Te presentamos a nuestro nuevo aliado: Fondeadora, la primera plataforma de crowdfunding en México cuyo objetivo es democratizar el acceso al capital, ofreciendo a cada persona la oportunidad de financiar sus ideas a través de una plataforma en internet.
¿Cómo funciona eso?
El crowdfunding se ha convertido en una dinámica mundial, que permite a proyectos creativos, innovadores y con impacto recibir el capital que necesitan a través de pequeñas o grandes aportaciones de individuos.
En Fondeadora no se trata de conseguir inversionistas. Tampoco de conseguir personas que te presten dinero. Como creador, tu eres el propietario y puedes controlar el desarrollo de tu idea. Lo único que debes hacer es reconocer a tus fondeadores con recompensas relacionadas con la idea que deseas financiar.
¿Quien lo puede utilizar?
Lo que comenzó siendo una opción muy interesante para el desarrollo de ideas creativas, sociales o culturales, ha empezado a llegar también a las ideas de negocio, ya que las plataformas de crowdfunding han popularizado entre la gente que puede acceder a productos de manera exclusiva por medio de la modalidad de pre-compra. Cada vez son más los emprendedores y las startups que recurren al crowdfunding como una forma de lograr unos apoyos iniciales para lanzar al mercado el producto que han ideado.
En Fondeadora, no aplicamos filtros, es decir, aceptamos todo tipo de proyectos (mientras sea legal), desde tu proyecto de negocio de chapulines hasta el desarrollo de tu nueva nave espacial.
¿Por qué nació esta alianza?
UP Latam y Fondeadora tienen un objetivo en común: darte más oportunidades para convertir tus ideas en proyectos concretos. UP Latam lo hace a través de programas y eventos, como Startup Weekend y Startup Next y Fondeadora lo hace a través de su plataforma de fondeo colectivo. Nos interesa impulsar la innovación, la creación y el emprendimiento, dándote las herramientas necesarias para materializar tus proyectos creativos.
Para saber más acerca del crowdfunding:
Fondeadora estará publicando un post mensual en el blog de UP Latam, a fin de hablarte de las tendencias mundiales del crowdfunding, los diferentes modelos y ventajas de cada uno, las diferentes plataformas que puedes utilizar, y sobre todo, darte los mejores tips para realizar tu propia campaña de crowdfunding.
Startup Weekend is a singular experience. It’s not for the faint of heart, but the magic is that the simple act of attending a Startup Weekend unfaintens you. Only by doing something like this do you discover that your heart is as strong as you want it to be.
Startup Weekend throws you together in a room with dozens of other people, many of whom you haven’t met. Anyone who wants to can pitch an idea for a company. Everyone votes for their favorite ideas, the best ones are selected, and the winning ideas become teams. You work for 54 hours trying to make the company real. You get out and talk to people you think have the problem you’re trying to solve, and if they do, you build whatever the hell you can before the bell rings. At the end the teams pitch again, and a table of judges selects the winners.
But it’s not about winning. (And I’m not just saying that because my team didn’t win.) It’s about learning.
1. You advance the fastest by making things happen.
This is the single most important thing to learn about being an entrepreneur. You can, and should, read all the Lean Startup books you can get your hands on. But it’s not enough. This knowledge is fragile. And if you don’t test it in the real world, you never find out which of it is going to break. Every situation is unique and there is no gospel. The ugly truth is that you can read and read and read, but you will still never know what you’re doing, at first. Maybe you never really know. Reading books is great, but it also lulls you into a feeling of security in your knowledge. Learning and doing is not an either-or decision. It’s both-and.
2. You must get out into the real world.
The reason learning-by-doing is so important is because it forces you into the real world. And in the real world, there are people. People are the world. The overriding lesson of Startup Weekend is that your idea means nothing if you can’t validate it with real people. This is a much-discussed but, I believe, still little-understood principle, for those who haven’t experienced it. Our Startup Weekend champion was a company called Baby Steps. Their idea wasn’t the most impressive or inventive, but it was the best. Why? They understood their customer and they proved that their customer wanted what they had to offer. Other teams had slick websites and fancy app prototypes. Baby Steps knew who they could help and how they would do it.
3. Talking to people is hard as hell.
Which is probably why most people don’t do it. Getting rejected really sucks. Whether it’s someone who doesn’t want to talk to you at all, or someone who doesn’t understand the problem or belittles it, or someone who couldn’t care less about your idea, or someone who takes offense at something you say: it’s all viscerally painful. So what separates those who try it and persist at it, from those who never try it, and those who try it and give up? I don’t know. I’m not there yet, but I’m going to learn. My hunch? If you just keep doing it, you realize that while it’s always painful to get rejected, each time you do, it’s a tiny bit less painful than the last time. You get familiar with the feeling of being rejected. You start becoming friends with it. You start to revel in it, like a pig in mud; you use it as a springboard, you let it bring you to life. Because it makes you stronger.
4. Connecting with other people is an art.
Interviewing users is an art. So is working with a team. So is getting funded. Here’s how I, an introverted quasi-homebody, learned how to relish making new connections. I believe every pair of people in the world has a shared link. A tie that binds. You have the same favorite beer. You both just moved to the same city. You have a mutual friend (or enemy). And you, meeting a new person, are a detective: the game is to figure out what binds the two of you together. To win the game, you must find the tie and cultivate it. Let it bloom. Celebrate it: your tie is unique in the entire world. No other pair of people have exactly the same one.
5. Everyone has something to offer.
The secret of teams is that complementary skills allow each member to go all-out on the one thing they do best, which means they get done faster and produce better work than any single person could. Nine women can’t make a baby in one month, but nine women can make nine babies in nine months, and all those babies can have full sets of hand-sewn clothing from Mother #1, and a room full of furniture constructed by Mother #2, and an array of baby toys constructed by Mother #3 (and so on). And if you dismiss someone for not being good enough, that means you’re the one who’s not good enough at finding what that person’s best skill is and setting them to work.
6. Accountability is king.
After a disappointing user interview, I felt discouraged. I questioned my skills, my purpose, and myself. But I knew I had to put those feelings aside for the time being, because my teammates needed my full efforts. Even if I was down on myself, I wasn’t down on them. And if you can’t do something for yourself, you can always do it for someone else instead. (Check out the short book The Accountability Effect to learn more about this magic.)
7. You get to practice sublimating your ego.
Make it your #1 priority. Try to accept blame for everything. Refuse to take credit for anything. Force yourself to shut your mouth and listen: to your teammates, to the coaches, to the people you’re interviewing. When they stop talking, and you must open your mouth, ask a question. Delight in encouraging others to tell you what they see and what they believe. You can listen to yourself talk any day of the week (and a thousand times on Sundays). P.S.: it’s fucking difficult. That’s why you’re practicing.
8. Own the work but not the outcome.
Should you try to win competitions? Hell yes. Always. Do everything you possibly can. And then, right before the winner is announced, divorce yourself. This is not a verdict. Win or lose, the work is yours, and nobody can take it away. The most important thing? What you’re going to do next.
9. You are not the first one to do this.
Whatever you’re doing, someone has come before you. On Saturday afternoon, we’d just done our user interviews. We were working on formulating some models of our ideal customer. We wanted some feedback, so when we saw one of the coaches walking by, we called him over. He told us, in so many words, “Fuck that. You need to start building your solution. Something. Anything. You’re running out of time.” Bless his heart, he snapped us out of it right before we walked off the precipice. And it had totally been my doing! Maybe because I was scared of trying to execute, or for some other reason, I had been leading us into analysis paralysis purgatory. But I somehow had enough sense to suck it up, put my ego aside, ask for someone’s opinion who knew more than me, and to do what he said. So simple; so hard.
10. You don’t get a gold star for working hard.
It’s part of the deal—a minimum requirement, only. One of the example slides for our final pitch asked us to mention some challenges we faced. I put down that our choice to do a Wizard of Oz prototype (where things look automated to the user, but really you’re doing everything manually) was a challenge, since it meant we had to work for four hours straight manually copying data between the web, email, a spreadsheet, and a browser-based texting app. When our coach saw that slide, he told us to scrap it immediately. “You think people are going to care that you had to do a bunch of work? It’s hard enough to find customers and give them something they want. But now you’re saying it’s also hard to send out a few text messages? Do you want some magical button to do this for you?” Real shit.
11. Nothing is about you.
Your idea? Doesn’t mean shit. It’s about what you can do to help people who have problems and needs. Your pitch? Meaningless, if you don’t demonstrate how what you’re talking about will provide value to the judges or investors or potential employees you’re talking to. This is why you must fully embrace the practice of ego-banishment. Because of course all of these things are important to you. And that’s great. It’s essential. Your ambition and your desire to be great is what makes you you, and it’s what makes you put yourself on the line and stretch your comfort zone. But the sooner you can completely forget about all of that and start making other people look good, the sooner you will understand how to satisfy that ambition and desire, and achieve the things you want.
12. Everything is better when you commit yourself 100%.
I pitched an idea, one I’ve been working on for a long time and thinking about for longer. It fell one vote short of being selected to get worked during the weekend. I could have shut down and left, or joined another team and pouted and half-assed everything I did. Instead, I let it go, I picked a team that I felt passionate about, and I had one of the best weekends of my life. I forged a real connection with someone else, working on a real business, trying to solve real problems for real people. Being committed puts you in rarefied air. So many people, millions of them, who have this kind of opportunity, never commit to anything on this level their whole lives. You don’t have to be smart. You don’t have to be educated. You don’t have to be rich. You just have to care. Care more. Make things happen.
When profits slip and the economic outlook is not a friendly one, it can be tempting for businesses to cut one of their largest costs, employees. Recently it was suggested that computer firm IBM might be about to begin one of the largest corporate culls ever, but losing staff is a move that carries a significant risk, and not just because of the large cost in pay-offs or potential lawsuits involved. If a company sheds staff then, when business picks up, it may find itself without the people it needs to seize opportunities. Recruiting and training new people takes a long time and can put businesses at a disadvantage to the competition while you wait.
There is also the fact that making significant cuts to staffing risks damaging the morale of those still employed and, if too few people are now trying to do the same amount of work as before, it could actually decrease productivity through stress, mistakes or illness. The worst-case scenario for a company is the feeling that they are – or at least feel – forced to introduce swingeing cuts which mean the most skilled, experienced and hard-working staff are cast out as well as those the company can afford to lose.
So although making redundancies is a standard tactic when times are tough, it’s worth considering the alternatives…
A major organisation can have hundreds, if not thousands, of staff employed across multiple sites. Assuming most of them will use computers for at least part of their job, and that they will need to a variety of applications, then the company will have a heavy spend on software licensing. The danger is that, in such large companies, it can be difficult to keep track of exactly what software is in use, where, by whom, and most importantly, to what degree.
Overspend could quite easily run into the high thousands, possibly the millions, without due care and attention. It makes sense, then, for companies with such an issue to work with suppliers such as 1e.com to quickly gain an accurate insight into which software licences do not need to be kept on.
Climate change is an issue that’s not going away. The instability of the UK’s power supply will be topping the political agenda for years to come. And consumers, by and large, are in favour of companies that commit to environmentally-friendly initiatives. That’s before we even speak about the potential for cost-savings which, for large organisations, can be immense from even the smallest of changes. Introducing motion-sensors and low-energy bulbs to big offices can have a huge impact. Dropping the thermostat by just one or two degrees in a premises where hundreds of people work may bring massive savings. Requiring staff to print on both sides of paper and keeping printing to an absolute minimum could even halve a major cost. There is abundant advice out there to help large businesses save significant sums every year and these steps could easily prevent people from being made unemployed.
Cloud technology has revolutionised the IT industry and the way that modern businesses work. Moving data or applications across to an external storage system carries manifold benefits, financially and otherwise, but let’s concentrate on how it can save money. Firstly, by slashing the cost of server storage and maintenance, which can easily run into the thousands of pounds a year.
Secondly, because the Cloud provider will usually provide the latest versions of software as soon as they are out, the business has that benefit coupled with no cost for installation. Also the cost of IT security, of vital importance, is borne by the Cloud provider. Then there is the benefit the Cloud gives of allowing remote working – not only potentially boosting employee productivity but also allowing the company to lower its overheads on premises.
We live in an age of technology. Since the Industrial Revolution, machines have been putting people out of work. Yet, as we can see, there are many ways in which technology, well-used, can actually help to avoid unemployment if a business is open to investigating the possibilities.
This post originally appeared on the Orate blog. Orate (Startup Weekend DC winner) connects event organizers and public speakers, providing access to more opportunities for both with quality & budget in mind.
An inside look at Brad Feld’s experience on the speaking circuit…
At what point in your career did you begin public speaking and how did it transpire?
I don’t remember. It’s been a long time now – I’ve always enjoyed extemporaneous speaking and just started doing it in the context of my work. There wasn’t a deliberate moment where I decided “I’m going to start doing public speaking now.”
When considering whether to speak at an event, what factors do you take into consideration?
I’m mostly focused on whether I think I’ll be a good content contributor. I like to talk about a range of topics, but never prepare in advance. So the format, structure, and expectation of the audience and event organizer are the key drivers. On topics I talk about regularly (like Startup Communities) geography matters – I have cut way back on my travel so I do a lot of remote talks via video conference. I also hate panels so I try my hardest to avoid them, but if I end up on one then expect me to be super provocative and not observe “polite wait for the next boring thing to be said” protocol.
What, if any, frustrating experiences have you had being booked as a speaker?
I get very tired with all the endless “pre-work” setup, especially when it ends up being multiple conference calls to work everything out. I know some people like, or need, this, but I like to just show up and go.
What is it that makes a presentation, speech, or pitch most compelling to you?
Deep, emotional connection with the audience on a topic that is highly relevant.
What advice would you give to someone who is about to start speaking more professionally about one’s area of expertise?
Don’t do canned speeches. Mix it up every time. Always try new things. Know that you’ll blow it sometimes. And be yourself – don’t rely on cheesy tricks to be funny or clever, almost all of which make you sound artificial.
What do you do to prepare/set yourself up for success before a speaking engagement?
I take a shower.
How do you measure the success of a speaking engagement?
Anonymous feedback from the audience, which some event organizers are diligent about collecting.
I am co-organizing the Startup Weekend Vienna happening at sektor5 this weekend. I am taking care of all the social media things happening on Facebook and Twitter. And I’m trying to make people use the right hashtag. It’s #swvienna. You make me very happy if you don’t use anything else.
If you are organizing a Startup Weekend here are three tips I want to share with you.
Maybe you will also find them useful if you just want to learn more social media community management and social media marketing basics.
1. Use one Hashtag everywhere. Really. Everywhere!
If you want to find all the tweets people write about your event make sure they use one hashtag. Make it public as early as possible and also make sure it’s a short hashtag. So instead of #startupweekendvienna use #swvienna. It’s not only easier to remember but also leaves more space for all the other important content people want to share in one tweet. Since there is this 140 characters limit on Twitter.
Make sure to share the hashtag on your FB page (Even mention it in the about section. Don’t hide it! People won’t scroll to look if there is a hashtag hidden somewhere.), on your Twitter profile, on all the goodies for the event (such as stickers, T-shirts, pens, notepads) and on banners and posters.
If you reach out to the press ask them to mention the hashtag in their articles as well.
Use the hashtag in every tweet. Be a role model and show people that it’s a good thing to use the hashtag all the time. Also your tweets will show up in the Twitter search if people search for the hashtag (or click on it in their own tweets).
— Startup Weekend VIE (@swvienna) December 26, 2014
If you are a dedicated social media enthusiast get yourself a fancy social wall. Don’t worry. You don’t have to build one by yourself. You can use Walls.iofor example and even customize it. With that you also get analytics and see when people used your hashtag (I love that part!). And of course you will see EVERYTHING people share in one place.
Use other monitoring tools (such as TweetDeck) that show whenever someone tweets about “Startup Weekend XYZ” or uses the hashtag of your event. This makes it possible to get back to people even quicker because you don’t have to search for their tweets by yourself. Of course you can also have a look if people use the hashtag on Pinterest, Google+ or Instagram. But in my opinion Twitter and Facebook will be the most important social media channels for your Startup Weekend.
2. Have a content plan.
You decided to create a Facebook page and a Twitter account for the event? That’s great!
After these first steps you can invite some of your friends to like the page (but choose wisely and don’t spam random people who are not intersted in your event at all), boost a post (yes, Facebook ads!) and create an ad for your page (It’s all about good targeting. So for example if you have an event in Austria make sure to reach out to people in Hungary, Slovakia and Germany as well.) But before you do that upload content to your page. There’s nothing more disappointing than visiting a Facebook page for the first time and all you can see is a profile picture and an uploaded cover photo.
First of all during the event there should be one person who takes care of all the social media things (yes, this means this person will be busy all day long). Like sharing pictures, posting updates, telling people when the next break is happening, announcing all the winners or even say thank you to the sponsors (Make an Excel sheet for that! Otherwise you will forget someone or something. And trouble shooting afterwards is probably something you want to avoid.).
What else can you share before and after the event? First of all think about what you are looking for when you browse a Facebook page or a Twitter profile of an event. Where will the event take place? How much does a ticket cost? Are there any discount codes? Are there Early Bird tickets? How can I get to the event location? Is there a parking lot? Is it easy to go there by public transport? When should I be there? What should I bring? Will there be food and beverages? Do I have to bring any money? How long can I stay there in the evening? It’s my first time in the city, where are the nice places? Any hotel recommendations? How do I form a Startup Weekend team during the event? What happened during the event? Who was there? Did they record any interviews?
There are so many possible questions. Find an answer before people ask. Share blogposts and articles about other Startup Weekends (that’s great that there are so many of them!), share interesting things about your city and tell people more about your own event.
Again: Create a Google Spreadsheet which you can share with all your other team members and list all the things you want to share (on FB and Twitter) and mention when as well. And probably most important: Make sure who in your team will share what and who will do all the community management things on your page. Because it’s so bad if you and your Co-Organizer answer the same question twice. That’s really unprofessional and shouldn’t happen. So make sure you take care of that.
What else can you do on Twitter? Retweet and favorite tweets talking about your Startup Weekend. Create lists with mentors and jury members or even with the organizers. Follow people who are talking about your event, follow sponsors, coaches, mentors, jury members and journalists. Follow people who could be interesting for your event.
3. Be there to help people.
There is no such thing as a stupid question. And please respond as fast as you can. People don’t want to wait. Just like you don’t want to wait.
Since you figured out who in your team will do all the community management: Do it! Have an app installed on your mobile phone that pushes you every message people write. Like direct messages sent to your Twitter account or your Facebook page. Make sure to answer them as fast as possible. If you don’t know the answer write someting like “I’m sorry, I don’t know that yet. But I will ask and get back to you as soon as possible.”. The not knowing things thing is ok. It’s just not ok to be silent (on the Internet).
Oh and by the way: There might be a shitstorm because you forgot to mention something and people had wrong expectations. Or something doesn’t work with the tickets. Or one mentor everyone wanted to talk to is sick and now people are disappointed. Well. Take it easy and be nice. Apologize and be there. Often enough people who are complaining on your Facebook page or shitstorming on Twitter only want someone who listens to them. Someone who says sorry and tries to help. And that’s perfectly fine. Say sorry, be nice, always try to help. And honestly even if you made a mistake: Everyone makes mistakes. Try to make it better next time. And tell people that you will try to make it better next time.
Enjoy your Startup Weekends!
Originally featured on grasshopper.
Ok, so you’ve got a business idea, and you’re working to make the dream a reality, but you’ve got to consider funding.
After all, you need money to turn your idea into something tangible. You need cash to pay your employees.
If the money isn’t rolling in yet, it’s tough to build a top notch product or service.That’s why many small businesses and startups look for funding and seek out investors.
Before you even begin to consider outside investment, consider how you can launch the company and get to revenue before you have to raise money. Although it seems hard in the short-term, it’ll be better for you in the long-run in terms of your knowledge of the process, and building your own equity.
So, how do you do it?
Why You Should Bootstrap
Bootstrapping means that you raise money without any help from investors. It’s how we got Grasshopper off the ground. If you can build your business without investors, do it this way.
You might bootstrap and keep your full-time job or quit and use your savings to get business off the ground. Begging your parents for money counts as bootstrapping.
Why bootstrap? You’ll retain complete control. That might not sound like a big deal, but when you’ve got investors’ hands in your company, you won’t be able to build the product you dreamed. Things get mucky when you’re playing with someone else’s money.
Here are some of our favorite resources for bootstrapping:
- Starting Up on a Shoestring | Inc. If you want to bootstrap your business, check out Inc.’s comprehensive list of bootstrapping articles. The list includes tons of stories of entrepreneurs who successfully bootstrapped their businesses.
- Bootstrapped, Profitable, & Proud | 37signals 37signals is famous for being both bootstrapped and profitable. They have a whole page dedicated to companies who didn’t take money from venture capitalists. Read Rework by founders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson for more info on bootstrapping.
- How to Bootstrap your Business | Entrepreneur Erica Ziela, founder and CEO of Sitting Around, explains how moonlighting helped her succeed. She also discusses how keeping her day job allowed her to pour significant cash into her business
- Bootstrapping Your Startup: 7 Hard-Earned Tips from Real Entrepreneurs | readwrite Real entrepreneurs offer tips and tricks on how to bootstrap a business. These leaders discuss what they’ve learned from bootstrapping, its benefits, and what bootstrapping can do for you.
If you can’t bootstrap, it’s worth learning a little about equity.
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF EQUITY
- Equity financing is when you sell “shares” of your company to outside investors in order to finance your business. When you make money, your investors are entitled to a portion of the profits. This type of equity is best for sole proprietors who need some start up cash.
- Equity compensation is when you offer your employees a percentage of company profits as part of their compensation package, typically in exchange for a lower than average salary, or occasionally in lieu of salary completely. This type of equity is best for businesses that are in need of human capital more than physical capital. If you already have an office, a coffee maker, a copier, but need a new software developer, this might be the model for you.
As you get started, it’s worth understanding how to calculate shareholders’ equity, and it’s important to investors. To figure out your business equity, you’ll need to calculate the assets and liabilities of their business.
Start by determining the company’s total assets- these are things that are in progress, inventory, cash, or other receivables. You’ll also need to figure out your debts and liabilities, including salaries and accounts payable. To calculate equity, you can subtract the liabilities from the assets. Accounting software such as FreshBooks or QuickBooks can help you do this.
Too many young entrepreneurs become obsessed with raising angel and venture capital. When this happens, these folks lose sight of the real reason they became entrepreneurs – to launch and grow their company.
Remember that raising money is not a competitive game where you’re out to win. If you focus on the sport rather than building your business, you’ll undoubtedly end up on the losing side.
If you really have no option but to raise money, angels can be a good alternative to smaller VC rounds, but you want to make sure you’re working with the right investor.
Start by learning the three types of angel investors. Then pick the right one.
ANGEL INVESTOR #1: “I LIKE MONEY AND NEED MORE.”
There are too many of these “professional angel investors” out there, and they’re the worst. Their only goal is increasing their wealth. This type of investor is actually a person that wanted to be a VC, but couldn’t raise enough capital.
The reason they are so dangerous is that they have too much vested in the small amount of money they give to your business, which then leads to over-involvement and pressure on you for all the wrong reasons.
Should you take her money? No.
ANGEL INVESTOR #2: “I HAVE SO MUCH MONEY, I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH IT.”
Every entrepreneur has met one of these investors: it’s the person who has already generated significant wealth and has no real need for more money, and can afford to be a lot less selective in funding ventures. They’re probably in the stage in life when they’re giving back, and part of that can be through angel investments.
This type of investor is ok if you’re looking for just money and maybe some general advice about the start-up process. But don’t expect incredible moral support or stellar advice from this kind of investor on a regular basis – he or she is likely over-extended in that realm due to their involvement in multiple ventures.
Should you take his money? Maybe.
ANGEL INVESTOR #3: “I’M PASSIONATE ABOUT A SPECIFIC INDUSTRY, AND HAVE TONS OF CONNECTIONS IN IT.”
This is the best angel investor, and a selective one, but the kind you should absolutely target. Why? Because this person already has money and isn’t looking to get involved in angel investing to generate more wealth as the ultimate goal. Instead, they’re hoping to serve as a true angel and really come through for your business by offering both funding and insight.
Best of all, she has clear passion for the industry you’re in, and probably the connections that will indirectly help you succeed. They’ll also have something money can’t buy: credibility in your industry and the connections to make good things happen.
Should you take her money? Yes.
Our advice is to look for angels that fall into either #2 or #3. Stay away from #1 no matter how desperate you get.
STARTUP INCUBATORS AND ACCELERATORS
Both startup incubators and accelerators offer seed money, expert mentorship, supplies, and office space to winners in exchange for a share of company ownership.
Giving up company ownership is a huge deal, and it’s not something you want to take lightly. However, if you’re looking for mentorship and a community, joining an incubator or accelerator might be a good idea.
The two are slightly different from each other. Accelerators usually focus on mentoring and refining as a company tries to go to market, while incubators are more involved in getting the ball rolling on making money.
Some of the most popular include Y Combinator, Techstars, 500 Startups, andCapital Factory, among many, many others. These are sometimes specific to certain fields (technology or entertainment, for example), and others will accept applications for all types of ventures.
Given how beneficial they can be, acceptance into incubators and accelerators is typically VERY competitive across all industries.
There are incubators and accelerators everywhere. Just check out this comprehensive list.
If you’ve got a co-founder or other employees that are riding the wave with you, set up a vesting schedule so that they get benefits once they’ve stayed for a while, not right away.
This protects you from any employees who want to jump on to get rich quick, then take off. With vesting schedules, these employees will only own a part of your company after they’ve stuck around for a while.
Cliff vesting – If an employee is part of a cliff vesting plan, they’ll become vested at a specified time (like after staying for 3 years) rather than gradually or incrementally.
Graded vesting – In graded vesting, employees get a certain amount of company ownership over a period of time. Graded vesting is different from cliff vesting because cliff vesting allows employees to become 100% vested after a shorter period of service
MORE FINANCIAL INFO
We know a lot about funding and investing, but we strongly recommend hiring a business lawyer to protect you as you go through these processes. Lawyers can help you sort out what’s fair and right as you hunt down money.
Sure, lawyers are expensive, but they’re worth it!
If you’re looking for more info regarding investors, financing, and equity, check out our Equity for Entrepreneurs: A How-to Guide. We dive in deeper there.
Anyone looking to effectively engage with customers online has thought about localizing their content (at least they should have). In a recent survey by Transifex, 70% of respondents indicated that localizing content has a direct positive impact on their business. With results like that, it’s hard not to join the throngs of companies hurrying to localize their content. The question is…what to localize first? How do successful companies prioritize what they localize?
According to the survey, here are the 5 most important types of content to localize.
Web apps: This is often the first interaction a potential customer has with a company, and it better be a good one. Delivering a localized experience tells the visitor that you care about them, that you understand their needs. In the Transifex survey, 51% of respondents reported a better user experience as a result of their localized content.
Documentation and knowledge bases: Once a customer has decided to do business with you, the next thing they often do is learn more about your product/service which typically sends them to your documentation pages or knowledge base. If this delivers the same localized experience, you’re well on your way to impressing even the most skeptical new users.
Mobile apps: Depending on the industry, the first point of contact will either be via a web app, as we mentioned, or via a mobile app. The key to making an impact with a mobile app is clarity and ease-of-use. What could be easier than showing up in a visitors local language right from the start?
Marketing content (company web pages): Making sure your website content talks directly to the prospect in their language is imperative. According to the Transifex survey, 15% of respondents stated they saw increased engagement as a result of localized content.
Landing pages (campaign-specific pages): Before a prospect becomes a customer, they have experienced your company brand through your marketing. This is your opportunity to make a great first impression.
Interesting to note, blogs and user-generated content are viewed as some of the least important content to localize. This is probably due to their dynamic nature and the fact that people commenting on blogs and other forums may do so in local language, thus decreasing the need to localize.
SOURCE: Transifex Localization Benchmark Survey, 2014
“La innovación es demasiado importante en tecnología, de otra manera, tu negocio va a morir” – Ezequiel Vidra
Hace poco tuve la oportunidad de asistir a una sesión con Google en la que nos hablaban de sus principios de innovación. Para una compañía de miles de millones de dólares, es fundamental la penetración del mercado a través de productos que ofrecen lo que algunos usuarios ni siquiera saben que necesitan (todavía).
Según la compañía, todos sus productos han sido analizados y probados utilizando los 8 principios que te presento a continuación; y si funciona para Google, ¿por qué no funcionaría para tu startup?
1. Ten una visión que importa:
Que tus colaboradores y empleados se sientan parte de algo que está cambiando el mundo. En tu oficina, pon a disposición de tus empleados o colaboradores, un espacio creativo en donde ellos se sientan dueños, y puedan tener más libertad en el trabajo.
Las oficinas de Google en general son espacios abiertos en dónde hay comida y snacks para todos, juegos, y oficinas decoradas con diferentes temas. En la de México particularmente hay un “Taxi” que es para llamadas individuales.
2. Piensa en grande, pero empieza con cosas pequeñas:
No todos los productos que crees van a ser exitosos. Incluso las grandes compañías como Google han sacado productos al mercado que han fracasado. Piensa en Google Buzz, antes de que existiera Google +. Así que no te rindas y haz de cada fracaso un aprendizaje más.
3. Lánzate a ser innovador continuo en vez de intentar tener éxito instantáneo:
En el mundo de los startup es bien conocido que debes hacer la validación del mercado antes de lanzar tu producto, realiza pre-lanzamiento, pregúntale a personas que encajen con tu mercado objetivo y deténte a analizar cuáles son las ventajas y mejoras de cada aspecto de tu producto para que cuando lo lances al mercado, tengas en realidad fundamentos para ser exitoso. Google realiza pruebas piloto con estos dos modelos en sus nuevos productos.
4. Las ideas vienen de cualquier parte:
Coloca tableros blancos y corchos en todas partes, probablemente cuando menos lo piensas se te ocurren las mejores ideas y no tienes en dónde tomar notas, luego se te olvida y perdiste una oportunidad. Utiliza tableros blancos y corchos para
5. Sé abierto con el público:
Esto te da la oportunidad de tener más usuarios en menos tiempo, utiliza y aprovecha los modelos de fuente abierta (opensource) para ser más rápido y eficiente con tus prototipos, es posible que así logres generar mayor conocimiento acerca de lo que quieres lanzar.
6. Dale chispa a la imaginación, pero alimenta tus ideas con datos:
Aunque estés empezando y triunfando con un producto, sé abierto a la posibilidad de que tus colaboradores te den más ideas, más productos y empieza a crear proyectos internos dentro de tu startup que te den la posibilidad de expandir tu mercado y los objetivos de tu compañía.
7. Sé una plataforma:
Si conoces un emprendedor, lo más posible es que te conviertas en uno. Participa en eventos en los que esté involucrada la comunidad de emprendimiento y conoce más personas que seguramente te ayudarán en el futuro. Las redes de contacto pueden llegar a ser tan ó más importantes que un producto, pues puedes conocer a tu co-fundador, o inversionistas.
No hagas productos por que sí. Conviértete en una compañía con una visión y objetivo claros, y ayuda a otras personas a lograr algo con tus productos. Para Google su visión es proveer a todos sus usuarios el acceso a la información abiertamente.
8. Nunca fracases en fracasar:
No olvides que siempre debe haber espacio para equivocarte y aprender de tus fracasos. Lo que no significa que tienes que apuntar al fracaso.
Atrévete a innovar como este gigante y comprueba por ti mismo si los principios funcionan.