Categories
entrepreneurship startups

Investor or business advisor values to look for in a seed raise

A successful pre-seed raise sets a lot of foundation for the eventual success of the organization. I will stay away from feedbacks of startups who conclude and are convinced that money is just money and just take it and quickly raise the round. That’s the worst thing one could do from the investor side or startup side (But when you have to do it, you do it especially at tough times knowing it might be on an ideal situation). Following are the conversation traits which should be happening in seed investors to make sense of the eventual success of the whole exercise:

Brutal facts confrontations

Are your investors talking about the brutal facts with you and how open you are discussing them? You can be a subject expert or have years of experience in your domain, but if your investor is not able to challenge you with brutal facts, you probably are going to have a hard time in your fundraising as well as have a hard time deriving great value from them. Some investors can be nice to you and really want to invest in your startup whatever you are doing, but look for traits that challenge you and force you to think, go back for homework and get back with a plan.
Do you get irritated by such confrontations or tend to ignore such investors, you probably should reconsider your decision of leading an organization and probably take some NLP course or something to help yourself before you dive into your journey.

Right person, right seat discussions

A discussion of the right person at the right seat is a very important fact while you are doing the presentation. You have to walk through ideal leadership seats in your organization, current or potential people for that and your painted pictures of such people. Look for signs of investors’ tendencies to talk about your team as well.

Average Listeners

Are you not able to complete your first 5 minutes of the pitch before they start talking out? Do yourself a favor and walk out.

Metrics

Always present success metrics, which you will be tracking weekly for your startup growth and health, as well as ask their feedback on the same. If they are aligned, ask their opinion on what would they have set their metrics if they were in your shoes. Also remember, your seed-stage metrics are going to be totally different than your growth stage metrics ( e.g. viral coefficient and retention vs the number of users ).

If you have any additional traits you think are important, please suggest. Overall, if the above four are ticked, I will be very excited and feel fortunate to connect to this investor.

Categories
clarity entrepreneurship startups

Startups that survive crashes

Startups that have survived and will survive aren’t the ones that are just created based on a market opportunity. They are created by passionate individuals who have envisioned the world after a few years and know a path to go there carrying their values and articulating mission to create the perfect vision they have created.

Their current app or idea or product is not the business but an accelerator to achieve the mission. We have an interesting time right now with markets hinting a crash and excited to see startups who will do the tests of the time.

Categories
startups tech

Messaging aggregation platform and challenges

A messaging aggregation platform is a platform that is capable of receiving and sending messages to multiple (and popular) messaging platforms.  Existing messaging apps installed on user devices act as invisible apps available for and tie into our platform. Benefits for end (consumer) users who consistently rely and use a favorite platform include not needing to install any new apps, let alone change and learn new behavior; but rather, businesses that use a messaging aggregation platform merge into current habits and preferences of users.

Categories
startups tech

Localizing ReactJS static apps

Since we are so much focused on messaging layer, internationalisation and localisation is mission critical for us. We explored lots of solutions for incorporating messages for multiple languages but none of the solution worked out of box for us. After doing research, explored we need to zero down to one of the mentioned two options:

1: i18next
2: react-intl

Although both are complementary solutions with react-intl on first looked like eventual solution. But having different string messages for different languages looked like very hacky and react-intl was not infact made for that. Its mainly for localising formats (e.g., date). Also we are already using i18n on our API servers, so i18next looks like an apt choice for the workflow is similar. Here is how to integrate this i18next.

Categories
startups

Happiness fulfilment – only way to create successful companies

Everything what humans do is for the selfish interest of feeling happy which is fine and an accepted fact. Even public services are also done for the happiness. People consider happiness as “a feeling of satisfaction” or “attainment of satisfaction” against ” a state of calm and peaceful mind “. This is brainwashing done from ages.

There is always huge opportunity industrially and almost every organisation try to exploit this human behaviour which is fair. Examples are satisfaction of being connected, satisfaction of being insured, satisfaction of not getting cold, satisfaction of relief from nicotine pang,  satisfaction from assuming sugar is good and getting fix for it, satisfaction of saving time using time management apps etc. Seeing things in reality as they are is extremely important. Also, this makes a huge difference between successful and non-successful companies from a long term perspective. Fulfilling a satisfaction which can be seen as long lived is extremely important.

e.g., satisfying a need to provide crisp shortened news which saves time as well as provide all information is long lived, but providing news in a belief thats it a difference interface than existing ones is not long lived – its just a change. So next time you are working on anything – ask yourself what exact satisfaction you are fulfilling. If you can create happiness or even an assumption of happiness which can be long lived – you’re on great path.

Categories
entrepreneurship Productivity startups

Restlessness in enterprises

Restlessness is the most anti-productive feeling. It is only beneficial for people who are just put on work to show restlessness to get work done. Also, that is a very bad way to get work done. It is sometimes seen as positive for organisations with small goals – like an outsourcing company at a certain project stage but is generally very bad for long term.

In restlessness, humans keep getting burst of moments when they can be productive and can focus on a particular thing. Then restlessness superseded all the thoughts. Its like heartbeat, but the duration is little more than that. In those small moments, if a human is super performant and self motivated, he tries to snatch every second to put to work, but such is a misery of restlessness that it takes him over. Then after some time, he has a chance to take over. Distractions occur very easily and humans might end up with just one or two moments of productive work.

It is generally never seen that people actually observe themselves in such situation or take some time to relax. Rather they would be eating, drinking or smoking in breaks. Deep breathe generally helps as it lowers blood rush. A low blood rush helps in focussing and focussing helps maintain that low blood rush. Similarly stress brings restlessness and restlessness ensures persistent stress. What works again is detaching yourself from moment, observing you as such and then getting back after correcting.

Categories
entrepreneurship How To's startups

Art of naming your users in ideation process

[Published on nextbigwhat.com here http://www.nextbigwhat.com/user-persona-ideation-and-product-attributes-297 ]

In the initial days after I passed out from IIT, used to have dozens of business plans everyday, and was already working on few of them in a given month. Later I realised those were not business plans but cool ideas, thats all. After I was done coding, I was hardly able to find users of my app except myself for couple of days. End result is a failed startup – failure will come very soon and is much assured to come. Series of startups, at one time also made me think I should start a consulting outsourcing businesses. Happens.

Then came a little matured stage when idea of solving problems was the key. This was a stage when I was actively looking to find problems in ecosystems and came up with solutions rather discussing with people who are facing problems. End result is a failed startup. You try to articulate reasons for failure but the reason is it was not built for anyone. Your product was a solution to a problem but a solution which was not desirable. Its an assured failed startup too. Know before you fail what you missed in your product.

Then came an interesting stage. Stage where I knew I came up with ideas which are also solutions to some problems, problems not that big but interesting to have solutions of. Identifying problems for which people were not actively looking for solutions but were surprised and excited to find solutions. There were users. I could name those users when I am coding. I had that amazing feeling while working and much more reasons to work now. But the competitors were growing fast, my product lacked somewhere. Problem was solved, but there were too many solutions already. I created and showed people the problem, and was outrun before I could even imagine this would happen. Obviously I lacked somewhere. The answer was sales. Interestingly it was always sales. Even the user requirements gathering, design elements, product delivery, money collection, user on boarding, user retention, competition watch – everything is part of sales. Naming a user and selling to that named users are two different things. But with a good procedure followed to name your users, idea evolution to product is a stronger process for your startup.

Categories
Productivity startups

Productivity Tip: Say it and Just do it (don’t just do it)

Don’t just do it, say it and just do it. The biggest productivity tip has always been to focus on what you are doing. But thats not as simple as it sounds like. With connected information age, we are surrounded by millions of distraction already while we are working. People are trying to multi task but thats the biggest stress builder for day-to-day life. Key is to keep doing single task till completion or as per planned and then to move on the next task. Starting to do something or doing while you are already doing something impacts productivity a lot. Just do it is a good approach but you have got to make yourself strong to not do thing B while you are doing thing A.

Categories
entrepreneurship startups

Behind your next disruptive innovation

[Published at nextbigwhat.com here]

The frustration of finding an innovation is killing your innovation. The frustration of thinking how your competitor or peers are coming up with those innovative ideas and you striking hard, trying to prove point is exactly taking you away from the innovation process. You need to get out and follow time tested principles to create disruptive innovations. During the starting of my professional life, I had the same frustration. After founding two companies and doing a successful exit in Plustxt recently, I have realised and have started ritualising experiments on the process to bring a disruptive innovation out to the market. Like most of our talents and skills we have acquired, disruptive innovations are made happen by you following a process of loop to learn and execute. They are not EUREKA moments. Would share my experiences along with learnings borrowed from books I have read and videos I have watched which I have always tried to apply when thinking of disruptions.

The first thing to know about disruptive innovation is, disruptive  innovation need not necessarily be a technically advanced or complicated solution, but it can be more accessible, cheaper, fast or easy to use.

A disruptive innovation happens when people have job to do. There are people who have a particular job to do but they don’t find a better solution to do this. There are two kind of people I am referring here. One are the direct consumers who are already trying out ways to do their job. Others are non – consumers, who are not trying to do this job, they think they don’t have much problems doing this job and are less demanding. But their life would drastically change if they start doing this without any factors inhibiting them consuming and they don’t know about it. They still have job to do. Innovations which focus around people of first type is sustaining innovation. Real disruptive innovations happen when you start focussing on non – consumers too. 

Categories
startups

Looking for a product manager for your startup? Find a conflict manager

on nextbigwhat here

A startup is an experiment turned to a company designed to grow fast and achieve the purpose it was intended to serve in its lifecycle. So, if you call your company a startup, you are always trying to make your experiment succeed and turn it into a viable business. So far so good, you saw an opportunity in a space, you worked out an idea to turn that opportunity into business, you got the first product delivered, you raised little money to keep going and now you suddenly realize you would need a Product Manager since everything is growing so fast that it is becoming impossible for you to spend 24×7 of your time thinking and working on your product and even if you are doing so, you require a more dedicated person who is meant only for this job.