Hi there, this is Slava Agafonov again. I want to start a startup series about entrepreneurship, and I call it to boot camp. In this series, I will share some knowledge that I received from the community, books, and different United States programs over the last five years. Over the previous five years, it was an incredible journey that will never stop for me with my Technology MBA program at the University of Washington. I created a startup called Energsoft Inc. It was a lot of competitions in Berkley University, California Technology, InnoStar competitions in China, business trips to Germany, Japan, Estonia, Canada, and many other places on the globe to learn, absorb and to expand my imagination on the topic of entrepreneurship. I am going to share some things that I learned from mentors and folks from the University of Washington and other community. Enjoy!
According to Finance Expert Jeff Fidelman, who has executed over $500 million in transactions across industries, “A pitch deck should be viewed as a dynamic, living document that evolves over time.” As an entrepreneur continues to pitch multiple audiences, they will notice that they are often asked the same questions time and time again. They should take note of these questions, incorporating and addressing them in the presentation. Besides, the market data and company traction data (e.g., number of users, traffic to your website, sales numbers) should also be continually updated. You never want your data to seem outdated, as you want to minimize the opportunities to call into question your knowledge or credibility.
"We each have a choice in life: work for somebody, or start something." - Neal Dikeman
"Anyone can be an expert on anything, given five years." - Bill Salathiel, PhD
Concerned that your startup is not flying or your town is weak on starts?
Let's explore makes a startup tick. Preparation is essential: 1) Start with the problem statement 2) So, you want to build a startup or attract startups to your town? 3) You need to understand how startups and startup herds evolve 4) StartupLandia Unplugged is brief storyboard on the critical element s startup herd from a 7x founder
Crowds are just an aggregation of individual startups. Herds grow and move fast - customer interest, competitor progress, and investor demand. To build or compete in a Herd, you have to move quickly or evolve, too.
There is always capital for good deals. Money and technology do not make a good deal; people and problems do. Teams hunt the next big issues and big ideas and significant customer demand. Exits drive repeats, and money follows teams.
Launching is not actually about Lean Startup or delivering results - that's what winning is about - Launching is about doing what it takes on limited resources to aggregate enough people and cash resources to take a shot on goal.
A pitch deck is a brief PowerPoint presentation used by companies seeking external funding. The presentation includes critical highlights from the company, used by entrepreneurs as a powerful tool and used by investors to learn more about the investment opportunity. You can make a pitch deck yourself, following an aesthetic aligned with your product and website. Otherwise, it can be a good idea to hire a professional for pitch deck design. Each investor pitch deck should include the company overview, company purpose, the team, traction, market size, the “problem” you are solving for, the “solution,” the business model, growth, financials, competitive landscape, and the investment “ask.” Fundraising, for companies at any stage, is undoubtedly a challenging process. According to a recent study, an average series seed raise requires contact with 58 investors, 40 investor meetings, and over 12 weeks to close around. Even for seasoned entrepreneurs and startups already with market traction, a compelling pitch and accompanying pitch deck are still necessary. Despite variance around stylistic delivery and aesthetics, you might be relieved to hear that the infamous pitch deck boils down to a formula.
Foundable teams are customer-focused, and user traction on whatever is build demonstrated so far is crystal. Sexy as hell technology innovation that resonates and knocks the critical barrier to adoption. The full team that's either experienced and successful in other startups, or beginning or career, unproven but displays lightning fast results, command of its problem, and coachable like a sponge.
A startup can go lighting fast, very big, on very little lack of capital is rarely the real culprit. Keiretsu Due diligence training:
Building a business that can win is not always the same as doing what you need to do to get the A round and launch. Once Lunch is made, you have enough resources to make a go - now you have to deploy them to build a product, make happy customer, grow, scale, and get more resources. Is there anything worse than a high-pressure salesperson pushing you to say "yes" - the sign on the dotted line - before you are ready? If there is one lesson I have learned over years of pitching, presenting, and closing long-shot, high-stakes deals, it is that people are sick of being marketed and sold to. Most of all, they hate being told what to think. The more you push them, the more they resist. What people love, however, is coming up with a great idea on their own, even if it is the idea you were guiding them to have all along. If you need to make, someone feel smarter than you to get them to sign. I am all for it. That is why I am throwing out the series of boot camp notes about persuasion. Instead, I am showing you a new approach that works in these simple insights from mentors and people who were successful in the past: Everyone trusts their ideas. If rather than pushing your concept on your buyer, you can guide them to discover it on their own, they will believe it, trust it, and get excited about it. Then they will buy-in and feel good about the chance to work with you.
Here are some fascinating University of Washington entrepreneurship podcasts:
Here is my essay that I wrote to enter the Technology Management Program at the University of Washington about five years ago. Ultimately, the goal is to start own company and the idea of creating and improving the world with own hands is a lifelong dream. Ideally, I passionate to create a product, raise capital, and take a company public, no matter how or when we get there.
The technology was always the hidden “thing” in me because parents bought a ZX Spectrum computer when I was 5 years old. Mother made me feel that programmers are cool, so I should study English and computers to be like them. After master’s degree in computer science from the Kharkiv Aerospace University and 10 years in professional programming, I strongly feel that to advance further I need to consolidate what I have learned and add more leadership, business, finance, and interpersonal skills that almost all ‘techies’ don’t have when they arrive at B-school, obviously this will be crucial to building own startup company. The unique accelerated MBA program is an ideal program to help, because couple reasons: a) School rated #1 in Northwest b) Location is in the middle between work and home, c) Foster has world-class faculty, c) Alumni with more than 45,000 high caliber graduates across the globe d) Time commitment is 18 month, e) Awesome technology leadership MBA students feedback, d) Real-life practice with international trip that I am thrilled about.
What exactly I bring to the TMMBA culture? To accomplish any task I tent to seek an unconventional way to “Get it done” faster or more efficiently. Last spring, I decided to climb 14410-foot volcano of Mt. Rainier, so I researched around and applied to beginner’s course with Gorizont mountaineers club. After 6 months of hard dedication to theory and practice classes on multiple rocks, crevasses, climbing gyms, and real volcanos like Mt. Baker (we summited it too), I was able to summit majestic Mount Rainier in July 2014. Next, I joint to the basketball Pro Club league and our international team was able to get to the final in the C2 league in the first season (of course I played basketball 5 years when I was a kid). Furthermore, while the second season we advanced to the harder league and I was in the top 10 for multiple categories: number of assists, rebounds, and steals. As a result, I received an invitation to all-star game for C league that we won. The reason why I prefer to get assists versus points is that I like to improve other people around, but I was able to produce 10 points per game too. On the other hand, at work, I increasingly found taking younger software developers at my wing and keeping everyone positive at all times. In the hard deadline moments, instead of shying away from a challenge, I threw myself to work. With peers, wife and manager feedback, I always know what are the most impactful areas. Lastly, I believe that positive personality and experience are sufficient to get me on the dream path and I cannot wait to share these qualities with classmates.
To summarize, probably a decade from now, on route to own startup office, I would stop and ponder how I strongly enhanced the depth of knowledge, how strongly breadth personal network and thank that TMMBA came my way."
Interestingly enough, I am working on the startup for the last three years and it is going pretty well: https://energsoft.com