Investor Connect Podcast

Base Rate Fallacy

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

The base rate fallacy is a cognitive bias defined by Wikipedia as the tendency to ignore base rate information (generic, general information) and focus on specific information (information only pertaining to a certain case).

One-off sales to specific companies while helpful do not define the startup's growth forecast. 

Investors should look at the core systems of a startup to understand their acquisition, conversion, and revenue.

Consulting work and other non-recurring revenue models make it difficult to predict revenue.

Recurring revenue becomes a strong indicator of future revenue growth.

To overcome the base rate fallacy look for metrics across a broader range of customers and not select ones. 

The presence of metrics is a good sign.  

The absence of metrics is a bad sign.

Focus on recurring revenue metrics to understand the acquisition, activation, and retention rates.

Hockey stick projections should be avoided as it assumes something will occur outside the normal operations of the business to take the company’s revenue higher.

 

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: Base_rate_fallacy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Clustering Illusion

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

Clustering illusion is a cognitive bias defined by Wikipedia as the tendency to overestimate the importance of small runs, streaks, or clusters in large samples of random data (that is, seeing phantom patterns).

Investors will see a few deals in a space exit and consider it a hot spot for success when in the big picture the sector is no better than any other.

Sectors rotate in and out of favor based on investors' interest in funding that sector.

When a few startups in a sector raise funding, investors often consider the sector a good area to invest in.

After only a handful of deals receive investing interest other investors will flock to the sector to find more deals to invest in.

In analyzing the field of startups, it’s often the case that that sector is no better than any other sector for investment.  

They’re looking for patterns where none exist.

To overcome the clustering illusion, use data analysis to statistically analyze the data.

This will tell you if there’s a real pattern or only the appearance of one.

 

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: Clustering_illusion.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Bias Blind Spot

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

The bias blind spot is a cognitive bias defined by Wikipedia as the tendency to see oneself as less biased than other people or to be able to identify more cognitive biases in others than in oneself.

All investors have blind spots and biases.

Investing in experiences causes one to be biased unconsciously.

To overcome biases, focus on self-awareness.

Learn more about the common types of bias such as anchoring and confirmation bias.

Watch how you react and respond to different pitches.

Question your judgment to see if it’s based on fact.

Identify what type of deals and founder types make you uncomfortable.

Question your judgment process to see where it may be flawed.

Are you biased against certain types of people because of past experiences?

If certain types of startups and founders make you uncomfortable then spend more time with them.

Becoming familiar with them will make you more aware of potential biases you may have.

 

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: Bias_blind_spot.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Confirmation Bias

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

Confirmation bias is a cognitive bias defined by Wikipedia as the tendency to search for, interpret, focus on and remember information in a way that confirms one's preconceptions.

Investors bring their recent investment experiences to fund new startups.

If the investor recently lost their investment in a deal in a certain sector, then the investor will most likely look unfavorably at other deals in that sector.

On the other hand, if the investor found success in investing in a particular type of company, then most likely the investor will look for similar companies.

It’s important to understand these forces when setting up an investment thesis and criteria for funding startups.  

To overcome confirmation bias consider the following:

Try to view the deal from other angles than you traditionally use.

Ask other investors for their views on it and note the ones with strong objections.

Discuss your thought process with other investors to see where you might be off the mark.

Expand your connections to include people with other experiences and viewpoints.

Give prominence in your thinking to views divergent from your own. 

 

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: Confirmation_bias.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

On this episode of Investor Connect, Hall welcomes Derren Burrell, Founder & Managing Partner at Veteran Ventures Capital.

Located in Knoxville, TN, USA, Veteran Ventures Capital (VVC) is a veteran-owned growth-equity investment fund & firm focused on veteran businesses. VVC interacts exclusively with companies that have military veteran leadership, recognizing the value of military experience, training, and character in business operations.

VVC’s team is comprised of distinguished former military officers and seasoned financial experts from across the country. Their value proposition lies in their granular understanding of the military culture, significant connections within the federal government & defense industry, and working knowledge of the government procurement process.

Derren is a retired Lieutenant Colonel with over 28 years as a professional financial manager in both the public and private sectors. He is the Founder & President of Veteran Ventures Capital, an investment and consulting firm focused on scaling veteran-owned businesses. In this capacity, he oversees all aspects of the company operations and fund management of the Veteran Fund, which invests in early stage/growth companies.

He is a graduate of the Citadel and past recipient of several awards including the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medals, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Air Force Budget Officer of the Year twice, Air Force Financial Management Officer of the Year, Comptroller of the Year, and USAFE James E. Short Award for Outstanding Contribution to Mentorship and Career Development.

Derren shares his experiences working both in the public and private sectors and his passion for helping veteran-owned businesses.

Visit Veteran Ventures Capital at www.veteranventures.us/, www.linkedin.com/company/veteran-ventures-capital-llc/, and on twitter.com/VenturesVeteran

Reach out to Derren at derren@veteranventures.us, www.linkedin.com/in/derrenburrell/, and on twitter.com/dp_burrell

_______________________________________________________

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

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

Availability Heuristic

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

The availability heuristic is a cognitive bias defined by Wikipedia as a mental shortcut that relies on immediate examples that come to a given person's mind when evaluating a specific topic, concept, method, or decision. 

The availability heuristic operates on the notion that if something can be recalled, it must be important, or at least more important than alternative solutions which are not as readily recalled. 

Subsequently, under the availability heuristic, people tend to heavily weigh their judgments toward more recent information, making new opinions biased toward the latest news.

In the startup world, investors bring their recent memories about a startup into the diligence process for investing.

That which they recall is given more weight than that which must be researched.

This puts the investor at a disadvantage in working with incomplete information.

Investors should take good notes on the startup during pitch sessions and use those notes in the diligence phase. 

This will reduce the prominence of easily remembered items and bring important ones to the surface.

 

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: Availability_heuristic.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Availability Cascade

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

The availability cascade is a cognitive bias defined by Wikipedia as a self-reinforcing cycle that explains the development of certain kinds of collective beliefs. 

Investors who repeat a belief among themselves will reinforce that belief even if it’s not true.

One investor will state his recollection as a fact to a group of investors.

Another investor repeats the statement as a fact.

As this continues around the group the initial recollected memory becomes a fact that every investor believes.

To overcome the availability cascade presume nothing is true until proven. 

For example, if the startup doesn’t state revenue numbers, then assume they have no revenue.

In the diligence process write out the assumptions you have and then test each one by going through the dataroom to verify or debunk the assumptions.

This applies to the team, the product, the revenue, and the fundraising details in particular.

 

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: Availability_cascade.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Bandwagon Effect

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

The bandwagon effect is a cognitive bias defined by Wikipedia as the tendency to do (or believe) things because many other people do (or believe) the same.

Investors follow the lead of others. The more investors following a deal, the more investors are willing to join.

Investors look for lead investors who will negotiate the terms and diligence it.

To avoid the bandwagon effect in funding a startup, look for experienced investors to follow 

Review carefully the diligence report to see if it matches your expectations.

Verify stated information with other sources.

Challenge the assumptions to understand the deal in more detail. 

For example, if the startup indicates they have revenue, investigate further the quality of that revenue.  

Is it recurring revenue?  Is it concentrated revenue?

Avoid situations where the investors are excited about the deal but no one is actually leading the deal and no one is reviewing the diligence. 

 

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: Bandwagon_effect.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Anchoring

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

Anchoring is a cognitive bias defined by Wikipedia as the tendency to rely too heavily, or "anchor", on one trait or piece of information when making decisions (usually the first piece of information acquired on that subject)

Investors tend to attach to the first thing startup pitches and stick with it.

If the startup positions its deal as a service such as providing education technology, investors will view it as an ed-tech service.

On the other hand, if the startup positions their deal as a software as a service business, investors will home in on recurring revenue streams and will look for metrics in that category.

How you position your business at the beginning of the pitch is how most investors will look at it throughout the pitch.

Consider positioning your deal upfront for the investor audience you have.

Position it as an ed-tech service for investors focused on education.

Position it as a software-as-a-service deal for investors focused on recurring revenue.

Position it as a social impact deal for investors focused on impact investments.

Don’t fight the anchoring effect by mispositioning your deal for the investors you are pitching. 

Use anchoring to connect your deal with the investor.

 

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: Anchoring.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Build a Moat

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

Warren Buffet once said, “I look for economic castles protected by unbreachable moats.”

In the startup world, investors look for a competitive advantage that can build a moat around the business.

"Me too" businesses are difficult to fund because anyone can start one and compete.

To build a moat around your business consider the following:

Build switching costs into your product to make it more sticky.

Create a brand that attracts others and is different from the competition.

Scale quickly to leave the majority of competitors behind.

Size can provide a decent moat once you have some scale.

Distribution can be a moat to provide more products and more revenue.

Network effects can provide a moat as the network generates additional revenue and decreases costs.

Technology can provide an advantage if the user finds value in it. 

The moat should not be easily duplicated because over time other startups will do so.

Moats should be considered from the getgo as it will increase as the startup grows and scales.

 

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

On this episode of Investor Connect, Hall welcomes Kurt Wilkin, CEO of HireBetter, Managing Partner of Bee Cave Capital, and Author of the book  “Who’s Your Mike?”.

For over 25 years, Kurt has advised high-growth, middle-market companies. Through his roles as CEO of HireBetter and a Managing Partner of Bee Cave Capital, he had the opportunity to work with hundreds of entrepreneurs and CEOs—challenging and inspiring them to take their companies to that much-hyped “next-level.”

But before Kurt got to where he is now, he worked in some challenging roles. His goal in writing is to pull back the curtain on the business world and take the reader on the real entrepreneurial journey—bumps and all. No one gets to the top overnight without falling and making mistakes. He hopes to inspire and help others on their path by telling his stories.

Kurt is a  firm believer that business success is all about having the right people. During his career, he has been fortunate to work with hundreds of interesting companies. He hopes his book will inspire, challenge, and entertain you as you chart your course, wherever it may take you.

Kurt shares a bit of everything he had encountered in his business life, the inspiration behind his book, and much more. 

You can visit Kurt at www.beecavecapital.com, hirebetter.com via LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/kurt-wilkin/, www.linkedin.com/company/hirebetter/ via Twitter at www.twitter.com/KurtWilkin, www.twitter.com/hirebetter and via email at kurt.wilkin@hirebetter.com.  

You can purchase his book from his website or from Amazon, at www.amazon.com/Whos-Your-Mike-No-Bullshit-Entrepreneurial/dp/1954020244.

_______________________________________________________

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

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

Repeatable Systems

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

Repeatable systems are a key element in growing and scaling a business.

Once the business is up and running, the founder should start to build repeatable systems.

Anything you do more than once should be documented.

The key steps should be written down and followed each time you do it.

This saves time and improves quality.

It also generates efficiency and consistency.

In a startup, you are not trying to do a thousand things.

Rather, you are trying to do ten things, one thousand times.

The sales process is a good example of using repeatable systems.

Consider this for your sales process:

Define your lead criteria.

Break the sales process down into stages for execution and forecasting.

Continue the process with customers to turn them into repeat customers.

Analyze the process continually to improve it.

By using repeatable processes you can grow your business more efficiently.

 

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: Repeatable_systems.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Start With Why

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

A key concept in aligning people’s motives is to start with the Why.

The Why represents the motives behind people’s actions and their purpose.

The How represents the methods or steps to get there.

The What represents the results or outcome to achieve.

To align the team in your startup, start with the Why -- why are we doing this?

The Why gives the team a common purpose and motivation behind it.

The Why helps you recruit new employees.

The Why helps you make decisions along the way.

It keeps you focused on your business and avoids distractions from competitors.

Great companies focus on the why first and then go into the what and how.

In raising funding show the investors your why and then go into the how and the what.

If you don’t have a Why statement, then set aside time to figure it out and then share it with others.

 

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: Start_with_why.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Social Proof

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

Social proof is the idea that people look at others to see what they did and then copy their actions.  

The need for social proof can be found throughout the startup world.

Customers will look to see if others have bought the product before they buy it.

Investors will look to see if other investors have invested before they jump in.

It’s one of the key points of influence. 

In fact, the term "social proof" was coined by Robert Cialdini in his book "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion."

There are several types of social proof one can use.

Experts:  Look for those who have expertise in a specific field.

Display testimonials from experts on your website.

Users:  Those who are already familiar with the product or the company.

Show testimonials on social media from your current customers.

Certification:  Those who have achieved certification status.

Display the certification such as FDA compliance on your pitch slides to investors.

Close contacts:  Those you know well who have some opinion.

Foster word of mouth with your fundraising to influence others to consider investing in your business.

No investor wants to be the first investor and will look for social proof from others. 

 

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: Social_proof.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

Gamification

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

Gamification applies game-design techniques to applications outside of gaming.

Game techniques can make the application more engaging and productive.

Here are some gamification techniques to include in your application:

Establish flow in the software which is a combination of challenging and workable.

Break large tasks down into smaller ones that give the user a sense of accomplishment.

Create different levels with varying degrees of difficulty.

Let the user customize their workspace.

Provide rewards for accomplishing tasks.

Set up competitions so users can challenge themselves and each other.

Foster collaboration by setting up teams.

Use the story format where appropriate.

Unlock resources based on achievement or purchases.

Using these tools can generate more engagement and productivity by the user. 

Consider applying gamification to your software application.

 

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: Gamification_01.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:10am CST

Gamification

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

Gamification applies game-design techniques to applications outside of gaming.

Game techniques can make the application more engaging and productive.

Here are some gamification techniques to include in your application:

Establish flow in the software which is a combination of challenging and workable.

Break large tasks down into smaller ones that give the user a sense of accomplishment.

Create different levels with varying degrees of difficulty.

Let the user customize their workspace.

Provide rewards for accomplishing tasks.

Set up competitions so users can challenge themselves and each other.

Foster collaboration by setting up teams.

Use the story format where appropriate.

Unlock resources based on achievement or purchases.

Using these tools can generate more engagement and productivity by the user. 

Consider applying gamification to your software application.

 

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/ 
For eGuides check out: https://tencapital.group/education/ 
For upcoming Events, check out https://tencapital.group/events/  

For Feedback please contact info@tencapital.group   

Please follow, share, and leave a review.

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

Open Platform vs. Closed Platform

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

Open platform vs. closed platform is a key concept in the startup ecosystem.

It defines how the startup will interact with customers, partners, and others.

A closed platform is one in which the startup restricts access in order to monetize its content.

It’s often called a “walled garden” which one must pay to enter.

An open platform is one in which anyone can access the content.  

Open platforms often allow connectivity to other software tools to provide additional functionality.

The user can access the site and create their own content from it.

Open platforms work best when the customer needs to use the content within their own application.

A closed platform offers the content as is and does not provide connectivity to outside applications.

The benefit of a closed platform is a higher level of security and quality of content.

Closed platforms work best for customers who need only the content as provided and don’t need to integrate it with other content.

Monetization in closed platforms occurs at the access points.

Monetization in open platforms occurs elsewhere such as providing premium services.

Consider both options 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.

_______________________________________________________

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

On this episode of Investor Connect, Hall welcomes Jason Jacobsohn, Founder and Managing Partner at Propellant Ventures.

Located in Chicago, IL, USA, Propellant Ventures is a Seed stage venture capital fund that invests in the growth of Chicago and the greater Midwest across a broad range of powerful, diverse, and leading-edge B2B industries such as healthcare, future of work, supply chain, fintech, and edtech.

Propellant Ventures recognizes that it can be a challenge for early-stage entrepreneurs to raise venture capital. That's why they see that as a tremendous opportunity to be that capital partner at the initial stages of growth.

Jason is well known in the Chicago area as a “connector” and go-to person for entrepreneurs who want to grow and maintain their success. Prior to launching Propellant Ventures, he was a Principal at Bascom Ventures, which is a venture capital fund that invests in seed, growth, and later-stage companies with a Wisconsin alumni connection. 

In addition, Jason launched and currently runs the Chicago chapter of Founder Institute, which is the world’s largest pre-seed startup accelerator, with chapters across 220+ cities around the world. Jason received his MBA from DePaul University and his BBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Jason helps early-stage entrepreneurs in the Midwest region, find their way to success.  

Visit Propellant Ventures at www.propellant.vc , and on www.linkedin.com/company/68292696/admin

Reach out to Jason at jason@propellant.vc, www.linkedin.com/in/jasonjacobsohn, and on @jasonjacobsohn.

 

_______________________________________________________

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

Freemium

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

Freemium is a key business model in the startup world.

It’s a pricing strategy that provides a product or service for free in order to attract more users.  

After the user is engaged with the product, the company can upsell the user for paid services. 

The freemium strategy is highly scalable as it can capture new users without the use of a direct sales force.  

The strategy works well with software products because the incremental cost of adding another user is near zero.

The key to a freemium model is the ability to upsell the user into a paid product.

Therefore, the premium features must be compelling. 

One can create a freemium product by taking the company’s main product and limiting its usage, reducing the features available, or limiting the support the user receives.

There are many ways to monetize a group of users.

Consider the following:

Premium services provide additional functionality but at a price.

The content, data, and identity of the users can be monetized.

Companies that sell to the same user base would pay to access those users through advertising or direct marketing.

It’s important to have premium features to upsell to.

Finally, the product must be ‘sticky’ by capturing key information from the user so it’s harder to switch to a competitor 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.

_______________________________________________________

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

Technology Adoption Lifecycle

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

Technology adoption lifecycle in the startup world shows how new technologies and products are adopted first by lead users and technologists. 

Following this group are early and late-stage majority users.

The laggards are the last group to accept the new technology. 

This concept comes from Geoffrey Moore in his book entitled, “Crossing the Chasm”.

The technology adoption lifecycle guides the startup on how to build and market products throughout the cycle.

In the early days, the startup will sell to the technologists who need the functionality of the product but don’t care about the ease of use or the price.

Once the product "crosses the chasm" and is now accepted by the majority of users, the game changes.

The early majority will pay a higher price but it must be easier to use.

The late majority won’t pay a higher price and it must be even easier to use than before.

The volume of users will rise greatly giving the term “s-curve” to the shape of the growth.

The S-curve shows the market taking off and the number of users increasing dramatically.

A startup must be able to grow and scale their systems to take advantage of this growth.

Finally, the laggards are the last to adopt the product which must be low-cost and very easy to use. 

In pursuing a market consider where it is on the technology adoption lifecycle curve and adjust your product and pricing accordingly.

 

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

Forcing Function

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

Forcing function is an activity or event that forces one to take action and produce a result.

Forcing function is a mental model for how to set up a startup so it produces a result. 

Here are some examples:

Precommitment -- in selling your product use monthly or annual contracts that prescribe follow-on payments.

Stages and checkpoints -- in managing employees set up levels and stages that employees work through and use checkpoints to graduate employees to higher salaries.

Constraints -- limit the resources the team has to work with to force cost-cutting and encourage creative problem-solving approaches.

Meetings -- only call meetings when you have a decision to make or a deliverable to complete.

This reduces unnecessary meetings and forces the team to be more productive.

Online calls -- schedule calls with prospects to be only 15 minutes long. This forces the prospect and the salesperson to make the most of their time. 

Forcing functions can be applied throughout the startup organization.

By applying artificial constraints one can generate greater productivity and reduce unnecessary costs.

 

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

Technical Debt

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

Technical debt is a concept in software development that accounts for additional work to recode a program that was developed quickly rather than properly.

It’s the result of prioritizing the speed of development over the quality of code.

To manage technical debt in your business consider the following:

Define the technical debt currently in the business.

Review code segments that have undergone many updates and are no longer clean, structured code segments.

Consider the overall design of the system upfront and try and future-proof it.

Use a modular architecture so quality code can be reused.

Avoid adding more people or processes to the software development process.

Instead, apply fixes to the current processes.

Technical debt like financial debt comes with interest payments that come in the form of the technical team doing additional work to compensate for the shortcuts taken earlier.

Most startups have some technical debt in their product. 

If there’s too much technical debt this will cost the startup later by having to rework existing code.

Focus on what the business needs and compare it to what it currently has to determine how to manage technical debt.

 

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

Thought Experiments for Startups

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

A thought experiment is a hypothesis laid out for thinking through its consequences.

Many great thinkers have used this technique to solve problems.

Galileo used it to prove his idea that mass does not influence acceleration when he dropped both a heavy and light ball from the Tower of Pisa to demonstrate that both objects landed at the same time.

Startups can use thought experiments to test their startup hypothesis.

Here are some example experiments:

If an investor gave you $1M today how would you deploy it?

If you don’t know exactly what you would do with the funding, then you are not ready for it.

If you were an investor looking at your company what would you want to know?

Review your pitch deck to see if it includes all the points that come to mind.

If you can imagine why an investor would pass on your deal, then what risks do you see in the deal?

Determine how you can mitigate those risks and show the company will succeed.

If you asked two or three competitors what they think about your business, what would they say?

Consider fixing those issues in your business.

By using thought experiments the founder can test their startup's main hypothesis and each aspect of the business.

 

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 Chelsea Toler, President of The Keep Families Giving Foundation.

Located in Austin, Texas, USA, The Keep Families Giving Foundation educates and cultivates the next generation of philanthropists while creating a collaborative community across generations and sectors for social good.

They envision a world where the next generation of philanthropists are provided with the education, mentorship, community, leadership opportunities, and tools needed to carry on their family legacy and champion their own social good causes. 

Chelsea graduated from The University of Texas with a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts Honors, Plan 1, and Humanities Honors. Chelsea received her Master of Liberal Arts with a focus on Grant Writing and Nonprofit Leadership from St. Edward's University in 2017 and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Professional Adult and Community Education with a research focus on intergenerational education in the Philanthropy sector at Texas State University as the cohort's only Doctoral Merit Fellow.

Chelsea is passionate about intergenerational education, inspiring the next generation of philanthropists, and serves as a member of Nexus, Nexus' partnership brain trust with the United Nations (UNFPA), the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Young Professionals Network of Austin, Southwestern Angel Network, Art Crowd, and the Grant Writing Association.

Chelsea educates the next generations in impact and philanthropy in alignment with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. 

 

About World Logic Day

Logictry’s World Logic Day Forum will highlight the importance of Logic across sectors around the world in alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Participate in intergenerational, cross-sector panels and sessions to help share more about the why behind various UN SDG-related initiatives and promote collaboration for world peace. Logictry will lead this initiative in partnership with the NOVA Impact and the UN SDSN Leadership teams.

Register for World Logic Day 2023 here:  

www.eventbrite.com/e/world-logic-day-2023-tickets-432497239887 

Visit The Keep Families Giving Foundation at www.keepfamiliesgiving.org, and www.linkedin.com/company/keep-families-giving.

Reach out to Chelsea at chelsea@logictry.com, and www.linkedin.com/in/catoler92.

 

_______________________________________________________

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

First Principles

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

First principles are basic truths that cannot be deduced from any other proposition or assumption.

Founders should base their startups and products on first principles.

First principles research requires direct contact with customers to uncover the core problem.

By going back to first principles the startup founder can approach the problem from a new perspective.

This generates new products and business models not previously considered.

To use the first principle start with the customer’s problem to be solved. 

What is the problem the customer faces and is it challenging enough that they will pay money to solve it?

Once you have identified the problem you must test it to see if the market is big enough.

If you have a big enough market you can ideate on a solution that is compelling enough to launch a business.

The alternative to first principles is reasoning by analogy in which one makes superficial connections between the customer's problem and a solution.

This leads to solving the wrong problem or solving a problem that doesn’t exist.

Startup founders should talk with customers directly and use first principles to find the heart of the problem to be solved.

 

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

Second-Order Thinking

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

First-order thinking looks at solving the immediate problem.

Second-order thinking looks at the consequences of solving the problem.

To practice second-order thinking, ask the question, “and then what?”

Most people look at the world through first-order thinking such as

“That product is on sale, I should buy it.”

Second-order thinking asks the question, "then what?"

“If I buy the product then I’ll need to use it.  I really don’t have a use for it, therefore, I shouldn’t buy it.”

In ideating on a startup problem, move beyond first-order thinking to second-order thinking.

Given a customer problem, what are the implications of solving it in a few days, a few months, and a few years?

How will the market respond to the problem?

What will competitors do?

How important is this problem to the customer?

How else will the customer respond to the problem?

First-order thinking is simple and straightforward.

Second-order thinking is complex and complicated.

Consider applying second-order thinking to the customer problem your company solves.

 

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

Probabilistic Thinking

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

Probabilistic thinking is making an estimate using math or logic to determine the likelihood that an outcome is going to happen.

This often involves statistics and historical data.

If the revenue in a company has grown by 10% for each of the past five years, then probabilistic thinking will point to a growth rate of 10% for the coming year.

Founders can use probabilistic thinking also for uncertain situations where there is little historical data. 

In our example, for estimating the revenue in the first year of a company without the benefit of a track record, we can use probabilistic reasoning.

In this case, we can use logic to estimate the revenue.

For example, we could look at similar companies to see what revenue they generated in their first year. 

In applying probabilistic thinking, consider all the options.  

Expand your focus on what is probable to include what is possible.

Gather additional information to tune the probabilistic estimation.  

This is called Bayes Theorem which incorporates new and relevant information into the decision-making process.

Apply probabilistic thinking to your startup decisions.

 

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

Economies of Scale

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

Economies of scale is an economic principle in which the costs of delivering a product go down as the volume goes up.

Over the life of a product, the cost per unit should decrease.

For startups, this means the cost to build your product should go down as you ramp up sales.

Economies of scale can come from a reduced cost of materials as the startup purchases higher volumes. 

It can also come from deploying technology tools and spreading that cost over more units or customers.

There are also financial benefits.  As the startup grows larger it can raise funding or take on loans at a lower rate.

Economies of scale can help the company grow to a larger size.

It can also help increase profits. 

Customers should see lower prices and better products.

Employees should see higher wages.

It’s important to plan for economies of scale and build it into the business model. 

 

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: Economies_of_scale.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CST

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.

_______________________________________________________

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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. 

_______________________________________________________

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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 

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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.

_______________________________________________________

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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 

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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 

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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 

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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.

 

_______________________________________________________

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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 

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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 

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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 

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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 

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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 

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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

_______________________________________________________

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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 

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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/ 
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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.

_______________________________________________________

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

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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.

_______________________________________________________

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

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Direct download: The_idea_maze.mp3
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.

_______________________________________________________

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

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Direct download: The_Babe_Ruth_effect.mp3
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.

_______________________________________________________

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

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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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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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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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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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. 

 

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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  

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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;

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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.

_______________________________________________________

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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.

_______________________________________________________

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

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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 

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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 

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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.

_______________________________________________________

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: 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 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
For Investors check out: https://tencapital.group/investor-landing/ 
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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 

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_using_IDEO.mp3
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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Direct download: Michelle_Seiler_Tucker_of_Seiler_Tucker_Inc._-_EXIT_RICH_Podcast.mp3
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.

_______________________________________________________

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

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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.

_______________________________________________________

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

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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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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/  

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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.

_______________________________________________________

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

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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.

_______________________________________________________

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

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Direct download: Use_design_process_for_ideation.mp3
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.

_______________________________________________________

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: 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 

Check out our other podcasts here: https://investorconnect.org/ 
For Investors check out: https://tencapital.group/investor-landing/ 
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Direct download: Ideation_steps.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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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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