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Strategies for Startup Success

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These are the slides of a talk Simeon Simeonov, technology partner at Polaris Venture Partners gave in front of the Yankee Group analyst team.

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Strategies for Startup Success

  1. 1. Strategies for Startup Success Sim Simeonov Polaris Venture Partners [email_address] http://simeons.wordpress.com
  2. 2. <ul><li>The wiser speakers refused to talk on this subject </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>The same strategies that have the highest probability of extreme success also have the highest probability of extreme failure --Guy Kawasaki </li></ul>http://simeons.wordpress.com/2007/02/21/guy-kawasaki-why-good-strategies-fail/
  4. 4. <ul><li>How much risk did PayPal take on? </li></ul>Livingston, Jessica. Founders At Work. p6 (interview with Max Levchin)
  5. 5. <ul><li>Poor analysis of the wrong data in a mythological context </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Limited or inaccurate data </li></ul><ul><li>Correlation vs. causation </li></ul><ul><li>Omitted variable bias </li></ul><ul><li>Sensationalism </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Most of the industry’s effort is spent analyzing successes </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Revisionist history due to egocentric ex post facto analysis </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Why Did YouTube Succeed? </li></ul>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nssfmTo7SZg (talk by YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim)
  10. 10. <ul><li>Success is often the result of avoiding failure by will or luck </li></ul>
  11. 11. Why Do Startups Succeed and Fail? Sim Simeonov Polaris Venture Partners [email_address] http://simeons.wordpress.com
  12. 12. <ul><li>The more thoughtful speakers refused to talk on this subject </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>What do “success” and “failure” mean? </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>Company “A” raises $100+M of institutional capital and goes public at $2.4B valuation </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Company “F” raises $2M and sells for $20M </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>Company “M” raises 500K and shuts down six months later </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>Innovation? </li></ul><ul><li>Market share? </li></ul><ul><li>Revenues? </li></ul><ul><li>Impact? </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>Employees? </li></ul><ul><li>Execs? </li></ul><ul><li>Founders? </li></ul><ul><li>Angel investors? </li></ul><ul><li>Institutional investors? </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>Efficient experimentation is critical to any evolutionary system </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>Success and failure are not useful analysis targets </li></ul>
  21. 21. The Startup Environment Sim Simeonov Polaris Venture Partners [email_address] http://simeons.wordpress.com
  22. 22. <ul><li>Emily is a helluva persuader </li></ul>
  23. 23. <ul><li>Experienced investors </li></ul><ul><li>National focus </li></ul><ul><li>$3B under management </li></ul><ul><li>Diversified across stage & sectors </li></ul><ul><li>Active partner with entrepreneurs </li></ul><ul><li>Great track record </li></ul>
  24. 24. <ul><li>The technology industry has changed substantially in the past few years </li></ul>
  25. 29. Technology
  26. 30. $1,000M $1,000M $100M $100M $10M $40M The leader The #3 player
  27. 31. <ul><li>Winners used to be selected by the market. Now they are anointed through M&A </li></ul>
  28. 32. <ul><li>How successful would Flickr have been without Yahoo? </li></ul>
  29. 33. <ul><li>Sustainable differentiation and solid execution </li></ul>
  30. 34. <ul><li>Superior execution </li></ul><ul><li>Cut the right deal(s) </li></ul><ul><li>Network effects </li></ul>
  31. 35. <ul><li>Protectable technology enables a defensible business model </li></ul>
  32. 37. <ul><li>It is the best of times, it is the worst of times </li></ul>
  33. 38. <ul><li>Sim Simeonov </li></ul><ul><li>Polaris Venture Partners </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>http://simeons.wordpress.com </li></ul>

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