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.

 

 

A week with very promising teams, brilliant people from the local universities and amazing supporter – less amazing government actions.

Our work In Nepal was a great finish for our five week Asia Tour on one side and a disappointment at the very last day, at the investor summit.

After an impressive pitch event, the winner teams and organizers, judges and investors all together. The creativity of entrepreneurs is universal. And so is their spirit to find solutions for their local markets first.

Private World Innovations Forum Dinner with representatives from the private and public sector, entrepreneurs, investors and enablers. It’s also a thank you to the amazing work the team has performed in Nepal.

With the introduction of Private Direct Investments, private investors should now able to invest in private businesses, explained Minister for foreign affairs, Pradeep Kumar Gyawali. This would make a huge difference to Nepal’s startup ecosystem.

Nepal’s government representatives explain the new investment strategy, in which industries investments are welcome and up to 7 years tax exemptions to attract as many investors as possible. It was made very clear that with the new investment policies and regulations, the government is introducing major changes, trying to turn to economy around. For the past decades, Nepal was depending on donations. Now that shall change and Nepal will want to stand on their own feed.

However, weeks later the website to register and get approved as an investor did not work. Trying to get support was hopeless. It was difficult enough to figure out which site a prospective investor is supposed to register. Attendees of the event never heard back from the event organizer. Neither how to register nore any next steps. Even our local connections could not figure out whether the new rules are even in effect. So far no progress at all.

 

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

Innovation gets funded with billions of $ all across the world. Hundreds of thousands of startups get founded every year. Yet 90% of the inventions, patented ideas, startups and corporate innovation labs do not succeed. If our crops would have been treated like our brain crops, humans would have extinct by now.

SOMETHING WENT REALLY WRONG

After a keynote at the European Commission’s Digital Agenda, I discussed a burning question with one of the officers. I asked: “Why is so much money poured into more and more inventions and innovative ideas but absolutely nothing in helping to get them to markets?” The answer was prompt and very clear: “Commercial success is the job of the entrepreneur, not of a government”. While I understood the rational behind the thinking, I still found it odd to let 90% of invested money evaporate, just because a more or less philosophical process. The result is not only lost opportunities but also widening the chasm between rich and poor, putting the leadership position of a nation in jeopardy and risking to loose talents who may find other nations more appealing.

Innovation that can’t be brought to market is of no value for the respective society and should not be funded with tax money.

WHAT PROFESSIONAL INVESTORS DO

The top venture investors nurture their investment from Idea to IPO. It’s the only way to get a significant return on investment. Plus they educate, mentor and coach their portfolio companies to bring them to maximum performance. And the result is stunning. instead of 90 % failure rate it’s only 75%. In other words they doubled the success rate of startups they have invested in. Unfortunately that is the tiny fraction of startups that had the privilege to move to Silicon Valley and get investments from some of the top VCs. But in the end, our “Innovation Crops” deliver a miserable 10% yield, while we know we could get it up to 25%.

We need to change the innovation paradigm

WHAT IS THE VALUE OF INNOVATION

I guess we can agree that innovation is perceived a key driver for progress and growth. But is that true?  Is it the innovation or is it the ability to bring new and different products to market and attract a huge amount of people to support it, buy it or otherwise engage with it. A less innovative product that is produced in huge quantities and attract a large global market is most likely creating more jobs, more revenue, more profits and therefor more taxes for the local community than a product that is much more innovative but nobody knows about it therefor the company may not even survive. The true value of innovation is created at the time that product or service is hitting large markets and get a lot of business.

ONLY SUCCESSFUL INNOVATION MEANS JOBS AND TAXES

If we can agree that a value is only created when the companies grows, creates jobs and pay taxes, we should also agree that funding the urge of developing something is less important that funding the the need to bring it to market. Creative minds will build innovative products whether they get funded or not. But only if economic success is supported afterwards the innovation is gaining in value. And if the core driver for Innovation Funds is job creation and prosperity we may need to reconsider the funding strategy and put some money aside for every amount of money spent in the invention itself.

NEW INNOVATION PARADIGM FOCUSING ON COMMERCIAL RESULTS

A new innovation support program needs to focus on commercial success more than anything else. That includes providing non bureaucratic processes and rules to actually be able to make global trade even as a startup. It means lowering regulatory barriers to an absolute minimum. It also means providing business education to leverage latest techniques for an efficient and successful go-to-market plan – something no university will ever be able to offer. And means that young startups are supported with international networks and concepts to leverage existing trade networks. And of course that some of the funds available for the invention itself is also made available to kick start the commercial success.

 

First global innovation gathering

In June 2018, for the first time, entrepreneurs, investors, enabler and government officers from around the world meet at the World Innovations Forum. The forum helps to get a better picture about the status quo of global innovation and entrepreneurship. This conference of the visionaries will show how far even emerging countries are and what we can do to help bring innovation  better to market.

Innovation of no value

Around the globe, billions are invested in innovation. However as long as no support is given to bring those innovations to market, the large majority of great ideas evaporate. The World Innovations Forum will address that and help make a change. More innovation need to find their markets and contribute to global prosperity.

Technology at Risk

Artificial Intelligence, Crypto Currency, Robotics, Autonomous Vehicles, Technical Implants, DNA Manipulation and more are considered risky technologies and at the same time great advances of the human mind. We don’t want to have neigh sayer pound on the technology and obsessed engineers defend it. Instead we will discuss many of those topics with those who have a common sense and explore the future evolution of those technologies.

Getting startups into global markets

It’s always too late and always too early when young entrepreneurs grow international. Today’s networked world, digital and online practices and new technologies open up all new opportunities. How can a startup from Nigeria go global 2 years after founding and be in 20 countries a year later? Yes it’s crazy, not health, too fast, irresponsible and way too risky. And yes, it’s the core spirit of entrepreneurship. With the Society3 leadership team having brought 4 companies international within their first four years and today’s technology we will help startups go broad faster than ever before imaginable. Of course with all the risks and challenges and with all the opportunities.

A global entrepreneurial mindset

After all, it is the unbelievable spirit in Silicon Valley that is responsible for driving all the other advantages of the area. Silicon Valley is known to be the epicenter of innovation, the best place to get funded and the most compelling place to work. But if you do a deep dive analysis you find an interesting chain: The amazing mindset of all the like minded people makes working more like fun – not work. With that it makes it easy to learn from each other, probably 10 times faster than anywhere else. If you combine the work energy and the super fast learning, top notch companies are only the result. That attracts investors who in turn learned to nurture that spirit and develop it even further. NOW – since we cannot send millions of startups to San Francisco / Silicon Valley, we need to get creative if we want to increase the success rate of all entrepreneurs.

Creating that spirit in other places has been proven to be possible. Now we want to create it across the world. This is one of the key projects we are kicking off at the World Innovations Forum in June this year.

TICKETS

Unfortunately we have only a very limited number of tickets for this year, about 10 for each of the 25 countries, so please register early to make sure you can join.

Ticket sales is now open.

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

Forget it, passion is for pussycats. You need to be obsessed.

 

You heard all that many times. But what does it actually mean? What constitutes such a great founders team?

  1. Team means team. A founders team is not one founder with a few people joining him or her somehow but multiple founders with more or less equal equity share in the startup. Together thay sculptured and shaped the concept of the business. It takes teamwork to make a dream work.
  2. The best founders are obsessed, not just passionate about what they do. They make any humanly possible effort to make their idea come true. If they have to move to a different country, they will. If they have to sell everything they posses they will. If they have to live in a shed and have just barely enough to survive they will.

    Passion is for pussycats – great founders are obsessed

  3. Great founders are truly intelligent. Meaning they have the skill to solve a problem by simply thinking through most of its permutations even though neither they nor anybody else ever ever found a solution for a similar problem.
  4. Having assembled a team of very diverse skills and behavior. Having a generalist working with two specialists (CEO, CTO, CMO). A doer, a a visionary and an detailed subject matter expert are best.
  5. Bold thinking. Not just a hypothetical billion users or billion dollars but an intelligently constructed ways and a reasoning why and how to get there. Having a reasonable idea about the technology development, the societal trends and industrial movements over the next 10 years, The ability to draw the future like a picture.
  6. NO respect for anything. Breaking all rules except the law. They do what they think it takes to achieve their goal no matter what anybody in the world tells them to do.
  7. Complete independence of capital.  Great founders make things happen with nothing. To the contrary those who need somebody else’ money to start are definitely not great founders. The only money they need is to grow their company faster than organic growth.
  8. Top founders are people who can easily attract others: Attract co-founders, attract customers, attract talents, attract investors…
  9. At least one of the founders in the team is a marvelous communicator. Has the ability to get the message out in a simple way and crafts those messages, so that others can share it as well. Founders are not living in offices and labs but in the market.
  10. High sense of urgency. Great founders do things significantly faster that their competitors. They have no time for anything but run. From idea to prototype, less than 6 month. from prototype to production less than 6 month. From being in the market to first major market share wins, less than six month, from first market share wins to first international business less than 6 month…