Great idea. Working MVP. Experienced team. If all this were enough to succeed, life would be too easy. The big question of how to succeed as a start-up remains answered only superficially in blogs, but even today, the internet doesn’t know all the answers.
Thus, we have launched our AceON Autumn Accelerator with an intensive Bootcamp full of workshops and discussions. It was held from October 13 up to October 14 in Bratislava, Slovakia, where we meet with our start-ups and mentors. During the program, we touched on different topics.
Peter Pašek (AceON, Accace) explained what VCs are looking for in start-ups, what are the most important business models and their business metrics, and what are the pitfalls start-ups face. Marianna Szarková (Techband) and Kristína Gáliková (Full Time PR) held a session about marketing for start-ups. Legal minds Roman Žňava and Juraj Šándor (both Sparring) advised on how start-ups can deal with legal matters without lawyers, and Richard Kakaš (Raiffaisen Bank), Michal Hergovič (Sparring) and Samuel Hopko (CloudTalk) held open discussion with founders about their technology perks and limitations. Read our summary below with the tips you probably can't “google”.
How a VC fund looks at a start-up?
One world, two viewpoints. This is how the relationship between VC fund and start-up could be described. Both entities look at the business world through different lenses. So, when it comes to the crunch, aka investing, start-ups are groping in the dark and can't find answers to generally simple questions of VC funds. How much money are you raising? What exactly will you use them for? Or what is your “endgame”?
Tips from Peter Pašek, Co-founder of AceON
1. Think of your endgame. What is your goal? Do you wish to exit (sell) your start-up or split the income between you and your family?
2. The size of the fund determines its strategy. Repayment of the fund amount is sometimes 40x – 60x the multiple. VCs don’t expect each start-up in their portfolio to cover the invested amount. Keep in mind, that EUR 10M VC fund is going to split the raised capital into tickets, e.g., EUR 250k tickets granted to several start-ups.
3. You have to convince the fund why you need so much money. VCs are looking for start-ups that are a good fit. This means that the start-up should be in the right stage of development, in the right industry, and in the right geographic location.
4. Product market fit = you have repeatable sales strategy model and there is a potential client willing to pay for your product/ service.
Why does the business model matter?
Nowadays, there are 9 proven business models. Unfortunately, not all of them get the attention of investors. Y-combinator published an interesting study in which they tried to analyze the business models of their 100 most valuable start-ups.
Why is then having the right business model important? Because venture capitalists often look for these business models, that statistically increase their chances of finding a start-up with an expected 50x+ return.
The top business models VCs are interested the most are SaaS, transactional and marketplace. Found a match?
How to start a successful business?
You probably heard the definition of a successful business is to generate profit. Lucky you if you can generate profit, but cash is the king. Your ultimate focus in business should always lay in generating cash. Running out of money is one of the most common reasons why start-ups fail.
A tip from Peter Pašek, Co-founder of AceON
Cash is the king. Look at your bank account balance. Read your incomes and expenditures. Do a simple math. Make sure the incomes are increasing faster than expenditures (costs almost never stay the same) and calculate your Burn, Runway, Growth rate and Default alive.
How to do low-cost marketing for start-ups
Tips from Marianna Szarková, CMO at Techband and Kristína Gáliková, CEO at Full Time PR
1. Grow your organic audience through social media.
2. Build your website and meaningful content.
3. Don’t copy paste competitors, find your unique voice.
4. Network. Network. Network. Attend local networking events, conferences or be part of active communities (AceON Team recommendation: Check out StartuPeak).
5. Build your personal brand as a CEO, CMO, CTO or Founder / Co-founder. LinkedIn is very essential social network.
Go-to-market & No-code tools for start-ups
Tips from Slavo Tuleya, Managing Partner & Founder of Kiuub
1. Capital venture winter is here. Fundraising takes longer period now. In the past, rising money would take you 3 – 6 months. At present, the competition is higher. Acknowledge the environment, try to do more with less money and you will be more interesting for VCs. Do a proper self-analysis and be honest with yourself: Are you spending money well?
2. Solve one problem well, not 20.
3. Customers don’t care about the technology. Develop and advertise your product / service around the job it makes.
4. Don’t be afraid to use no-code tools and apps to build your MVP (AceON Team recommendation: Check out the must have no-code tools list from Kiuub).