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.
Well actually, it takes a venture ecosystem to help startups flourish. Our academic research explores venture ecosystems and how founders can create positive momentum, even when they don’t have a lot of financial resources. The reality is that founders must rely on the help of many others in the venture community to get feedback
In study after study, the number one reason that startups fail is that they do not offer something new that better meets customers’ needs. See the details in our previous blogpost on product/market fit. This same factor is the biggest predictor of new product failure as well. We call this the Customer Value Void– not offering something that is needed, that is a better solution than the current practice, and that is worth paying for…
People sometimes describe entrepreneurs as risk takers. They see starting a company as a risky activity. Yes, there is risk involved. But, navigating uncertainty rather than being risky is the essential task of the entrepreneur. What to build, how to build it, whom to partner with, whom to sell to, and how to fund growth… these are really tasks laden with uncertainty.
The “Titanic” and “Titanic” Iceberg are central characters in our narrative on uncertainty and avoiding venture failure. But, how—or perhaps more importantly, why—did she really sink? We thought we’d share some of the alternative hypotheses and conspiracy theories through the years…
Most founders we talk to have a little glaze in their eyes as they share their vision. You can tell that in their mind’s eye, they see their startup as a Unicorn. At a minimum, they can see revenues of $100 million. And that’s great – they should have a lofty and bold vision of what they can accomplish. Without that vision, they are guaranteed not to get there. We wondered, just how likely is this kind of an outcome?
If you listen to a variety of startup pitches or work closely with startups, one refrain you often here is – “we are unique, there’s no one else like us.” What appeals to a founder about this idea is that they don’t have any competitors. Instead, this is a hidden debt that we explore in the Marketing Ocean.
So, why do we say being in a market category of one company is a bad idea?
The most important job of a startup in the early stages is figuring out product/market fit. Turns out that this is much, much harder than it sounds like. You know the basic story:
- Entrepreneur has a great idea for an unsolved problem to fix
- They envision what they think needs to be done to fix it
- They built that product (BTW – when we say product, it could be either a product or a service)
…We like to call this The Capital S problem. What is the Capital S in most SaaS startups? Founders, particularly those with a technical background, like to think it is the first S—Software (Saas). That is much more scalable and sellable to investors. But even the most intuitive software…