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Starting up
8 memes. 8 hints. Thousands of reasons.
(if you don’t know what a meme is, you’re in for some pretty weird pic...
The first meme
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...
And now ?
Recent years
Angel investor at VOIP Depot ★ Built mobile banking channel for Fortune 500 bank
Founder of Argus L...
Be committed
and on-board

1
Beware of the

1

startup cult
Why a

1

startup ?

✔ I am passionate about …

✖ I want to be rich !

✔ I can solve a problem

✖ I want to be powerful !
...
Be committed ✪ It’s a marathon
Get rid of all distractions and develop laser-focus
Whatever you do, do it with your heart ...
Holy shit, my
idea sucks

2
A story about

2

some ideas

“ Broadcast SMS style messages and limit them to 140 characters ”
Twitter is the result of a...
How is an

2

idea born ?

Serendipity, Confucius and moments of enlightenment
Reality check: Ideas most likely come to yo...
Some reflections

2

on ideation

✔ Ideas need to be researched

✖ Hey, that was my idea

✔ Test ideas on real people

✖ A...
Ideas are nice ✪ Execution is better
Ideas without execution are dreams.
A mediocre idea well executed is better than a su...
Only roll with the
A-team

3
How important

2

is a team ?
Building a great

3

team takes time

✔ Builder & Seller

✖ Outsourced development

✔ A highly diverse skill set

✖ Friend...
Hire fast

3

fire fast !

When the team is not invested in the vision
Check: A vision rarely changes, a strategy could cha...
A team defines success ✪
Think about functional responsibilities instead of titles
* Finance and Administration are essenti...
Don’t wait for
perfection. Ship product!

4
Some quotes to

4

pump you up

î	
  
Putting product in

4

the hands of users is hard

✔ Build on user feedback

✖ Build according to specs

✔ Two week Sprint...
The client’s problem ✪ is your problem
Build a user-centric product. Keep him in the loop.
* Sometimes the client doesn’t ...
Decide if you want to
make or raise cash

5
A typical story

about cash flow

5

?

%8000000.0%€%%
%7000000.0%€%%
%6000000.0%€%%
%5000000.0%€%%
%4000000.0%€%%
%300000...
How you acquire

5

cash defines you

✔ Cash flow: Revenue/Loan

✖ Cash flow: Angel/VC/IPO

✔ Small teams, founder centric
...
5

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!

ADVICE

...
Figure out how you will
distribute your product

6
Putting product in

6

the hands of users is hard

✔ Understand CAC & LTV

✖ “We are viral, don’t worry”

✔ Understand dis...
An unused product ✪ is called waste
Apply general distribution mechanics, to modern means
Web, mobile, internet of things,...
Failure will happen. Deal
with it and move on.

7
If you haven’t failed

7

you haven’t tried enough

✔ You will most likely fail

✖ Out of cash before traction

✔ Keep foc...
Failure is part of innovation ✪
Separating the boys from the men. It hurts. Get over it.
Makes you become fearless. Not re...
Learn how to pitch to
everyone and everywhere

8
Practice makes perfect.

✔ Who are you ?
✔ What do you do ?
✔ What does it improve / solve ?
✔ How is it unique ?
✔ How do...
Don’t waste time on a business plan ✪
Keep your pitch < 10 slides and to the point
Know when to stop pitching !

ADVICE

8
Thank you,
But you should’ve been working on your startup
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FLYSE Kick Off Event Presentation

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Presentation about startup experiences on the FLYSE Kick Off Event 2013

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FLYSE Kick Off Event Presentation

  1. 1. Starting up 8 memes. 8 hints. Thousands of reasons. (if you don’t know what a meme is, you’re in for some pretty weird pictures) By @fmaertens
  2. 2. The first meme
  3. 3. 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)
  4. 4. And now ? Recent years 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”
  5. 5. Be committed and on-board 1
  6. 6. Beware of the 1 startup cult
  7. 7. Why a 1 startup ? ✔ 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 Enterpreneur Wanterpreneur
  8. 8. Be committed ✪ It’s a marathon Get rid of all distractions and develop laser-focus Whatever you do, do it with your heart ! ADVICE 1
  9. 9. Holy shit, my idea sucks 2
  10. 10. A story about 2 some ideas “ 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
  11. 11. How is an 2 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.
  12. 12. Some reflections 2 on ideation ✔ 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 Validate Assume It makes an ass of u and me
  13. 13. Ideas are nice ✪ Execution is better Ideas without execution are dreams. A mediocre idea well executed is better than a superb idea badly executed. ADVICE 2
  14. 14. Only roll with the A-team 3
  15. 15. How important 2 is a team ?
  16. 16. Building a great 3 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 A-Team B-Team
  17. 17. Hire fast 3 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
  18. 18. A team defines success ✪ Think about functional responsibilities instead of titles * Finance and Administration are essential roles ADVICE 3
  19. 19. Don’t wait for perfection. Ship product! 4
  20. 20. Some quotes to 4 pump you up î  
  21. 21. Putting product in 4 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 buildin now what you’re ¢ K Shipped g Tanked
  22. 22. 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 ADVICE 4
  23. 23. Decide if you want to make or raise cash 5
  24. 24. A typical story about cash flow 5 ? %8000000.0%€%% %7000000.0%€%% %6000000.0%€%% %5000000.0%€%% %4000000.0%€%% %3000000.0%€%% Crossing the chasm / Buying time %2000000.0%€%% “Patience” or “Guts” Cash-need %1000000.0%€%% %!%%%€%% 1% 2% 3% 4% 5% 6% 7% 8% 9% 10% 11% 12% 13% 14% 15% 16% 17% 18% “Balls” 21% 19% 20% 22% 23% !1000000.0%€%% !2000000.0%€%% FFF   Seed   Series  A   Series  B  …   24% 25% 26%
  25. 25. How you acquire 5 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 Lifestyle Equity
  26. 26. 5 29,6% owner of US$ 29M income 70,000,000 Google hits 100% owner of EUR 15M profit 72,100 Google hits
  27. 27. Raising money ✪ Making money It defines your business and vice versa Your priority should be generating turnover! ADVICE 5
  28. 28. Figure out how you will distribute your product 6
  29. 29. Putting product in 6 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 user r/ ¢ Be your custome Success Failure
  30. 30. An unused product ✪ is called waste Apply general distribution mechanics, to modern means Web, mobile, internet of things, … many new tools! ADVICE 6
  31. 31. Failure will happen. Deal with it and move on. 7
  32. 32. If you haven’t failed 7 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 ur ¢ Be able to kill yo Win didn’t try idea Fail
  33. 33. Failure is part of innovation ✪ Separating the boys from the men. It hurts. Get over it. Makes you become fearless. Not reckless ! ADVICE 7
  34. 34. Learn how to pitch to everyone and everywhere 8
  35. 35. 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 ! 8 Perfect your pitch.
  36. 36. Don’t waste time on a business plan ✪ Keep your pitch < 10 slides and to the point Know when to stop pitching ! ADVICE 8
  37. 37. Thank you, But you should’ve been working on your startup

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