Covid-19 is only one crisis of many in our near past – and you will learn to live with crises in the future. Moreover, you should make your startup crisis resistant.

With the track record below you can almost be sure there will be yet another problem lurking around the corner and you need to be ready to take it. My personal recommendation: “DO NOT SPEND A HUGE AMOUNT OF EFFORT IN PROTECTING YOUR BUSINESS FOR A FUTURE CRISIS”  but be aware that it can happen every day again and it can be completely different than anything we have seen so far.

  • Oil crisis early 1980’s
    It was the first big rush into the startup world. Comdex started in 1979 and the tech startups flourished. But for most other firms it was a year of financial trouble. The oil crisis had it’s peak. We were looking for funding for Computer 2000 – not much luck initially.
  • Bubble burst 2000
    The stock exchanges collapsed under the Internet Bubble burst. Extreme speculation caused a huge financial crisis. Several investors even committed suicide. Thereafter there was no funding for any startup whatsoever. We were 4 weeks away from our IPO, spent all the money on it, and then boom. How to survive? Today the company doomed to die does nearly a billion in revenue.
  • September 11, 2001
    The Internet Bubble seemed to be fading out, and the next big crisis followed right on their heels. And again no funding, no support, nothing that could keep a startup alive unless they found their own way. It was the day of our very first investor pitch at a new startup BueRoads. Obviously it did not happen. Five years later we were the market leader in our space.
  • US economy meltdown in 2008
    The prime rate disaster killed the entire US economy. Startups – again – had nowhere to go. And again cash conservation was the call of that time. Only the best survived. We were just launching the Social Media Academy. Five years later we had the highest reputation in the Social Media education space.
  • Refugee crisis in 2015
    Millions of refugees from the middle east and north Africa had to leave everything back and migrated to other countries. Those who tried to start a business in the North African belt had to start all over – in foreign countries with no connections. We started a refugee accelerator to help migrating entrepreneurs to start a business in Germany – where nearly a million refugees entered. Five years later, 12 companies survived and created over 100 jobs.
  • Corona in 2020
    And again, yet a different type of crisis but the same effects: Startups run out of money and either find a way to survive or go out of business. And again the best will survive and the weak ones will die.
  • TBD 20XX
    With that history, we, entrepreneurs, and the entrepreneurs to come will need to deal with it. All entrepreneurs have to consider an incident that may cause their crash and go through it. Disaster Recovery is not only an IT term or for economies but for every business no matter how small or large.

The Big Advantage

Today we have a huge advantage over previous times: Healthy businesses can switch to a digital continuation plan within days. Home offices, fully connected employees can access even the mainframes through digital connections to the corporate main frames or local networks, video conferences can connect us with virtually anybody, we don’t need fax or paper, we don’t need to travel, and with a two- or three-week time lack we “could” go back to full production. The biggest issue is still coordinating an entire country to do the right things at the right time. And education is key. This current crisis has demonstrated to perfection where our weaknesses and opportunities are. As posted before: We will never get back to what was in the past. Business already did and will continue to massively shift towards a digital life far beyond what we have today.

Startups here and now

You have been at school for any of the previous crisis or not even alive back then. But there is quite a learning. The questions basically are:
What did startups do in the economic crisis 2001?
– With innovative ideas, maximum cash conservation, alternative funding and more.

How did refugees build a business with nothing?

– With an unbendable willpower to survive and the dream to get their families into safety and build a new existence.

How to structure a business during a crisis?

– Forgetting growth and every mundane drive forward but move into survival mode and never give up on the big and bold vision of a different future that made the company start in the first place.

How to turn a business to profitability in 30 days?

– By taking any available creativity to get cost down to zero and maximize the effort to get revenue.

What resources are still available in bad times?

– Every positive thinking human is more open to help than ever before – just ask!

What funding options, other than investors exist?

– There are at least 10 alternative ways to get funding from friends, partners, crowdfunding, banks, grants, service sales, pre-production sales, and more.

The best startups have always been those who survived a crisis.

If you are fully “digital & social”, social in the sense of social media, you have a huge advantage right now. But if the next crisis is a cyber-war, energy attack that leaves us with no power and no Internet? What would we do? There will be a startup with cool solutions as well :)

Please join us on our online call for entrepreneurs: “Surviving a crisis

Also please share your own tips, experiences, and suggestions.

Congratulations Entrepreneurs of Flight 8 Flight 8 Certificate

On April 8th, 2020, Entrepreneurs of Flight 8 of the World Innovations Forum  Entrepreneurs Acceleration Program (AEP) presented after completion of a 3-month accelerator program at the online Demo Day in front of Angel groups and Investors from Asia and Europe.

The selection of Flight8 startups started in South East Asia. In November we have been on the Asia Tour in fall 2019, where we met and interviewed several entrepreneurs in Vietnam and Cambodia who presented at our local pitch events in Saigon and Phnom Phen. Our Asian Ambassadors introduced us to 2 Pitch Event winners in South Korea and a company in Nepal who all joined the Bootcamp in Vietnam.

With the location support from the Saigon Innovation Hub, we conducted an intensive onside accelerator boot camp with ten teams from Nepal, Cambodia, Vietnam, and South Korea. The first week covered key topics of entrepreneurs’ experiences i.e.  Deep Innovation Design Method, identifying the uniqueness of a company, the need for speed, vision development, building a disruptive business model, customer experience, traction development, growth hacking, going global and capitalization of a company throughout its growth path. The intensity and necessary focus also showed the energy and willpower of the participating entrepreneurs.  Unfortunately, some teams simply didn’t make it and we completed the week with eight hardened teams.

The Bootcamp in Vietnam was well received and good preparation of what was coming: a 12-week online marathon to turn respective companies from a great idea into an execution path to make it a reality. The goal: a unique genuinely innovative business that will be hard to copy and have the attributes to be a stand-alone business for the future. During these 12 weeks, three more companies had to give up for different reasons, lack of focus, realizing the idea would not sustain the pressure the market will put on or realizing entrepreneurial requisites are different than they thought.

Five remaining teams proved that they would do whatever it takes to bring their business through any type of storm and received the World Innovations Forum Accelerator Flight 8 certificate after presenting their companies in front of roughly 60 Angels and VCs at our the Online Demo Day.

 

 

It’s one of the very often asked questions at startup events. One of the unique skills of an entrepreneur is to create something with nothing. If you would have capital you would probably become an investor, not an entrepreneur.

One day a young entrepreneur asked me: “But I have to live and eat and I have no savings”. I asked him if he has a car. After answering, yes, an old BMW. I asked him to sell it. He looked at me like I’m from a different planet…. I told him that I sold my drums – which is much harder. He just walked away shaking his head. Recently somebody was much more appreciative. So here is my response:

  1. Create a sound plan about your product or service
  2. Look for customers who would want to buy it if you already had it
  3. Verify your idea based on their feedback
  4. Create a website with your plans and describe what you are going to offer
  5. Invite people to review and make sure any ordinary customer would
    a) understand, b) get excited and c) wants to buy it when you have it
  6. Start a crowdfunding campaign to ‘pre-sell’ your solution
  7. You got your first revenue so you can now build what you promised to provide.
  8. Do more of what worked well

Obviously there are quite some things to do during the process. I.e. to start with, find a co-founder, register the business and so forth. But I guess you get the idea.

It sounds not easy – but becoming a millionaire is simply speaking not easy. That’s why we have a growing gap between rich and poor. The number of people going for easy and enjoying a 360 degree social and live ensurance just have a hard time to get the extra mile hundred times a day.

 

One of the most often asked question from young entrepreneurs who don’t really live in one of the startup epicenters: “We don’t have enough investors in our region. How can I get funded?”

LIVING OFF THE GRID
Well, if you want what’s not available in your village, you need to do one of two things: get to the next bigger city or order online. In case of an investor you need to look for investors online and most likely then go meet them. If you are living in a rural area, you may indeed not get any investment. This is not because investors don’t want to travel to your location, but you are so isolated that your success is much less like than from your current or future competitors. Go where the action is :)

INVESTMENT
If not really in a rural area, it actually doesn’t matter where you are when it comes to finding investors. Investments are like water and always find the best way to an opportunity. This is why diamond mines in Africa, tech companies in Vietnam, car accessory vendors in Oshu, wholesale distributors in Munich and so forth got funded.

WHAT IS AN OPPORTUNITY
Sorry to say that, the problem isn’t the lack of venture capital, but the lack of fundable opportunities. Here is what investors are looking for:

  • Attractive business idea that makes sense
  • Businesses that are serving large markets
  • Stellar founders team that already invested everything they have in the startup
  • Rock solid market validation – more than 50 people already expressed interest
  • Minimum viable product that shows your idea is somewhat working
  • Well thought out business model (ideally a disruptive business model)
  • Great feedback from alpha testers of your MVP
  • Very good plan how to go to market

Here are a few tips
1) A day of a startup ceo – World Innovations Forum

2) Most common mistakes – World Innovations Forum

3) https://wiforum.org/2015/12/many-startups-fail

4) What is actually a great founders team – World Innovations Forum

Germany has long been known for tech innovation and a very powerful economic driver. Berlin has grown to one of the most attractive start-up hubs in the world, putting Munich on the second place within Germany, yet still before Hamburg, Stuttgart, Frankfurt and other cities. With the enormous startup thrust – startups pushed to grow even beyond the German borders. Funding was the most significant barrier.

IPO Breakthrough

In the first quarter of 2018 alone, startups and spin-offs from larger companies pulled in close to  7 Billion Euro with their IPOs. This is more than the rest of Europe combined. This is pushing Germany in spot No. 2 globally behind the USA. And more IPO candidates are already in the loop. It took a bit for Europe actually to show that their startups have IPO quality – but now they seem to come with full power. More than just a handful, including HalloFresh, Delivery Hero, Zalando, Rocket Internet, Windeln.de, German Startups Group, Elumeo, Ferratum, Trivago, MyBucks, Akasol, Home24, CreditShelf, NFON and some others made it and IPOed in Germany already.

In the meantime, more IPO spots try to attract fast-growing businesses like the EuroNext in Amsterdam, Netherland and the Paris Stock Exchange. The relatively high P/E ratios of the classic enterprises, relative to their growth rate make those young businesses attractive. If one looks back to the early 2000s when a big surge of US startups went public, the majority of the investors where laughing, but today those companies produce a multiple that has never be seen in public companies before.

 

Artificial Intelligence Leadership

With the second biggest IPO finance place in the world, Germany is also attracting companies from other countries. More importantly, Germany is also preparing the capital flow into the next generation technology to support their declared attempt to become a global leader in Artificial Intelligence. The official AI strategy will be introduced Dec 4/5 2019. And with rapid financing growth has always been a worldwide challenge, the IPO leadership in Europa makes Germany also the place to go for AI startups. We will report about the AI Space Germany in December.

Stay tuned.

 

Money is globally available – just understand how to attract investors. Top tech companies started all over the world. In Microsoft Seattle, Spotify in Sweden, SAP in Germany, Samsung in Korea, Sony in Japan, Acer in Taiwan, Atos in France, Euthereum in Switzerland…

All have one thing in common: The somehow learned how to attract investors, had their story down and knew how to talk to investors – where ever they are.

Over the past 4 years we had startups from all over the planet in our accelerator and 50% got funded (the highest funding rate in the startup world).

Now we are starting to run free pitch events – ONLINE. These live events shall allow any entrepreneur, wherever they are on this planet to attend. No more traveling for entrepreneurs training.

Next training June 5 in all time zones! read more

We envision a world where prosperity is possible for all nations by increasing innovation and entrepreneurship locally.

Since we can’t get every entrepreneur in the world to come to Silicon Valley – Silicon Valley needs to come to the world – for free.

Please help spread the word, in particular in those countries where entrepreneurs don’t have easy access to capital. http://s3buzz.com/ntd5xx

 

Getting innovation to global markets

Bringing innovation successfully to market is key for prosperity

Nations all over the world pour millions and billions into innovation support – yet only a fraction of those inventions are ever seen their markets. Innovation officers consider bringing those innovations to market the sole responsibility of the entrepreneurs who created them. The job is done when an innovation was funded. An estimated 2% of the innovations funded by the European Commission become eventually successful solutions – the rest of the Millions in funding evaporate.

Instead of taking some of the grants to ensure that the major part of the investments in innovation even has a chance to survive – more money is thrown into ideas that all too often already from the beginning have no chance to get anywhere. This frustrating waste of money time and resources drove us to rethink the core values of innovation.

The initial value of innovation is zero

Any invention or innovative product or service has no value just because it exists. Assume, somebody develops a battery in the size of a matchbox that can host 1 Gigawatt of energy for 500 hours. As long as nobody has access to it, there is absolutely no economic value for our society. That power box does not create revenues, it does not create jobs, it does not give business to trade organizations and no added energy to its actual consumer.

Only if that invention is brought to market, it begins to create an economic value to the economy / society it is made available to. And the larger the geographic range is, the higher the value. Social networks have been in existence in very rudimentary forms before Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. But only once the innovation of digital social connections became a user friendly appearance and was brought to large numbers of the population it became of real value. And in almost all cases the value for the company is created when the value for the consumer is created.

Innovation Value

We see a clear correlation between consumer value and innovation value. If we stay with social media media for a moment, we see that correlation in several instances pretty clear. The US social media company LinkedIn started in 2003 and shortly thereafter German competitor Xing. Xing was even able to make it to become the first social media company in the world to do an IPO. However LinkedIn was more appealing to users and was strategically marketed on a global scale. Xing vanished away and LinkedIn dominates that part of the social media tools. The IPO for Xing did not help, the money they gained did not get them to the top. And exactly the same happens in the early phase of a business – when they are still startups.

Switzerland for instance is known for its innovative people and companies. It’s the country with one of the most patents per capita. Yet – in the past 20 or 30 years not a single tech company made it to the top. The innovation was purchased on an very early stage, investors and entrepreneurs chose the quick money over the economic value potential it could have for the country and sold the business, one after the other to companies who mostly siting other countries. The Innovation Value for country of Switzerland is nearly zero because the value creation, job creation, revenue and tax creation is happening in other countries.

Innovation Value and Valuation

Companies like Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Intel, WordPress, and lately Bitcoin dominate the technology related behavior, data usage and providing across the entire planet. All those companies have been considered vastly overvalued and part of a crazy hype. Just a few years later we most realize that the value seem to be OK and even if not, those companies dominate the rest of the world. Recently however the US dominance is broken and another country is becoming the most critical enemy: China. Europeans, Africans, Latin Americans just turn their heads from west to east and now complain about overhyped companies like Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent, Huawei, Xiaomi, Geely and so forth. All those companies shine with their high valuation. And the high valuation in turn attracts investors, talents, consumers and general attention. Only the combination of highly innovative products PLUS well marketed solutions create an economic value for a society by creating large amounts of jobs, revenue and taxes.  And the valuation from far sighted investors is the best indication for the economic potential in the future.

Innovation Value for a Economy / County

A country which does understand that network of value, innovation, valuation, and marketability of their startups and entrepreneurs has a great chance to benefit from the innovation they support, sponsor and fund. For others it is a risk of a large money and brain drain and even worst – like in Switzerland, large sums of money are poured into innovation and those who actually seem to have a great chance to grow are purchased long before the value could provide a return to the donor.

 

SOCIETY3’S FIRST GLOBAL ONLINE MEETING

After creating one of the most successful accelerator programs and working with entrepreneurs for the past 4 years, we decided to take our vision global. Today we are represented in 25 countries. And since we cannot bring millions of entrepreneurs to Silicon Valley – we need to do something radical different. We, the founders of Society3, are used to disrupt and make a difference. Today we begin to make a difference in how entrepreneurs in all countries get supported, treated more equally and have a chance to become a big company as if they would have started in Silicon Valley.

We need to rethink our abilities to permanently collaborate on a global scale. Creating a simple copy of Silicon valley is not going to work and definitely not the very spirit of Silicon Valley. Disrupting the main disrupter is. The digital world already holds all the necessary assets. We don’t won’t to ‘improve’ Silicon Valley but stand on it’s shoulders taking the amazing culture that was created there to an all new level.


REGISTER CON CALL EAST

Best for attendees from Europe and Asia


REGISTER CON CALL WEST

Best for attendees from Europe, Africa and Americas

AGENDA

* THE NEW EXCHANGE
Creating a global exchange for innovative minds.
How can entrepreneurs, investors and enabler benefit.
What’s our experience after 20 years Silicon valley.
How can every entrepreneur around the world leverage
global connections.

* GLOBAL ACCELERATOR
Running the first global online accelerator so every
entrepreneur can join, no matter where they are.
Main topics are: Bold visions, disruptive business models,
zero budget go-to-market strategy, traction and growth
hacking, fundraising,

* INTERNATIONAL TRADE FOR EVERY STARTUP
Building the first global trading & transaction system for
young entrepreneurs using blockchain technology.
Getting business rolling into almost any country faster then
ever before imaginable – at nearly no cost.

There is no substitute for a great in person meeting, like there is no substitute for an amazing live concert. Yet we hear MP3 music every day. This online conference is about online engagements, creating a mindset for online collaboration and an experiment to create a permanently connect online ecosystem – very much like Silicon Valley.

HOW TO CREATE A SILICON VALLEY CULTURE?

Every group of autonomous people can create a culture. We are on the verge of creating an all new entrepreneurs culture and significantly increase startup success rates no matter where they are located.
We do not want to change anybody or their culture. But we want to connect those, globally, who already have a good idea about an open and sharing ecosystem where we all can learn from each other and build businesses who can grow fast, create new jobs and provide value.

On April 5 we want to talk about how we can do that and how the culture in Silicon Valley was created.
All you need is an internet connection and a way to listen and ideally talk online.

Please register here:


REGISTER CON CALL EAST

Best for attendees from Europe and Asia


REGISTER CON CALL WEST

Best for attendees from Europe, Africa and Americas

There is no charge to attend

When you start your business, you don’t need anything other than your brain and working through the following 5 steps. If there is anything unclear to you, use Google. Finding your own way is part of this exercise. You will do that for the next 10+ years – finding your own way. If you are not 100% if entrepreneurship is even the right thing for you, check out the 10 most relevant founders traits – and also here find your own way to get there or chose something else.

1) IDEA STAGE
You have an idea and you are excited about it. Often times young entrepreneurs would like to get a validation from some experienced entrepreneurs or investors. Validating your idea is a great first move. But instead of talking to other entrepreneurs or investors – talk to potential customers. Do that before you even invest time and resources in building prototypes. However, if you feel better to make sure your idea works, it is OK to invest in a prototype.CHECK LIST
1) Did you speak to at least 10 potential customers to verify that your idea is solving a real problem and providing a much-needed solution.
2) Use a presentation or document to share your idea

 

2) ASSEMBLE YOUR TEAM, FIND CO-FOUNDERS
Before you do anything other than writing down your idea, attract at least another co-founder. Our world is too complex to do everything alone. And more importantly, our world is moving too fast for a single human to start a successful business and grow it fast enough before others enter their space. None of the top investors will ever invest in a solopreneur, no matter how cool the idea is.If you are a business person, find the technical co-founder. If you are an engineer find a business co-founder. If you can’t attract another entrepreneur, consider your idea is either not good enough or your skills and personality is not well enough developed to attract others which will always be necessary as you need to attract talents, customers, business partners, investors and more. Only two engineers or two business people is no better than a solopreneur – it’s all about the diverse skill set on the business leader bench. Be committed to give your co-founders at least 20% of your company and stay away from being the dominating “main” owner.CHECK LIST
1) Do you already have a diverse founders team with business as well as subject matter expertise?
2) Did you make well documented arrangement between founders regarding the equity ownership distribution.

 

3) DEVELOP YOUR SOLUTION CONCEPT
You and your co-founder will now want to develop the whole concept of your company – together. This includes defining the problem you are solving or the need you are fulfilling. It determines who your target audience will be and what you are bringing to your market. Describe what’s unique about you and your solution and make some intense research who else is offering similar solutions. Research other potential companies in the US, all over Europe and Asia. Define what the SINGLE most important function of your business is. If you have a list of important features – select one. If that one is too weak, strengthen that feature instead of growing a list. If the unique aspect of your solution is that you offer a complete suite of features while other businesses deliver only parts of it, re-think your idea as there is almost always some missing aspect of your concept.
CHECK LIST
1) Do you have a written down business concept – not necessarily a fully blown business plan?
2) Have you selected your unique single most important functionality that you want to be known for one day?

 

4) MARKET VALIDATION
Now put together a short presentation deck with no more than 10 slides. Create a list of 50 individual people who are potential customers (people not companies). Then try to make an appointment to present your idea. When you meet them – we highly suggest to NOT argue with them – just listen super carefully. Make notes what they don’t like, did not understand, did not need, and what they liked. IMPORTANT: Ask what of their current problems you would solve. Ask if they would buy your solution and what they’d be willing to pay. Make sure you end up speaking with at least 23 relevant people who are interested in your solution. If you don’t have the 23, ask more people. Document each and every interview. You may notice that you do not need a product to do any of the above.CHECK LIST
1) Did you speak to at least 23 people who have been willing to explore your solution for their business or individual use and it at least ort of solves a problem they have?
2) Is the feedback motivating enough to begin investing serious time and resources to build a first prototype? If not go back to step 3.

 

5) BUSINESS MODEL
With all the feedback you received, you may now develop a concept how you will produce, market, sell, deliver and service the product. All overall: How are you going to make money and compete with others. Then ask yourself if there is any way to make the engagement between you and your customer especially attractive – more attractive than your competitors. Determine the cost of building your solution and the price you like to sell it for. Consider a margin for distribution channels if you are addressing a large market (B2B or B2C).CHECK LIST
1) Do you have a written down business model that includes a possible pricing, a concept how to bring it to market and how you service customers?
2) Do you have an idea how you will compete against similar solutions or educate customers about your solution that has no competition?

At this stage it makes sense to look for a successful entrepreneur as a mentor, an office in a co-working space and others to connect with. Too early to discuss with investors. Forget seeking for an investor to build the business. Find some capital and seek for investors when you are ready to grow the business from a few early customers to a real company.

There is a concept called MVP – Minimum Viable Product.

Even though the name kind of says it all, the concept “MINIMUM” – “VIABLE” – “PRODUCT” indicates that there are as few features as possible, it must kind of work and it is a product – most entrepreneurs interpret MVP as the early iteration of a product they want to build. But that is definitely not the case. Let me explain it in more details:

1) MINIMUM VP
An MVP is supposed to demonstrate your core functionality that shows how your product is different from others. And as such focus exclusively on the core mechanism and process of the new solution. If you build a self driving car, it would be perfectly OK to use an old VW beetle that may have no lights and only one seat. But if it is perfectly self steering – you made a great MVP. Try to implement as little features as possible. Every “nice to have” feature destructs unless it is absolutely necessary to show the core idea.

2) M VIABLE P
Be aware that the MVP will only be used by early adopters and need to be seen by investors and other key people. They are typically smart enough to abstract the concept and imagine where you want to take it. It just needs to show the core feature in a very solid way. It need to work over and over again. The function needs to be robust enough that anybody can envision you build the whole concept in a beautiful way later on. Equally important, let the users experiment with it BEFORE it is ready. You will want to learn as much as possible from those users to build the final product after their feedback. Redoing a product is not only much harder but a rather “ready” product may mislead users to a behavior they may not be able to articulate their pain – rather leave it open in an MVP.

3) MV PRODUCT
Make sure that you have a well thought out business model that is actually the disrupting part of your solution. EVERY business model is reflected in the MVP. If the business model is lame, your MVP will not be too catchy wither. Make the PRODUCT reflect your business model.