Weekly Wrapup 1

August 22, 2014 in Uncategorized

A glimpse of a week in the life of acceleration. Week 1: The Initiation We welcomed our 11 teams to Berlin and to our home at the Rainmaking Loft last Wednesday for the first day of the program. Teams jumped straight into workshops on Business Model Canvas, Customer Discovery, and Market Discovery, led by Danny Holtschke. Work hard, play hard. We kicked off the program last Friday with a Boat Party tour through Berlin! coModule convinced a film crew from Estonian show, ETV Kapital, to come get a behind-the-scenes of our program and co-working space. The guys geeking out over Counterest's live demo! Mentor Speed Dating sessions in full swing. Over 40 mentors came through the doors this week to speak with teams! The SBC Berlin family touching base during our Friday Breakfast. The overall consesus was that SBC rocks :) Follow us on Twitter @sbcBerlin for more mischief and mishaps.

Are You a More ‘Hardware’ or ‘Science’ Startup and Why You Should Care?

August 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

Today’s complex technology world is driven by the entrepreneurs and the inventors, the genius businessmen and the bright engineers, the Elon Musks and the JB Straubels. The ones who put existing technology together to create a new product and the others who create an entirely new technology. Hardware and science go hand in hand just like entrepreneurship and invention do. When we talk about startups, however, it’s likely that one of the two takes more credit for making you the great startup that you are. This will undoubtedly define the development of your company from idea to market and further. Why? Well, it makes a whole lot of difference, and let me tell you why.  

Starting it

Say a ‘billion-dollar company’ and people think of a college drop-out who accidentally monetized his spare-time hobby. Yes, it is an American cliche and sometimes an exaggerated romantic myth that great minds start companies such as Apple in their garage. It has happened to some, but can it always be the case? We all know the answer is no. If your idea is akin to a ‘hardware’ startup model, it will probably not take you long until you have your first prototype. Today you can access open IP, relatively cheap components, put them together, test them and if you find out that it doesn’t work or there is room for improvement, you can easily ask your suppliers for a little change. New technology startups, on the other hand, need research. Research takes time, equipment and PhD expertise. And all these equal costs. What’s more, new technology can be risky; it’s not always fit for the market. A mind-blowing new tech may be way ahead of it’s time - too pricy, too early, or too innovative to be implemented on the market, which makes it a more difficult of a start.

More B2B or more B2C

Let’s put it this way: If you are a more ‘science’ startup, there is a greater chance that you become a B2B company. Hardware can also be B2B but Science will not soon be B2C. ‘Hardware’ startups make consumer goods and ‘science’ startups produce new technology that makes consumer goods cool. X will sell you an amazing computer but they needed Y’s graphic card to make computer games such an awesome visual experience.  B2B startups stay in the shadow of consumer companies, they are even outnumbered - 493 to 14629 according to currently numbers on AngelList. They are called unsexy, boring, difficult and all because they don’t enjoy consumer attention, because they don’t use glossy words to seduce a client, because they talk numbers and function and not cosmetics. Consumer startups, however, can never beat the advantages of B2B like higher customer acquisition costs, which opens up acquisition channels not accessible to consumer startups; simpler market testing, and most importantly, the profit they make.

Brand

The best thing hardware focused startups enjoy is the chance to create a brand and a community around it. It’s not for nothing that B2C is no longer dubbed ‘business-to-consumer’ but ‘business-to-community’. It’s not just a hype in parlance, it’s the sweet fruits of creating an emotional brand story that can elicit people’s attachment. ‘Science’ or B2B startups are merely a separate chapter in the marketing book. Their community are the ‘hardware’ startups. So, don’t take advice such as ‘you need to enhance your customer experience’, it won’t work.

Funding or Crowdfunding

Although crowdfunding is all about the marketing these days, you’d better stay away from Kickstarter if you are a more of a ‘science’ startup. Because, what do you have to offer all these people willing to spend a buck on a cool new goodie or an exciting new movie? Equity crowdfunding on AngelList and Crowdfunder, to name a few, might fit your model better, but do you really want to let so many people have the say? Are you willing to give equity away? Here’s a nice discussion on the subject. Crowdfunding will not necessarily bring the money ‘hardware’ startups need to launch or to build their product. What it will do though, is bring customers, orders, production line suppliers, investors attention, and many other intangibles enough to convince an invest or a manufacturer. The best part? It will validate your market. If you can sell thousands of your units, you have a proof of market.

What’s science got to lose?

You may ask. Well, nothing. New technology startups just have a different acceleration cycle and therefore need different VC approach. They tend to be spin-offs of universities, corporate research departments or research institutes, where they can stay long enough, backed by all the resources they need to end up developing a mind-blowing tech that will change the way people do and see things. We @sbcHighTechXL know that business cannot survive without fundamental research and this is why we want to give high-tech hardware startups the help and attention they deserve.        

Are You a More ‘Hardware’ or ‘Science’ Startup and Why Should You Care?

August 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

Today’s complex technology world is driven by the entrepreneurs and the inventors, the genius businessmen and the bright engineers, the Elon Musks and the JB Straubels. The ones who put existing technology together to create a new product and the others who create an entirely new technology. Hardware and science go hand in hand just like entrepreneurship and invention do. When we talk about startups, however, it’s likely that one of the two takes more credit for making you the great startup that you are. This will undoubtedly define the development of your company from idea to market and further. Why? Well, it makes a whole lot of difference, and let me tell you why.  

Starting it

Say a ‘billion-dollar company’ and people think of a college drop-out who accidentally monetized his spare-time hobby. Yes, it is an American cliche and sometimes an exaggerated romantic myth that great minds start companies such as Apple in their garage. It has happened to some, but can it always be the case? We all know the answer is no. If your idea is akin to a ‘hardware’ startup model, it will probably not take you long until you have your first prototype. Today you can access open IP, relatively cheap components, put them together, test them and if you find out that it doesn’t work or there is room for improvement, you can easily ask your suppliers for a little change. New technology startups, on the other hand, need research. Research takes time, equipment and PhD expertise. And all these equal costs. What’s more, new technology can be risky; it’s not always fit for the market. A mind-blowing new tech may be way ahead of it’s time - too pricy, too early, or too innovative to be implemented on the market, which makes it a more difficult of a start.

More B2B or more B2C

Let’s put it this way: If you are a more ‘science’ startup, there is a greater chance that you become a B2B company. Hardware can also be B2B but Science will not soon be B2C. ‘Hardware’ startups make consumer goods and ‘science’ startups produce new technology that makes consumer goods cool. X will sell you an amazing computer but they needed Y’s graphic card to make computer games such an awesome visual experience.  B2B startups stay in the shadow of consumer companies, they are even outnumbered - 493 to 14629 according to currently numbers on AngelList. They are called unsexy, boring, difficult and all because they don’t enjoy consumer attention, because they don’t use glossy words to seduce a client, because they talk numbers and function and not cosmetics. Consumer startups, however, can never beat the advantages of B2B like higher customer acquisition costs, which opens up acquisition channels not accessible to consumer startups; simpler market testing, and most importantly, the profit they make.

Brand

The best thing hardware focused startups enjoy is the chance to create a brand and a community around it. It’s not for nothing that B2C is no longer dubbed ‘business-to-consumer’ but ‘business-to-community’. It’s not just a hype in parlance, it’s the sweet fruits of creating an emotional brand story that can elicit people’s attachment. ‘Science’ or B2B startups are merely a separate chapter in the marketing book. Their community are the ‘hardware’ startups. So, don’t take advice such as ‘you need to enhance your customer experience’, it won’t work.

Funding or Crowdfunding

Although crowdfunding is all about the marketing these days, you’d better stay away from Kickstarter if you are a more of a ‘science’ startup. Because, what do you have to offer all these people willing to spend a buck on a cool new goodie or an exciting new movie? Equity crowdfunding on AngelList and Crowdfunder, to name a few, might fit your model better, but do you really want to let so many people have the say? Are you willing to give equity away? Here’s a nice discussion on the subject. Crowdfunding will not necessarily bring the money ‘hardware’ startups need to launch or to build their product. What it will do though, is bring customers, orders, production line suppliers, investors attention, and many other intangibles enough to convince an invest or a manufacturer. The best part? It will validate your market. If you can sell thousands of your units, you have a proof of market.

What’s science got to lose?

You may ask. Well, nothing. New technology startups just have a different acceleration cycle and therefore need different VC approach. They tend to be spin-offs of universities, corporate research departments or research institutes, where they can stay long enough, backed by all the resources they need to end up developing a mind-blowing tech that will change the way people do and see things. We @sbcHighTechXL know that business cannot survive without fundamental research and this is why we want to give high-tech hardware startups the help and attention they deserve.        

Sexual Harassment In Tech Is Not To Be Tolerated

August 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

In light of the recent release of sexual harassment messages from European angel investor Pavel Curda, Startupbootcamp sends our sympathies to the two women, one of them being very near and dear to the Startupbootcamp and Rainmaking Loft family. Curda is no longer affiliated with any of the Startupbootcamp programs. His behavior is completely unacceptable and absolutely not tolerated here. We do not wish to publically shame Curda or draw any more attention to the women, but we also believe that the best way to deal with sexual harassment in this industry is to speak openly about it. We applaud the women for their courage in coming forward and speaking out, and encourage raising awareness through open dialogue. - The Startupbootcamp Team

Rapid Reads #1

August 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

Here at Startupbootcamp Berlin, we know what it means to be busy. Between daily mentor meetings, lean workshops, and deep dive sessions, it's easy to stay buried deep in work. But it's also important to pop your heads out every once in a while, so we've curated some links for your quick fix of reality. Take a few minutes to brush up on some relevant news and inspiration. 

Transportation 

Why Bran Ferren's TED Talk Is Required Viewing for All Techies "I predict that autonomous vehicles will permanently change our world over the next several decades," said Ferren. "The beginning is only a few years away."  The Feds Want Cars to Chat Instead of Just Watching Each Other A new report shows they would like to see the automakers go further, by allowing cars not just to detect one another, but to communicate. Taxi drivers are using apps to disrupt the disruptorsTaxis in San Francisco are fighting back through apps, with the city's blessing. We could have electric buses that recharge in 15 seconds Switzerland is home to a system that will allow battery-electric buses to get their juice in 15-second increments at bus-stop-mounted electric chargers Infograph: How can you bring Vision Zero to life?With the growing population of humans and vehicles globally, the safety of road users is becoming more and more important.  

Energy

Top 10 Things You Didn't Know About Wind Power"Wind turbines are big. A wind turbine blade can be up to 260 feet long, and a turbine tower can be over 328 feet tall -- taller than the Statue of Liberty." New Energy Projects Boost the Use of Undersea Power CablesOffshore wind energy and transnational grids bring power lines below the waves. Global Renewable Energy Project Reaches MilestonePower Clouds allows anyone, anywhere in the world who owns a solar panel to lease the panel to them. Power Clouds then pays the solar panel owner a monthly fee for 20 years. 10 ways to renovate sustainablyFrom sun tunnels to wood burners, here are a some small-scale, energy saving ideas for sustainable renovation, inspired by some of Britain’s superhomes

Entrepreneurship

Lessons In Entrepreneurship: Think Globally, Use Your Own Cash, And Learn By DoingEntrepreneurs have got it wrong about education. The future lies in experiential learning by doing. 3 Lessons Learned in Creating Gender-Balanced EntrepreneurshipWe’re right to be alarmed by the stunning amount of fem-fueled entrepreneurial potential being left on the table. Ditch the Start-Up PitchPitching ideas for startups as a way to test for which entrepreneurs are most likely to succeed is a waste of time.

Smile, it confuses people.

Wait, what does your startup do?

A Startup’s Guide to Brand Strategy: Four Steps to Bootstrap Human-Centered Design

August 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

Megan Colgan is co-founder of The GO Project and a mentor at Startupbootcamp Istanbul focused on brand development, customer experience design and marketing strategy. Empathy is the impetus of great design. Customer empathy—a fundamental understanding of a customer’s values, needs, perceptions and emotions—is at the core of designing a successful brand. Studies like the Stengel 50 and the analysis by co:collective on Storydoing, prove that brands that personify and deliver human value are more successful in acquiring customers, creating advocates, earning customer loyalty, and performing financially. Such success is rooted in authentic customer connection which requires digging much deeper than aesthetics and tactics. It requires talking to and understanding customers. What does that mean for a startup? Especially in accelerators like Startupbootcamp Istanbul there’s no time or money to waste, so the tendency is to jump from product development straight into marketing execution. Pick a color scheme. Make a logo. Shoot a viral video. Make some Facebook advertisements. Buy some Google Ad words. While well intentioned, more often than not these tactical jumps are guided by inaccurate assumptions of who customers are and what those customers care about. And if we're trying to sell apples to a monkey who wants bananas, no matter how beautiful those apples are, they're not going to bite. The pre-work to create a strategy based on actual customer insights will get you to market faster and cheaper. Here’s how to do it. Bootstrap customer testing. While expensive and time intensive customer research and user testing can be very helpful, it is not necessary. Startups can gain extremely valuable insights and strategic direction from bootstrapped, quick and dirty customer testing and rapid prototyping that actually stimulate smarter and faster growth. It may only take interviewing as few as three customers to figure out if something is broken. Design for human value. Do not waste your testing efforts by listening only to a customer’s surface level complaints or praises. Hone an acute ability to empathize with customers. The best brands don’t build and sell state-of-the-art product features. The best brands build and sell the human value that their state-of-the-art features add to someone’s life. As such, a company (and thus the brand)—from marketing communications and product design to the employee culture—must truly embody the fundamental human value it provides for its customers.     This week I ran a workshop called “A startup’s guide for brand strategy: 4 steps to bootstrap human-centered design.” It’s a walk-through of basic methods based on design thinking principles. Each step in the workshop was illustrated by an example of a brand and UX refresh conducted at Startupbootcamp Istanbul in less than a week for Benimcep—a secure online-marketplace for people to buy and sell smartphones at a discount and under warranty. Presented in the third month of the accelerator, this workshop served as a gut-check for entrepreneurs to see how well they understand their target customers and if they have built a brand experience based on that understanding. I hope this post and the step by step guide on slideshare are helpful!