Wednesday, October 28, 2015



Starting a startup is a task where you can't always trust your instincts. Running your own business takes guts, assurance and an enduring passion for what you do. If you know nothing more than this, you may at least pause before making them. Before you kick start, always believe in yourself and focus on the subjects that matters to you the most.  You can, however, trust your instincts about people. The most common mistakes young Entrepreneurs make is not to do that enough. They do get involved with people who seem exciting, but about whom they feel some misgivings personally. Later when a thing goes wrong then they say "We knew there was something wrong about him, but we ignored it because he seemed so impressive."

This is one case where it pays to be self-indulgent. Work with people you genuinely like, and you have known long enough to be sure – “CHOOSE THE RIGHT PARTNERS”

You need an expertise to give you advice that surprises you.


Passion may be what attracts you to your new startup, commitment is what keeps you going. Commitment are shown in the conscious effort you make to stay on track or in the decisions; you make each day to do the things that needs to be done, even if they are boring or difficult. Learning new and latest ideas is an art that one could acquire with passion.  A passionate learners will always know the current demand of the society, which you could make him aware of the scenario.

Fit your attention into the type that startup ideas:

·      Get Innovative Ideas
·      Learn a lot about things that matters you and society
·      Work on problems that interest you
·      Work with individuals you like and respect

The way to succeed in a startup is not to be an expert on startups, but to be an expert on your customers and the problem you're solving for them. Choose the right partners who could give you innovative ideas, and make sure they are sustainable. This expertise should be able to guide you through all phases of the growth of your business. A comprehensive approach should be taken at any situation during the business process and importantly the outcome for the approach is essential.

Commitment is the fuel that keeps the engine turning over for the long haul. The entrepreneurial journey is a tough one. When you combine your spirit with commitment, and allow your passion to inspire you, the result is one of the hallmarks of successful entrepreneurs.

The way to come up with good startup ideas is to take a step back. Instead of making a conscious effort to think of startup ideas, turn your mind into the type that startup ideas form in without any conscious effort. In fact, so unconsciously that you don't even realize at first that they're startup ideas.

Young Entrepreneurs' first instinct on starting a startup is to try to figure out the tricks for winning at this new game. Since fundraising appears to be the measure of success for startups, they always want to know what the tricks are  for investors. The best way to satisfy investors is to make a startup that's actually doing well, meaning growing fast.

Depending on how wrecked the company is you can succeed by lapping up to the right people, giving the impression of productivity, and so on. Startups are as impersonal as physics. You have to make something people want, and you prosper only to the extent you do.

At its best, starting a startup is merely a mysterious motive for curiosity. And you'll do it best if you introduce the ulterior motive toward the end of the process.

So for young entrepreneurs, who would like to start a startup remember to boiled down to two words: JUST LEARN – “Paul Graham, Entrepreneur”

Monday, October 26, 2015

Remember these four lessons if you are planning a start-up

Everyone's betting big on India's start-up culture. And we do have young entrepreneurs mushrooming across the country. Some become names to reckon (read Snapdeal and with while others fade away with time. While ideation, execution and sustainability are the basic mantras for a start-up, it is the nitty-gritty involved in these stages of a new company, which makes a start-up a roaring success.

"In the complex world of entrepreneurship, it is difficult to avoid operational and strategic missteps. But the real reason a large number of entrepreneurs feel dispirited is the feeling that their enterprise has gone the wrong way. Whether it is the product/market fitment, scalability, or other managerial issues, one should not give up before all the key elements have been tried and tested," said Utkarsh Joshi, Principal at the HR Fund.

BI India lists down the basic factors that come into play when one thinks of starting a new venture.

Founding and management team

People are the biggest asset of any company. And when the company is new, the right kind of leadership is extremely essential. "Many experts believe that two people in the founding team are considered ideal as with increasing number of founders, the company's value is shared accordingly. However, what is really important to be mentioned is that more than the number, it is critical for the founder of the company to carefully choose the right mix of co- founders with him/her who bring in the right expertise and culture to the table. Founders need to realize their strengths and weakness," said Joshi.

This is also true for the management team that is at the core of any business. Right people with the right kind of expertise and experience can either make or break any start-up. The

"A well-informed management team is considered good on strategy's and would be able to minimize the risks at various aspects of business. It not only starts with putting together a right product but also validating its usability at several instances (before and during development) for necessary checks and balances and thereafter right planning to enter the market. The management also owns the responsibility for scheduling the above aspect for rightful gains," said Joshi.

Besides, a good management team plays a pivotal role in the kind of talent the company ultimately gets, thus penning down the fate of the start-up.

Valuation and funding

Valuation of a company is very important at every stage of its life cycle. It is this valuation that gives confidence to investors to fund a certain start-up. Every year, several start-ups that receive seed funding at the time of inception, fail to raise funding at later stages. This happens because the valuation of the start-up has dropped significantly for investors to bet their money on it. But there have been times when a company, whose valuation had dropped, manages to gain more after taking corrective steps, thus attracting the investors' attention once again.

"Companies progress and fail at various stages of funding, reflecting on their valuations. Though it varies from one industry to another, increase in valuation is an important milestone to be worthy for next round of funding. However, it is also required to mention the risks of blowing up the valuation too much, which leads to a potential investor/VC shying away at times and making it difficult to go for the future round of funding," he explained.

But how do we measure a company's valuation? Well, it's simple! The company's ability to make inroads in a certain market, handle business risks tactfully while expanding successfully add up the numbers.

"Proven ways to lower the cost of operations and customer acquisition speaks loud of a profitable business. Such a business is scalable and needs further funding to speed up the growth or expand. Though it is possible many times to raise money at lower valuations too, but running out of cash does not include signs of a progressive company. Conserving and spending money judiciously is the art that is learnt on the go," averred Joshi.

Choosing right investors 

Every new entrepreneur needs guidance and the right investor provides exactly that. An investor with the requisite background, industry expertise or specialization in business ventures offers advice, inputs and guidance based on their experience with various companies they work with. Or they could be because they were successful entrepreneurs themselves.

"In addition to money, proper hand-holding and guidance should be something that every entrepreneur should look for. It is important to differentiate between the ones who seem to know enough about the project/industry to cast an opinion but not substantial to help manage a situation," asserts Joshi.

Besides, when prominent people from the industry associate themselves with a start-up, not just the valuation of the company but also its business grows by leaps and bounds. And then, there's no stopping!

Customer acquisition

This one is tricky but then when has running a company been a cakewalk! The cost of acquiring a customer should be low. With digital media penetrating the businesses aggressively, reaching out to the right customer is not a big deal. Try content marketing or word of mouth if it works for you but remember the bottom line is—cost of customer acquisition should be lesser than the lifetime value of the customer.

"Judging the market right in terms of need for the product, its usefulness, timing, market size, and pricing leads to consistent and successful customer acquisition, as these are all cohesive factors.

"Rather than various marketing gimmicks - a well-defined process that leads to scalable ways to acquire the customers and thereafter monetize them at a higher level than the cost of acquisition is the solution. PR also plays an important role in the same. A press coverage is about positioning from the company's point of view and perception from the reader's point of view. However, it is important to see how much does the coverage talks about the progress made in the business. Startups need to judiciously manage and mention the press coverage while fundraising, evangelizing among others," said Joshi.
Citation from Business Insider :

Friday, October 23, 2015

Lack of competition stops SME owners from switching accounts, finds CMA

Banks aren’t working hard enough to compete for customers, with SME owners sticking to their original current account supplier when searching for business loans, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has found.

Lack of movement within the sector

The consumer watchdog has published its conditional findings of its long-term investigation into 12 banks and building societies that provide personal current accounts (PCA) and business current accounts for consumers and small businesses.
In its report, the CMA noted that nearly 60 per cent of consumers have been supplied with their PCA by the same bank for over ten years, with 37 per cent sticking it out for over 20 years with the same lender.
This lack of movement within the personal account market has been put down to an absence of information on new products and service quality.
Customers are further hampered by the severe lack of any price comparison tools, which makes it harder for them to find a better deal on their current accounts.
This has resulted in just three per cent of customers switching PCAs in 2014, with only 16 per cent of people browsing the market for a better deal. Work has been done to create more competition, with the Current Account Switch Service (CASS) launched in September 2013.
This lack of information from banks is keeping consumers from reaping economic rewards. Consumers that use a PCA with a large overdraft limit can save approximately £260 a year if they switched banks, with the average person saving £70.

SME owners tend to stick with the same provider

Small business owners are suffering the same problem as consumers, with many sticking to the same current account provider when looking for a loan. When the initial free banking period comes to a close, 90 per cent of SME owners stay with their providers instead of going elsewhere.
Commenting on the report, Alasdair Smith, chairman of the retail banking investigation, has placed much of the blame on the banks, with financial institutions being able ‘‘to sit back and take their existing customers for granted.’’ Smith added that customers won’t benefit until more comparison tools are created to help customers and small businesses switch without any risk.
‘‘We are considering a series of measures that will have a far-reaching impact on how banks operate and will empower account-holders to search for and switch to the account that suits them,’’ said the chairman.

What is being done to change this?

The credit authority has made a number of recommendations to improve banking services for SMEs, including the creation of a price comparison site for small business owners.
Also high on the list of potential remedies was  enabling banks to prompt business owners to review their account services during so-called ‘trigger points’ which occur in certain situations including a loss of service, closure of their local branch, unarranged overdraft charges or a change in the terms and conditions of their account. For SMEs the trigger points usually occur when their free banking period has ended.
Controversially, the CMA has decided not to recommend changes towards ending free if-in-credit (FIIC) accounts, with the investigation finding no evidence that FIIC affects competition. Tory MP Andrew Tyrie has slammed the CMA on the decision, branding free-if-in-credit accounts as a ‘con trick’.
‘‘It seems reasonable that millions of customers should be allowed to know how much they are being charged for having a bank accounts,’’ said Tyrie.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has welcomed the CMA’s interim findings, with national chairman stating that ‘‘A well-functioning banking market for small businesses is critically important to support UK economic growth.’’
However there are some SME lenders who feel the report doesn’t go far enough.
James Sherwin-Smith, CEO of lending platform Growth Street is concerned that there is no requirement for commercial finance products to carry an APR.
‘‘Without a standard price indicator, it is unclear how SMEs will be able to compare prices, even if the proposed remedies are adopted,’’ explained Sherwin-Smith.
‘‘This is badly needed to help simplify the complex charging structures employed by banks and others to charge SMEs more than they anticipate, and would result in a lower cost of SME finance and higher business and economic growth.’’
Citation from SME Insider :

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

What do investors look for before investing in startups

Sanjeev Bickchandani, Founder, Info Edge, says, “Before investing in Zomato, I used the site for six to seven months and liked the fact that they had a menu card. So I Google-searched the email id of Deepender Goyal, Founder and CEO of Zomato and wrote to him saying that I wanted to invest in his company and asked him to give me a call if he were looking to raise money. He called me in four hours and I decided to invest USD one million for a stake of 33per cent. We basically look at the team, traction and competition.”

Restaurant search and discovery app Zomato recently raised USD 60 million in a fresh round of funding that was led by Singapore investment company Temasek, with participation from existing investor Vy Capital. This takes Zomato’s total funding to USD 225 million which comes from a close set of four investors – Info Edge, Sequoia India, Vy Capital and now Temasek.
Sanjeev says, “Most of the Unicorns in India are headed by entrepreneurs who are in their early 30s and therefore have the capability to deal with consumers who are in their 20s. What I typically look for before investing is that an entrepreneur must have the ability to build trust across investors, customers and employees.”

Rehan Yar Khan

Speaking at the Nasscom Product Council 2015, Rehan Yar Khan from Orion Venture Partners says, “When I decided to invest in Ziffi, a Mumbai-based online appointment booking platform for doctors, diagnostic centres and salons, it was tough, because people said that this is the subset of the salon industry. And the same thing happened when I had invested in Ola Cabs, which was considered as the subset of the taxi market. We see the potential of the market rather than looking at what the existing market is and then built conviction aroundit.”
Ziffi has raised Rs15 crore from Orios Venture Partners in its Series A round. Rehan believes that the online health, wellness and personal care category is a large and exciting category given its high volume, usage and frequency.
Rehan is an angel investor and the founder of He started investing back in 2007-08 and is one of the earliest investors in companies like Druva and Ola Cabs tohave gone on to raise more than USD 100 million together. Apart from Druva and Ola Cabs, his portfolio companies include Jigsee (acquired), Sapience, Unbxd, Pretty Secrets etc.
He says, “My inner urge to mentor a company and do some value additions made me become an angel investor. But later, I realised that I was wrong because some of the best entrepreneurs like Bhavesh of Ola and Jaspreet of Dhruva have their own conviction and way of doing things. They don’t need to be mentored much and that was my biggest learning. Your inner urge of parenting is a wrong urge or wrong motivation for investing in companies.”
He further emphasises that they support entrepreneurs (who are typically in the mid-20s) to scale up the business by numbers, focus on the quality metrics and how to go about disruptive marketing. But the second wave of entrepreneurs that he had invested in haveself-conviction and an ability to learn. The key quality of an entrepreneur should be innovation and agility backed by the energy, conviction and problem-solving skills. He looks at a model which theIndian middle class can follow.

Krishnan Ganesh

Serial entrepreneur and angel investor Krishnan Ganesh invested in Big Basket in 2011 when online grocery was merely a term and a very niche market. At that point of time, there was a negative consumer behaviour towards buying grocery online as people were concerned about the touch and feel ofvegetables. Krishnainvested in Big Basket as there were no players in that space and therefore no competition.
He explains, “I like to invest in the space where there is no ‘me too’ companies and hence no competition. We first come up with the idea thesis and then find the founders to execute on it and that works out well.”
Today, the online grocery market is thriving with the pool of startups like PepperTap,ZopNow, Grofers, Jugnoo and more have entered the space. The top five online grocery startups in India have raised over USD 120 million just this year. The food and grocery industry in India is now worth USD383 billion and is expected to touch USD one trillion by 2020,throwingopena huge opportunity for startups to crack the business model.
Krishna adds, “The philosophy of a typical angel investor is to invest small ticket size amount in large number of startups. Angel investing involves high risk and less returns.It is like gambling or lottery which requires buying large number of tickets to maximise the chance.”
citation from YourStory :

Monday, October 19, 2015

The truth about hiring and firing in the startup world

Growth, scale, funding, skyrocketing valuations, GMV, and other vanity metrics are fancy terms which are often flaunted by startups. However, these jazzy metrics do not appear to be helping them anymore like it used to. While investors are backing several me-too startups which prioritise scale over getting right and viable business, startups are now exploring ways to spruce-up the bottomline.

Consequently, we see several startups, including biggies revisiting their strategies to curb burn rate and think about profitability.

Massive layoffs lingering Indian startups
Over the past six months, several early and growth stage startups are going for massive layoffs. After Tinyowl, Housing, Helpchat, now Info Edge-funded Zomato has announced 300 layoffs. In February this year, the company had over 1,200 positions opened and six months ahead it laid off 10 per cent strength (largely in the US).
Earlier Tinyowl allegedly fired over 100 employees while Housing laid off over 160 employees (though several media reported about 600 layoffs). Delhi-based Helpchataxed over 150 plus workforce in the wake of its pivot.
Last weekend, Zomato stated in a blog post, “Operations will need fewer people to run the show compared to the past. All these things will also significantly bring down our burn rate, and as we go along, make our businesses in these markets much stronger.”
The announcement also hints at the fast changing dynamics and sharp emphasis on alleviating ongoing burn rate. Last month the company secured $60 million round led by Temasek. Zomato is using proceeds toward strengthening new businesses such as online ordering, table reservations, point of sales, and whitelabel platform.
Shifting gears: road towards profitability
So why are these growth seeking startups forced to fire employees? Serial entrepreneur Kashyap Deorah, says, “Startups are shifting their focus from growth at any cost to road towards profitability.” Lately startups in India have overlooked profitability and unit economics over growth and scale.
Online grocery platform Localbanya, on-demand delivery platform Townrush have also fired employees and are evaluating possible shutdowns as they have failed to raise the required round to survive and lost focus on building sustainable business sans external capital.
Pivot, over-hiring and high burn rate lead layoffs
While firing by Helpchat can be attributed to pivot of business, layoffs executed by Tinyowl, Housing, and Zomato are largely because of over-hiring and increased focus towards profitability. Pivot requires a change in wholesome strategies. Various function and roles become redundant when goal and vision of startups change altogether.
According to Ravi Gururaj, NASSCOM product and executive council, startups fire employees under three circumstances: they don’t have money and want to raise funds; they don’t plan properly and over hire, or they hire the wrong talent.
Follow-on funding on basis of growth seems very difficult and Chinese connection
Experts believe that a trend of large-scale firing will continue. “Access to follow-on funding on the basis of growth looks very difficult now. VCs used to write cheques to scale oriented startups but now they are cautious owing to several reasons, including a slowdown of the Chinese economy,” adds Alok Mittal, former partner at Canaan Partners.
Owing to a slump in the country’s economy, for the very first time Alibaba and stocks had fallen by more than 35 per cent from its peak.
“Sudden slowdown of Chinese economy impacted strategies, including layoffs,” points out Kashyap. Startups are all about challenging the status quo and it includes firing. “It’s more like a natural progression. Early and growth stage startups have to revisit their hiring plan when priority changes. But sensible hiring with a long-term approach with each hiring can avoid mass layoffs,” says Navneet Singh, Founder of Peppertap that recently secured $36 million round led by Alibaba funded Snapdeal.
Over the past 10 months, hyperlocal startups had roughly amassed over $170 million risk capital primarily by showcasing scale and projected growth. “Euphoria for investment in this segment is subsiding as investors are turning skeptical about unit economics in on-demand startups,” adds Manmohan Aggarwal, Co-Founder of Yebhi, which ceased its operation last year. “Massive layoffs from startups indicate the fact that funding has dried for such startups,” he says. Yebhi also executed mass firing as it failed to raise further risk capital.
While a few stakeholders believe that if startups need to be 10 times better than other government-run companies or large MNCs, they have to fire 10 times faster. “Startups grow at such a rapid pace that there is no time for a half-yearly performance review and such,” said Anand, Founder of India Quotient, in an earlier interaction with YourStory.

Firing isn’t as easy in India as different geographies
However, aforementioned belief is very much relevant and true in economies like the US and the West. But India is a different market and massive firing doesn’t fit us culturally. For instance, Amazon never tried COD in the US and other markets, Uber never hired specific country head to lead operations but it had to do in India. Presently, the job is considered as a long-term approach and an affair in India. Getting fired from a job is more of an insult in India but it’s not the case in mature markets.
“Firing was not a big low for me, but it was for my wife and parents,” adds a sacked employee of on the condition of anonymity. Joining startup is rewarding and risky both. “On the one side it can be a roller coaster ride but on the other side it could be disappointing,” says, a mid-level executive of He had to face difficulties in securing the job with the same package at Nexus funded e-commerce firm which ceased its operation last year.
YourStory believes such layoffs are the need of the hour for startups that have hired recklessly based on investor backing on the pretext of projected growth/scale. Gone are the days when entrepreneurs attracted investment on unviable and projected metrics.
Going forward, founders, investors, employees, and the media should be prepared for such layoffs as the time for attracting easy risk capital looks difficult for early/growth stage ventures. The key learning's for startups in this context are, hire diligently, keep a hawk eye on the burn rate, and make strong business fundamentals that are not dependent on the investors’ mercy.
Citation from Your Story :


“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”  Steve Jobs, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO, Apple


Motivation and zeal to do is very important. Money should not be the primary concern whereas growth should be the top concern on the mind of almost anyone working in a startup. A startup is a company designed to grow fast. Just by starting a new venture does not really makes a company a startup. Millions of companies are started every year around the world, however only a tiny fraction are startups. To grow rapidly, you need to make something you can sell to a big market. We need to develop ideas and build and understand on that and work efficiently for the growth of the new venture. The only essential thing for any startup companies is their Growth and everything else linked with startups follows from growth.

We would always feel that it is better to start a startup than an ordinary business. Yes it is, but we need to completely aware about the market. We should always open our eyes and look around and see what most important people need is and how it could be reached to those in need. If you're going to start a company, why not start the type with the supreme prospective venture? The eye opener should be that this is a fairly efficient market. Startups are so hard that you can't be pointed off to the side and hope to succeed. You have to know that growth is what you're after and not money. The good news is, if you get growth, everything else be likely to to fall into place. Which means you can use growth like an extent to make almost every decision you face.

For a company to grow categorically enormous, it must
·         Develop innovative ideas
·         Understand the market
·         Startup something where lots of people need, and
·         Reach and serve all those people. 

The most important thing that the constraints on a normal business protect it from is not competition, however, but the difficulty of coming up with new ideas. A well know entrepreneur said “The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.”  

Well said statement and 100% spot-on. Just by dreaming on becoming the top company will not just suffice, working on it hard makes it successful. Space of ideas has been so thoroughly picked over that a startup generally has to work on something everyone else has overlooked. Initial struggle is most likely to happen to any new startup companies. Over coming those make them a winner to the rest of the world. The moment when successful startups get started, much of the innovation is insensible.

 The growth of a successful startup usually has three phases: [citation from Forbes]
  1. There's an initial period of slow or no growth while the startup tries to figure out what it's doing.
  2. As the startup figures out how to make something lots of people want and how to reach those people, there's a period of rapid growth.
  3. Eventually a successful startup will grow into a big company. Growth will slow, partly due to internal limits and partly because the company is starting to bump up against the limits of the markets it serves. 

Most businesses are closely controlled, and the unique feature of successful startups is that they're not judgemental.Judging yourself by weekly growth doesn't mean you can look no more than a week ahead. Formerly when you know the pain of missing your target one week, you will become more interested in anything that could spare your pain in the future.

Get Innovative IDEAS and be a winner!!!

Flipkart Makes Seed Investment In Mobile-Technology Startup Cube26

BENGALURU: Flipkart has made a seed investment in mobile-technology startup Cube26, the latest in nearly a dozen such deals as the ecommerce giant chases innovations to stay nimble and gain an edge over rivals. Flipkart contributed a minority share in a Rs50-crore investment led by Tiger Global in Cube26.

"Our overall investment philosophy is around backing a phenomenal team trying to solve a hard problem in a large market through technology," Nishant Verman, head of corporate development at Flipkart, told ET, adding that the firm especially backs startups focused on mobile technology.

Delhi-based Cube26, which has built multiple mobile-based technologies since its inception in 2012, fits right in. The startup already assists Flipkart and other ecommerce companies in customer acquisition.

Verman said that while a few of Flipkart's investments were in companies associated with its business, others had zero overlap, such as home rental listings startup Nestaway."While we have a lot of great, prominent people in Flipkart, all innovation is not going to happen behind our doors. There are amazing entrepreneurs outside," Verman said.

"(Cube26) is a very disruptive company. We feel this can really impact the lives of users, both today and in the future."

Cube26 has worked with mobile phone manufacturers including Micromax, Panasonic and Karbonn to create customised operating systems for users and gesturelinked features.

The startup, which has acquired 10 patents, recently ventured into building technology related to Internet of Things, which are networks of connected devices.

Cube26 announced that it will make affordable connected devices, the first of which, a smart bulb, will be released in the market in November.

"We are elated at the trust showcased by our investors so early in our journey and glad to be associated with global leaders," Cube26 cofounder Saurav Kumar said.

The now-profitable company, founded three years ago by Kumar, Abhilekh Aggarwal and Aakash Jain, earns a monthly revenue of over Rs1 crore.

Disclaimer :- Following article come from ET

Could you run a startup with your best friend?

You grew up together, go out together, and have similar hobbies – but does this mean you’ll be good business partners? The idea of starting up with a friend sounds like fun, and could make business sense too. Businesses with more than one founder tend to be more successful, according to a report by Tech Factor.

But co-founding a business brings with it a whole host of responsibilities that can put the most tried-and-tested friendships under pressure. With many partnerships hinging on complementary skill sets, founders may have opposing approaches to problem-solving, increasing the risk of potential conflict.
Why business partners clash

Spending extended periods of time together is necessary and unavoidable when starting a business. And unless your co-founder is superhuman, it’s likely that little things they do will start to rile you.

“Being together constantly can be challenging,” says Susannah Jones, who co-founded Butchers salon in Hackney with Katie Knox, a friend and former colleague. “We know everything about each other and I know the way I breathe heavily when stressed can irritate Katie. I won’t reveal what annoys me about her.”

The likelihood of conflict increases after the first six months, when the adrenaline rush is over and the day-to-day reality of working together hits, says Christina Lattimer, leadership coach, consultant and founder of the People Development Network. In extreme cases, this can cause daily power struggles if co-founders have opposing personalities.

Tushar Agarwal, co-founder of Hubble, an online marketplace for London office space, met his business partner Tom Watson through Entrepreneur First, a pre-seed investment programme. Agarwal sought someone with complementary skills, but their different personalities mean they disagree daily over design and copy writing.

Sole Is Better, Even Partner Is Damn Good 

“I want everything to be perfect and nuanced before it’s seen by the world, however long it takes. Whereas Tom believes in solving the problem with a quick and dirty solution as soon as possible.”

Conflict can also arise over money when both partners have access to bank accounts, says Mandy Fitzmaurice, managing director of Purple HR. “I’ve heard stories about one clearing out the account and doing a runner or racking up debt without telling the other.”
What’s wrong with a little discord?

While not all clashes are detrimental, if they persist they can have a disastrous impact on a business’s success, says Lattimer. “Whatever the energy inside the partnership, it will inevitably seep out to customers and employees.”

Conflict can also damage personal productivity. “It’s impossible to operate effectively if you’re at loggerheads with each other,” says Fitzmaurice. “If left unresolved, disagreements can lead to terrible disputes, dishonesty and lawyers.”
How to reduce the risk of conflict

It’s important not to take criticism personally, and to settle disagreements through feedback from an external source. “Put it to the jury,” says Pip Black, co-founder of Frame fitness studios. “We have passionate staff and customers so if we need help making a call on something or want a sounding board, we ask them.”

Agarwal and his co-founder settle most disagreements with data. When they clashed over how important the “about” page was on their website, they collected data over two weeks to see how many people visited it.

Compromise can work if your disagreements aren’t settled easily with numbers. Missy Flynn and her two co-founders are equally opinionated but they have avoided arguments about their business, Rita’s bar and restaurant in Hackney. “Rita’s was always meant to be a sum of its parts and everything – the decor, the food, the drink, the music and our ethos has a bit of all of us in it.”

Black and her business partner Joan Murphy couldn’t agree on a name for their fitness studio – she wanted to call it Shake Studios while Murphy preferred Gym and Tonic, so they went back to the drawing board and Frame was a happy compromise.

To ensure your relationship doesn’t revolve around your business, make an effort to socialise together outside of work. Jones and Knox of Butchers salon schedule regular “date nights” when they’re feeling stressed.

“It sounds grown up but our last one ended with us climbing off a boat pissed at 7am,” says Knox. “Date nights remind us that we’re friends, not just business partners.”

For the team at Rita’s, it’s important to get out of the restaurant from time to time. “Sometimes you forget what you used to do when you were just friends without a business. Take a walk, drink a beer, or a coffee, cook dinner and watch movies. Anything.”

If you do find yourself in a blazing row with your co-founder, take a breather and move on as quickly as possible. “The longer the problem continues, the bigger the issue grows,” says Lattimer.

When Lucy Greene and Pandora Lennard, co-founders of modelling agency Anti-Agency, argue, “the eruption will end with the right answer and we just forget the argument ever happened and move on,” says Greene.

Lennard adds: “We both have very fiery tempers so arguments tend to burn out as fast as they flare up. We’re like siblings – we bicker but always make up with hugs.”

And while it’s easy to fixate on disagreements, congratulate yourselves when you work well together, advises Lattimer, and remind yourselves why you wanted to do it in the first place.
Trial phase

Agarwal recommends that entrepreneurs have a trial phase of working together to discover key points of disagreement and personality clashes before committing to anything. “Work on a few small, intense projects to test what it would be like when you’re both stressed in a high-pressure environment.”

And pick your co-founders wisely. Make sure they’re reliable and dedicated, says Eamon Jubbawy, co-founder of background-checking company Onfido: “Are they the type of person who would get out of bed at 3am to help you fix a bug or prepare a client deck? In the early days of a company, those moments define success or failure.”

Once you’ve established a partnership, set clear boundaries. Having more distinct roles from the beginning would have saved Frame’s co-founders a lot of time, says Black; and Flynn would introduce a “no work texts after 10pm” rule with her Rita’s co-founders.

It’s a full-on relationship, adds Flynn, and it won’t be perfect. You might not like each other every day but remember to look after each other – you’re friends after all.

Disclaimer :- Following article come from theguardian

Why Values (Not Perks) Define Your Startup Culture.

Entrepreneurship has exploded in the U.S. market in recent years. According a recent Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report, there are now over twenty four million entrepreneurs in the U.S., making up 14% of the total population.

There may be a number of contributing factors to this trend. Entrepreneurs are often cited as modern day adventurers and explorers. They are willing to takes risks and push innovation. And for many, they exemplify the American Dream. That is, everyone has the opportunity to be successful, no matter how you started or where you might be from.

Unfortunately, glamorizing entrepreneurs—while flattering—doesn’t tell the whole story of what founding and growing a sustainable company entails.

Live With Purity, You Are Going To Be Success Anyway

Despite the number of entrepreneurs in the U.S., the country now ranks 12th among developed nations in terms of business startup activity. American business deaths now outnumber business births, according to Gallup and the U.S. Census Bureau.

As a leader of a growing startup, there are some brutal realities to face. These can include challenges obtaining capital to drive growth, an inability to attract the right talent, or the constant struggle of trying to manage an organization that looks fundamentally different every six months.

In order to grow a successful organization, knowing where to spend your limited resources is critical to success. Startups—especially in Silicon Valley—are often lauded for their culture. And unfortunately, “culture” in this case is many times defined by a set of borderline unbelievable perks.

You Are Not Your Perks.

With so much on the line for your growing business, you cannot put your perks above what you value. Perks seem great at the start, but they tend to lose their luster over time, leaving you with little of substance to sustain engagement, excitement and purpose.

With competitors grappling to offer some wild new perk in an attempt to attract talent, companies are getting sucked into a doom loop. Everyone will end up losing as they try to keep up with the Jones. The perks that were once on the cutting edge become the standard expectation, which only serves to put startups in an even worse position to compete for talent and sustain growth.

Disclaimer :- Following article come from Forbes

Thursday, October 15, 2015

How Investors Choose Startup To Finance.

Many would-be entrepreneurs think that people who invest in early-stage companies have a complex and sophisticated decision-making process, akin to what happens on Wall Street. But, unlike the world of high finance where investors gather copious amounts of information and use complex computer modeling to make decisions, investors in early-stage companies spend very little time and gather very little information when making choices.
Perhaps perversely, this approach makes perfect sense.

Before I get into why it makes sense, let me explain how most early-stage investors make decisions. Venture capital firms and angel groups typically screen the business opportunities they receive on the basis of a couple of simple criteria. First, did someone they know and trust refer the deal? If the answer is “no,” the opportunity is almost always ignored or deleted without even being opened or read.

When investors do look at an opportunity, they tend to make a first cut by scanning the executive summary of the entrepreneur’s business plan or the entrepreneur’s pitch deck – the PowerPoint slides the entrepreneur prepares about his or her venture.

This initial screen is very fast. South African venture capitalist Keet Van Zyl explains in one of his posts on the topic that the average venture capitalist spends less than 30 seconds evaluating a business plan.

If the venture makes it past this hurdle, investors still don’t spend much time on it. They simply give the founding team a little time to make a pitch. A study I did a few years ago showed that the typical angel group allows the few entrepreneurs who make it through the initial screen 20 minutes of presentation time and 15 minutes of Q&A before deciding whether or not to proceed to due diligence. Venture capitalists generally allot similar amounts of time to presentations.

Only after this part of the screening process is over do investors spend much time at all evaluating investment opportunities. By then we are down to perhaps 1-in-200 venture

As perverse as it may sound, this approach makes a lot of sense for two reasons. First, early-stage investors will put money in a tiny fraction of ventures they see. Virtually every business they consider will be a “no.”

There are many paths to get to “no.” The opportunity doesn’t fit the investor’s expertise or her fund’s mandate. The team is wrong. The IP is too weak. The market is too small. The venture will take too much money to develop. IPOs never occur in the startup’s industry. The supply chain is too complex. The forecasts are unrealistic. The list goes on and on. A 30-second scan of an executive summary will identify a reason not to invest in 99 out of 100 ventures presented to an investor.

Second, the prospects of new ventures are uncertain. Not risky, but uncertain. As economist Frank Knight explained brilliantly back in 1921 in his classic book Risk, Uncertainty and Profit, something is risky when we don’t know what will happen in the future, but we know the probability distribution of outcomes. Something is uncertain when we don’t know what will happen in the future and we don’t know the odds of different results occurring.

Early stage investors live in a world of uncertainty. No one knows whether an entrepreneur will be able to build the product, or customers will buy it. No one knows if competitors will crush the startup or it will win; if the team will fall apart under crisis or come together; or if later investors come in and crush down the early backers of the company of those early financiers will escape unscathed. And no one knows the answer to a hundred other questions that matter for startup success or the probability distribution of their outcomes. Moreover, the probability distribution of all of these outcomes is unknowable.

If things are uncertain – that is, the probability of outcomes is unknowable – then spending a lot of time trying to gather information is unproductive. There is no information that you can find to know the unknowable.

Experienced startup investors realize this and don’t waste their time trying to know the unknowable. Instead of trying to calculate the probability that a string of unknowable outcomes will occur, they instead look at the upside. If that which is unknowable worked out in a positive way, they ask, is the investment worth it?

For example, they ask, “If I invested in this company, is it possible that it will be a unicorn that will go public in a Facebook-sized IPO?” Then they spend their time on looking more carefully at the handful of ventures where the answer is “yes.”

Disclaimer : Following article come from Entrepreneur

3 Ways To Accelerates Your Startup... Where? Obviously Success!

When it comes to running a startup, spreading your brand awareness should be your primary goal. Depending on your startup’s industry, a multi pronged social media attack may appeal to it and build loyalty in your customer base.

However, a more nuanced plan is much more effective than simply blanketing the market. Sites such as Facebook have more than a billion users, but a high-tech startup may be wise to work with a network such as Spice works, which caters more to tech consumers. Startups with well-conceived social media strategies aren’t as hampered by sparse funding and other issues that plague young companies. Remaining educated and engaged in social media is a great way to become a known quantity and make your startup viable.

Here are three reasons a high social business IQ can help your startup in the long run:

1. It builds credibility. 

A startup has to hustle to create buzz, or even be taken seriously by established companies. Social media is where a young company can distinguish itself as an expert in its field, rather than just a new competitor. Startups make waves by creating original, industry-relevant content and dispersing it through their chosen social media platforms. Pertinent content can also be something as simple as commenting on industry trends or corresponding with competitors.

But a strong social business approach isn’t just for startups looking to get their names out there. Companies such as Hertz, Life-Lock, Group-on and Red Bull all launched successful campaigns that helped them construct credibility with wider audiences.

Building a consistent social media presence for your company is a good start to establishing it -- and you -- as a thought leader.

2. It builds relationships.

A strong social media base can exponentially grow a startup’s limited initial network. Social media’s loose environment helps young leaders connect with industry veterans in an easier, more informal manner.

Receiving a tweet or re-tweet from an industry leader isn’t equivalent to closing a business deal, but it does make you visible to a person of importance in your field.
Additionally, social media can build internal relationships with employees and external connections with investors and prospective talent. A presence on social media is as valuable a tool as any startup has to build bridges inside and outside of the company.

3. It builds knowledge.

In the past, it was difficult to gain timely product feedback. But with the emergence of social media, a business leader can track and assess a product’s movement and engagement while also forecasting possible trends.

Social media can track lead growth, brand perception, brand search volume and the number of inbound links established by your company. Klout -- a service that uses social media metrics to tally engagement -- is an insightful tool for measuring your social media reach.

Researching inbound links reveals how site and product traffic fluctuate due to social media campaigns, contests and other variables. Understanding how particular social media trends affect your company will, ultimately, improve your understanding of which specific strategies yield the best ROI.
An active social media presence benefits startups in three major ways: it builds credibility, relationships and knowledge -- all of which play crucial roles in making a startup profitable. Social media is an extension of your company’s brand. Understanding it and using it well will only make your brand stronger.

Disclaimer : Following article come from Entrepreneurs

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Drone Startup CyPhy Works Gets $22 Million Boost From Bessemer Venture Partners

Drone startups are beginning to take flight, at least in the world of venture capital.

On Wednesday, Danvers, Mass.-based CyPhy Works said that it had raised $22 million in a round of funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners. The announcement is the latest in a series of private investments in companies in China and the U.S. building unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for the consumer market.
Led by iRobot IRBT +0.10% cofounder Helen Greiner, CyPhy (pronounced Sci-Fi) did not disclose its valuation following the round, which brought its total funding to more than $30 million. Previously the company had raised $7 million from Lux Capital in Nov. 2013 and concluded a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign in June for its six-rotor LVL 1 drone, raising nearly $900,000.
The company is “looking forward to working closely with our new strategic investors to accelerate adoption of drones into public safety, construction, agriculture, journalism, mining, defense, and other fields,” said Greiner in a statement, citing not just Bessemer but also UPS Strategic Enterprise Fund, a private investment arm of the shipping company, and Motorola Solutions Venture Capital.
While the likes of Amazon have stoked the public’s imagination of flying robots delivering packages, CyPhy Work’s investment partnership with UPS doesn’t necessarily mean the company will be jumping head on into drone delivery. However, as its previously announced relationship with Motorola shows, CyPhy is using deals with corporate players to gain exposure for its relatively new and experimental technology.
“We have a strategic relationship with Motorola’s public safety division [which covers] most of the nation’s public security,” said Greiner at the TechCrunch Disrupt Conference in San Francisco last month.” We want to leverage that to get drones into police, fire fighters and others, across the world and not just the U.S.”

CyPhy Works Series B round comes after other companies building drone hardware have raised millions. In May, DJI, the world’s largest consumer drone manufacturer, took in $75 million from Accel Partners at an $8 billion valuation. That was followed by fellow Chinese companies and competitors EHANG and Yuneec, raising $42 million and $60 million respectively, in August.
CyPhy Works biggest differentiator from its Chinese counterparts is that it has built tethered drones, connecting flying robots to users with a fishing line-type filament, which the company said allows for unlimited flight times, improved control and better video processing. Its Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications (PARC) vehicle system, which was initially built for military-use cases, utilizes this tethering technology, and Greiner said that the funding will go a toward the commercial launch of that model. (The company’s Kickstarter drone, LVL 1, does not feature tethering.)
“CyPhy Works has produced the first truly differentiated drone and as we see more industries leverage this technology, we expect they will capture significant market share,” said Bessemer Venture Partners’ Felda Hardymon, who joins the company’s board with the investment.
Other participants in the $22 million round include Draper Nexus Ventures and existing investors Lux Capital and General Catalyst Partners.

Citation from Forbes :