Incubate, Accelerate, or Studiate? How to move your startup forward

Incubate, Accelerate, or Studiate? How to move your startup forward

We had the opportunity to share our Titanic framework and navigation tips with 10 sports-related startups @Techstars Indianapolis on Wednesday. First, this is a great place. Welcome to Indy, Techstars! We heard a lot of positive things about the Indy venture scene. 

In case you don’t know it already, Techstars is an international accelerator with over 4,000 alumni, accelerator programs in various industries, and venture funding. The sports-focused accelerator is new to Indianapolis, and hosting its first cohort. These startups vary across stages with some pre-revenue, some MVP, some with a replicable product and even a few that are starting to scale. They cover a broad range of sports application, from personal use technology, to team software, sports facility rentals, sports video management and even some sporting fashion. Check these companies out.

The session did raise a question some founders need to have answered. At some point in the evolution of your startup, you need to commit to and pursue the venture full-time. One way to “take the leap” is to join an incubator, accelerator, or perhaps a venture studio. But which one, and what should you expect?

 

For Startups at the Scaling Stage - What are the Biggest Icebergs?

For Startups at the Scaling Stage - What are the Biggest Icebergs?

In our last blogpost, we discussed the biggest debtbergs in the Growth stage. This blogpost is focused on the Scaling stage. The startup is selling something. It is moving to a growing venture in terms of products, customers, and employees. It may have the opportunity to get more significant funding through angel groups, and perhaps even A-round funding with venture capital investors. Significant investments in product development and support, marketing, and sales may follow. It likely now has a board of directors as well as one or more advisory boards. It is trying to accomplish extraordinary growth, or become a “Gazelle” (check the glossary in the book to find out more). Scaling requires moving from experiments to having known processes to escalate sales. Once again, the biggest challenges change across our Oceans of debtbergs…

For Startups at the Launch and Growth Stage - What are the Biggest Icebergs?

For Startups at the Launch and Growth Stage - What are the Biggest Icebergs?

In our last blogpost, we discussed the biggest debtbergs in the MVP stage. This blogpost is focused on the Growth stage. The startup is selling something and has moved from one to a number of paying customers. Hopefully by now, there is a team in place and an advisory board. It may even be seeking some type of outside funding. At this stage, the startup is balancing making progress in the Human, Marketing, and Technical Oceans simultaneously. So, the biggest debtbergs now include…

For Startups at the MVP Stage - What are the Biggest Icebergs?

For Startups at the MVP Stage - What are the Biggest Icebergs?

In our last blogpost, we discussed the biggest debtbergs in the Pre-Revenue stage. This blogpost is focused on the MVP stage. As a reminder, at this stage a startup has begun building its management team, is developing an MVP (Minimally Viable Product), and is engaging with customers for proof of concept. But, it probably is self-funded or has friends and family for financial support. Now, the biggest debtbergs to avoid have changed from the Pre-Revenue stage…

For Startups at the Pre-Revenue Stage - What are the Biggest Icebergs?

For Startups at the Pre-Revenue Stage - What are the Biggest Icebergs?

Our goal in The Titanic Effect: Successfully Navigating the Uncertainties that Sink Most Startups is to help startups steer around hidden debts, or debtbergs, on their path to success. These debtbergs arise because there are decisions startups have to make where the best possible path is uncertain. And, the consequences of these choices are like icebergs in that they are only partially visible. In the book, we detail 33 different debtbergs a startup might encounter, across the four Oceans of Human, Marketing, Technical and Strategy choices. As we’ve started using these materials with different audiences, we’ve recognized that the biggest, most dangerous debtbergs vary based on the stage of the startup. So, this blogpost and the next three detail the biggest debtbergs to manage at each stage of a startup. Check out the biggest debtbergs at the Pre-Revenue stage…

How to Navigate The Titanic Effect Blog

How to Navigate The Titanic Effect Blog

To the Titanic Effect followers: This is an exciting week for us. The printed copy of the book was released earlier this week! If you are new to the party, here is a brief video summarizing the book’s contents, with props from a few endorsers: http://bit.ly/TitanicEffect.

We have been writing a weekly blog since October. It has been a lot of fun and a good learning experience for us. We’ve creatively thought about how to package the book’s key contents in bite-sized morsels. To be honest, it is also a lot of work! But our followers have grown over that time. We hope this effort will continue to “scale” as the book gets out there. We also realized that the long scrolling list of blog topics online is quite a challenge to “navigate.” In fact, a newcomer might find it intimidating. Even a hard core follower might have difficulty finding that blog they liked on product/market fit, for example.

 With that in mind and to celebrate the book launch, we are using this week’s blog to recap our blogs by category, with a brief guide to how to “consume” them. This is a longer blog than usual, but we wanted to be comprehensive.

Know thy Competition

Know thy Competition

You have to be aware of your competition in order to establish customer value and differentiate yourself. That premise applies even to books like The Titanic Effect: Successfully Navigating the Uncertainties that Sink Most Startups. So, it’s time for us to take a look at our competition.

Most retailers are a bit of a “walled garden” in that they have lots of data they don’t share with the vendors whose wares they sell. This includes books. What we do know is which are the best-selling books in the categories of “startups,” “new business enterprises,” and “starting a business.” Of course, which specific books are in the top 3 to 10 do change over time. But for the last year, two books have held steady in the top 10, typically at #1 and #2. They are Peter Thiel’s Zero to One and Eric Ries’  The Lean Startup. So, let’s look at what makes our book different from these.

The Many Shades of “Proof of Concept,” your PoC

The Many Shades of “Proof of Concept,” your PoC

In a prior blog, we discussed the difference between PoPs (Points of Parity) and PoDs (Points of Differentiation). Now it is time to talk about PoC—Proof of Concept. While this seems relatively straight forward, there are actually many nuances to and perspectives on what constitutes “Proof of Concept.” Understanding how to frame and set expectations about PoC is an important discussion for the budding startup.

Metrics, Metrics: Which Marketing Metrics Should Your Startup Keep Track Of?

Metrics, Metrics: Which Marketing Metrics Should Your Startup Keep Track Of?

We’ve all heard the phrase, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” But after reviewing several dozen startup updates and seeing blogpost after blogpost with lists of metrics, it feels like a founder could spend a significant amount of time just compiling and tracking metrics. Every investor has their favorite metric. So, many startups end up monitoring nearly everything. Or, the opposite – monitoring nothing. 

The “I’s” Have It?

One of the “oceans” of hidden debt that we discuss in The Titanic Effect is the Human Ocean. The Human Ocean includes the founders, advisors/investors who support the startup, and employees hired as it launches and grows. Each of these “seas” (or categories) can provide help to a startup. But, they can also be a source of danger or debtbergs that drag down or sink the most promising new venture….