Investor Connect Podcast

Jobs To Be Done

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Jobs to be done is a mental model in which you look at the customer's workflow to determine what they might need to complete their jobs.

This concept came from Clayton Christensen and provides insight into what product your startup should build.

It provides a framework for understanding customer needs.

As Henry Ford once said, if I had asked the customer what they wanted, they would have said "a faster horse".

To implement jobs to be done in your startup consider the following:

Start with the needs of the customer and what result they want.

Look at how they currently solve the problem including the unnamed competitor ‘do nothing.’

Look at competitors in other industries for potential solutions.

Determine the buying criteria of your customer and create a short list of the three most important points.

Consider the challenges in customer adoption for your proposed solution.

Estimate the value of your solution by asking how much time or money would your solution save the customer.

Consider viewing your customers and competitors through the jobs-to-be-done lens.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
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Direct download: Jobs_To_Be_Done_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

On this episode of Investor Connect, Hall welcomes Rob Matzkin, President and CEO at Rob Matzkin Entrepreneurship Group.

Located in New York, New York, USA, Rob Matzkin Entrepreneurship Group is specialized in coaching entrepreneurs to grow their businesses through innovation while generating power and momentum by finding true life balance and fulfillment. The 1-1 coaching sessions aim to create a clear vision, gain confidence, and change perspectives. 

Rob, is a Performance and Leadership Coach and a Ten-time Startup Founder with multiple successful exits, an angel investor, and a public speaker. Rob focuses on the mental, tactical, and strategic aspects of leading and growing a company. 

Rob has built a vast international network of partners, clients, companies & high-net-worth colleagues & continues to work diligently to create opportunity, & success through passionate service. 

Rob helps entrepreneurs exceed their businesses' goals while also living their dream life! 

Visit Rob Matzkin Entrepreneurship Group at www.robmatzkin.com, www.linkedin.com/company/entrepreneurship-coach.

Reach out to Rob at robmatzkin@gmail.com and ww.linkedin.com/in/rob-matzkin-06027634. 

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org  

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
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Direct download: Rob_Matzkin_of_Rob_Matzkin_Entrepreneurship_Group.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Circle of Competence

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Circle of competence is the area in which one has a skill or expertise.

Tom Watson the founder of IBM once said, “I’m no genius.  I’m smart in spots and I stay around those spots.”

You don’t have to be an expert in everything to be successful.

You do need to know a specific area and where the limits are.

The founder needs to know their circle of competence and operate within it.

Those who move to a new industry may find it challenging as their expertise no longer matches the domain.

The more narrow the circle of competence, the deeper one can go into it.

Founders and investors should assess their skills, experience, and what gives them an edge.

Is the founder moving outside that area?  Will they have the same edge in the new domain?

Some of the best deals to fund are those where the team’s circle of competence covers the startup’s domain completely.

Investors reviewing a startup for investment should estimate the circle of competence of the founder. 

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
For Investors check out: https://tencapital.group/investor-landing/ 
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Direct download: Circle_of_Competence_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Eisenhower Matrix

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

The Eisenhower Matrix is a mental model for prioritizing your time and tasks.

It puts the most important things ahead of what is often considered urgent.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during WWII.

He was known for his ability to manage his time and the work to be done.

He noted that the most urgent decisions were rarely the most important ones to get done.

He mapped out decisions into the following matrix of urgent vs important.

Urgent and important -- items should be done immediately.

Important and not urgent -- require a plan for when they should be done.

Urgent but not important -- tasks should be delegated to someone else.

Not important and not urgent -- tasks that should be set for action later.

Startup founders should focus on the important things to get done as there is a great deal of work to be done in a startup.

You’ll need planning tools to manage all the tasks both those that need to be done now and those for later. 

Apply the Eisenhower matrix to your daily schedule to see how it improves your startup's progress.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
For Investors check out: https://tencapital.group/investor-landing/ 
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Direct download: Eisenhower_Matrix_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Schlep Blindness

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Schlep is a tedious or difficult journey.

Schlep's blindness is overlooking the obvious startup ideas as everyone is used to working in a current manner.

Most founders can’t see many ideas because of schlep blindness -- they know how hard it is so they don’t consider it. 

Look for ideas you want to be solved and then set out to solve them. 

It’s best to just start and work your way through it before common sense stops you.

The easy ideas are pursued by many and come with a great deal of competition.

The hard ones are pursued by fewer and have less competition.

A startup must undertake many schleps to succeed.

It’s the boring details that must be done.

Novice founders often take on these challenges because they don’t know what they are getting into.

Experienced founders avoid these ideas because they know the challenges ahead.

Startups should look for hairy, audacious goals to solve as those are more valuable.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
For Investors check out: https://tencapital.group/investor-landing/ 
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Direct download: Schlep_Blindness_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Power Law

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

The power law is a key mental model for venture investing. 

The power law states that the majority of the returns will come from just a few of the investments.

Similar to the Pareto principle, 20% of the deals will account for 80% of the returns.

In venture capital, the power law requires that each investment have the ability to pay back the entire fund as only a few will have outsized returns.

The returns from those winning investments will cover the losses from all the rest.

This is different from other investment classes which produce returns based on the normal distribution.

As an investor in the venture space, you must be willing to suffer many losses for only a few wins.

It can be hard to select upfront which ones will have outsized returns. 

Some use an index strategy to place investments trying to include as many deals as possible.

Once invested, it’s best to support all the companies in your investment portfolio.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
For Investors check out: https://tencapital.group/investor-landing/ 
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Direct download: Power_Law_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Total Addressable Market

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

The total addressable market is the size of the market that represents the total potential revenue for a product.  

This is the market that could ever buy the startup’s product.

In the startup world, there’s truly no limit to how big a company can grow.

Investors look for business opportunities with large upside potential.

Startups focus on large markets as it provides the most potential and the best chances for success.

Large markets provide many opportunities for entering the market and positioning within the market relative to competitors.

The larger the market the better chance of the startup finding product/market fit.

Within the total addressable market, there is the serviceable market which is the size of the market you can reach.

This does not mean the startup must actually reach the full market to be successful but rather it shows the opportunity.

Within the serviceable market, there is the beachhead market which is the first set of customers to pursue.

This gives the startup an area to focus on in entering the market.

The total addressable market is a mental model startups and investors use to assess business opportunities.

In raising funding, it’s important to know the size of the market and the segments before pursuing it.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
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Direct download: Total_Addressable_Market.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

On this episode of Investor Connect, Hall welcomes Anshuman Gwal, managing partner at Brightside Partners.

Located in Toronto, Ontario - Canada, Brightside Partners is an early-stage VC fund investing in startups that improve the way consumers meet their day-to-day needs (retail, healthcare, education, etc. aka foundational Industries). They are launching a venture capital fund to invest in "Day-to-day Tech” (D2D tech - technologies that disrupt incumbents in foundational industries and improve the day-to-day life of an average North American). 

Their focus on Foundational industries is complementary to their established core competencies, network with industry-leading incumbents, and deal flow. They have already started sourcing and accelerating startups that are relevant to their thesis (from pre-Seed through Series A investments). They are planning to launch a fund of around $17M with this mandate in early 2023.

Ansh, is a strategic leader with over $200M in sales with fortune 500 companies and has managed relationships with large multinationals in Data and AI space. He is highly passionate about connecting with relevant accelerators, startups, and investors to capture their interests and focus areas. 

Ansh has managed large technology partnerships and teams across the globe with a strong network in emerging tech hubs such as India that startups value heavily to execute the ideas. He is also very active in influencing startups as a member of the Founders Institute and with various startup accelerator programs.

Ansh advises investors and fundraisers and provides seed funding for startups.

Visit Brightside Partners at www.thebrightsidepartners.com, www.linkedin.com/company/brightsidepartners, AND ON www.twitter.com/BrightsideViews

Reach out to Ansh at anshuman.gwal@thebrightsidepartners.com, or www.linkedin.com/in/agwal.

 

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org  

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
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Direct download: Anshuman_Gwal_of_Brightside_Partners.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Flywheel Effect

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

The flywheel concept comes from the industrial world in which a large mechanical flywheel gains momentum from small steps and eventually creates enough momentum to generate its own motion.

In the startup world, the flywheel effect refers to an alternative to the sales funnel by building a growth machine by connecting strategy with incremental steps in building customer loyalty.

Growth comes from satisfied customers who continue to use the product and tell others about it.

The flywheel effect generates exponential growth.

To create the flywheel effect, the startup should seek ideal customers and not just any customer. 

For startup founders choose your customers carefully and leverage them to find more.  

Set up a strategy for acquiring customers, keeping customers, optimizing your profit, and generating new customers from your existing ones.

Use the hedgehog principle which states a company should understand what it can be great at and not just set a goal for it.

Companies achieving greatness most often have a flywheel effect in place. 

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
For Investors check out: https://tencapital.group/investor-landing/ 
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Direct download: Flywheel_effect.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Agile Development

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Agile development takes an iterative approach to building software.

Instead of one monolithic development, agile proposes incremental changes.

Agile is a useful mental model in the startup world as it fits well with the startup dynamic.

Startups use agile development as they are still learning about customer requirements.

As the customer base expands the startup finds new requirements to build.

The startup is always reviewing the customer requirements and implementing them on a step-by-step basis.

This approach also allows for developers to learn new ways of building the software and improving the process as they go.

The development team using agile is organized with cross-functional groups and re-organizes continually throughout the project.

Instead of focusing on a fixed set of requirements to be met, the agile team focuses on the customer base through user stories and personas.

User stories show how the startup's product fits into the user's workflow.

Personas show how different types of customers use the product in different ways.

Projects are planned in stages and tracked using milestones.

Agile is the primary mental model for product development in the startup world. 

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
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Direct download: Agile_development.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

First and Last Mover Advantage

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

In startup markets, there are advantages to being the first mover and advantages to being the last mover.

Here are some advantages of being a first mover:

The first mover in a market can gain market share due to the lack of competitors.

The first mover can gain branding and mindshare with the customer base.

The first mover has more time to build out their product and reduce their costs.

The first mover has an advantage over other companies who will be seen as “me-too” competitors.

Here are some advantages of being the last mover:

The last mover may have an advantage by adopting the latest technology and business models.

The early entrants often lock into older technologies and must spend substantial resources educating the market.

The last mover reduces their costs by copying product concepts and business models rather than inventing them from scratch.

Consider your startup's approach to an emerging market and choose your entry point based on your company strategy.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
For Investors check out: https://tencapital.group/investor-landing/ 
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Direct download: First_and_Last_Mover_Advantage.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

AARRR

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

AARRR stands for Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, and Revenue

It’s the mental model for the customer lifecycle.

In growing sales this model breaks down the process into stages and steps which the startup can metric as follows:

Acquisition --  find users through multiple channels

Activation --  excite customers with your product 

Retention --  bring the customers back to your site several times

Referral --  generate word of mouth buzz to bring others to the site

Revenue -- monetize some of the users

Acquisition can be through social media, email, content marketing, or other.

Activation can be a user coming to a landing page on the website.

Retention can be engagement through email or interactions with a blog.

Referrals can be others coming to the website based on word of mouth.

Revenue comes from advertising, monetizing data, or subscription services.

This is the standard playbook for tech startups.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
For Investors check out: https://tencapital.group/investor-landing/ 
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Direct download: AARRR.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Inversion Mental Model

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

The inversion mental model generates new startup ideas by inverting the problem.

By looking at the problem in reverse you can ideate new product solutions and business models.

This technique tests the assumptions and gives us a new way of thinking.

For example, instead of asking "how can we build the best product". 

Invert the question and ask "how can we build the worst product".

Then ideate on what would make the product the worst.

With a list of ‘worst product’ ideas invert back to the original question on how to make the best product.

Inversion also works in identifying new business models.  

For example, instead of a vendor selling a product online by listing a price. 

Invert the model and have the buyers bid on the product.

This turns the transaction into an auction model.

You then test the model with customers to see if it resonates with them.

Inversion is a powerful mental model for startups to ideate new products and business models. 

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
For Investors check out: https://tencapital.group/investor-landing/ 
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Direct download: Inversion_mental_model.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

On this episode of Investor Connect, Hall welcomes Christian Napier, Founder / CEO at Rakonto Inc.

Located in Sandy, Utah, Rakonto Inc. provides a platform that allows organizations to harvest contextual or tacit knowledge, through simply talking. They remove the friction inherent in the process of requesting, recording, receiving, transcribing, transforming, curating, and sharing tacit knowledge, experiences, and stories.

Ultimately, the human family is built on relationships, and they help build bonds by enabling people to connect through stories - recorded on video and automatically transcribed - shared on the platform.

Christian, is the Founder and CEO of Rakonto. He has more than 28 years of experience in technology, knowledge, and learning, with more than two decades working in Olympic Games and major sports events.

Since 2015, Christian has served as the International Olympic Committee's knowledge management advisor. In this capacity he has interviewed more than 1,500 people responsible for organizing the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, PyeongChang, Tokyo, Beijing, Paris, Milan, and Los Angeles, compiling what may be considered the largest oral history of the Games.

Christian helps people and organizations build community, connection, and understanding through simply talking.

Visit Rakonto Inc. at rakonto.io, www.linkedin.com/company/rakonto, and on twitter.com/Rakonto_io.   

Reach out to Christian at christian@rakonto.io, and on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/christiannapier

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org  

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Direct download: Christian_Napier_of_Rakonto_Inc.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Earned Secret

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

The earned secret mental model postulates that you should have some information that most others don’t before launching a startup.

The earned secret gives you an edge over other startups through a key insight into the customer or industry.

Those outside an industry have little or no insight into it.

Insight comes to those who work in the industry and test the assumptions and boundaries.

Here are some key points to consider about your earned secret:

Think through your view of an industry and think about what insight you may have.

What do you know that others don’t know?

For any insights consider how many others may know it.

Is it counterintuitive? Is it non-obvious?  

Has the market changed over time and it is now the norm?

How did you find this earned secret? 

Were you working in a niche in the industry? 

Will the earned secret apply to the rest of the industry or even outside the industry?

Test your earned secret to see if it can be monetized.

Most successful startups have some angle into the market that comes with a unique perspective.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
For Investors check out: https://tencapital.group/investor-landing/ 
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Direct download: Earned_secret.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Minimum Viable Product Mental Model

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

The minimum viable product called MVP tests the market before building the final product.

The MVP is designed to gain customer feedback and show market validation to the investor.

It tests the riskiest assumptions with small experimental products.

The MVP is not an early version of your go-to market product but can take many forms.

There can be more than one MVP as the startup should always be testing the market and customer reactions.

While asking customers what they want is a useful step, giving the customer a product to use elicits much deeper feedback.

Most MVPs start as mockups of the application proposed to prospective customers.

If the feedback is positive a small version of the product is built and tested with prospective customers to see if and how they would use it.

A key test of an MVP is will the customer pay for it.

It’s important to charge for one of the MVP products to test a customer’s willingness to pay.

MVPs can be landing pages, one-function mobile applications, a crowdfunding campaign, or others.

Each one is designed to test the interest of the customer and how to engage them.

The MVP is an ongoing process and not a one-time test.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
For Investors check out: https://tencapital.group/investor-landing/ 
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Direct download: Minimum_viable_product_mental_model.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Product Market Fit Mental Model

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Product market fit is a mental model that demonstrates your product meets the market's requirements.  

It’s a key milestone in the journey of the startup as it’s the point of inflection for growth and later scale.

Without product market fit the startup will most likely fail.

A startup has achieved product market fit when demand outweighs the supply. 

In other words, customers demand your product faster than you can provide it and you know why they want it.

When you achieve product-market fit customers are spreading the word about your company.

If you stop providing your product your customers have a real problem.

When you don’t yet have product market fit you can change the product, the market, the team, or the value proposition.

Scaling before achieving product market leads to failure as you’re increasing your costs before you have your revenue growth machine in place.

Achieving product market fit is the primary goal of the early-stage startup.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Direct download: Product-market_fit_mental_model.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

The Idea Maze

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

The idea maze is a mental model for how a founder sorts through the plethora of ideas to find the right one on which to build a startup.

There are many choices including the problem to solve, product to build, and how to monetize.

In navigating the idea maze for your startup consider these points:

Know the industry well enough to know what ideas have worked and what did not.

One learns more from the failures than the successes.

Borrow from other industries to apply to the sector you are pursuing.

There are more good models to draw from outside your target sector.

Work in the industry to learn more about the current structure.

There you will find experts that can give you feedback on your ideas.

Identify the core challenge to solve.

Make the core problem your central focus then walk through the various ideas to test them.

Watch for disruptions in the industry from the market, technology, or other.

Disruptions provide a new set of ideas to apply.

Map out the idea maze for your next startup to see how many possible solutions exist.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

The Babe Ruth Effect

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

The Babe Ruth effect mental model comes from Babe Ruth who once said:

I swing big, with everything I’ve got. I hit big or I miss big.”

The mental model postulates that it’s better to take big risks than to avoid failure.

Eventually, the big risks will pay off and will outweigh the failures.

In investing, venture capitalists follow the Babe Ruth effect by betting big and then ignoring the ones that didn’t make it.

To pursue the Babe Ruth effect as an investor consider the following:

Find sources of quality deal flow.

There’s no shortage of deals, but there is a finite number of quality deals.

Setup a process for diligence and deal negotiations.

It’s a process that you will repeat many times so set it up for efficiency.

Startup success rates tell us only one in ten will be a home run. 

Prepare yourself mentally to lose on seven to nine deals out of every ten.

Invest with others to share the deal flow and diligence.

It takes substantial work to fund and then support a deal so don’t go it alone. 

The Babe Ruth effect tells you to focus on maximizing the upside and not just mitigating the downside.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

On this episode of Investor Connect, Hall welcomes Justin Izzo, Lead Data and Trends Analyst at Dropbox DocSend.

Located in San Francisco, California, Dropbox DocSend enables companies to share business-critical documents with ease and get real-time actionable feedback. With DocSend's security and control, startup founders, investors, executives, and business development professionals can build business partnerships that have a lasting impact. Over 30,000 customers of all sizes use DocSend today.

Dropbox is the one place to keep life organized and keep work moving. With more than 700 million registered users across 180 countries, they are on a mission to design a more enlightened way of working. 

Justin is a trusted insight professional with 15 years of research and leadership experience. He is a passionate data-driven researcher who uses deep analysis, persuasive writing, and interdisciplinary skills to find new opportunities, discover unexpected connections and tackle organizational challenges.

Justin conducts research experience, including applied research, for example: Focus groups, participant observation, structured and semi-structured interviews, ethnography, narrative strategies, cultural studies, and content analysis. He attended Duke University and holds a Ph.D. in Literature and a MA in Cultural Anthropology. Justin also attended New York University for his Bachelor of Arts in French Language and Literature.

Justin helps folks how to prepare pitch decks and fundraise, using fundraising surveys and pitch deck data. 

Visit Dropbox DocSend at www.docsend.com and on Twitter at twitter.com/docsend.

Reach out to Justin at justinizzo@dropbox.com, and on LinkedIn at  www.linkedin.com/in/justin-izzo.

_______________________________________________________

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Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Regret Minimization

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

The regret minimization mental model helps you make difficult decisions by projecting yourself into the future and looking back on the decision to be made.

Jeff Bezos once said, 

“I knew that when I was 80 I was not going to regret having tried this.”

Today you are your present self.

Tomorrow you are going to be your future self.  

The key to practicing regret minimization is to project into your future self.

This helps you make difficult decisions by placing yourself into that future situation.

For example, if you have a challenging task to do today, you can ask your present self what you want to do.

Your present self will say do it tomorrow.

If you ask your future self what you want to do, then you’ll say, do it today.

Consider how your future self will make a decision in addition to your present self. 

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Disruptive Innovation

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

The disruptive innovation mental model describes a simple innovation starting at the bottom of a market and then moves up the curve to overcome the industry incumbents.

This mental model was first defined by Clayton Christensen in his book The Innovator's Dilemma.

Industries with expensive products are overtaken by companies operating in overlooked sectors but through innovation overtake the industry.

The personal computer is an example of disruptive innovation.

It started out as a basic machine that provided only simple solutions.  

The more expensive mini computers and mainframes were too expensive for non-business applications.

It was used for gaming when there were no business software applications available.

Over time, the personal computer grew in performance and took on business use cases.

It was lower cost and more available to the average person and small business. 

Disruptive innovations make products more affordable and available to a wider range of users.

Consider using disruptive innovation to launch your product or service.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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The Why Now

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

"The why now" mental model builds the case that now is the right time to launch and raise funding for a startup.

Timing is key to a successful startup launch.

Launch too soon and the market won’t be there.

Launch too late and the competition will be too far out in front of you.

Here are some key steps to use the "why now" in your fundraising pitch.

Point out key metrics from legitimate sources about changes in the market.

Confirm those trends are happening now with your personal observations.

Cite quotes from others verifying the trends.

Show how your startup will take advantage of those changes.

Articulate three reasons why your startup is best positioned to win.

Call out the opportunity to be achieved and use numbers to quantify it.

The 'why now’ mental model shows now is the best time to start a business.

It gives immediacy to the fundraising pitch.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Introduction to Mental Models

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

A mental model according to Wikipedia is “an explanation of someone’s thought process about how something works in the real world".  

It is a representation of the surrounding world, the relationships between its various parts, and a person’s intuitive perception about their own acts and their consequences.”

Mental models help solve problems and simplify complex situations.

An extensive list of mental models gives one an edge in competing in the startup world. 

Mental models provide additional tools for understanding startup challenges such as raising funding, developing products, managing the team, and closing customers.

Many mental models help frame the problem in a way that makes the answer clear.

The startup world brings many mental models for founders and investors to consider.

The more mental models you have, the stronger your management skills.

Mental models are not included in formal education programs.

You find them in the writings of experienced founders and investors.

These founders and investors developed mental models after solving the same problem over and again.

The more you can learn these mental models, the fewer mistakes you’ll make. 

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Direct download: Introduction_to_mental_models.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Product Roadmaps

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

The product roadmap is a shared resource that outlines the vision, priorities, and direction of a product over time.

It aligns the goals of the company to deliver the product and sets the expectations of the customer.

The first product is the minimum viable product and sets the starting point for the product roadmap.

Each version thereafter builds on what came before.

Each version of the product should have a primary theme.

This could be solving a product for a type of buyer. 

This could be adding a major new capability that all customers can use.

Product roadmaps are driven by revenue generation priorities.

Which feature set will generate the most revenue.

Product roadmaps are also used as a competitive advantage by providing features that others do not have.

Each themed version of the product will come with a series of features and benefits.

This provides a technical list of features to implement.

Many customers don’t buy the product for the current version but rather for the product roadmap it brings.

This can become a selling point to larger customers if they have visibility into the roadmap.

Use product roadmaps not only as a tool to organize your development teams but also as a tool to close customers. 

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

This is the Investor Connect Hot Topics program.

I am Hall Martin, the host of the show in which we dive into current topics and how it impacts the startup space.

I hope you enjoy this episode.

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Thank you for joining us for the TEN Capital  Hot Topics Program where we dive into current topics and how it impacts the startup space.

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Pre-seed Product Work

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

The minimum viable product is one of the more challenging products to design.

There are many choices and limited resources available.

In designing your MVP consider the following:

Scope into your core technology in building out the first version.

Eliminate as much of the surrounding building as possible.

Take a specific use case and focus on solving that alone.

Focus on learning the customer’s problem.

Consider as many implementation options as possible.

Don’t set your heart on a particular implementation of the product.  

In general, the MVP will not be your first product but will lead you to it.

Set a deadline for finalizing the design and then set a deadline for building it.

The deadline should be in weeks and months and not quarters or years.

Try and sell it before you build it.

Build it without raising funding and save the fundraise for the final product.

In addition to building the MVP, build an ideal customer profile for the first version of the product.

Think minimum utility, not maximum capability.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Product Reporting

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

It’s important to track the key metrics for your product.

Here’s a list of numbers to capture:

Customer acquisition cost -- the cost to acquire a customer.

Customer lifetime value -- the total revenue received from each customer on average.

Churn rate -- the percentage of customers dropping out each month.

Conversion rate -- the percent of customers that convert from a lead each month.

Unit sales per month - the number of total units sold each month and tracked over a six-month period.

Active users -- the number of daily and monthly active users per product.

Cost to build -- the cost to build and deliver each product.  

Gross margin per product -- the percentage of revenue after subtracting the cost to build.

Cohort analysis -- the performance of the product after making specific changes.  This is often used in A/B testing.

Cost to develop -- the cost and time it takes to create a new product.

It’s important to track this for each product to understand the contribution of the product to profitability.

It also helps in budgeting and forecasting new product development. 

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Product Usage Metrics

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Metrics are a key tool in product management.

In managing a product track these metrics:

Customer acquisition -- track the performance of the product in acquiring new customers.

This is often done broadly across all products but should be done by each product as well.

Customer adoption -- track the performance of the product during the customer onboarding process.

This is the conversion rate and demonstrates how well the product was designed for customer usage.

Customer engagement -- track the performance of the product in how often the customer uses it.

This could be daily, weekly, or monthly.

Customer satisfaction -- track the performance of the product in generating happy customers.

This tracks retention and churn rates and highlights areas for improvement.

Revenue and profitability -- track the financial performance of the product.

This includes both how much revenue it generates for the company as well as the profitability.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Product Development Process

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

There are many approaches to product development.

Here are some approaches companies use:

Defines the ideal process. This lets the process work out from project to project. 

Systematizes development activities. The core systems are made available to the team to use as they like.

Focus on the customer and their needs. They align their systems to customer requirements.

Outlines the team’s duties and responsibilities.  This provides a functional overview of how each team member works.

These approaches are built into well-known models such as the Scorecard-Markov model which assigns a score to new ideas and prioritizes development accordingly.

The IDEO process emphasizes the customer's needs and focuses on form, fit, and function.

The BAH model provides a set of steps for product development as follows: strategy, idea generation, screening, analysis, development, testing, and commercialization.

The Stage-Gate model funnels product development through a series of phases as follows:  generating ideas, screening, testing the concept, business case analysis, product development, market testing, commercialization, and launch.

There are a variety of approaches to setting up product development and executing it.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Gamification of the Product

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

In designing your product consider adding gamification to it.

Here are some key elements to consider:

Include goals for the user to accomplish with the product.

This makes it engaging for the customer.

It also provides a benchmark on how much the customer uses the product.

Provide control over the product so that the customer can customize it.

This generates more ownership as the customer can configure their own workspace.

Design the product so the work flows easily from one step to the next.

This generates flow which provides a more engaging environment for the customer.

Consider adding avatars that customers can use to personalize the product.

By generating unique identities the product fosters community among the users.

Setup levels in the product so novice users can find it easy to work with while experienced users can find more capabilities.

This customizes the product for the experience level of the user. 

Finally, try and make the product fun to use as the customer will look forward to working with it. 

Consider adding these elements into your product design.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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User Experience Design

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

The user experience of the product must be designed into the product from the beginning.

Here are some key points in researching the user experience:

Understand the user’s goal and what they are trying to achieve.

The user may be trying to generate a report or store key information, or analyze data.

Identify the user’s challenge in accomplishing the goal.

The user may be trying to use multiple tools to solve a problem of which you’re one tool.

Understand what part of the problem they are trying to solve with your solution.

The user may have many steps to complete the process.

Understand how your solution fits into the user's workflow and what comes before and after your step.

The user must move from one tool to the next to solve the problem so your tool needs to fit into the workflow.

Understand the user's constraints.

The user may not have all the information they need to solve the problem fully but can solve it if they have key information.

Understand the user's preferences.

The user may prefer one method over the other so you can design the product in that direction.

Design the product with these issues in mind to provide the best solution possible.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Product Data

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Product data is the information about the product used for product management purposes.

Here are some key data points to capture and maintain:

Customer tests for new product features.

Capture A/B test data into a central repository as the answers may be useful for building future features.

Key metrics such as customer engagement and satisfaction rates.

Keep a running list of KPIs about your product for product decisions and business strategy.

Feature usage measures how customers use the product.

Track which features customers use most often and least often.

Customer sign-ups track who joins to use the product.

Keep track of client signups to understand what they expect to gain from the product.

The churn rate tracks those who stop using the product.

Keep track of client departures to understand why they left to build an ideal customer profile.

Cost to build the product.

By tracking the cost to build you can make future product development decisions easier to forecast and budget.

Capture all product data into a central location for future product planning and strategy sessions.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Product Development Priorities

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

There are many features to add to a product and never enough resources to do all of them.

Consider these points in prioritizing your product development:

Look for lost sales to find high-priority features to work on.

Focus product development on customer requests.

Look at how the customer is solving their problem now with your product for potential features that would be helpful.

Test the customer’s desire for a feature by charging for it and then see who actually pays for it.

Investigate customer complaints about a missing feature before committing resources to it. 

Not every new feature will turn into a big jump in revenue, but collectively they can give the startup a competitive edge.

Avoid copying competitors and stay focused on your customer audience.

Don’t bet the entire startup on a single product launch.

Instead, roll out the features serially and test the customer’s response. 

In product development start with small steps and build out the product incrementally.

It’s best to underpromise and overdeliver. 

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

Thank you for joining your host Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org  

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
For Investors check out: https://tencapital.group/investor-landing/ 
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Direct download: Product_development_priorities.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

On this episode of Investor Connect, Hall welcomes Yao Huang, Managing Partner at Division One Capital.

Located in Seattle, Washington, Division One Capital is a fund that provides capital to minority-owned businesses so they can grow and realize their potential. They exist to help minority communities, their people, and businesses prosper.

Every business, company, or brand needs capital in order to grow steadily and have a shot at reaching their highest ambitions, but the discriminatory system has created a gap of disadvantage for minorities. Division One Capital’s fund aims to fill that gap through non-discriminatory funding.

Yao is an investor and tech veteran with two decades of experience in technology, partnerships, and investing. She has founded companies, helped corporations launch new innovation initiatives, and venture partner in 2 funds. She leads a 16-year network of 10,000 women across 30 cities touching every corporation. She believes in minorities' and women’s access to capital in fairways and works to increase those funds in different ways.

Yao was named by Forbes as one of eleven women at the center of New York’s digital scene, by Beta Beat as one of 25 Women Driving New York’s Tech Scene, and TechWeek’s 100 most influential people in tech. She was part of the U.S. State Department Global Entrepreneurship Program Delegations in bringing entrepreneurship and initiatives to strategic countries.

Yao is a sought-after speaker in areas of building internet companies, technology, big data, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Yao and her efforts have been featured in Fortune, INC Magazine, Reuters, Daily News, Red Herring, Crains, American Venture, and TED. She is on the board of Carbon Optimum, a carbon sequestering company removing carbon and methane from polluting cement, oil, and gas plants. She has a particular passion for climate solutions to save the planet as well as helping entrepreneurs, women, and social causes with projects in place to build global communities, and push more women into executive positions. 

Yao shares what excites her now, advises startups and investors, and discusses some of the challenges associated with putting together the fund.

Visit Division One Capital at www.divisiononecapital.com; www.linkedin.com/company/division-one-capital/

Visit Yao at yao@divisiononepartner.com, yao@hatcheryny.com, and on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/yaohui;

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org  

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Direct download: Yao_Huang_of_Divison_One_Capital.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

MVP Mistakes

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

In developing a minimal viable product avoid these mistakes:

Trying to create your vision fully in the MVP.

The MVP will be a greatly reduced version of the envisioned product.

Taking customer feedback literally.

Customers will provide feedback and ask for specific features.  

In building a product you must look at the bigger picture to see what problems you solve and what problems you don’t solve.

Overbuilding the MVP.

The MVP should be simple to install and use and should not require extensive support to engage users.

Using the MVP as the basis for the final product.

The MVP provides feedback from which you rethink the entire product including the form factor, features, and even what problem you solve.

Building just one MVP.

The more MVPs you can build and test the more you will find the right mix of features, pricing, and form factor.

Avoid these mistakes in building your minimum viable product.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: MVP_mistakes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Product Features

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

The features of your product will determine your competitive position in the market. 

For any market, there is a baseline set of features that customers will expect.

To enter the market your product must provide these basic services.

To beat the competition your product must have differentiation features.

Differentiation features distinguish your product from the competition.

This gives the customer a reason to choose your product over competitors.

Customers will demand the basic features and their performance.

It is up to the founder to drive the development of the differentiation features.

Your sales team will push for basic features and their performance to close current customers.

Your current customer will drive the basic feature set for their own needs.

You must drive the differentiation feature set for new markets.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: Product_features.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Product Adoption

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Product adoption raises awareness about the product and drives users to sign up for it.

A strong product adoption process generates more customers, reduces churn, and increases customer loyalty.

Product adoption comes in stages as follows:

Awareness -- first make your customer aware of your product.

It is important to educate the customer about your product and the need it solves.

Interest -- you must build customer interest in your product.

Content marketing, events, and webinars can be useful tools for providing more information.

Consideration -- you must differentiate your product from the competition.

You want the customer to consider your product in an evaluation alongside the competition.

Testing -- you must engage the customer in a pilot test.

These could be free or reduced-cost trials.

Lock-in -- you want to set up your product so that it becomes a must-have for the customer.

Designing sticky features will help lock in your solution.

Consider these stages in driving product adoption.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: Product_adoption.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Product Experience

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Product experience is the customer's engagement with the product.

Consider these customer touch points in developing the product experience:

Sign up -- this is the stage customers commit to the product and join.

Make sure you have an easy signup process that states clearly what the customer will receive.

Onboarding -- this is the stage customers set up the product for their own use.

Again, make it simple for customers to use the product.  

Design it such that the user gains a benefit from it quickly. 

Support -- provide multiple channels of support.

Provide online and on-the-phone support for the customer to get answers to their questions.

Renewals -- build automatic renewals into the product.

Remind the customer that the renewal is coming up and check for any concerns.

Upgrades -- provide updates to the product with new features.

Notify the customer of upgrades and how they will impact their use of the product.

Sharing -- give the user the ability to share their experience with the product both good and bad.

Provide a community access channel that gives the customer a chance to find additional information about the product and also share success stories.

Design the product experience up front so it’s part of the product itself.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: Product_experience.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Product Research

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Before building your minimum viable product, you’ll need to research the space.

Here are some key points to consider:

Know your customer and their problem very well.

Many founders start building a solution to a problem that they only know superficially.

Talk to at least fifty prospective customers about the problem to understand it.

For the next fifty prospective customers propose a solution and capture the feedback.

Once you have a product you must continue the research to refine the product features, positioning, and selling points.

For researching the next version of the product here are key questions to ask:

How did you find the product?

Why did you choose the product?

Who in your organization uses the product?

What do you like most about the product?

What do you like the least about the product?

Would you recommend this product to someone else?

Look carefully at what the customer does with the product in addition to what they say about it.

Many customers will complain about a product but they continue to use it extensively.

Look at the characteristics of those who are successful with the product and those who are not as it helps build an ideal customer profile. 

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: Product_research.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Thank you for joining us today for our TEN Capital Fundraise Launch Program.

In this program, we help startups prepare for a fundraise. 

We provide templates, tools, eGuides, and advice to founders who are working towards raising funding.

We’ll kick off the session with a short overview on a fundraising topic, then we’ll answer questions from the founders.

I hope you enjoy this episode.

___________________________________

Thank you for joining us for the TEN Capital Fundraise Launch Program where we help startups prepare for a fundraise. 

For more episodes, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org  

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/  

For Investors check out: https://tencapital.group/investor-landing/ 

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Direct download: 2022-05-10_TENFL_Friends_and_Family_Funding_Q_A.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Product Research Best Practices

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

In researching your product include these best practices:

Always be researching when talking with prospects and customers.

Focus on the audience and their needs and not the product and its features.

Identify the customer journey and how your product fits into it.

Track the user's thought process in engaging your product to see where there’s alignment and misalignment.

Focus on what the user actually does with the product rather than only what they say about it. 

Engage the entire team on research by arming them with questions to ask and capturing any feedback they receive.

Create a central repository for customer feedback so it’s easy to access.

Summarize the research with proposals and recommendations to share with the entire team.

Segment the research into logical groupings so it’s easier to understand the data points collected.

Measure the contribution each team member makes by reviewing the centralized repository.

Product research is a continual process. 

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
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Direct download: Product_research_best_practices.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Product Innovation

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Innovation is a part of product research and development.

Product innovation provides a competitive advantage, opens new markets, and increases sales to existing customers.

Determine how much you will spend on product innovation.

Set a budget for people and time to work on those innovations.

Base this budget on demands from customers as well as pressure from the competition.

Segment your customer base and perform market research.

Brainstorm various innovations and test with customers to determine the potential increase in sales from each innovation.

Compare the cost of innovation with the potential sales increase.

Consider pursuing innovations that can pay back more than the basic development cost.  

Repeat this process with each segment of the customer base and with various solutions.

Prioritize the approved innovations across the various customer segments to work on the highest return projects first.

Innovation is a key aspect of product development but it must be managed within the constraints of the company’s budget and the ability to monetize the innovation.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: Product_innovation.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Product Development Challenges

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Product development in a startup brings several challenges.

Here’s a list of key challenges to overcome:

Picking the right problem to solve.

There are many problems to solve so it’s important to select the right problem up front.  

You’ll need a compelling solution and a means to monetize it.

Building the first product.

Many founders focus on their ultimate vision but the first product will be a greatly reduced version of it.

Look for an entry point that you can build in a short amount of time and can monetize equally fast.

Knowing your ideal customer.

It’s important to know who will buy your product and why as well as how much they have to spend for it.

Validate your idea.

Once you have a proposed product, you’ll need to test it out on prospective customers to see if they will pay for it.

Scoping the first version of the product.

The initial product should solve an important part of the problem rather than the entire problem.

It should work well for the customer.

Scope in on your product and tighten your ideal customer profile to build your first product.

With a product available to sell you can grow revenue, feedback, and a customer base that you can use to raise funding.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: Product_development_challenges.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Minimum Viable Product

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Product development begins with a minimum viable product.

In building your MVP, set constraints with respect to development time and selling time. 

In software development, it takes six months to build the product and six months to sell it. 

If you can’t build it in six months you scoped the product too large. 

If you can’t sell it in six months then you built the wrong product.

By putting constraints on your MVP up front you can eliminate many paths letting you focus on the few that are viable.

The purpose of the MVP is to test the market, close initial customers, and raise funding. 

The customer feedback from it will drive the specification for the first product. 

The first full version of the product is rarely an incremental revision of the MVP.

It’s most often completely different in features, packaging, and pricing. 

It’s not important to get the MVP exactly right as it’s for initial testing. 

It’s far better to go out to the market quickly and gain feedback.

Save the deep dive development for your first full product. 

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: Minimum_viable_product.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Source of Failures in Product Development

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

There are many challenges in product development.

Here’s a list of failures points to watch out for:

Inexperienced developers who mean well and work hard but lack the experience.

Hire for the skills you need rather than try and build the skills on the go.

Growing a product from a custom solution into a general solution can be difficult.  

Setup a separate development plan to turn the custom solution into a general one.

Lack of ownership.

Make sure there’s a team lead who owns the outcome.

There’s no overarching vision of what the product will become.

Set up a strategic plan for the product with a five-year window.

The team continues to fall down due to defections and a lack of interest.

Build in strong leadership who can hold a group together.

There are too many features and requests.

Install a process for prioritizing development on new features.

Feature creep pushes out the delivery date.

Set target dates for upgrades and ship on those dates moving the undone features to the next release.

There’s no product launch to the market.

Budget for marketing to bring the product to the market.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: Source_of_failures_in_product_development.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

On this episode of Investor Connect, Hall welcomes Martin Tobias, Managing Partner at Incisive Ventures.

Located in Seattle, Washington, Incisive Ventures is a $10M pre-seed fund currently seeking limited liability partners. They focus on technology companies that reduce friction at scale, targeting high-friction industries like Fintech, supply chain, vertical SaaS, and health and fitness.  

Martin is also an ex-Accenture, Microsoft, and a former venture partner at Ignition Partners. He is a 3X venture-funded CEO raising over $500M with two IPOs and has also invested in over 200 companies as an angel, 50 through Incisive Ventures, and he is also a limited partner in over a dozen VC funds. He was an early investor in Google, DocuSign, OpenSea, and over a dozen unicorns.

Martin is the father of 3 daughters, a cyclist, surfer, poker player, and life hacker. He writes about venture capital on [Incisive Ventures](https://incisive.vc/insight/) and notes to himself on how to live the good life on his [personal blog](https://deepgreencrystals.com/).

Martin shares some of the challenges startups face, his criteria for making an investment, and how he sees the startup industry evolving in the near future. 

Visit Incisive Ventures at https://incisive.vc/, and on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/incisive-ventures/. 

Reach out to Martin at: www.linkedin.com/in/martintobias/; twitter.com/martingtobias; martin@incisive.vc; martin@slashr.com.  

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org  

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Direct download: Martin_Tobias_of_Incisive_Ventures.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Challenges in Product Development

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Product development brings many challenges to the startup.

Here are some key points to watch out for:

Funding takes time to raise so focus your product development on MVPs and draw as many lessons to be learned as you can from each one.

Building a product that actually solves the customer’s problem is a key challenge.  Keep the big picture in mind and continue to use customer feedback to guide development.

Hiring people takes time so make sure your recruiting keeps up with your development plans which often require new hires.

When things don’t go as planned make sure you have thought about alternative paths. 

What if sales aren’t what was forecasted?  What if the customer doesn’t adopt the product as expected?  

Have a plan for each situation. 

Competition can change your company’s position with the customer.  

Research your competition and keep up with their progress.

Planning ahead will help you overcome these challenges when they arise.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
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Direct download: Challenges_in_product_development.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Outsourcing Product Development

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Many startups outsource their product development.

Here are some key points to consider before outsourcing:

Outsourcing gives you access to additional skills and resources you may not be able to hire yourself.

It can also lower your costs as you pay for the work to be done through contracts rather than salaries.

The key is to have someone on your team manage the outsourced product development.

Their job is to specify the work to be done including designing architectures, coding to standards, and documenting the code. 

The team building the product needs to have a project manager that can set priorities, drive to meet deadlines, and communicate with the startup hiring them.

Startups must have a very well-defined specification that includes wireframes, screenshots, and clear descriptions of each function.

There must be daily email communications for posing and answering questions as well as weekly status updates on what is accomplished.

Collaboration tools for tracking the project status and communications between the developers and the team are a must.

The startup must be able to test the software on a regular basis and provide feedback.

You must install solid specifications, project management, and communication processes to gain the benefits of outsourcing product development.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
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Direct download: Outsourcing_product_development.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

How to Reduce Costs in Product Development

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Product development often runs over budget.

Here are some steps to reduce costs:

Start with good planning and define the goals clearly.

Many projects launch with unreasonable expectations.

Track the progress using metrics to know how you are doing. 

Make sure the team is up to the tasks at hand.

Identify the skills needed for the project and match them to the team you are proposing to hire.

Build communication into the process using collaboration tools.

Setup communication channels including regular status reports, code reviews, and documentation deadlines.

Define communication as a part of everyone’s job.

Test the software as you develop it.

Some groups run daily builds from the get-go.

Start with the core features and work out from there to the ancillary ones.

Focus on the minimum viable product for the first version.

Simple processes can help you bring your product to market on time and under budget.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Direct download: How_to_reduce_costs_in_product_development.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Tips for Success in Product Development

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

It takes a plan and persistence to bring a product to market. 

Here are some tips to make your product development successful.

You’ll need to bring passion to the project to see it all the way through.

Use Minimum Viable Products to test out the idea and gather feedback. 

Success with an MVP will energize the team to move forward.

Don’t try and do it all yourself.  Setup processes and delegate.

Hire the right people with the skills necessary to take it through to the market.

Foster a culture of innovation and curiosity.

Prepare the team to pivot the product, the price, or the positioning, and don’t marry yourself to one concept as it will most likely change.

Funding the new product will take some time as fundraising is a process.

Use mistakes as a learning opportunity.

Enjoy the process of innovation and discovery.

Show the team how thankful you are for their contribution.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: Tips_for_success_in_product_development.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Product Development Using IDEO

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Startups can use the IDEO  method to build out their product development process.

Here are the steps:

Observation -- observe the user and their pain points.

Ideation/brainstorming -- turn the observations into product ideas and use brainstorming to generate multiple variations.

Prototyping -- mock up an example of the proposed product using simplistic approaches such as made-up datasheets, screen interfaces, and cardboard prototypes.

User feedback -- gather user feedback using the prototypes.

Iteration -- use the feedback to iterate on the product and generate more feedback.

Implementation -- take the feedback and develop the first version of the product.

Make sure you capture the feedback in written form for review later.

Continually validate the product with new users.

Launch the product into the market for even more feedback.

The IDEO process works well for products developed around the user.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

On this episode of Investor Connect, Hall welcomes Michelle Seiler Tucker, Founder, and CEO of Seiler Tucker, Inc. and EXIT RICH Podcast. 

Located in New Orleans, Louisiana, Seiler Tucker, Inc buys and sells businesses. They help business owners with the valuations of their businesses so they can sell for the most profit and find the right buyers for their businesses.

Michelle holds the M&AMI (Mergers & Acquisitions Master Intermediary) title, as well as the Certified Mergers and Acquisitions Professional (CM&AP) and Certified Senior Business Analyst (CSBA). 

She also owns many other businesses in several different industries. She and her firm have sold businesses in almost every vertical and have a remarkable track record of success.

Michelle discusses helping business owners find the right value for their businesses, finding the perfect buyer, and much more. 

Visit Seiler Tucker, Inc. at: https://seilertucker.com/;http://www.linkedin.com/company/seiler-tucker/ 

Reach out to Michelle at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/michelleseiler/; https://twitter.com/MSeilerTucker; podcasts@seilertucker.com; marketing@seilertucker.com

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org  

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Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Product Development Team Dynamics

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Product development requires a team approach.

Here’s a list of key points to consider:

Assess the skills of each team member to understand the group’s capabilities.

Set goals for the team before the project sprint begins.

Lack of clarity causes confusion among the team members.

Check the feasibility of the project sprint before launching it to make sure the team is on board. 

Break down big projects into a series of smaller ones that you can execute on.

Use a kanban or card-based tool to track the projects. 

It will highlight where there are too many bottlenecks.

Use scrum as a framework to manage the meetings, the tools, and the roles for the team members.

The project manager needs to exercise leadership in resolving conflicts among the team and setting priorities for projects.

There’s a tradeoff between quality, speed, and cost of which you get two.

It’s important the team buys into the tradeoffs made along the way.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: Product_development_team_dynamics.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Product Development Best Practices

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Product development is an important function in a startup.

Here are some best practices to consider:

Maintain focus on the user.

Involve other stakeholders in the process such as sales and marketing.

Metric your product development process to know how you are doing.

Focus on those areas with a strong return on investment.

Prioritize the strategic objective of your product development such as lowering product cost, improving time to market, or increasing product quality.

Practice design reuse to lower the cost.

Involve suppliers and partners in the planning phase.

Obtain commitment for the plan from all stakeholders.

Use rapid prototyping tools and techniques.

Use collaboration tools to keep everyone informed of the progress and issues.

Run a gap analysis to identify areas for improvement.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Direct download: Product_development_best_practices.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Lean Startup Approach to Product Development

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

The lean startup approach seeks to discover a product and business model that works.

Unlike big companies which have a large staff to maintain an existing product line, the startup has little to no staff and works on finding new business opportunities.

Startups use the lean startup approach in product development.

They look for product market fit by focusing on the product and the customer rather than the larger market or internal processes.

The startup finds itself working with emerging technologies in newly defined fields.

The purpose is to create a minimum viable product and test it with the market.

The startup uses A/B testing to try out variations of the product.

The startup team focuses on interviewing customers, identifying needs, and proposing feature sets.

The product development process runs on a limited budget and a short timeline.

The lean startup process consists of building several MVPs and testing them out until product market fit is identified.

Quite often, the technical development team is outsourced to another company.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: Lean_Startup_approach_to_Product_development.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Product Development Plan

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Here’s a checklist for launching product development for your startup:

Research the industry for trends and competitors in the space.

Talk with prospective customers about their pain points.

Consider not only the product to be built but the revenue to be generated.

Build out several Minimum Viable Products or MVPs.

Plan out a product roadmap from beta, to versions 1, 2, then 3.

Consider your intellectual property strategy.

Consider the platforms and coding language you will use.

Think through the product architecture so you can grow it later.

Make the development in-house or out-of-house decision.

Figure out the costs to develop and the funding needed.

Setup your development process to code the solution.

Test out the interfaces with users.

Track the metrics of your development process.

Launch your first version of the product.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: Product_development_plan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Creativity Is a Process

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Ideation requires creativity. 

Creativity is a process no different than any other activity.

Here are some steps to follow in generating creativity in your ideation program:

Start with preparation.

Capture your ideas into a list for evaluation.

Incubate the ideas.

Spend time exploring the ideas listed.

Identify the insight.

The idea crystallizes into a potential solution after a period of reflection.

Verify the idea.

Test the idea against your criteria for a solution.

Finding ideas comes from observation in which one notices interesting facts.

Trying to formulate ideas without any exposure to the situation is very difficult.

Most good ideas have an element of effective surprise which is a quality of obviousness producing a shock of recognition after which there is no longer astonishment.

Consider the role of creativity in your ideation program.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: Startup_Funding_Espresso_--_Creativity_is_a_process.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

On this episode of Investor Connect, Hall welcomes Mike Millard, Operating Partner at Ecliptic Capital.

Located in Austin, Texas, Ecliptic Capital is an emergent, early-stage innovation fund focused on pre-seed, seed, and Series A investments. Ecliptic Capital invests in companies that use science and technology as a lever to disrupt lagging industries and cultivate multiple market adjacencies. Their approach is industry agnostic and aims to invest in accelerating technologies that solve big problems and make a global impact in sectors such as energy, climate change, human welfare, and social change.

Ecliptic Capital invests in broadly disruptive technologies that can be applied to multiple market adjacencies improving returns and reducing risk. Their unique structure allows them to maximize these world-changing opportunities, each to their fullest extent, by not forcing exits too early or abandoning them at the first sign of distress.

Mike spent over 20 years of his career in newly formed Fortune 500 divisions and venture capital, creating value at scale with engagements at Dell, HP, AT&T Knowledge Ventures, Ascension, and Austin Ventures. His years in the corporate arena culminated in becoming a Texas innovation ecosystem builder.

Mike is also the Co-Founder of Pitch-a-Kid - where real entrepreneurs pitch their company ideas to kids. It helps kids learn about entrepreneurship while pushing entrepreneurs to communicate better using straightforward language. 

Mike discusses strategies for investments, how to bring value to a startup,  how to reduce risks when investing, and more.

Visit Ecliptic Capital at: www.eclipticcapital.com, www.linkedin.com/company/eclipticcapital/, and Twitter @EclipticCapital.

Reach out to Mike at: www.linkedin.com/in/mikemillard/L, millard@eclipticcapital.com, and Twitter @millardtx.

_______________________________________________________

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Direct download: Mike_Millard_of_Ecliptic_Capital.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Testing Your Ideas

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

After generating ideas for your startup, you’ll need to test those ideas.

Consider these points in your evaluation:

Research the market on the product you intend to build and sell.

Is it big enough and growing fast enough for a venture deal?

Who is the competition and how are they positioned in the market?

How saturated is the market and where are the open spaces?

How differentiated will your product be and will that be enough to win customers?

What do the comments on social media platforms indicate about the market’s view of current products?

How scalable is the proposed product?

Will the product and its business model generate high growth?

What is the break-even point for the proposed product?

How much funding will need to be raised to achieve the product launch?

Finally, what is the channel to the market?

Test your startup ideas with these questions before committing to it.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: Startup_Funding_Espresso_--_Testing_your_ideas.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Basics of Product Development

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Product development should follow a standard process.

It starts with a strategy.

That strategy should align with the goals of the company and mesh with its current product roadmap. 

The specific product should further the company’s business objectives such as increasing revenue, reducing costs, or holding off a competitor.

The product development process should take into account the financial objectives such as meeting a quota line or increasing margins.

There should be a scope that defines where innovation should occur and where it should not.

Product development should have established processes for developing new products as well as upgrading existing ones.

It should draw from research both within the company and from sources outside the company.

Product development should maintain a view of the company’s portfolio and how new products will fit in.

There needs to be a process to tradeoff between risk and reward on new products.

Finally, the company needs capabilities to deliver on product development including leadership such as project management and technical skills for product development.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: Startup_Funding_Espresso_--_Basics_of_Product_Development.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Where to Start Your Product Development

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

It’s important to have a product development process for your startup.

Here’s a list of what startups should do to get started:

Focus on the customer's pain.  Find that which is critically important and not just nice to have. 

Do it better than the competition.  Don’t be just slightly better, be way better.

Use the SCAMPER model to ideate new product concepts as follows:

Substitution -- use a different material, ingredient, or interface.

Combine -- put multiple components together.

Adapt -- make it easier for the user.

Modify -- add one new feature to an existing product.

Put to another use -- take an existing solution and apply to a new application.

Eliminate -- remove unnecessary features or intermediaries.

Reverse -- approach the problem from the other direction.

It’s important to know your customers and then spend time with them to validate the proposed solution.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: Startup_Funding_Espresso_--_Where_to_start_your_product_development.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Product Development Using Stage-Gate

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Startups can use the Stage-Gate method to build out their product development process.

Here are the steps:

Idea generation -- use brainstorming, market research, and other tools to come up with ideas.

Idea screening -- create a set of criteria to judge the ideas and determine what to pursue.

Development and testing -- flesh out the concept for an idea and test the market with it.

Business analytics -- this step determines the business model, competition, costs to build and deploy, pricing, and other aspects of the product.

Marketability tests -- test the product in small groups for feedback and use for further development.

Product development -- build the product including the promotion and fulfillment.

Commercialization -- sell the product with support, logistics, marketing, and more.

Perfect the product and pricing -- adjust the price for the market and costs to build and deliver.

The Stage-Gate process works well for products that follow a linear development path.

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: Startup_Funding_Espresso_--_Product_development_using_stage_gate.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Finding Your Value Proposition

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

In ideating for a startup you must first start with a customer problem. 

Once you find a solution for that problem, you then identify your value proposition.

A value proposition is how you solve a problem and the benefit it brings to your customer.

Here are the steps to find your value proposition:

Start with a customer problem. 

Articulate the benefits of your proposed solution.

Choose a specific problem case.

Show how your solution solves that problem.

Show what the customer should expect from your company.

This makes your solution relevant to the customer's problem.

Quantify if possible how your solution provides value to the customer.

This could be a calculated ROI such as your product reduces your cost by 2x.

Show how your business is uniquely positioned to solve the problem.

Phrase your value proposition in five words or less.

It should show how your customer benefits from your product or service.

Great ideas for a startup generate strong value propositions to the customer. 

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: Finding_your_value_proposition.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Thank you for joining us today for our TEN Capital Fundraise Launch Program.

In this program, we help startups prepare for a fundraise. 

We provide templates, tools, eGuides, and advice to founders who are working towards raising funding.

We’ll kick off the session with a short overview on a fundraising topic, then we’ll answer questions from the founders.

I hope you enjoy this episode.

_______________________________________________________

Thank you for joining us for the TEN Capital Fundraise Launch Program where we help startups prepare for a fundraise. 

For more episodes, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org  

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Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

The Vision Problem

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

In turning your startup idea into a product you’ll need to avoid the vision problem.

The vision problem is having a product or service in mind and then trying to build and launch it as your initial product.

Big vision products take years to develop in most cases.

It’s not practical to build your fully envisioned product in one go.

You’ll need to break it down into steps and stages.

The first product you build to enter the market will be a greatly reduced version of your vision.

This can be hard for some founders because they want the envisioned product now.

This often leads to founders trying to raise outsized amounts of funding.

In essence, they want to pole vault over years of development by raising capital.

Even if they could raise that funding, it’s most likely that they will end up building the wrong thing.

Take the envisioned product and break it down into smaller steps.

Make your first product small and simple so you can enter the market.

Then grow the product from there to the full vision.

Create a roadmap of products showing how you grow from one product to the next in a logical fashion.

Avoid the vision problem and work on a product development path that uses customer revenue to help achieve the vision.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: The_vision_problem.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Legal Aspects of Ideation

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

There are financial and legal aspects to startup ideation.

Here are some key points to consider:

Test your idea with a minimum viable product before investing substantial resources.

All ideas look good until you have to actually build and sell it.

As always there should be more than one MVP on ideas that pass muster.

Check the numbers.

Do a basic financial analysis to see if the numbers make sense.

Model out the cost to build and sell the product.

Make sure all contributors to the ideation process have signed intellectual property rights over to the company.

This is often part of the employment agreement but should also be applied to contractors and other contributors.

Skip the non-disclosure agreements also called NDAs.

You want to generate more exposure to customers. 

A few precautions at this stage can save a tremendous amount of time and energy later.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Direct download: Startup_Funding_Espresso_--_Legal_aspects_of_ideation.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Use Design Process for Ideation

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

In ideation for a startup, it’s important to follow a process.

Consider these process steps for your ideation program:

Empathize -- understand your customers' problems very well including what works for them and what does not.  

This takes the research to a deeper level and includes the wishes and fears that customers have.

Define -- analyze the problems and categorize them into meaningful structures.

Consider the user’s journey and capture what the customer must do to accomplish their task.

Ideate -- generate potential solutions for the customer’s problems.

Capture all ideas in writing to share with the team.

Prototype -- develop a prototype for each viable solution.

It’s important to build something that potential users can engage with.

Test -- test the prototype on customers.

Engage customers to check their feedback on the prototype.

The process is iterative as the feedback from the customer will refine the definition of the problem which will require more ideation, prototypes, and testing.

Ideation builds on previous prototypes carrying the lessons learned to subsequent versions.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

More Mental Models for Ideation

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

There are several more approaches to ideation for a startup.

Consider these mental models for your ideation process:

Move online -- take offline interactions and move on to the web.

Roll-ups -- acquire other companies into your company or into a new one.

Provide enabling technology -- provide technology to an industry segment to reduce cost or increase productivity.

Commercialize patents -- take technology sitting on the shelf such as at a university and commercialize it.

Spin off technology -- take a successful internal technology and set it up as a stand-alone company.

Extend technology in the market -- apply high-end technology to low-end applications to reach more users.

Picks, shovels, and Levis -- provide the tools to other companies serving a customer.

Monetizing a network -- build a business that takes advantage of channel access.

Consider these additional mental models for ideation in your startup.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Direct download: More_mental_models_for_ideation.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Ideation Steps

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Ideation requires a process.

There are specific steps required to reach a successful outcome.

Here are the steps to follow for your ideation program:

Define the problem.

Write out a problem statement to define clearly the problem to be solved.

Set the criteria.

This defines what criteria the idea must meet to be considered.

Generate ideas.

There are several methods to generate ideas including mind mapping and inversion.

Mind mapping starts with a core focus and then draws out related concepts.

Inversion is the process of reversing the problem and creating a list of ideas to solve it.

Idea selection.

Apply your criteria to the generated ideas and eliminate those that don’t fit.

Test the ideas.

Take the ideas that meet the criteria and test them out.

Ideation is a process just like every other business function.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Thank you for joining us today for our TEN Capital Fundraise Launch Program.

In this program, we help startups prepare for a fundraise. 

We provide templates, tools, eGuides, and advice to founders who are working towards raising funding.

We’ll kick off the session with a short overview on a fundraising topic, then we’ll answer questions from the founders.

I hope you enjoy this episode.

_________________________________________________

Thank you for joining us for the TEN Capital Fundraise Launch Program where we help startups prepare for a fundraise. 

For more episodes, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org  

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Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Lateral Thinking

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Lateral thinking is solving problems using an indirect and creative approach via reasoning that is not immediately obvious according to Wikipedia.

In your startup ideation process consider using lateral thinking.

Here are some steps to implement it:

Come up with a random word and apply it to the problem you are solving. 

This stimulates new lines of thinking.

Ask why five times.

Asking why five times takes you past the symptoms and to the root of the problem.

Examine your current thought patterns to alter your thinking to identify potential new approaches.

Consider alternatives to the current solutions and also to your proposed solution.

Invert the problem and solve it.

To do this solve the opposite of what you are trying to achieve which generates new ways of viewing the problem.

Break the problem down into smaller problems and solve each one.

Use a transitional object to inspire new ideas. 

For example, if you have a management problem look to a figure such as Abraham Lincoln for inspiration.

Ask what you should not do in order to narrow the problem solution set.

Use the subtraction technique in which you ask what would happen if we stopped doing X.

This generates new ways of framing the problem.

Consider these techniques for fostering lateral thinking in your ideation process.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Direct download: Lateral_thinking.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Lead Users in Ideation

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Lead users are the early pioneers looking to solve a problem.

They face problems that need to be solved in advance of the general market providing a solution.

Lead users start well ahead of the mainstream market so they create their own solutions.

They can be a great source of inspiration for startups seeking new business opportunities.

To use lead users for your ideation process, consider the following:

Identify the problems to be solved.

Look for the leading edges of a new market.

This is often not in the mainstream market but rather a niche market.

Identify lead users in the niche market that are already working on a solution.

They are often found in research labs, academic institutions, and other startups.

Create a set of interview questions.

Interview the lead users to capture their proposed solutions.

Collect the resulting interviews and analyze the various approaches and strategies they used.

Share the results in a report with others on the team.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Direct download: Lead_users_in_ideation.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Brainstorming in Ideation

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Brainstorming can be an effective tool in the ideation phase of a startup.

It works best when focused on the right elements.

The startup exists to solve a customer problem.

Here are some steps to consider for your brainstorming in the ideation phase:

Start with a list of customer pain points.

Make a list of disruptive technologies that have recently come on the market.

Apply each disruptive technology to each pain point to find a solution.

Analyze and score each match on market size, competition, how well the solution fits, capital requirements, and barriers to entry.

Take the best matches and apply recent business model innovations to each matched pair.

Analyze and score each one on how well it solves the problem and monetizes.

Finally, take the top problem, technology, and business model matches and research the market by talking with customers and current providers in the space. 

It’s best to start with a pain point that is strong enough to motivate someone to pay for it. 

Nice to have solutions rarely go very far so focus on real problems.

Avoid starting with disruptive technologies or new business models as this leaves out the most important element: a paying customer.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Direct download: Brainstorming_in_ideation.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Key Mental Models for Ideation

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

There are several approaches to ideation for a startup.

Consider these mental models for your ideation:

Solving a customer problem -- focus on reducing the cost or increasing the convenience of the solution.

Transfer a solution -- this takes a solution from one industry and applies it to another.

Disruption -- provide a better solution to an existing market where the competition is antiquated.

Replicate success -- take a successful business and apply the business model to another industry or application.

Bundling -- create a new product by bundling two or more functions together.

Unbundling -- take a current business apart by creating a solution for a subset of its offering.

Remove the intermediaries -- create a solution that removes the middleman.

Predict the future -- extrapolate current trends to identify how the future will look and build a solution for that.

Backcasting -- develop a non-consensual view of the world and develop solutions for that world.

Consider these mental models in ideating for your next startup.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: Key_mental_models_for_ideation.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Startups Are Not Big Companies

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Big companies are those who have found product-market fit and have encapsulated their repeatable and scalable business model into processes.

Big companies who want to achieve innovation will find that they are not startups.

Startup ideation creates new ideas that disrupt those existing processes.

New business models, products, and concepts often don’t fit into the big companies' current programs.

They have metrics and KPIs that track the current processes.

This is why it’s hard for big companies to innovate.

While big companies may want to innovate they rarely have the tools in place to do so.

The processes and programs for generating startup ideas are different from those that are optimized to execute on them at scale.

To launch a startup ideation process many companies create a separate group that can run under different metrics.

This group uses metrics that track startup ideas, investigations, market validation, and other steps.

They have a different incentive plan that fosters new idea creation, validation, and testing.

They often reside outside the firm’s location as the culture and mindset are also different.

If you are considering startup ideation at your work, keep these points in mind.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

On this episode of Investor Connect, Hall welcomes Ivan Maltsev, General Partner at 3x Capital.

Located in Warsaw, Poland, 3x Capital is an ecosystem that supports founders in building blockchain products. 3x Capital invests in the early stage Web3, Infrastructure, and Defi startups, manages a Move2Earn guild, serves as validators for blockchains, curates investment communities, and recently launched a Web3 school for software engineers.

Since 2020 3x Capital has worked as a VC fund investing in the USA and EU-based startups leveraging 10 years of combined crypto investment experience and 18 exits, including Mina, Solana, Algorand Biconomy, and Braintrust.

Ivan holds an MS in Business Law and a Ph.D. in International economy. Since his childhood, Ivan was always curious about how to earn money, having launched 6 projects, including TastyGo. Since 2016, he has been investing in crypto, mainly in BTC and ETH. 

In 2018, he started to manage external capital, and finally, in 2020 he participated in the US program for entrepreneurs.

Ivan supports founders in building blockchain products.

Visit 3x Capital at www.3xcapital.fund; https://www.linkedin.com/company/3x-capital/.

Reach out to Ivan at https://www.linkedin.com/in/ivanxmaltsev; im@3xcapital.fund.

_______________________________________________________

 For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org  

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Direct download: Ivan_Maltsev_of_3x_Capital.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

What Is Ideation for Startups?

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Ideation is a thought process that takes conceptual ideas into implementation.  

Founders launching a new startup go through the ideation process to generate the concept for the business.

Ideation comes from the current knowledge of the problem to be solved molded by principles and convictions. 

Ideation often comes from brainstorming sessions, social media posts, webinars, and others.

Ideation focuses on solving a problem by generating new approaches to find a solution.

To perform ideation consider the following:

Start with a problem to be solved.

Identify the key pain points the user faces.

Draw on the ideas of others to create potential solutions.

Consider inverting the problem so you can approach it from another perspective.

Consider making incremental changes to create a derivative solution.

Consider combining several small solutions to create a new solution.

Ideation draws from the work of other companies as well as the founder's experiences.

Ideation fosters innovation by reverse engineering a problem.

Consider the role of ideation in your startup.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

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Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

How to Use Ideation in a Startup

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Ideation is a key stage in the startup process of developing a product or service.

Founders use it to question the obvious and come up with a new solution.

To pursue ideation in your startup, consider the following:

Generate many ideas whether they are workable or not.

Setup a place where no idea is a bad idea.

Ask the question, “How could we” to generate new possibilities.

Use analogies to draw ideas from other sources to apply to your situation.

Put yourself in the place of the customer and role play the customer’s experience.

Use brainstorming to generate new scenarios and outcomes.

Challenge the assumptions behind the current solutions.

Use mind-mapping by writing out keywords and visually connecting ideas around it into a diagram.

Capture the user personas and talk through the story of that user to find new solutions.

Finally, use the wish technique in which you ask what the user wishes for.

Capture all ideas into written form to share with the team and use for testing.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Criteria for a Good Idea

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

In ideating for a new product, there will be many ideas.

Up front consider all ideas and then qualify each one.

To judge the ideas consider the following:

Put yourself in the place of a customer and ask if you would buy that product.

Good ideas come from solving a customer's pain point.

Does it solve a real problem that customers will pay money for?

Consider what resources are needed to bring it to market.

Test out the business model behind the idea to see if it works.

It takes substantial time and work to bring an idea to fruition.  

Are you interested in working on that idea for a substantial amount of time?

Does the idea excite you?

In fact, do you have a passion for the idea?

Do you believe it is not just a solution but it is "the" solution

Narrow the list down to three and test out those ideas. 

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: Startup_Funding_Espresso_--_Criteria_for_a_good_idea.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Disrupt or Create

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

In ideating a new startup you can either disrupt an existing market or create a new one.  

In disrupting an existing market consider the following:

Move the transaction and delivery of the product online.

Online capabilities generate network effects.

One can create data sets and include fintech payments as part of the experience.

One can also create cost and time efficiencies by eliminating the middleman.

Disrupting an existing market requires a new mindset for serving the customer.

In starting a new market, consider the following:

Emerging technologies provide the opportunity to create a new market. 

Technologists and early adopters comprise the initial market. 

Since they are familiar with the technology they adopt it first. 

As the technology matures it will reach a wider audience which creates a new market.

Fast-growing technology segments provide an opportunity as well.  

As crypto takes off, it generates many new markets to serve.

Applying a new business model can create a new market as well. 

In ideating for your startup ask which approach is appropriate.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Signs of a Bad Startup Idea

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

In reviewing startup ideas for your business here is a list of signs pointing to bad ideas:

You know absolutely nothing about the market, product, or community.

While great startups come out of new domains, it’s helpful to have some experience with the space.

You spread yourself across too many ideas and don’t gain depth on any one of them.

It’s important to prioritize and go in-depth on one idea at a time.

You choose an idea for which you are not a good fit.

Look for ideas that match your skills and interests.

There’s no business to be had but only work to be done.

There are many socially conscious ideas but in the end, it must be run as a business with revenues and profits.

The idea is hard to explain.

You must be able to craft a story around it to sell it.

Your idea requires customers to change their behavior.

Changing behavior is hard. Your idea must generate a very high return to achieve behavior change as it will take substantial time.

You are mostly guessing about the market and customers and have not actually engaged with either.

It’s important to talk to customers and spend time in the market to understand how it really works.

Ask yourself how many of these apply to your startup idea and eliminate those from your list.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: Startup_Funding_Espresso_--_Signs_of_a_bad_startup_idea.mp3
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Screening Startup Ideas

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

In reviewing startup ideas here is a list to screen them:

Are you excited about the idea or just okay with it?

You should have some sense of excitement about it.

Does anyone else think it’s a good idea?

It helps to have some validation from others, especially those on your team.

Can you find someone willing to pay for it?

While it may not be a full market test, it’s helpful to know that someone will pay for it.

Are you the right person for this idea?

There should be a fit with your skills and experience.

Is now the right time to pursue this idea?

Timing is important to startup success and should be at play here.

Ask yourself how many of these apply to your startup idea to see if you should pursue it.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

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Direct download: Startup_Funding_Espresso_--_Screening_startup_ideas.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

On this episode of Investor Connect, Hall welcomes Adam Spector, Co-founder, and COO of AbstractOps.

Located in San Francisco, CA, AbstractOps automates all the key aspects of running a startup. This includes covering the Human Resources (HR) function, documents & contracts, financial (such as payments, taxes, and accounting), and compliance/regulatory. AbstractOps combines everything into a single platform tied to the best 3rd party software platforms in the world (such as Gusto, Carta, Quickbooks, and more), which means that with a single click of a button, a user can now automate processes end-to-end that would otherwise take dozens of steps.

Adam Spector is a 3x founder, angel investor in a dozen unicorns, and a GP in a VC fund. 

Prior to his current company, he worked in product at Twitter with a focus on APIs. His prior startup, LiftIgniter, was a machine learning personalization company acquired by Maven. He also led sales & GTM activity at Datalogue, an ETL machine learning business acquired by Nike. 

He has focused his investing activities on game-changing startups with driven, dedicated founders. Some of his best investments to date include: BetterUp (executive coaching), Human Interest (401ks), Diamond Foundry (synthetic diamonds), Checkr (background checks), Zoox (self-driving cars), Relativity Space (3d printed rockets), PayJoy (loans), Ginkgo Bioworks, Jet.com, Blockfi, August Smart Lock, Certn, Boom Supersonic, On Deck, Equi, Placer.ai, Inversion Space, Attentive and many others.

With his team member, Adam is the General Partner of the Operator Fund, which invests in early-stage startups with a relationship to AbstractOps. 

Adam advises startups and investors and discusses the state of startup investing. 

Visit AbstractOps at www.linkedin.com/company/abstractops/about/; www.abstractops.com; twitter.com/abstractopsco.

Reach out to Adam at: www.linkedin.com/in/adamspector2/; ops@abstractops.com; adam@abstractops.com; twitter.com/aspec00.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org  

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
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Direct download: Adam_Spector_of_AbstractOps.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Testing Your Ideas at Low Cost

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

It’s important to validate your startup ideas.

Here’s a list of low-cost methods to do so:

Search the web for competitive solutions.

Look at how they are positioned in the market relative to your idea.

Do any of those solutions have recurring revenue?

Research those competitors to learn more.

Build a landing page on your website and place your proposed product on it.

Drive traffic to the page using direct email and see how many signups you get. 

Check the search traffic to see how many keywords you can use and how much they cost.

Test your page with a few key search words to see what results it brings.

Promote the proposed product on social media.

See what feedback you get for it.

Try variations of the product, price, and promotion to see how that changes the results.

You don’t need a shipping product or even one in development to see how it will be perceived. 

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
For Investors check out: https://tencapital.group/investor-landing/ 
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Direct download: Startup_Funding_Espresso_--_Testing_your_ideas_at_low_cost.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

The Acid Test of Startup Ideation

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

It’s easy to generate startup ideas.

It takes work to research and validate them.

Once you qualify an idea apply the acid test to it.

The acid test is can you set up a repeatable process for generating revenue with it.

Create a low-cost, simple version of the product you can use to test it.

Build a landing page on your website and then use a small amount of money to buy online ads and drive traffic to it.

Track the number of people who come to your page and how many clicks through to buy.

Track how much express interest in buying your product.

If you can provide a version of your solution at this stage fulfill the sale.

Communicate with the prospect to answer their questions and learn why they are buying your product.

This is a great way to learn how to improve the product.

Track the conversions to purchase.

Run this process again and see if you get the same results for traffic, click-throughs, and orders.

If you can show a repeatable, predictable process then you have the core of a working business.

You can test different price points and product positionings to improve it.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
For Investors check out: https://tencapital.group/investor-landing/ 
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Direct download: Startup_Funding_Espresso_--_The_acid_test_of_startup_ideation.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Identify Your Startup Idea Advantages

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

In validating your startup idea look for these advantages:

Does your idea resonate with the potential buyer?

Your buyers should be excited about it when you tell them.

Is your idea perceived to be better than the competition?

Buyers should see the advantages right off the bat without too much explanation.

Is the idea easily understood and grasped by the buyer?

The idea should be clear to the buyer without confusion.

Does your idea give the buyer the opportunity to try it before buying it?

If the buyer can try it out first then this will be helpful in the marketing process.

Are the advantages of the idea clear to everyone?

Even non-users should see the advantages of it.

Does your idea have any defensibility against competition?

It helps to have some protection on the idea through intellectual property or trade secrets.

Note these advantages in testing your startup idea. 

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
For Investors check out: https://tencapital.group/investor-landing/ 
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Start With the Problem

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Good startup ideas don’t come by looking for startup ideas.

They come when you find yourself saying “that’s interesting” as you notice someone trying to solve a problem.

To generate ideas for a startup, start with the problem to be solved.

Choose a problem you have so you avoid the mistake of building something no one wants.

Startup ideas are plentiful but ultimately you have to sell the solution to someone.

If you’re not solving a real problem, then it will be difficult.

Solutions to real problems attract people who are willing to pay.

To test your startup idea, ask the following:

  1. What is the cost of this problem to a person in dollars?
  2. What is the cost of this problem to that person in time spent?
  3. How many people have this problem?
  4. How many people who have this problem want to solve it right now vs later?

Focus on startup ideas that are must-haves.

Avoid ideas that are nice to have as they are hard to sell.

With practice, you can build the skill to identify good startup ideas.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
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Direct download: Start_with_the_Problem.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Where to Focus Your Startup Ideas

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

In searching for startup ideas here are some key points to consider:

  1. Start with a current solution to the problem you want to solve.
  2. Don’t change everything but instead only change one or a few things.
  3. Focus on one or two innovations such as the business model, the platform, or the market.
  4. Look for changes in the technology landscape and ride that wave.
  5. Find a new technology platform that is coming up and leverage it for your solution.
  6. Look for startup ideas that are not universally shared. 

If everyone believes in that idea, then there will be too much competition early on.

In addition to solving today’s problem, look to solve tomorrow’s problem. 

As the market grows it’s clear which problems will increase and which will decrease.

Look for startup ideas that leverage your skills.

Target a market, technology, or resources you may have that give you a competitive advantage.

Consider the essential elements of your solution and focus on those.

The grand vision is never in place on the day you launch the product.

It will take several years to reach that final vision.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
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Direct download: Where_to_focus_your_startup_ideas.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

On this episode of Investor Connect, Hall welcomes Judah Taub, Managing Partner at Hetz Ventures.

Hetz Ventures was founded in 2018 and is headquartered in Tel Aviv with additional partners operating out of London.

Hetz Ventures is a leading Israeli seed-stage venture capital firm taking a thematic approach to early-stage investing. With nearly $300M under management, the fund invests in and supports startups in DevOps, Dev Tools & Open Source, AI/Data, Fintech, Cybersecurity, and other enterprise verticals.

Judah previously served as Head of Data at Lansdowne Partners (a $20B London-based Hedge Fund) as well as advising multiple young start-ups.

In his service in the Israel Defense Forces, Judah served as an officer in a classified intelligence unit where he engineered a large-scale project to win the IDF 2014 Creativity Award.

He has lectured widely, including throughout the IDF and at Wharton Business School, on time management and creative thinking and wrote a book for new IDF soldiers published by Yediot, Israel’s leading publisher. Judah was also elected as one of Forbes 30 Under 30 for 2020.

Judah advises startups and investors and discusses his investment thesis.

Visit Hetz Ventures at www.hetz.vc, on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/hetz-ventures, and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/HetzVentures

Reach out to Judah at jtaub@hetz.vc and on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/judah-taub-3773247b/

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org  

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Direct download: Judah_Taub_Hetz_Ventures_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Questions to Test Your Startup Ideas

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

After startup ideation comes to the testing phase.

It’s important to test your startup idea with these questions:

How many people need your solution?

Is that enough people to make the business work?

Consider how many customers you need at your chosen price point to make the business model work.

Then estimate how large the market must be as only 1-3% of the customers will buy from you.

Can you access those customers easily and at a reasonable cost?

If it’s too expensive to acquire customers the business model may not work.

Is the problem painful enough that they are actively looking for a solution?

It helps if the customer is looking for you rather than you trying to find them.

Are customers willing to pay for it?

If so, how much will the majority pay?

Based on these questions you can eliminate many startup ideas and focus on the ones that work.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
For Investors check out: https://tencapital.group/investor-landing/ 
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Direct download: Questions_to_test_your_startup_idea.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Tracking Your Startup Ideation Progress

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

It’s important to track your progress in startup ideation.

Metrics should be used from the very beginning to measure your progress.

Here are some steps to take:

Track the number of customers contacted and provided feedback.

Measure the number of customers who try out the product. 

Capture the amount of revenue each customer would pay for the product and calculate the average.

This sets a basic rate of customer interactions you can use to price your product and calculate revenue.

As you develop minimum viable products and launch beta programs continue to track the metrics. 

For marketplaces, track the number of buyers and sellers on the platform as well as the number of product listings with revenue per transaction.

After several product launches, you can establish a standard startup ideation program for your company.

This standard will inform how many customer calls must be made and how long the process will take.

This will reduce the cost and time overruns for the project and increase the accuracy of your pricing model early on.

 

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
For Investors check out: https://tencapital.group/investor-landing/ 
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Direct download: Tracking_your_startup_ideation_progress.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Signs of a Great Startup Idea

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

In reviewing startup ideas for your business here is a list of signs pointing to good ones:

  1. Growth -- there’s a growing market around it.
  2. Broad-based -- a lot of people have the problem you are trying to solve.
  3. Urgent -- people need to solve the problem immediately.
  4. Mandatory -- the problem must be solved and cannot be ignored.
  5. Frequent -- the problem comes up regularly and not just once in a while.
  6. Budget -- the customer has enough funds to pay for the solution.
  7. Authority -- your customer has the authority to buy the solution.
  8. Experience -- you know well the problem and the market. 
  9. Network effects -- you can build network effects into the solution and gain those advantages.
  10. Switching costs -- the solution is sticky and difficult to move out of it.

Test your startup idea with these conditions to see how well it works.

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
For Investors check out: https://tencapital.group/investor-landing/ 
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Direct download: Signs_of_a_great_startup_idea.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

The False Pretenders

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Emerging technology markets bring several challenges to the investor.

These markets are new and cutting edge but are also immature, unevenly distributed, and opaque.

In the early days, it’s not clear what the real winner will look like.

In many emerging markets, the false pretender precedes the winning solution.

In the 1990s, the Palm Pilot and the Newton were early versions of mobile technology.

They both met the form factor requirement, but the processing power, applications, and other factors fell far short of customer requirements.

Later the iPhone took over the market when it met those expectations.

In analyzing startups in emerging markets, look for the false pretenders to see what features they bring and what they don’t bring to the market.

Notice the key missing features.

Roadmap the path to providing those features.

For processing power, it’s clear how fast chips are progressing, so it’s not hard to estimate when the processing power will be available.

There’s some money to be made in funding the false pretenders.

It’s important to know where the startup is on the roadmap and how long it will take for the technologies to mature.


Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
For Investors check out: https://tencapital.group/investor-landing/ 
For Startups check out: https://tencapital.group/company-landing/ 
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Direct download: The_False_Pretenders.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am CST

Portfolio Tracking

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

In running a VC fund, you’ll need to set up a system for portfolio management.

You’ll need to provide quarterly and annual reports to the Limited Partners, so it’s important to set up a system for tracking the investments.

Select a portfolio management tool that generates basic metrics such as IRR.

For VC funds you’ll also need Distributed to Paid-In capital (DPI), and Total Value to Paid-in Capital (TVPI) calculations. 

Your system should be able to track each investment with cost basis and current valuation.

Here are some key data elements to capture for each investment:

Date of investment

Amount of funds invested.

Pre and post-money valuations

For convertible notes, you’ll need to include the cap on your conversion price along with discounts and accumulated interest.

Include warrants and any other holdings the fund may have.

Setup a template to produce a report each quarter and annually.

Keeping the system up to date will make it easier to manage.

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
For Investors check out: https://tencapital.group/investor-landing/ 
For Startups check out: https://tencapital.group/company-landing/ 
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Direct download: Portfolio_Tracking.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am CST

How to Find Startup Ideas

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

There are several ways to find startup ideas.

Here are three methods to consider for your ideation efforts:

Look to the future and ask yourself the following questions:

How are people changing?

What long-term problems do they have to deal with?

How have values shifted over time? 

How has technology changed?

What can we do now that we couldn’t do before?

Look to the current successful innovations and ask the following questions:

How can we improve on that innovation?

What can we do to make it easier, cheaper, and better?

How can we make it 10X better than it is now?

Solve problems you have encountered and ask the following questions:

What is your biggest pain point at work, home, or in a hobby?

How could it be solved better?

What would I pay for the solution I’m envisioning?

How many other people have this problem?

Use these methods to generate ideas for your startup.

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
For Investors check out: https://tencapital.group/investor-landing/ 
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Direct download: How_to_find_startup_ideas.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am CST

This is the TEN Capital AMA show. I'm Hall T. Martin, the host of the show in which we interview investors and founders on current topics. 

Our guest is:

Yohan Jacob of Retailbound

I hope you enjoy this episode.

_______________________________________________________

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 

For Investors check out: https://tencapital.group/investor-landing/ 
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Impact Investing Metrics

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Many VC funds have impact investing as a part of the investment thesis.

Impact investing takes into account the social impact of the fund in addition to the financial return.

For impact investing, include metrics showing the impact of each investment.

There are several ways to measure impact.

For startups in well-defined areas, use the expected returns method, which determines if an investment meets threshold criteria.

For early-stage companies just starting, use the theory of change method, which estimates the social impact of those activities.

For startups in a well-defined sector use the mission alignment method, which measures operational activities and compares them to the industry standards.

For all other startups, use the experimental methods which calculate the results from each investment’s activities to determine the impact. 


Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.


Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
For Investors check out: https://tencapital.group/investor-landing/ 
For Startups check out: https://tencapital.group/company-landing/ 
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Direct download: Impact_Investing_Metrics.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am CST

How Startup Ideation Works

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Startup ideation is a key step to building a successful company.

Here are the key steps to generate good startup ideas:

Surround yourself with people who have a feel for the trends and what’s coming next.

Look for disruptive innovations in technology.

Follow platforms and applications that are gaining wide adoption.

Ask yourself, ‘What can you do now that you couldn’t do a few years ago?’

This shows an ongoing trend you can project out into the future.

Look out ten years or more and ask, ‘What will the world look like then?

Work back from that vision of the future to how the world will reach that point. 

Ask, ‘What will be needed in that future vision that is not already invented?’

Look for opportunities that fit your skill set and experience.

Mock up an MVP and show it to lead users and early adopters for feedback.

It takes several years to build out a business model and brand so you must start early in building it.

Pursue several opportunities before choosing the one to pursue for the long haul.


Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

_______________________________________________________

For more episodes from Investor Connect, please visit the site at: http://investorconnect.org 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
For Investors check out: https://tencapital.group/investor-landing/ 
For Startups check out: https://tencapital.group/company-landing/ 
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Direct download: How_startup_ideation_works.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am CST

Key Performance Metrics

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

In running a fund, you’ll need to track key performance metrics.

Metrics should cover performance at all levels, including individual investments, the overall fund, and how it compares to other VC funds. 

Investors will want to see the numbers at all levels, including the following:

  • Fund’s investment cost and current valuation.
  • Total Value to Paid in Capital which is the value of the fund relative to what has been invested by the limited partners so far.
  • Change in value, quarter over quarter and year to date.
  • IRR numbers for investment exits.
  • Residual Value to Paid-in Capital.

There are also metrics for the limited partners' funds, including the following:

  • Capital committed, capital called, and the capital outstanding to be called.
  • Fees paid.
  • Limited partners’ percentage ownership.
  • Limited partners' cost basis and current valuation.
  • Change in value, quarter over quarter and year to date.
  • Total cash returned to limited partners.

Finally, include benchmark metrics comparing your VC fund to similar funds.

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

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Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am CST