problems, unknown core competentices, unknown customers, unknown business models, ??? Is it possible that entrepreneurs are failing because they are following in the footsteps of established companies, without understanding the key elements that made these companies successful?
Let’s go back to that idea… once you have that idea… stop right there
If your idea isn’t based on your teams core competencies you are going to run out of steam… (it could be a nice lifestyle business, but it isn’t going to be a billion dollar business.) Go recruit a world class team that can execute on this idea Rob Ryan – Ascend $24 billion, Silicon Spice $1.2 billion to Broadcom, Right Now Technologies $1.5 billion sold to Oracle, and LookSmart IPO hit $6 billion of market cap at its’ peak. Netcracker $304 million exit Build your business at the intersection of your core competency, breakthrough innovation & monetizeable pain.
Once you have your idea, set it aside for a minute and start listening to the voice of the customer. (Does your product or idea address a monetizeable pain?(
Shark Bite not a mosquito bite Need to find a pain that it so interesting that you would return a cold call if someone from an unknown startup left a message on your voice mail wanting to discuss it. At least 4 out of 5 on the pain scale. Easier to apply to B2B but certainly also applies to B2C – Focus on delighters Meet needs of love, friendship, diversity, entertainment, to look cool, etc. Maslow’s hierarchy Movie theaters solve a need for entertainment Facebook fulfills the innate desire for social connection Same concepts apply – rapidly iterate and look at engagement and retention to see if your customers actually care or not
Allows you to quickly communicate your idea to customers. A monetizable customer pain represents a pain so significant that the customers recognize the pain, have money to pay for a solution, and will return the cold calls of an unknown startup to solve it. Specific customer group – The big idea hypothesis needs to be very targeted. You can have different BIHs for different customer groups. At this point it is only a guess / hypothesis and a guess. It needs to be tested. Entrepreneurs become attached to actual solutions so using a hypothesis is less dangerous and is easier to change.
This is the perfect partnership…
This model is literally based on tens of millions of dollars and years of research coupled with the wins and losses from a billion dollars of equity investments. NISI transforms the guessing and planning in the traditional product-based process into an evidence-based approach where you rapidly test your assumptions in the market so that you understand exactly what you need to build and how exactly to communicate with customers so that they will buy your product. Wernher developed the V-2, Redstone, and Saturn rockets (October Sky)
Everybody talks about “pivoting” these days. Getting to Plan B book. Clayton Christensen is a Harvard Professor and the world’s foremost authority on disruptive innovation. Story PayPal was founded to develop cryptography software for handhelds (Palm Pilots), moved to enterprise applications for handhelds, moved to consumer applications for handhelds, moved to a digital wallet application which allowed them to raise $5 million VC money, then finally moved to email to email payments with a focus on eBay and the rest is history.
Be honest with yourself, create a learning culture in your organization. Do some exercises on this? Arthur Rock was one of the early and most successful VCs Story Polaroid. A small team inside the company saw the digital photography transformation coming, developed the most advanced digital camera prototype of the era, presented to management who shelved the idea to focus on their traditional business model of selling film. Once digital photography took off it was only a short time before Polaroid ended up in bankruptcy.
65% gross margins
It is not that people like choice taken away from them, but the entrepreneurs get to know the customers so well, they anticipate the choice they would make and provide a useful service.
Sales rep example: sales call, customer feedback to sales person, passes it to CTO, who would need to talk to product manager, who would need to talk to engineer or developer. Unlikely to happen
Doesn’t replace common sense Organizational behavior model
Nisi presentation wichita 2012 en
Nail It then Scale Itwww.altainstitute.com Authors Nathan Furr @Nathan_Furr Paul Ahlstrom @PaulAhlstrom
Nail It Then Scale It (NISI) Available on Amazon.com or Nathan Furr, PhD www.NailThenScale.com Paul Ahlstrom, VC Confidential Copyrighted Training Materials: 2 Do Not Distribute
Introduction Paul Ahlstrom Married, six kids, a dog. Live in Utah & Mexico Innovator, Entrepreneur, Investor Founder Alta Ventures Mexico, Monterrey Mexico Founder Alta Growth Capital, Mexico City Founder vSpring Capital Founder KickStart Seed Fund 100+ investments over the last 12 years. Ancestry.com, Rhomobile.com, Senforce, Aeroprise, Altiris, Juxta Labs, CrimeReports.com, Mural.ly BYU - BYU Grad, BYU Rollins Entrepreneur Center University of Utah & Ohio State- Board and executive committee of the Technology Commercialization Office Endeavor Mentor & ENLACE E+E Mentor - Mexico
How do you consistently create that breakthrough innovationthat will make the world a better place?1. Management Looking for a great partner.1. Market Size, growth, environment, market pain1. Technology (Product) Breakthrough Innovation (Have they nailed it?)1. Deal Structure2. Momentum 5
Most Do Most Startups Fail?Why is this acceptable? Source: Small Business Trends Published 2008. Data from Bureau of Census
Since 2000 - Participated in 100+ Investments$400,000,000 - Direct Investment 7 Funds$850,000,000+ - Co-investors X$1,250,000,000+ - Total Invested X X X X X X X XA ER pr ise O X 9
Is There a Repeatable Process of Success? “Most successful entrepreneurs I’ve met have no idea about the reasons for their success. My success was a mystery to me then, and only a little less so now.” - Bob Metcalfe, 3Com -Inventor of Ethernet
Why Do Most Startups Fail? People? Product? Market? Money?
Observation: I haven’t met a startupteam that wasn’t working hard… Doing good things… Building alpha & beta versions of their products Writing marketing materials Hiring sale teams Business development deals Talking with analysts Talking with customers Building prototypes Etc…
Working hard to… Cross the Chasm Scale It Nail It The Big Scary ChasmInnovators Early Adopters Early Majority Late Majority Laggards November 4, 2011 Confidential Copyrighted Training Materials: 13 Do Not Distribute
Observation: Few Startups Ever Get tothe Mainstream Customer, they FailMuch Earlier in the Process Most new products and businesses don’t fail in the market scaling exercise, but in pre-chasm stages in the… The Early Phase Black Hole 14
Observation: All entrepreneurs are working hard to innovate
Observation: Few understand what is innovation Science IndustryINVENTION INSIGHT
Two Basic Innovation Categories Many areas in which you can innovate1. Technological Flash Memory New portable storage2. Product Performance Intel Moore’s Law3. Business Model Dell Custom ordered online4. Supply Chain Staples Direct from manuf.5. Business Process LendingTree.com Mortgage bids online6. Service Lexus, Mercedes Offer loaner cars7. Customer Experience Starbucks Emotional, feel good (*Katz) At the end of the day, two basic categories: Incremental Better, Faster, Cheaper Sustaining, Iterative Radical (Brave New World) Factor or order of magnitude improvement Opens new markets or destroys old markets Disruptive, Architectural
Observation: Great companiesunderstand and leverage their corecompetencies
Observation: Few entrepreneurs &companies understand their corecompetency. Know Thyself!
Observation: The More money I invest into a startup, the more employees they hire CEO VP Marketing CTO VP Sales CFODir Product Mktg Marcomm Mgr PR VP Development Dir Sales West Dir Sales Central Dir Sales East Product Manager Engineer Sales Rep Sales Rep Sales Rep Product Manager Engineer Sales Rep Sales Rep Sales Rep Engineer Sales Rep Sales Rep Sales Rep 23
Observation: The more employees they hire Function of Employee to Months to Value Proposition before nailing it, the longer it takes them to nail it. 30 25 Months 20 15 10 5 04 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Employees 24
Observation: Small Teams are the RightSize to innovate, learn and adjust.(Lean, Mean, innovation machine.) Product (define it) Sales & Marketing Technology (Position & Sell it) (build it)25
Observation: Entrepreneurs are very anxious to execute (ie. Startup Weekend)26 *
Observation: Most entrepreneurs are mis-prioritizing their activities27 Entrepreneurs are doing good things, but * not doing them in the right order. More than 80% of the time entrepreneurs are ignoring customer demand the right product mix until after they have started to scale their business. * Harvard Business Review: Beating the Odds When you Launch a New Venture by Clark G. Gilbert and Matthew J. Eyring
Observation: Usually Not TheEngineers Fault (or is it ) Startups fail because customers won’t buy the solution. NOT because the engineers can’t build it
Observation: 70% of Startups Fail forthis reason: Premature Scaling Building products before you nail the pain Writing marketing materials before you nail the solution Hires sales teams before you know how to sell Spending money before you understand the business model
If it’s not working for entrepreneurs, it’s not working for investors either…The Tourists are going home: Number of US venture fundsraising money hits a 16 year low.
Venture Industry Is Experiencing aDisruption "...most often the very skills that propel an organization to succeed in sustaining circumstances systematically bungle the best ideas for disruptive growth. An organizations capabilities become its disabilities when disruption is afoot." Clayton Christensen, The Innovators Solution
It is not your fault.. The Roots of thestartup failure are traced back to theTraditional Product Development Model Based on the Waterfall Product Development Model
What Is the Traditional Startup Process Build Now, Sell Later How NOT to build a business 1.0 Reinforced in most universities & VCs by the business plan class
X The Broken Model Product Development Model Based on Execution Not Research “Midnight “Midnight “Feature Lock- “Feature Lock- “Sales Pipeline “Sales PipelineGenius” StageGenius” Stage in” Stage in” Stage Problem” Stage Problem” Stage Russian Russian Roulette Roulette “Escalation of “Escalation of “American Idol” “American Idol” Commitment” Commitment” Stage Stage Stage Stage
An entrepreneur has an idea… * Best selling author and entrepreneur Seth Godin pictured above
Is your idea based on your core competency?* Rob Ryan’s SunflowerModel – EntrepreneurAmerica
Q: How to Fix a Broken Model?A: Put the customer up front in the processDeliver breakthrough customer centricinnovation.
Pain Pays“Any big problem is a big opportunity… No one will payyou to solve a non-problem.” – Vinod Khosla (Kleiner Perkins) Shark Bite VS. Mosquito Bite 44
Why Focus on the Pain? As a startup you have… No reputation No brand No track record No money Building your business on a monetizable pain will exponentially increase your odds of success 45
The Entrepreneur’s & Customer’s Role Entrepreneurs innovate Customers validate
NISI Fundamentals1. Get into the Field1. Change or Fail Fast1. Brutal Intellectual Honesty2. Keep it Simple3. Start Small November 4, 2011 48
Fundamental #1: Get Into the Field (customer centric) heck
2. Change or Fail Fast“Successful startups are the ones who have enough moneyleft over to try their 2nd idea.” – Clayton ChristensenRapidly test assumptionsIterate swiftlyChange direction or try a new idea November 4, 2011 50
3. Brutal Intellectual Honesty“The issue I set the most store by is whetherentrepreneurs are honest with themselves.” – Arthur RockYour role isn’t to be right,your role is to discover truth!Entrepreneurial kryptonite Unwilling to see information that does not confirm their perspective Reusing ideas where they may no longer be appropriate November 4, 2011 51 Confusing overconfidence with determination
4. Keep It Simple Modern market creates complexity As human beings we are happier with simplicity Applies in business Jam experiment Camera sales Vanguard Goal: Start by identifying the Minimum Feature Set and then create the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Example: Classtop
YHOO: $18.37 Billion Market Cap on $1.3Billion in Quarterly Sales Confidential: All material trademarked and copyrighted
GOOG: $205 Billion Market Cap on $10.6Billion in Quarterly Sales Confidential: All material trademarked and copyrighted
5. Start Small Average venture-backed startup is 15-20 people Selling but not clear exactly what Big teams create problems Communication problem Political problem Small teams are better for market discovery Need 2-3 people to run Nail and Scale It Internal commitment to keep each other honest Too few will be subject to bias of interpretation
NISI MantraDream Big… Start Small… Stay Flexible!
Summary: NISI Provides OrganizationalAlignment with Customer’s needsCustomer Centric NISI Goals – 1. Establish right vision. Scientific Process to inform your gut. (right market, right customer, right product) II. Team Buy In. Align all key stakeholders with the founding team’s vision (employees, board, investors) III. Customer Traction. Make it comfortable for customers to purchase. What NISI can promise Help create a common language within your organization Discover if an idea is worth pursuing Build Something someone wants to buy November 4, 2011 58
Nail It Then Scale It:Available on Amazon.comwww.altainstitute.comwww.NailThenScale.com