How to get attention from a Venture Capital firm is a problem many entrepreneurs and young start-ups face. Mark Cuban is the TV face of VC’s as a start-up billionaire and regular ‘Shark Tank’ investor. Apparently he receives over 1000 emails a day pitching new ideas to him. His advice to get attention is to make sure it is compelling in the first paragraph and if you are teaching him something you might get him interested. “I’ll read the first paragraph or two and if it is something that catches my attention, and is interesting and I think is forward-thinking, then I will just start peppering them with questions,” Mark Cuban Minda Zetlin writing for Inc. magazine summarised the Mark Cuban ‘No Waste Rule’ down to four key recommendations Don’t waste time with phone calls or social media. Mark Cuban has publicly stated he prefers contact by email. Know yourContinue Reading

Silicon Valley is world famous for being the birthplace to many start ups, most of the US’s venture capital goes to firms based in the valley but many fail as they struggle to grow and the process weeds out the best ideas and the strongest businesses from the rest. Silicon Valley has access to talent from the best universities, lots of venture capital funds, decades of tech firms and an ecosystem that fosters founders into startups, providing a connection to the global market not to mention a group of peer companies that might buy or be bought. Those firms most likely to succeed are often a startup paradox those with good ideas that look like bad ideas to everyone else. Good ideas that look like a good idea are too obvious you need something more. In fact Airbnb makes a perfect example, on the surface the challenges to the businessContinue Reading

In the startup pitch every venture capital fund is looking at firms that can grow, turn a profit and ultimately realise value for the investors. The considerations of a successful pitch include the market fit, the company’s business plan, as well as the quality and depth of experience of the leadership team. In this study the authors Ma and Hu investigated the thesis that investors were often swayed to startup ideas when the presenters appeared enthusiastic, warm and excited even though these qualities are in most cases not likely to contribute to the success of the venture. Ma and Hu reviewed more than 1100 pitches using machine learning to review and score the visual, vocal and verbal aspects of each pitch. they assessed things like how positive did Team A look? How energetic did Team B sound? How warm was the diction of Team C? The combined rating provided aContinue Reading


Is now the right time to launch your start up? It is the challenge that many entrepreneurs face, a global pandemic and global recession are challenging companies and industries all over the world but times of significant change bring significant opportunity. “Times of rapid and dramatic change can shift the tectonic plates of opportunity. “ There are numerous companies that have actually done very well at this time as lifestyle changes have created new demands. Organisations that supply online solutions to buy quality food, fitness and home office equipment have all seen significant growth as people navigate what seems to be the new normal. And business models have changed too with emerging support for subscription for products as diverse as cleaning products, tea and toilet paper. Four tests that potential founders should consider before launching a new venture: Compelling Opportunity – Identifying compelling evidence of customer pain – often founders look to theirContinue Reading

The best opportunity for your startup survival in a recession and pandemic is to avoid making rash decisions. This article provides some tactics and strategies to manage during these difficult times Minimise There is every chance that when the pandemic hit your revenues reduced substantially. Which may well have sent you looking for funding sources to help you cover the shortfall. Before you seek out any more money from VCs or Investors consider all the costs that you can cut, reconsider the minimum viable product you are offering and what your customers really value. Skinny it all down to ride through the tough times with a plan. Switch If your business is struggling is there an alternative side of the service coin that you can deliver. An example of this is how Israel were world leaders in building Cyber Weapons but then many of the same workers moved to buildContinue Reading

Start up success comes from the ability to clearly articulate the vision and build the right team to deliver it. To many founder CEO’s make common mistakes when they hire the startup executive team. Pass ownership to familiar cofounders and early employees As you build the initial team there are going to be members who may not think they way you do. Cofounders often fall into the trap of hiring people who think they way they do. But that does not necessarily give you the best talent in the market, be careful with applying titles to anyone in the early phases of organisational growth, soon you may need to hire more experienced professionals as you build out your leadership structure. Not allocating enough time to hiring talent Search takes time, finding the right person for leadership roles your organisation is critical so make sure you allow enough time to identityContinue Reading

Steve Jobs

It is a fascinating trip back in time, it takes us back in time to November 30, 1988, at the Boston Computer Society, when Steve had just launched his new company NeXT, this was the new venture for Jobs after being forced out of Apple in 1985. These unheard tapes from Steve Jobs in 1988 are part of wider treasure trove of vintage audio recordings the Powersharing Series. I love hearing the preamble where the host talks about a future session where a presenter will show a pocket computer… But back to this story, Steve explains how he was building the NeXT computer for universities, a fast computer with lots of memory, it has to be UNIX but it has to usable by humans so build an interface that humans can use! He continues on with the asks that people had requested of the NEXT computer eg What you seeContinue Reading