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More exercisesTell more storiesTalk about TE in the beginningPositioning statement, first the theoretical template, unlike onlyTalk more about canvas before presenting itCanvas examplesCanvas, on the screen to be filled out in front of the classFlesh out the end slides
Turning your idea into a startup
Turning Your Idea Into a Startup Øyvind Henriksen Founder, Poq Studio
Idea• It’s a thing buzzing in your head. You know a product that should be built, a technology you want to use, a problem you want to solve• The idea is usually not very well defined, and cannot easily be communicated to others.• Communicating your idea is the main challenge for ideas
Startup• A temporary organisation designed to discover a scalable and repeatable business model• A group of people, working full time• First phase: Exploration – looking for something people would want• Second phase: Validation – making sure you can turn it into a business• When you have proven the business model, you “scale” the startup into a “big company“
Contents• About me• 3 simple tools to define your idea• 3 requirements for a startup• 3 things to focus on in the beginning• QuestionsPresentation can be downloaded at poqstudio.com/ga
Øyvind Henriksen• Professional web designer and developer since 1998• Tech lead at InCreo for 10 years, Norway’s leading e-commerce agency• Started programming at 12, made my first money building & reselling computers at 14• Moved to London to do a Master’s degree in Technology Entrepreneurship at UCL• Founded Poq Studio after my studies
Poq Studio’s idea• I worked in e-commerce for 10 years, and I saw the big trend of mobile shopping• I made e-commerce software and page builders, so I wanted to do something similar, for mobile• Getting Michael on board made it easier to craft a business case of target customers, how we are different etc.
MOBILE APPS FORFASHION BRANDSPoq Studio makes it easy forfashion brands to getbranded mobile apps andwebsites.Our unique mobile platformis proven to help you sellmore online and engageyour customers on mobile.
Poq Studio• Started in September 2011 together with Michael Langguth, worked from the UCL incubator• Joined Seedcamp, Europe’s best accelerator programme in August 2012• Raised seed investment from Venrex, UK’s top fashion VC• Made apps for 17 brands so far• Office in Shoreditch with 9 employees
1. Positioning statement • The positioning statement summarises your idea in an (almost) short statement. • It should be maximum 30 seconds long, 15 seconds is better • If you can rehearse and deliver this statement and make people actually understand what you are doing, you are doing better than most!
Template• For (target customers) who need (reason to buy your product), the (your product name) is a (category) that provides (your key benefit).• Unlike (your main competitor), the (your product name) is (your key differentiator).
Example• For fashion brands and retailers who wants to increase sales on mobile, Poq Studio is a mobile shopping platform which provides shopping apps and websites.• Unlike hand-coded apps by digital agencies, apps and websites on our platform are automatically kept up-to-date with the latest technologies.
ExerciseMake a pitch for your idea using this template:• For (target customers) who need (reason to buy your product), the (your product name) is a (category) that provides (your key benefit).• Unlike (your main competitor), the (your product name) is (your key differentiator).
2. Business Model Canvas • The business model explains how your startup’s business works. • When and how money flows in and out of your startup • Who is the customer? • What is the benefit for the customer? • How to reach the customer? • Available for free, with instructions at www.businessmodelgeneration.com
Canvas tips• The canvas squares are related, so when you change one, you often have to change others.• For example for Poq Studio, we changed our target market from small boutiques to mid- sized brands. That required us to change almost all the other squares!
Exercise• Grab your neighbour, and form groups of 2 or 3 people.• Take a printout of the Business Model Canvas, and fill it out with one business idea.• Leave unknown squares empty, but try and fill out more than half of the squares.• Afterwards, make a significant change to one aspect of the business, and see what else needs to change to make it all work together.
3. Mock-up• Showing a product is often the most effective way to communicate what you do.• Instead of talking about a product that should exist, give people a glimpse.• Mockups can be rough wireframes, sleek screenshots, or (more or less) functional websites and apps
Becoming a startup1. Validated demand2. Full team – full time3. Some money
1. Validated demand• Before quitting your day job, prove that people will want your product• Direct conversations with your target market will tell you if the thing you provide will be valuable• The lean startup mantra: “Get out of the building!”
Poq Studio demand• Me and Michael’s master’s dissertations at UCL were about determining if the idea could work• We walked around to fashion shops, and had 24 in- store interviews with employees.• We walked around Debenhams, and talked to 30+ shoppers about their problems and preferences when shopping online and in store• Our most important finding was that 90% of stores we visited had an online store. Almost none of them were optimised for mobile. Only 1 had an app.
Long Interview• My favourite demand technique is the Long Interview• First, 30 minutes to frame the discussion, talk about potential problems you think your target customer might have• Then, talk through your mock-up and pitch your product, and talk with the for 30 minutes about what they think of it, and which direction you should improve on it.• Get 10 of these, and you will know roughly if you have a product people understand and like
2. Full team – full timeClassic model• Developer• Business person• Domain expert3xH model, for B2C internet companies• Hipster• Hacker• Hustler
Poq Studio team• I met Michael at UCL, and we decided to start a company together.• I met Jun, our third co-founder on a holiday trip to India, we were the only developers in the group, and got to talking about tech• We had Developer and Business roles set, but not having anyone in fashion retail was a big challenge• Only after we raised funding did we manage to hire sales and marketing people who knew the fashion industry.
Recruiting a team• Give the pitch• Show the prototype• Use the canvas to answer questions
Recruiting developers• Your mock-up is essential!• Don’t be creepy and annoying• Don’t treat developers like monkeys• Developers have good ideas, listen!• Be excited about your big vision, but you must develop your vision in collaboration with your core team• Hackathons and tech events are great, but you should be able to contribute. Learn to code and design, so you can communicate and be an insider
Full time• Full time commitment is a LOT faster than part- time commitment• Gravity of 50% - Everyone doing something less than half the time will be squeezed by each person’s main commitment.• Your startup becomes real work, not just a hobby any more
Full time at Poq Studio• In the beginning, we had no set start and end times, and worked from wherever, at home, in cafes.• Started coming in every morning at 9 and leaving at 7, like a normal job! This made the company “real”.• All employees are full time, all employees work in one room.
3. Early-stage money• If you don’t have a job, you need money from somewhere to pay the bills• Prepare to cut down on lifestyle to save, or burn through savings quick• Remember that almost everyone is supportive of startups, from friends to governments!• Thankfully, there are many sources of money in the early stages!
Poq Studio funding• Friends Fools and Family money, 4 months rent!• Bootstrapped without salary for 8 months, then 1k salary per month. Minimal other expenses• May 2012: UCL Bright Ideas Awards• Aug 2012: Seedcamp, Europe’s best accelerator• Aug 2012: Venrex, UK’s leading fashion VC
Where to get funding• Friends, Fools and Family• Savings• Business plan competitions, hackathons• Grants and loans• Early-stage accelerators (Springboard’s £5K per founder)• Business Angels (20-50k)• Note: Early funding usually focus on team
Poq Studio office• In the beginning, we worked from the UCL café, random rooms at UCL. Finding a quiet room to code and make calls from was a nightmare• Eventually, we got free office space at UCL Advances incubator.• We now rent a 10-desk office in Shoreditch, had to sign a 6-month lease. Furnished it ourselves, and it’s amazing!
Where to work• There are lots of initiatives for free space for teams at universities etc.• Ask friends in startups for desks, for free or cheap.• Google Campus Café or other cafes in Shoreditch• Kitchen Table, or Silicon Valley model were founders rent an apartment together, and use it to live and work.• Co-working spaces can run up to £300 per person in Shoreditch, but can be great for networking
Do this• Validate that people want it - sign up first customers• Make sure it works - Launch a Minimum Viable Product• Finish developing your first business model
First Customers• Get out of your building• Get customers in any way possible, be on every event they would go to• Don’t be afraid to ask favours in your network, this is when you can gain the most from your network• Use your MVP’, mockups and prototypes to sign up customers. You don’t need a finished product!• Poq Studio signed up our first customer using screenshots on an app, and we still do today!
Minimum Viable Product• A Minimum Viable Product is a version of your product designed to learn something.• You make many MVP’s over time, from landing page to launched product• Must be launched to convince people that it actually works• Read about MVP in “The Lean Startup” book
Evolve your Canvas• In the idea stage, canvasses are often quite empty or just guesswork.• Talk to people or read up on the industry to figure out each square of the canvas until you are confident you have a plausible business model
Canvas tools• At Poq Studio, we use yellow and green post-it notes to separate what we know works, and what is untested and uncertain.• Evolving your canvas is usually done with “Experiments” – test your business model in the real world.• Read businessmodelgeneration.com, “The Lean Startup” and “Getting to Plan B” to learn about this process.
Ready for seed funding• When you have launched a product and seen it with real users, and evolved your canvas, you will see what your next step can be.• The next step usually involves changing part of the business, or evolving it in a certain direction• This determines if you want funding or if you can bootstrap• If you are happy with progress and want to grow it the way it is, then prepare an investor pitch and start fundraising!
Ask me for help• I enjoy helping entrepreneurs and startups whenever I can• If there is anything I can do for you, let me know on: email@example.com