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Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. Winston Churchill Everyone knows what a startup is for – don’t they? In this post we’re going to offer a new definition of why startups exist: a startup is an organization formed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model. A Business Model Ok, but what is a business model? A business model describes how your company creates, delivers and captures value. Or in English: A business model describes how your company makes money. (Or depending on your metrics for success, get users, grow traffic, etc.) Think of a business model as a drawing that shows all the flows between the different parts of your company. A business model diagram also shows how the product gets distributed to your customers and how money flows back into your company. And it shows your company’s cost structures, how each department interacts with the others and where your company fits with other companies or partners to implement your business. While this is a mouthful, it’s a lot easier to draw. Drawing A Business Model Lots of people have been working on how to diagram and draw a business. I had my students drawing theirs for years, but Alexander Osterwalder’s work on business models is the clearest description I’ve read in the last decade. The diagram below is his Business Model template. In your startup’s business model, the boxes will have specific details of your company’s strategy.
Alexander Osterwalder's Business Model Template (At Stanford, Ann Miura-Ko and I have been working on a simplified Silicon Valley version of this model. Ann will be guest posting more on business models soon.) But What Does a Business Model Have to Do With My Startup? Your startup is essentially an organization built to search for a repeatable and scalable business model. As a founder you start out with: 1) a vision of a product with a set of features, 2) a series of hypotheses about all the pieces of the business model: Who are the customers/users? What’s the distribution channel. How do we price and position the product? How do we create end user demand? Who are our partners? Where/how do we build the product? How do we finance the company, etc. Your job as a founder is to quickly validate whether the model is correct by seeing if customers behave as your model predicts. Most of the time the darn customers don’t behave as you predicted.
How Does Customer Development, Agile Development and Lean Startups Fit? The Customer Development process is the way startups quickly iterate and test each element of their business model. Agile Development is the way startups quickly iterate their product as they learn. A Lean Startup is Eric Ries’s description of the intersection of Customer Development, Agile Development and if available, open platforms and open source. (This methodology does for startups what the Toyota Lean Production System did for cars.)
Business Plan Versus Business Model Wait a minute, isn’t the Business Model the same thing as my Business Plan? Sort of…but better. A business plan is useful place for you to collect your hypotheses about your business, sales, marketing, customers, market size, etc. (Your investors make you write one, but they never read it.) A Business Model is how all the pieces in your business plan interconnect. The Pivot How do you know your business model is the right one? When revenue, users, traffic, etc., start increasing in a repeatable way you predicted and make your investors happy. The irony is the first time this happens, you may not have found your company’s optimal model. Most startups change their business model at least once if not several times. How do you know when reached the one to scale? Stay tuned. More in future posts. Lessons Learned A startup is an organization formed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model. The goal of your early business model can be revenue, or profits, or users, or click-throughs – whatever you and your investors have agreed upon. Customer and Agile Development is the way for startups to quickly iterate and test their hypotheses about their business model Most startups change their business model multiple times.
It does mention: Organization Searching Repeatable and scalable business model
A growth hacker does: Content strategy SEO Content writing Social media Media buy Community Management Online sales
Product vs feature
It’s just an app!!!
Know who you can sell to The obvious : Mobile social => FB , Yahoo... Mobile content => Linkedin, Yahoo Niche tech => Apple BaaS and developer tech => Intel, Facebook, Salesforce The less obvious M-commerce => Tesco Mobile advertising => Axel Springer Automotive =>BMW Entertainment => Disney
Building your startup like a multinational - TWIST Rome
Building your startup like
We want startups!
“It will be small businesses and web startups
that will create the ideas and jobs that we
need for our economic growth. No industry,
no SME, no government can maximise its
performance and competitiveness without
Round Amount Purpose London Pre-Money
Source of Investment What investors
like to see
Pre Seed £25K-£150K
Assemble Team/ Build & Test
MVP/ Proof of Concept R&D
Zero- £500K Own Money/ FFF/
Crowdfunding/ SEIS Funds/
Seed £150-£350K BETA Test/ Launch into
Beachhead/ Proof of Product
£500K-£1.5m Business Angels/
SMART Team- Early
Evidence of Product/
Solution Fit- Validating
£500K- £1m Working Business
Model/Proof of Product/
Market Fit/ Demonstration of
£1.5M-£4m Super Angels/ Seed VC's Product Solution FIT
Indications of Product-
Market Fit ( i.e.
Series A £2m-£15M+ Scale £8m- £50m VC's/ Family offices and
Revenues & METRICS
POC P/S Fit P/M Fit
What stage is your
Investors tend invest for
Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme-SEIS is a tax break launched in April
2012 for UK tax payers to encourage them to buy shares in start-up
companies registered in the UK
• SEIS investors can input £100,000 in a single tax year rising to a maximum £150,000
over two or more tax years in to a single company
• Investors cannot control the company receiving their capital
• Investors pick up 50% tax relief in the tax year the investment is made, regardless of
their marginal rate.
• In the 2013-14 tax year, tax payers can roll 50% of a chargeable gain in the tax year
in to a SEIS with a full capital gains tax exemption (another 14%)
• The business must be a start-up company -registered in the UK within 2 years of
• The company must not employ more than 25 workers.
• The company must have assets of less than £200,000.
• The company has to trade in an approved sector – generally not in finance or
investment, for example, a property company raise capital as a SEIS.
SEIS is…… “a game changer”?
7 Types of Early Stage Investors in
1. Crowdfunders/ Platforms
2. Tax Relief Seeking SEIS/EIS Funds
3. Government Backed ECF’s
4. Traditional Angel Syndicates
5. Super Angels
7. Strategic Investors ( Corporate Venture)
Google Play led the iOS App Store in
downloads by about 10% in Q2 2013 and
Google Play has since expanded that lead to
about 25% in Q3 2013… Although the iOS App
Store generated about 2.1x the app revenue of
Google Play in Q3 2013, their lead has shrunk
since Q2 2013 when their revenue was about
(source: Appannie, October 2013)