Venture Lean http://www.venturelean.team BACKING FOUNDERS Tue, 31 Jul 2018 05:40:29 +0000 en-AU hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.7 wp-content/uploads/2018/03/favicon_without_slogan.png Venture Lean http://www.venturelean.team 32 32 Reboot of That Startup Show will put founders front of stage reboot-of-that-startup-show-will-put-founders-front-of-stage/ reboot-of-that-startup-show-will-put-founders-front-of-stage/#respond Wed, 27 Jun 2018 01:38:39 +0000 ?p=1023 That Startup Show is back for a second season, and co-founder Anna Reeves tells StartupSmart its new distribution formats and deep-delving themes will bring the limelight onto people, and the philosophies, behind startups. The team wrapped on the first season, filmed in Melbourne’s The Savoy Tavern, back in 2015. Reeves notes: “People seemed to like it.” Since then, That […]

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That Startup Show is back for a second season, and co-founder Anna Reeves tells StartupSmart its new distribution formats and deep-delving themes will bring the limelight onto people, and the philosophies, behind startups.

The team wrapped on the first season, filmed in Melbourne’s The Savoy Tavern, back in 2015. Reeves notes: “People seemed to like it.”

Since then, That Startup Show has toured Australia and New Zealand, run one-off special episodes and, crucially, focused on fundraising.

This new season is supported by major partner LaunchVic and main media partner Gizmodo, plus the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, Academy Xi and Girl Geek Academy. An additional media partnership also means episodes will be available on Virgin Australia flights.

Episodes will still be filmed in front of a live audience, although the Savoy is no longer standing. Reeves is tight-lipped on the new location, saying all will be revealed in the first episode, available on Gizmodo on July 17.

The new format also sees Gizmodo editor Rae Johnston co-hosting alongside journalist and author Benjamin Law. They’re well matched, Reeves says, adding: “Their chemistry is really great on screen”.

Getting Johnston on board and bagging Gizmodo as a partner were separate things, Reeves says. The team approached Johnston first, and they later agreed to try to “cross-pollinate audiences”.

“We were really searching for a different distribution model, synergies and alignment with similar audiences,” says Reeves.

Then, approaching Law was a case of Reeves “thinking outside of the box”, she says.

He had worked on That Startup Show specials before, with Reeves calling him “very intelligent” with an “inquisitive approach to the world”.

“We wanted to create opportunity for diversity on screen culture,” she says.

Where do startups stand?
Touted as a reboot of the original show, this iteration of That Startup Show is intended to tackle the role of technology in our everyday lives, something Reeves says “people are more and more concerned about”.

“They want to know who’s behind it, and what they’re doing,” she says.

Four or five years ago, the huge technology companies were perceived as doing new and exciting things. Now, Reeves says, with data sharing and privacy scandals emerging, some of “the dark side” has come out.

“People want to explore how that affects them,” she says.

“How are we going to navigate humanity in the face of unprecedented change?”

According to Reeves, startup founders should be considering their own role in that. Are startups solving some of the problems, or creating new ones?

“Startups need to ask themselves that. Is something going to create more problems than it solves? Making people’s lives better, and making money?”

According to Reeves, That Startup Show will look beyond the deals and the fundraising, and focus on the people behind the businesses, and their ethos.

She asks: “Who are the companies? Who are the people? … What does an entrepreneur look like?”

Episodes will cover issues including diversity, mental health and burnout, and how to make a difference and a profit at the same time.

“That’s what we learnt from doing the first season,” Reeves says.

“Talking to startups about their own journeys, these are the things that aren’t talked about. The hidden things.”

NewsCredit: https://www.smartcompany.com.au/startupsmart/news-analysis/reboot-that-startup-show-put-founders-front-stage/

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Chinese startups taking hold in Silicon Valley through innovation chinese-startups-taking-hold-in-silicon-valley-through-innovation/ chinese-startups-taking-hold-in-silicon-valley-through-innovation/#respond Tue, 26 Jun 2018 02:25:23 +0000 ?p=1010 New analysis is suggesting more and more Chinese startups are taking hold in California’s Silicon Valley with the hope of reaping benefits in both the Chinese and US markets. Bill Shao is working for a Chinese company, e-commerce giant Suning, in its research development center in the heart of Silicon Valley. From big name companies […]

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New analysis is suggesting more and more Chinese startups are taking hold in California’s Silicon Valley with the hope of reaping benefits in both the Chinese and US markets.

Bill Shao is working for a Chinese company, e-commerce giant Suning, in its research development center in the heart of Silicon Valley.

From big name companies to his own start-up, Shao has been working in the Silicon Valley for 22 years.

Shao says there is a growing demand for engineers that are able to bring new innovative products back to China.

He says many unique products are being created in Silicon Valley.

One of those products is a hologram prototype Suning has been looking at for its unmanned retail stores.

“Add in a hologram, were we can have an assistant that you can interact with and be able to get information from her or him about anything in terms of product,” Shao said.

Suning says setting up a Silicon Valley branch has offered the company exposure to the most cutting-edge and innovative technology.

Many Chinese companies, like Suning, face a challenge of increasing their brand awareness in the US.

In 2014, a young Chinese woman graduated from Columbia University and saw a market niche.

A year later, Pingo Wu founded Red Cube in Silicon Valley, making social-marketing videos for Chinese companies that have global ambitions.

One of Red Cube’s most important functions is to introduce Chinese startups to Silicon Valley, especially the investors there.

John Uribe is the head of video production with Red Cube.

“One of our clients is called the One Highlight Piano. And we did a crowd-funding video for them. And they were able to reach like 1100 percent on their crowd-funding pages, which is amazing,” John said.

In three years’ time, Wu’s company has grown from three people to 75 employees.

From manufacturing to technology, more and more Chinese firms are going into the American market.

And they’re craving a closer relationship with US customers.

And some startups like Red Cube are helping them to do that.

Pingo Wu, founder of Red Cube, says her video business is booming.

“Recently, we just invested in a domestically well-known Chinese kitchen-ware factory to become their shareholder. After building a brand for the company, we also helped it with marketing and sales (in the US),” Wu said.

With US President Donald Trump promoting his “made in America” agenda, Wu says she intends to get into the manufacturing end of business as well, rather than just promoting the products of others.

News Credit: http://chinaplus.cri.cn/news/business/12/20180625/149086.html

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High-profile CMOs to debate their switch to startups at this year’s CMO Momentum high-profile-cmos-to-debate-their-switch-to-startups-at-this-years-cmo-momentum/ high-profile-cmos-to-debate-their-switch-to-startups-at-this-years-cmo-momentum/#respond Tue, 26 Jun 2018 02:11:42 +0000 ?p=1006 More than 20 Australian and international marketing and business leaders set to take to the stage at this year’s CMO Momentum in Sydney on 4 July Just why so many Australian marketing leaders are forgoing big corporates in order to work with startups will take centre stage at next week’s CMO Momentum conference in Sydney. Four well-respected […]

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More than 20 Australian and international marketing and business leaders set to take to the stage at this year’s CMO Momentum in Sydney on 4 July

Just why so many Australian marketing leaders are forgoing big corporates in order to work with startups will take centre stage at next week’s CMO Momentum conference in Sydney.

Four well-respected and experienced marketing chiefs will be sharing their stories in startups at this year’s CMO Momentum, our premier event for modern marketing leadership taking place at Sydney’s International Convention Centre on Wednesday 4 July.

Participating in the panel on the day and sharing these disruptive marketing strategy efforts are Prospa CMO and former ME Bank marketing chief, Rebecca James; ex-eHarmony marketing director and now CMO of telco upstart, OVO, Nicole McInnes; Sendle co-founder and CMO, Craig Davis; and former LinkedIn marketer and now CMO of Weploy, Ben Eatwell.

The four marketing leaders represent just a few of the high calibre local and international marketing leaders on the agenda at this year’s conference. Kicking off the day is Nestle USA director of marketing, Daniela Simpson, who’ll share tips on how you can innovate a legacy business and team to embrace the speed and nimbleness of a startup.

Our second keynote, Woolworths Food Group director of marketing, Andrew Hicks, will reveal how marketing has delivered a strategic and growth role within the supermarket giant’s own customer-led business transformation efforts.

Other notable speakers include AgencyAgile US founder, Jack Skeels; academic expert and Psynapse Psychometrics thought leader, Jennifer Whelan; leadership and change consultant, Paul Mitchell; co-creation guru, Paul Hawkins; and many more.

Alongside our speakers, this year’s CMO Momentum also features our highly successful and interactive networking tables, a unique opportunity for attendees to engage with their peers to discuss the key behavioural and strategic attributes required in every modern marketing function.

There are still tickets left so don’t miss this opportunity to secure your place at this significant, must-attend conference for marketers. Those who purchase

Buy your tickets here

News Credit : https://www.cmo.com.au/article/642895/high-profile-cmos-debate-their-switch-startups-year-cmo-momentum/

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QUT Creative Enterprise Australia startups hone their pitches at Techsauce Global Summit in Thailand qut-creative-enterprise-australia-startups-hone-their-pitches-at-techsauce-global-summit-in-thailand/ qut-creative-enterprise-australia-startups-hone-their-pitches-at-techsauce-global-summit-in-thailand/#respond Tue, 26 Jun 2018 02:04:39 +0000 ?p=1001 BRISBANE creative tech startups have flown the flag for Australia at South-East Asia’s biggest tech conference. Seven Brisbane and three interstate startups – all part of the Collider accelerator program at QUT Creative Enterprise Australia, the nation’s only creative-tech-focused incubator – took out the entire Australian pavilion at the Techsauce Global Summit in Bangkok at […]

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BRISBANE creative tech startups have flown the flag for Australia at South-East Asia’s biggest tech conference. Seven Brisbane and three interstate startups – all part of the Collider accelerator program at QUT Creative Enterprise Australia, the nation’s only creative-tech-focused incubator – took out the entire Australian pavilion at the Techsauce Global Summit in Bangkok at the weekend. It was the culmination of an “immersion week” in which the entrepreneurs met with members of the burgeoning Thai tech sector and honed their “pitches” to win over investors.

Recently appointed QUT CEA chief executive officer Mark Gustowski said Thailand was a tech hub physically as well as figuratively.

“Whether it’s Cambodia, Burma, Laos, Vietnam, Korea, even China, Hong Kong or Singapore, Thailand sits at the centre of all that,” he said.

“And it has fantastic IT infrastructure: incredibly fast 4G, great digital content, high e-commerce consumers, and some really big creative brands.

“It’s also from our perspective one of the centres of the creative industries.

“So couple all that with a 68 million population and access to about two billion people in the greater ASEAN region, Thailand is almost a perfect landing spot.”

Mr Gustowski said from a creative-tech perspective Thailand was still a well-kept secret in the region.

“I’m really glad that there aren’t more people here from Western countries because it means we can try to make an impact,” he said.

The startups in the current Collider program offer cutting-edge products such as wedding previsualisation, cloud-based music artist and venue matching, ticket scalping prevention, holographic advertising and facial recognition for retail, branded videogaming jerseys and automated marketing for small business.

And there were promising signs after the immersion week and exhibiting at Techsauce.

“We’ve had investors ask if there were term sheets available, which means they’re pretty serious – they’re wanting to see the details of what an investment would look like,” Mr Gustowski said.

He said QUT CEA was looking at making the Bangkok trip an annual event.

The writer travelled to Bangkok as a guest of the Royal Thai Embassy, Canberra

News Credit: https://www.couriermail.com.au/business/qut-creative-enterprise-australia-startups-hone-their-pitches-at-techsauce-global-summit-in-thailand/news-story/bfb282abd956a242e61008db8d05b8a5

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This cyptocurrency startup is putting two Queensland towns on the map for a new breed of crypto-rich tourists this-cyptocurrency-startup-is-putting-two-queensland-towns-on-the-map-for-a-new-breed-of-crypto-rich-tourists/ this-cyptocurrency-startup-is-putting-two-queensland-towns-on-the-map-for-a-new-breed-of-crypto-rich-tourists/#respond Tue, 05 Jun 2018 06:01:52 +0000 ?p=760 Source: https://www.smartcompany.com.au/startupsmart/news-analysis/cyptocurrency-startup-travelbybit-putting-queensland-towns-map-new-breed-crypto-rich-tourists/ TravelbyBit, a graduate of Steve Baxter’s River City Labs accelerator founded last year, allows merchants to accept cryptocurrency through a point of sale system that’s been designed to be easy to use and to protect vendors from the notorious fluctuations in the currencies. In January, the startup launched in several stores in the […]

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Source: https://www.smartcompany.com.au/startupsmart/news-analysis/cyptocurrency-startup-travelbybit-putting-queensland-towns-map-new-breed-crypto-rich-tourists/

TravelbyBit, a graduate of Steve Baxter’s River City Labs accelerator founded last year, allows merchants to accept cryptocurrency through a point of sale system that’s been designed to be easy to use and to protect vendors from the notorious fluctuations in the currencies.

In January, the startup launched in several stores in the Brisbane Airport. Now, travellers can use cryptocurrency from the moment they touch down until they reach the fish and chips shop at the beach.

TravelbyBit co-founder Caleb Yeoh tells StartupSmart the community of Agnes Water and 1770 has been “very open to technology”.

“They’re moving forward with really cutting-edge blockchain technology,” he says.

In fact, the whole scheme was driven by local business people — specifically local real estate agent Gordon Christian, and a client who asked him for ideas on how to accept cryptocurrency at a local business level. It was Christian who approached TravelbyBit with the idea.

When Christian approached Yeoh, TravelbyBit was already working with Advance Queensland to bring cryptocurrency to rural parts of the state.

“Bitcoin is the world’s first truly global currency,” Yeoh says.

“It makes a lot of sense that it is used in the travel sector.”

Once plans were underway, Christian and Yeoh were contacted by a foundation representing a specific cryptocurrency, the XEM, which decided to send a team of its own representatives to the town to test the crypto-tourism experience.

The NEM Foundation is now providing 5% cashback to travellers using XEM, Yeoh says, in a bid to encourage early adopters.

“The tech is very new and there is a lot of fear and misinformation raised by those who don’t understand it,” Yeoh explains.

He also admits that it was Christian who got most of the local partners on board.

“Having a local champion really helps,” he says.

Christian tells StartupSmart that when he floated the idea with local businesses they were largely familiar with cryptocurrencies already, and jumped on board without needing much persuasion.

His vision was to offer “a full package” through cryptocurrency, including restaurants, cafes, beauty salons and excursions, and even train, coach and transfer tickets booked through the local travel agent.

Today, excluding service stations and supermarket chains, there is a crypto-accepting option in the towns for anything a traveller might need, Christian says. More than 30 local businesses are on board with the initiative.

As of last weekend, tourists from Japan, Vietnam and around Australia were already travelling to Agnes Water and 1770 and using their cryptocurrency to buy their coffees and souvenirs, while also meeting with the locals and attending town hall meetings to discuss the practicalities of the initiative.

But Christian says this is just the beginning.

“It’s quite a unique marketing opportunity,” he says.

“We could have increased tourism from this … attracting a new, boutique market that’s emerging.”

“A lot of people have made a lot of money [in cryptocurrency] in the last couple of years. There are not a lot of places they can spend it,” Yeoh adds.

He also sees opportunities in the future for local resorts hosting cryptocurrency conferences; welcoming early adopters who have a lot of Bitcoin to spend; and cementing Agnes Water and 1770 as a holiday hub for the blockchain community.

“It’s quite powerful, the blockchain community,” Christian says.

“We want serious tourists … it’s up to the community.”

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Aussie state capital’s innovation hub to receive multi-million dollar expansion aussie-state-capitals-innovation-hub-to-receive-multi-million-dollar-expansion/ aussie-state-capitals-innovation-hub-to-receive-multi-million-dollar-expansion/#respond Fri, 01 Jun 2018 02:29:36 +0000 ?p=757 Credit : http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-05/29/c_137214766.htm#0-linkedin-1-68265-1fa24a716d9c05123354ed78a0ed9eaa SYDNEY, May 29 (Xinhua) — One of Australia’s largest tech-hubs is about to receive a multi-million dollar boost, the Queensland (QLD) state government announced on Tuesday. Known as the “he Precinct,” the Brisbane city startup incubator was first established in March 2017 and plays host to 17 of the nation’s leading technology […]

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Credit : http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-05/29/c_137214766.htm#0-linkedin-1-68265-1fa24a716d9c05123354ed78a0ed9eaa

SYDNEY, May 29 (Xinhua) — One of Australia’s largest tech-hubs is about to receive a multi-million dollar boost, the Queensland (QLD) state government announced on Tuesday.

Known as the “he Precinct,” the Brisbane city startup incubator was first established in March 2017 and plays host to 17 of the nation’s leading technology companies including River City Labs, SoftBank and the federal government-led firm Data61.

“I’m proud to announce as part of our increased spending in the innovation sector, The Precinct will increase in size by 50 percent,” QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.

“The Precinct is currently 5,337 square meters across two floors at the historic TC Beirne Building, but with the expansion, The Precinct will grow by an additional floor and will cover around 7,500 square meters.”

With 27 tenants reportedly on the waiting list already, demand for office space at the facility has been overwhelming in the country’s northern state.

“As soon as the Precinct opened, it was clear the Brisbane startup community would support the space,” QLD chief entrepreneur Steve Baxter said.

“Creating the right environment for ‘accidental collisions’ means networking is just part of the normal work routine and that’s vital for these exciting young companies.”

“The expansion presents a fantastic opportunity for more businesses to join our thriving entrepreneurial community.”

Despite the QLD government’s announcement, details about the total sum of investment have not been finalized yet, however, that information is set to be released on June 13 when the state hands down its annual budget.

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Netflix’s CEO thinks every country should have its own Reliance Jio netflixs-ceo-thinks-every-country-should-have-its-own-reliance-jio/ netflixs-ceo-thinks-every-country-should-have-its-own-reliance-jio/#respond Tue, 13 Mar 2018 05:53:58 +0000 ../?p=392 Source :https://qz.com/1226577/netflix-ceo-reed-hastings-says-every-country-needs-its-own-reliance-jio-boost/ The world’s largest online video-streaming company is all praise for the biggest disruptor in India’s $50 billion telecom sector. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings believes every country needs a Jio. “Reliance Jio has been a transformational network in India and has brought down data cost massively,” Hastings told The Economic Times newspaper in an interview. “We hope […]

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Source :https://qz.com/1226577/netflix-ceo-reed-hastings-says-every-country-needs-its-own-reliance-jio-boost/

The world’s largest online video-streaming company is all praise for the biggest disruptor in India’s $50 billion telecom sector.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings believes every country needs a Jio. “Reliance Jio has been a transformational network in India and has brought down data cost massively,” Hastings told The Economic Times newspaper in an interview. “We hope someone would do a Reliance Jio in every other country.”

Hastings’s admiration is not surprising as the Mukesh Ambani-owned company has played a vital role in India’s recent internet boom. Since its launch in September 2016, Jio has triggered a tariff war, offering months of free data and charging dirt-cheap rates. No wonder it has amassed 160 million subscribers. In the process, it has made access to the internet far more affordable in the country, giving a fillip to all online businesses, from social media sites like Facebook to e-commerceto online video-streaming.

Hastings isn’t alone in crediting Jio. Netflix’s Indian rival Hostar also has good things to say.

“In a world that does not fear data charges, video is very often the first port of call for new data users,” Hotstar CEO Ajit Mohan said in a recent research report by the company.

Online video consumption grew nearly five-fold in India in 2017 over the previous year, with small towns logging the highest jump, according to Hotstar’s estimates. The overall online video opportunity in India is poised to touch $1.6 billion by 2022 from $340 million in 2017, according to global media research and consulting firm Media Partners Asia (MPA).

While Hasting’s comment hints that Jio has boosted Netflix’s business in India, the video-streaming service is still far from being the market leader. Launched in India in January 2016, Netflix has far fewer subscribers than several local competitors, according to a 2017 report by KPMG India and the FICCI.

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The case for boosting enterprise software startups with services the-case-for-boosting-enterprise-software-startups-with-services/ the-case-for-boosting-enterprise-software-startups-with-services/#respond Mon, 12 Mar 2018 05:04:13 +0000 ../?p=372 Martin CasadoContributor Martin Casado, is a general partner at the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. He was previously the cofounder and chief technology officer at Nicira, which was acquired by VMware in 2012. One of the truisms of software  business strategy is that services is bad business; heck, we’ve also said it. The reason, put bluntly, is that it’s […]

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One of the truisms of software  business strategy is that services is bad business; heck, we’ve also said it. The reason, put bluntly, is that it’s a business with low margins and is not as scalable. So in the early days of bringing to market a complex enterprise software product, the repeated feedback I got from nearly all my advisors was to make sure customers were paying for software licenses, not services. (Although I remember when receiving this advice in the early days of Nicira that I wished I even had the problem of money coming in the “wrong” way in the first place — wow, look at all this cash; if ONLY my margins were better and I could scale faster!)

Now, it’s certainly good advice as a company matures: limiting non-recurring revenue from services means better margins/ unit economics, a more scalable business, and so on. And even in an earlier stage company (that’s pre-product-market fit or in a pre-chasm market), the advice is still a sound warning — because unless someone is actually buyingthe product, you don’t actually know if you have the right minimum viable product (MVP) to sell in the first place. In this context, services can be startup speak for “I’m doing custom engineering per customer because I don’t yet have a product more than one customer wants”.

Yet the reasons for this advice are far more nuanced than appears on the surface, and I’d argue that for a company that’s in a pre-chasm market — particularly one with a complex product that touches sensitive infrastructure — leaning in to services can also be a good thing for the business. Because services are a well-established path to helping a deployment be successful and helping your startup become a strategic advisor to the target customer. Being in that support flow and having that position are both crucial aspects of getting an early go-to-market engine going.

Here’s more on why enterprise startups should not dismiss services so quickly, particularly in pre-chasm markets…

  • Services are an account control leverage point. Often when doing enterprise sales, the initial sale is for just a few seats (individual licensees within an organization), and the hope is to “land and expand” that over time. Having a strong solutions architect work with the customer to help integrate and run the product positions you as a strategic advisor, especially if you’re the one helping define the value of the product to the company in the first place. More importantly, it provides you direct visibility into their context and culture that helps control and frame the conversation when it’s time to expand or upsell. Most enterprise startups are competing against large incumbents who almost certainly have a sizeable service arm, and that are likely directing the customer away from your product (Cisco’s services business alone is $12B annually!). So it’s fair to assume that organization will have someone close to the buyer with the ability to de-position your startup once you start to pose a threat. In such situations, having your own employees deeply engaged in the account is a good leverage point for re-asserting control.
  • Services help ensure a new product works. For a fledgling startup still figuring out product-market fit — let alone how their product works “in the wild” — a problematic early deployment would be a terrible setback in terms of customer credibility (not to mention internal morale for your startup). But besides obvious bugs or downtimes, issues are most often caused by user error or misconfigurations. Having someone inside via services, with their finger on the pulse of the deployment, can immediately help troubleshoot and detect the problem — a good solutions architect can often identify and rectify a bug before there is any impact. That person or account support team can also be a local knowledgeable resource for the company’s engineering organization to work with to figure out the issue and fix the situation before it escalates any further, giving advocates from the inside more reason to believe in the product and continue championing it.
  • Service dollars are a great way to get channel partners involved. In enterprise sales, a lot of distribution and purchasing is done via a third-party ecosystem of channel partners. However, it’s hard for a pre-chasm startup to bootstrap this partner ecosystem; without an existing market draw, it’s hard to incent those channel partners to put in the work (pitching, educating, hiring the right sales force). Yet without the channel it’s hard to get leverage in sales and services as you scale. So a successful approach I’ve seen is for a startup to build a material services business, and over time, as more customers bite on the core software product business, to then offload the services business to the channel. Service revenue is often far more attractive to channel partners than software license revenue anyway. And if there are real dollars at play, those channel partners will be far more incented to dedicate the necessary resources, prioritize your product in their offerings, and look past conflicts with more entrenched competitors. In this way services are a vector to engaging the channel without keeping it as a burden; the services business should not be an albatross around your neck later — the key is to use it to draw and entice your partner ecosystem, but then offload it at the right time.
  • Service dollars reveal the true price the market is willing to pay for license. I’ve seen this play out multiple times in early sales: Annual contract value (ACV) per account — which measures the value of the contract over a 12-month period — is very high, indicating customers are willing to pay you more on average for your product over time. But each account — especially if you’re giving away tons of services or they’re buying into short contracts (or contracts with the option to discontinue without penalty) — is effectively getting unlimited, free attention, from integration to operations. What’s often really going on is that the startup is offering free services in exchange for a smaller discount on license. There is no free lunch: In reality, those free services are hitting the startup’s balance sheet, thus impacting overall margins. And when the startup eventually does ask for the “fully loaded” price of the license, they lose leverage and may see a decrease in ACV. Since young startups can use all the pricing leverage they can get, offering services can actually be a good practice to help set license pricing high in the early days. However, it’s also important to be realistic about what’s going on with respect to future roadmap and pricing planning.

Now comes the hard part… How do you know when you have the just-right amount or timing of services, or that it’s an albatross around your company’s neck dragging down your unit economics and preventing you from scaling the business as you grow? When are you doing too much — or that it is too late to do services?

Here’s the thing: Customers often WANT to pay for services. Enterprise buyers know what it means to adopt technology from a startup and are realistic about product maturity; they understand that there will be integration time as well as educational and operational hurdles. If you’ve made the case that your product is core to their strategy, and they are engaging with you, then it’s likely they’re deeply motivated to make absorbing your product into their enterprise successful. One of the very few actions the customer can take to de-risk the effort is to throw money at services. I’ve been in multiple situations where companies effectively demanded services precisely because they were keen on investing in the new product’s success.

So services are a good way for startups to engage with targets. The reality is that with most complex software products, you’re going to have to do the work anyway, and you might as well also collect services revenue to raise your top line and provide the business (and channel partners) more incentive to lean into the product. But this is where the truisms about services on the surface are also, well, true — relying on services can be risky and even be a fatal distraction. How can you tell the difference between a good services scenario and a bad one?

There are some pitfalls to be aware of, that can help avoid going down a fatal path:

  • Services dollars are not necessarily a signal for product-market fit. As I’ve mentioned before, companies are highly motivated to pay a lot (at least to a startup) for services simply to learn about a technology area or as an expected later stage in the sales process. But service dollars do not necessarily translate to product dollars down the line. Even if services can be a useful leverage point to expand or upsell the customer account over time, there is no direct correlation between services and product dollars. So beware.
  • Watch out for the line between solutions integration and engineering. I would be very careful before extending services to include engineering work, because the most limited (and arguably most valuable) resource a software company has in its early days is the R&D organization/ engineering department. Anything that distracts it from a dead run towards an MVP is jeopardizing the entire business. So build a services organization, not a contract engineering organization. And by that I mean: don’t let services dollars dictate what your product engineers do; that should still be dictated by the entrepeneur’s vision and all the signals you’re getting around product-market fit. But it’s all too common that a startup wooed by the particular needs of a single or few large clients encumbers themselves with one-off development work — losing sight of the big picture and bigger market they’re going for — and is therefore unable to respond when the market shifts or the competitive environment heats up.
  • Building a profitable services organization is not the point. For the companies that do lean into services, I find they often try and optimize too early and often at the cost of customer engagement. The point of this post is not that services are a good business. The point is that collecting service dollars can help with customer engagement. Often I see entrepreneurs obsess about margins in the services business, justifying that to limit customer engagement, even though the company broadly is burning cash. Once you have a mature business with predictable growth and positive unit economics, you can start to worry about services margin if you plan to keep the business. Know why and when and how you’re doing it, and don’t build a services organization by accident.

Of course, many startups today do have a small services business. The standard advice is to keep services to less than 20% of total revenue. While that works for some products selling to some verticals, I’ve seen many successful enterprise products have services that accounted for over 40% of revenue early on.

As always, my point here is not to give formulaic, one-size-fits-all advice. If you can get by without the operational pressure of building out a services organization, that’s great. Less complex products — or those that don’t drastically change costumer behavior — can for sure get by with relatively little services. But that blanket advice doesn’t fit every startup. So if you’re in a place where more services would help, I’d think seriously about being more aggressive with them… as long as you’re being disciplined about how you do it, and when to stop. I certainly won’t judge you; heck, I may even view it as an asset when implemented at the right time and with the right strategic planning mindset behind it.

Image Credits: Blend Images / Shutterstock

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RMIT joins forces with Stone and Chalk to launch blockchain course for entrepreneurs and business leaders test/ test/#respond Sun, 11 Mar 2018 16:47:09 +0000 ../?p=311 Source: BUZZSUMO.COM | Posted By: RICARDO BILTON DOMINIC POWELL / Tuesday, February 20, 2018 Melbourne-based university RMIT has today launched a new eight-week course aimed at teaching entrepreneurs and company executives the ins and outs of blockchain technology. The Developing Blockchain Strategy course will kick off on March 19 and run online, offering participants a way to […]

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Source: BUZZSUMO.COM | Posted By: RICARDO BILTON

DOMINIC POWELL 

Melbourne-based university RMIT has today launched a new eight-week course aimed at teaching entrepreneurs and company executives the ins and outs of blockchain technology.

The Developing Blockchain Strategy course will kick off on March 19 and run online, offering participants a way to develop a “rich and relevant” understanding of the blockchain. The course was developed by RMIT in conjunction with familiar startup faces: fintech hub Stone and Chalk and consulting firm Accenture.

Students will gain a deep technical understanding of blockchain tecnhology, and learn about blockchain’s use case in varying industries, its value proposition, and how they can implement blockchain tech into their businesses. It will cost $1500.

“When Forbes compares blockchain to ‘where the internet was 20 years ago’, businesses and leaders sit up and take notice. We started to work with our industry partners last year to address the growing curiosity about blockchain as an emerging technology,” RMIT Online’s chief executive Helen Souness told StartupSmart.

“We know the future of work is changing, and the challenge for us in education is to have the foresight to predict these market changes and help bridge the skills gaps so that workforces can adapt in a timely manner.”

Blockchain is more than Bitcoin

While much of the focus on blockchain technology has been linked to digital currency Bitcoin and its meteoric rise, Souness specifies cryptocurrencies are a “very small part of blockchain’s potential” and not the main focus of the new course.

“Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are one of many use-cases covered in this course, however, we are also exposing people to the wider impact of blockchain on business,” she says, clarifying the course aims to equip participants with skills they can apply to their businesses.

Stone and Chalk’s general manager and longtime blockchain fan Alan Tsen emphatically agreeing that the focus on cryptocurrencies has begun to detract from the potential behind blockchain technology.

Tsen told StartupSmart while digital currencies like Ethereum and Bitcoin tend to get the most airplay, the focus of the course he’s helped build with the university will look at the tech’s potential for disruption, and where it sits on the current innovation timeline.

“We’re looking at what this technology might mean for a whole variety of industries, and how businesses can internally think about blockchain tech,” he says.

“How does it align with the greater history of business innovations? Are we really at the precipice of things happening in a meaningful way, or are we still 10 years off?”

Jason Potts, head of RMIT’s Blockchain Innovation Hub, agrees with Tsen’s assessment of the way cryptocurrencies have detracted from the potential for blockchain technology, but says such currencies are a key introductory point for many to the technology.

He calls cryptocurrencies the “first wave” of applications for blockchain technologies and says there are swathes of new use cases in areas like logistics, asset registries, data markets, and ‘smart contracts’.

 

“We see blockchain technology as a foundational new economic infrastructure that will impact across all sectors of the economy,” he told StartupSmart.

“The course makes this distinction by looking intensively at a wide variety of business applications and focusing on industry disruption and new business models that this new technology makes possible.”

Looking broadly at the Australian ecosystem, both Potts and Tsen believe our country is a fantastic stomping ground for blockchain and crypto focused companies, praising our interconnected ecosystem and reasonable regulation.

Australia’s treatment of cryptocurrencies for GST purposes, along with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission’s guidelines for initial coin offerings, places Australia as one of the better large-scale regulatory environments globally, which Tsen says is often “underplayed”.

“Most of the best entrepreneurs these days are working on crypto projects, and this is true the world over. We’re going to see a torrent of new businesses in 2018 making blockchain plays,” Potts says.

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New data shows just how much social sharing has decreased since 2015 (and News Feed tweaks are just one factor) hello-world/ hello-world/#respond Fri, 09 Mar 2018 09:50:59 +0000 ../?p=1 LINK: BUZZSUMO.COM  ➚   |   POSTED BY: RICARDO BILTON   |   MARCH 2, 2018 Publishers may be getting dinged — and in some cases destroyed — by Facebook’s move to decrease the amount of publisher content in the News Feed, but the declines in social sharing have long been in motion. This week, analytics company BuzzSumo released a new report analyzing trends in social sharing over the past […]

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LINKBUZZSUMO.COM  ➚   |   POSTED BYRICARDO BILTON   |   MARCH 2, 2018

Publishers may be getting dinged — and in some cases destroyed — by Facebook’s move to decrease the amount of publisher content in the News Feed, but the declines in social sharing have long been in motion.

This week, analytics company BuzzSumo released a new report analyzing trends in social sharing over the past few years. The top line takeaway from its analysis of 100 million articles is that social sharing is down by 50 percent across the board compared to just a few years ago. In 2015, articles saw an average of 8 shares; today that number has dropped to 4. Only 5 percent of content gets more than 343 shares.

Here are some other key findings from the report:

— Multiple factors are at hand here, according to BuzzSumo. One is that there’s just more competition among publisher content overall, particularly in popular topics like bitcoin, which causes a reduction in average shares as the number of published articles climbs. Private sharing via email and Slack is also on the rise, reducing public sharing further. And then there’s Facebook, which has repeatedly tweaked its algorithm to reduce the spread of viral stories.

— Search’s share of referral traffic continues to climb. Google sites are now driving twice as many referral to publishers as social media, as previous data from Parsely and Shareholic has shown.  Time is a flat circle, etc.

— Some sites and content have been hurt more than others by these changes. Viral publishers like Playbuzz, Upworthy, and even BuzzFeed, for example, have seen regular and gradual declines in their total shares since 2015.

— It’s not all bad. While BuzzSumo’s trends portend a rough future for sites that traffic in clickbait and low quality content, there’s actually some good news here as well, at least for sites that that have built their brands around quality and authority: For sites like Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, and The Economist, the social picture has actually improved over the last year: Seven of HBR’s most-shared articles, for example, were published in 2017. It’s a similar situation for The Economist, which published its two most-shared articles last year.

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