What have we learned by doing acceleration program?

 

The Huge Thing acceleration program celebrates its 6th birthday this year. During these 6 years and 5 editions we have supported 54 startups. From the very beginning, we knew that the main value of the acceleration program are the mentors – participants surely agree with that. It is reflected in our motto that says ‘Huge Thing is about mentoring’.

 

 

By observing startups for several editions and listening to their needs, we created our own acceleration program. It took us some time to understand that it is impossible to please everyone, which is why we focused on a very individual approach to the program from each of the participants. We skipped the group workshops to replace it with 1 on 1 sessions. The teams draw a lot more from such individual meetings, they can focus only on their project.

The fifth edition of the program focuses mainly on individual sessions and work on a project with a tutor assigned to the startup. At the beginning of edition, during Match Day, both startups and tutors could choose who they want to work with until the end of the program. In addition to the necessary mentoring, the program provides startups with access to potential partners and investors, including 12 investors for Speed Dating, during which startups could establish the first relationship with the funds at  20-minutes-long “quick dates”.

We also noticed that startups that come to the program often do not realize how much work is ahead of  them. We start on every Monday in the morning with a status – it’s a time when startups can show the output of their work. They participate in workshops four days a week, work on their project individually with mentors, tutors and tutors from Alior Bank. It happens that after a dozen or so mentoring sessions a week, the teams have the impression of over-mentoring and here the role of the tutor comes to help the team to navigate between the collected (often contradictory!) feedback.

 

 

We also wanted the startups in our program to think about their product globally, that’s why from the fourth edition we organize trips to the two largest startup hubs in Europe – London and Berlin, to establish the first business relationships, test reactions to their product in the markets and learn about the opportunities offered by these two markets.

We also see how the attitude of startups changes during the program. They often come with their heads raised high, hoping that we will tap them on the back but we do not. And we will not. Startups quickly get down to the ground and really work hard on their solutions. It is impossible not to notice how their product matures during the 4 months spent in Huge Thing. We believe that by arming participants with knowledge and a tool that allows them to build a successful business, we support founders to become smart entrepreneurs who build strong teams.

An important aspect is that there are also teams from abroad in our program. It has tangible values, both linguistic and cultural – startups can benefit from the experience of others acquired in different cultural zones. It is also scientifically proven that creativity is one of the most valuable advantages of working in an international company. A big plus – probably none of us can imagine a startup that would not be creative.

 

 

In addition, corporations are our partner since the third edition. So far – Aviva and Alior Bank. During the third edition that we shared with Aviva that we learned how to map the corporation’s needs, and also understood that corporation employees should also be prepared to work with startups. Cooperation with large entrepreneurs has taught us, above all, mapping the needs of corporations and preparing employees of a large enterprise to work with startups. Work with Alior Bank taught us, among others, how to streamline the business risk verification process.

 

 

Our goal is to help teams deal with large entrepreneurs and connect them with each other. We can safely say that we are a kind of bridge between them. Our help and commitment is appreciated, this year Alior Bank during the Open Innovation Award was awarded for cooperation with the Huge Thing acceleration program.

 

More about program: www.hugething.vc

 

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10 rules to build successful company

 

When in 2011, in a four-person warehouse, we started operating under the name Appchance, we were focusing on acquiring customers and the best implementation of the projects entrusted to us. When after a few months we needed to recruit a new employee, find a new office, purchase equipment or a furniture, it had to be done at the expense of sales, customer service or programming. So, as in most of young companies, everyone needed to make a lot of different things. Many entrepreneurs – including me – recall these times fondly after years. The atmosphere in such a small team is unique and can not be fully reproduced in a much larger organization. In my opinion, what allowed us not only to stay on the market but also to develop constantly was our passion and commitment. I personally met with every client, I collected requirements, I wrote agreements, negotiated them, I ran projects, I was attending conferences to build a network of contacts and performed hundreds of other minor activities, trying to allow my three partners to fully focus on programming.

 

 

We have improved our operations and the company grew, so it seemed natural to us to consolidate the activities and processes that have worked so far. We focused on verifying and changing what was failing. It is logical, right? Such simple logic is not always the best though. Sticking to existing, even proven practices, is not enough to reach successive goals, it took me a few good years to understand that.Our team currently has almost forty people and is growing faster than ever, and we, as the founders of the company, are learning to constantly redefine processes, team roles, and tactics that lead us to a specific direction.We have been deliberately introducing many changes for a year. A lot of work is still ahead of us, but now I want to share some key insights in the form of advice, which I hope will help you in business development. Each of the following points, to exhaust the topic, would require at least a solid article. My ambition is only to shed light on the following issues, which – if you consider them to be important – continue to explore further in other places.

1. Choose a partner different than you.

As people, we tend to like people who are similar to us. We feel comfortable in their company; it’s nice to chat. However, those who think differently than us and who are able to enter into a constructive conflict with us, encourage us to develop. It is also important that among the managers there is both a “thinker” and an “activist”. This does not mean, of course, that one excludes the other. Thinkers also work, and activists also think, but in slightly different proportions.

2. Find honest critics and advisers from outside the company.

We look at our own business through the prism of emotions. We remember the dawn nights, during which we worked on a new service, a new product or a new function. It is difficult for us to give up what we have put in a lot of effort. Other people from the company may have a similar opinion because either they have worked on it themselves, or they know that you spent a lot of time on it, so it would be a shame to waste your efforts.It’s easier to see naked facts from outsiders and shed new light on a given case. It is important to have at least two people with whom you can meet not necessarily often, but constantly and regularly, because they will help you notice changes that easily escape when we are part of them. A wise colleague once called it “the perspective of grandparents”, who from time to time visiting their grandchildren, perfectly see the changes that have taken place in them, while for parents it is the same children all the time.

3. First “who” and then “what”.

Before you finally decide what you want to work on, find the right people. It may seem ridiculous, because it’s usually the uniqueness of what a company does, it makes people want to work in it, but with the right people on board it is much easier to capture and take advantage of the opportunities that come along or simply to adapt effectively to the changing business environment.

4. The right people in the right place.

The previous point is worth completing because even a team packed with stars does not guarantee success. It is very important that each member of the team is embedded in the right role for himself, which on the one hand uses his strongest side, and on the other, provides him with enough ambitious challenges.

5. Constantly work on the strategy.

For many years, I thought that a good strategy is like engraved in stone. I was convinced that it was defined once in many years and then it was consistently enforced. Recently, we have started weekly meetings during which – as the company’s management – we are working on a strategy, not just addressing current problems (this is done at a different time).

6. When recruiting, speak honestly about the company’s weaknesses.

Many times during recruitment, when I was interested in a given candidate, I sold him a company, as if our company were applying to him. Of course, it makes a lot of sense in this because we operate on the market of the employee and such a candidate can pick in offers. Nothing good, however, will result from the recoloring of the company’s image, which, after confronting the less vivid reality, will completely disappear in the eyes of the new employee. Unfortunately, it made this mistake few times.

7. Search for people with narrow specialization.

It is your role as the boss to “connect the dots”, that is, integrate all aspects of the company’s operations and adapt them to the market map. To effectively achieve the goals, people who are only familiar with one are needed in the team, but they know a lot about it.

8. Employ people who do not need to be managed.

I know, it sounds too good to be true. And yet there are such people. They are the leaders. Unless you employ a manager with success on your account and many credible recommendations, you must remember that during recruitment it is difficult to clearly identify the level of independence, motivation and self-discipline that characterizes such candidates, but those who already surprise you with the accuracy of actions that they propose to implement in your company. Once they start working, you will recognize them after they are not waiting until you finally find time to set them new goals.

 

 

9. Do not sell. Solve problems.

Many people – especially those who have never dealt with sales – seem to be selling “good talk”. However, it is difficult, with a few to a dozen or so minutes to speak, to propose something accurate without first listening to the client’s story. Therefore, instead of “flexing your muscles” and trying to impress your client with your offer, try to understand the crux of the problem and find out who is experiencing it and under what circumstances. If you run a service company, you will be able to propose a solution that goes to the heart. If you offer a specific product, you will leave a meeting with a new customer, valuable knowledge that will enrich your business or with the feeling that you will save a lot of time that you would waste on eye wiping yourself and the client who would not buy anything from you.

10. Create processes for the future.

Processes and procedures associate many entrepreneurs with the corporate work style they would like to avoid. However, it is difficult to calibrate a company without them, so once you get together with your team for their planning, think about how the company will look and function for half a year or a year, because – depending on the size of the organization – so much time can take them by all employees.

 

Miłosz Wójcik

CEO AT APPCHANCE

 

 

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So you want to do a start-up in UK



 

 

Basics

  • Don’t worry about your pronunciation, there are hundreds of dialects, flavoursand ways of speaking English. Say what you want to say, everybody interested will understand you.
  • Become local – translate everything using native speakers. It’s vital to know the difference between British English and American English. This looks like a detail but by going to that length you will stand out of the usual crowd.
  • Become identifiable – original marketing, clear brand.
  • British behaviour on British soil – gentlemanly appearance, toned down manner of speech, knowledge of how to conduct a conversation. The Perfect Gentleman podcast is a bit too much but it will paint a picture what you need to wear and how to behave when going after your Round A btw. DON’T BE LATE – 5 minutes early is too late 😉
  • Be cheap but present yourself as top tier company. Locate your company in Ashford, Kent – Kent is perceived as Hamptons, work from home/ coffee shops/ cheap co-working spaces, take trains to meetings in London (fast train connection from Ashford International)
  • fail fast, UK isn’t cheap. Better to admit defeat than pretend and extend.

 

 

The meat of the matter

  1. Setting up a LTD – takes up to 2 weeks, costs up to £100 if you want it quicker https://www.gov.uk/limited-company-formation/register-your-company Consult your lawyer/ accountant what form your company should have in UK. LTD + Vat number should be ok for most startups.
  2. Trademark – takes 3-4 months tops, costs around £200, lasts 10 years https://www.gov.uk/how-to-register-a-trade-mark/apply If you want to cover EU as well costs go up, but you can do all from UK with one application
  3. (Fin-tech related) Financial Conduct Authority Authorisation – takes up to 12 months, costs up to £25,000 depending on your profile. https://www.fca.org.uk/firms/authorisation/how-to-applyhttps://www.gov.uk/registration-with-the-financial-conduct-authorityMandatory readYannick Brunner’s – https://medium.com/wealthkernel/how-to-build-a-fintech-startup-chapter-1-ffafa6174d96
  4. Bank account Most banks offer startup packages, there are a couple of hurdles you need to overcome though. https://www.lloydsbank.com/business/retail-business/current-accounts/business-account-for-startups.asp You need to be UK based – read “have UK address”. You can get that by signing up to some of the accelerators or co-working spaces. Consult your lawyer/ accountant first.
  5. Location Fin-tech related co-working space – Level39https://www.level39.co/membership Ask for details directly, hot-desks start at £400/ month (+vat) One of the better places to start – Innovation Warehousehttp://www.innovationwarehouse.org/ Ask for details directly, hot-desks start at £150/ month (+vat)

 

 

 

What to watch & read

 

 

What to dissect

Tax relief

Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme

SEIS is an incredibly generous derivative of the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and was introduced in April 2012. Its aim is to encourage seed investment in early stage companies. Investors, including directors, can receive initial tax relief of 50% on investments up to £100,000 and Capital Gains Tax (CGT) exemption for any gains on the SEIS shares.
The maximum amount to be raised for each company is £150,000.
The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) is designed to help small, early-stage companies raise equity finance by offering tax reliefs to individual investors who purchase new shares in those companies. It complements the existing Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) which offers tax reliefs to investors in higher-risk small companies. SEIS is intended to recognise the particular difficulties which very early stage companies face in attracting investment, by offering tax relief at a higher rate.

The Enterprise Investment Scheme

The Enterprise Investment Scheme is designed to help smaller, higher-risk companies raise finance by offering tax relief on new shares in those companies that qualify. For the investor, it’s a tax efficient way to invest in small companies.
The EIS is aimed at the wealthier, sophisticated investors. People can invest up to £1,000,000 in any tax year and receive 30% tax relief. However, they are locked into the scheme for a minimum of three years. EIS seeks to encourage investment into unlisted companies
The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) is designed to help smaller higher-risk trading companies to raise finance by offering a range of tax reliefs to investors who purchase new shares in those companies.

 

Other forms of funding

Updates to come.
btw. if you are about to go into startups read this infographic first. I did it years ago, funny how it’s still relevant – https://www.flickr.com/photos/bayerberg/8578376921/sizes/o/

 

Photos by Marcin Cajzer

 

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How to make better decisions based on data

 

Product Hunt shows us another interesting, innovative marketing tools every single day – which ones are worth trying?

Marketing nowadays it’s not only occupation connected with creating attractive content – it is much more about ‘full – stack attitude’, which means marketing specialists need to be strong in both soft and technical skills.

If one wants to create communication strategy for startup, specific marketing indicators need to be put under consideration.

These indicators should give us an answer if our business activity is getting closer to break even or not and should answer if particular feature is needed as much as we expected at the beginning.

 

 

First step

Former secretary of defense of the United States, Donald Rumsfeld, who introduced the Rumsfeld matrix to data analysis, says:

We know some things. Things that we know we know them. We also know that there are known unknowns. In other words, we know that there are certain things we do not know. But there are unknown unknowns – those we do not know that we do not know.

According to this sentence, we can distinguish two basic approaches:

We know

  • Overall number of our brand’ followers

We do not know

  • total number of fans of the brand who are men aged 25-34 and like cats

The second part is the data about which we do not know – all of data related to the search for appropriate indicators for our brand’s business – i.e. A / B testing or attempts to segment our users by interest.

To do – think about known and unknown data about your startup.

 

Second step – strategy

Before starting of analysis what we can measure in our business it is important to answer questions about what our strategy – I wrote about it here:

Example: e-commerce selling sports equipment

Logic:

  1. business strategy

for example, selling the highest quality sports equipment that will support professional climbers

  1. tactics
  2. obtaining traffic and selling through the store’s website

■ indicators

  1. total revenue
  2. revenue per user

The data mentioned here is an example of the first branch (things we know about) from the Rumsfeld matrix. In this type of strategy and specific tactics you should look for indicators that will allow you to better manage marketing, a few examples:

  • amount of converted traffic from Google (organic and paid one)
  • amount of converted social traffic
  • number of directs
  • supporting conversions

when we already have one, we can proceed to the next step, that is:

 

Third step – tools

There is no right answer here because the choice of tools supporting marketing activities should be varied depending on the first two steps. However, tools for analytics and verifying the effects of actions are mainly:

  1. Google Analitycs
  2. Google Tag Manager
  3. Mixpanel
  4. Facebook Ads Manager

 

Conclusion

Indicators can be for you an inseparable element of verifying business ideas in the technical area as well as strictly business area. Methodical approach to analysis of Rumsfeld’s matrix will be necessary, however, many of the methodologies proposed in the article can effectively distinguish the indicators related to business performance.

 

Wojtek Smajda

www.wojteksmajda.pl

Senior Consultant in BinarApps

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Fundraising helps companies to see the right perspective.

 

An investor, Business Angel, Fundraising, Seed Fund, VC Fund – these terms are known to most of people trying to start their own business. Getting a fund is usually a key incentive to reach a success, sometimes even more important than gathering a right team. This comes from perception that the funds obtained from the investor are not only a “fuel” necessary to create products, purchase services and assets for the project, but mainly they are a financial guarantee.

Nowadays in Poland we witness relying companies on European Union funds – their function is to finance innovative ventures with a higher risk profile. You can read a lot about it in the media, and whoever entered the “world of startups” hears about it all the time, because potentially every entrepreneur working on an innovative project could be a beneficiary of this funding.

However, one should pay attention to another function of raising capital from the investor, other than just the possibility of financing the project. Main goal is the matter of the exit – to be specific, the particular moment when investor can sell shares and profit is reached or the loss is reducted. However, this is not about maximizing a possible return, because exit is simply a goal to be achieved. For most of you it is a very blurred goal, completely immaterial, especially when the company you have established has several months and struggles to find a sales team or even worse – programmers to take care of stable development of the service. However, the exit is the key and most demanding moment of the project that the whole team is working on from the beginning.

 

 

When talking to investors who have experience with companies at their initial stage of development we hear  the most often that the team is the most important – not the product or service itself, let alone the future results or strategy. Only a good and motivated team can provide investors with expected exit. It should be realized that when we talk about a company in the 6 months-long perspective, there are probably going to be some changes in the strategy from which the expected market success could be born. Those changes effective implementation is a process full of stress and sleepless nights, and from this perspective it is obvious that only a team confident of their skills and willing to work on their resources to create something valuable can provide it.

We need to remind about exit to startups as often as we can. On the one hand, it has to motivate them and on the other hand – it has to indicate a specific relationship between the company and the investor. It is not only about  constant help, but mainly about time to sell its share and earning money to its investors.

The investment of the fund is a very crucial moment in the lifecycle of companies, because it shows that the company has the prospect of being great. It means that the investors were convinced by the team, knowledge of the market, willingness to develop, but also realization of their limitations and opportunities.

To better understand the investor’s point of view, one should realize their expectations regarding the rate of return on investment at a given stage of company / project development. It should also be remembered that although every start-up has a chance for success, 65% of them will go bankrupt, about 30% will return only the invested capital to investors and as little as 5% to 7% will bring some profit to investors. At the same time, the more mature company, product, service, the more chance it has to succeed. All investors are aware of these statistics and it needs to be remembered by founders – without this, good cooperation between the two groups can be difficult.

In conversations with the investor, it should be remembered that it will be guided by certain simplifications regarding the expected return on a given investment based precisely on the above, and thus:

* the seed company must assume at the investment stage that it will return investors over 10 x invested capital within approximately 5 years. (because only 5 investments out of 100 will return anything at all) – if the investor does not believe in this return, he will probably not be interested in further conversations at all.
* the company in the early startup phase must assume at the investment stage that it will return the investor more than 5 x invested capital within 3-5 years
* the company in the growth phase must assume at the investment stage that it will return to the investor more than 3 x invested capital within 3-5 years.

What do these expectations mean for companies in the seed phase? Mainly that in the seed phase of the invested PLN 500,000, the investor expects a return of over PLN 5,000,000. Simplifying the scenario, if the investor for 5% shares in the seed phase will pay 100,000 PLN, it means that in 5 years, having the 5%, the whole company (100%) must be worth over PLN 100,000,000 !!!!

 

 

No fund will expect financial plans from you, calculations of ratios confirming such a valuation or the path to it, but they will want to get to know you and evaluate you as a team. They will want to understand if you have what it takes to bear such sacrifices.

If the team is not able to present themselves as ready to justify investments in the above perspective, it does not mean that this investment will never happen. Maybe you need to work a bit more on understanding your clients’ needs, market structure and business models functioning among a given target group.

However, there are some market trends and risks that exclude or significantly hinder the possibility of obtaining financing for entities that want to base their business for example on simple personal services aka software houses, consulting or advisory services. In addition, it is difficult to justify investments in such companies that operate as regulated entities, for example banks and power houses. Where capital levels are indicated by a market supervisor and it may affect the amount of margins, it is difficult to manage investment risk. The solution can be a global approach to the development of the company, especially in the fintech segment.

This is the mindset that you need to have when going to the investor for funding. It is not about financial plans but plans to achieve the greatness, confirmation of your determination. It is worth trying to go beyond our country and meet with several funds from Europe, or even Asia or the US to catch a perspective. The topic for a completely different article is the fact that the funding market in Poland is still in the startup phase itself, so it is worth to research more mature markets.

In fact, nothing stands in the way of getting the world right away. And that’s what I wish to all of you.

 

Piotr Dębek

Business Analyst

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What do investors look for in start-ups and vice versa

 

Let me start by stating, we are not talking about institutional money. Funds are bound by statute and regulatory mandates, sometimes also have investment size and stage criteria. They generally look for investments that are a perfect fit to their portfolio, not necessarily the best investment.

We are talking about angel investing – private investments by individuals that are looking to expand their portfolio in riskier but potentially high return projects. Angels by wiki definition[1] were people investing in risky Broadway theatre shows. I guess now we would call them patrons.

A recent 2010 Harvard Business School working paper[2] finds correlation between the existence of angel funding and higher survival rates of ventures and also their faster than peer group growth. Angels involvement is generally financial but sometimes, if you are lucky, you could get a mentor or a senior business developer that would be leveraging the firm with his knowledge and business contacts. That is an ideal combination.

 

 

Let’s look at ventures from the angel investor perspective, what do they look for? I would say they look for people with passion operating well managed ventures in high growth areas that they understand. Some sources also mention other reasons such as hedonistic and altruistic (to my knowledge rarely present in our local market) [3]

So they invest because they have money to spare and free time on their hands as well as they like creating businesses, something that should be key to being an angel i.e. they have created a company from a greenfield project in the past. I recommend listening to leaders like this recent lecture of the founder of the most successful local coffee shop network at one of the local unis[4], focusing on his failures.

Some angels invest because of the business they are in or they like the passion of the founder. Mostly it’s a mix. Some of the criteria are lean canvass compatible. An investable project has to solve a real customer problem, it has to be unique and/or have an advantage over the existing solutions, either in technology, concept or by being a first-mover.

 

 

 

What can you expect from a good angel investor? Apart from providing a cash injection and the confirming the valuation, I like to think that an angel raises the venture’s profile by positive networking effects and could be a valuable advisor to the firm. One that is not only hands-on and reactive but will also challenge you as well as throw you a line (of credit) when needed.

 

Jarek Dudko

Financial broker with an IT background

 

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broadway_theatre

[2]  William R. Kerr; Josh Lerner; Antoinette Scholar (2010-04-15). “The Consequences of Entrepreneurial Finance: A Regression Discontinuity Analysis – HBS Working Knowledge”. Hbswk.hbs.edu

[3] https://www.thebalance.com/the-7-things-angel-investors-are-looking-for-2948104

[4] Adam Ringer lecture at Politechnika Warszawska https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eImvdppbyH4

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Disruptive strategy: Tesla vs Global Electric Motorcars

Introduction

Tesla

Tesla Inc. is US-based automaker and energy storage company that was founded in 2003 in Palo Alto, California. The company specializes in electric cars manufacturing a lithium-ion battery storage. Tesla’s mission is „to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.” In the words of Tesla’s founding CEO, Elon Musk:

The overarching purpose of Tesla Motors (and the reason I am funding the company) is to help expedite the move from a mine-and-burn hydrocarbon economy towards a solar electric economy, which I believe to be the primary, but not exclusive, sustainable solution. [1]

In 2008 Tesla introduced to the market it’s first electric car, called Tesla Roadster (sports car) followed by the Model S (sedan) in 2013, the Model X (SUV) and a cheaper model called Model 3 in 2017.

 

 

 

Global Electric Motorcars (GEM)

GEM is a US-based, low-speed vehicle manufacturer, owned by of Polaris Industries. Founded in 1992 by ex-General Motors engineers has been producing short-range, low-speed Neighbourhood Electric Vehicles (NEV) since 2001. GEM is one of the market leaders in NEV’s since 1998.

GEM vehicles are street legal in nearly all 50 US states posted at 56 km/h or less. Their cars have a range of 50–160 km on a charge deopending on the installed battery technology and 40km/h top speed.

GEM’s product promise is:

Polaris®-engineered for a premium ride and long-lasting durability, it has more built-in comfort and street-legal safety features than a golf cart and is more manoeuvrable, cost-efficient and sustainable than a van or truck. [2]

Disruptive lens

Throughout the disruptive lens, we can observe that the strategy of Tesla is to enter at the high end of the market (Tesla Roadster), where customers are prepared to pay a premium, and then drive down market as fast as possible to higher sales unit volume and lower prices with each successive model.

Because of the superior user experience of the Tesla car, safety and brand promise the customers are willing to pay a premium. Tesla is providing performance, safety and trip improvements that are valued by most demanding, loyal and most willing to spend customers and not the mass market. By moving down the chain with next models, I can say that in my opinion, the company is a sustaining innovation.

In the theory of disruption Tesla by entering the high end of the market as a sustaining innovation will face powerful, established incumbents, like BMV, Audio or Mercedes that will attack the entrant. With established processes, global networks of distribution they will try to outperform Tesla on sustaining innovations.

The incumbent car companies are approaching the market with their resources, processes and profit formula, by building hybrid models and adding small engines as “range extenders.” Tesla, on the other hand, is going „electric only” with an electric Supercharger network that will help to expand the driving range of it’s cars. Even if competing car makers match Tesla on features, and also if they match the company on brand and status, the existence of a worldwide network of charging stations that only work with Teslas is a commanding advantage.

On the other hand, GEM is a low-end disruptive innovation by offering better performing electric vehicles based on a „golf cart” car model. By targeting a „good enough,” low performance with a lower-priced car targeted at low-income customers. The incumbents in the segment are not threatened by less equipped, inferior and lower priced product.

It also opens up for GEM the potential to reach more customers in developing a market that Tesla that can afford a car. That’s why GEM is also a new market disruptor.

 

 

 

The “Job to be done”

Tesla and GEM also have a very different approach to the Jobs To Be Done framework.

From my point of view, there are three core Jobs To Be Done by Tesla:

  1. I need to get from A to B (Transportation)
  2. I want to be safe (Safety)
  3. I want to look cool (Luxury)

However, I would argue that Tesla is more of a product driven company than a company that is built around the Jobs To Be Done.

In GEM the use of the Jobs To Be Done framework is perfectly summarised in the brand promise: „helps people and cargo move with ease and efficiency.” In my opinion, it’s much better to build around the JTBD framework. GEM by being more modular is much better prepared to help its customers.

 

Recommendations

The Future of Tesla

Tesla as a sustaining innovation will face fierce competition from the incumbents. With companies like Mercedes, BMW or Toyota entering the market with their electric cars the race between the companies is already on. There are 2 very important factors to Tesla’s success: how fast they can move down market and how will they approach the network building effect of being more of a „battery” company than a „car” company.

GEM has only sold little more than 50,000 vehicles in 15 plus years, despite the fact they cost around a tenth as much as a Model S. Tesla, meanwhile, sold over 50,000 Model S’s in recent years; its growth rate relative to its competitors was especially impressive.

However, their will be a point shortly that the incumbents will be able to build electric cars quickly and cheaply. For Tesla, that means focusing on performance defining processes aligning them with, much stronger incumbents and in the meantime, the feature set of the 3-4 models on the market have to be very much different from each other to drive new customers and sustain profit margins.

Elon Musk laid out a „Master Plan” for Tesla which sums up the challenge:

„Tesla Master plan

The first master plan that I wrote 10 years ago is now in the final stages of completion. It wasn’t all that complicated and basically consisted of:

1 Create a low volume car, which would necessarily be expensive

2 Use that money to develop a medium volume car at a lower price

3 Use that money to create an affordable, high volume car and…

4 Provide solar power. No kidding, this has literally been on our website for 10 years.

In short, Master Plan, Part Deux is:

  • Create stunning solar roofs with seamlessly integrated battery storage
  • Expand the electric vehicle product line to address all major segments
  • Develop a self-driving capability that is 10X safer than manual via massive fleet learning
  • Enable your car to make money for you when you aren’t using it” [3]

The Future of GEM

For GEM, being a low-end market disruptor the future is to move up the market. That would mean to start developing a car-like vehicle that can compare to low-end market gasoline-powered cars (but not try to produce gasoline/gas cars)

The challenge for GEM is not that they have to innovate in the up-market as the incumbents but move from being „good-enough” to provide more compelling reasons, like better range or faster vehicles, for more and more people to buy their products. The modularity of GEM can be a risk regarding assembly line as they can become more and more depended on suppliers.

The other option if for GEM to stick to existing market and focus on innovating on an emerging market strategy and modularity of models to best feat the Jobs To Be Done of the customers. That would help them to lock-in the market and block traditional car companies from entering without having to spend money on acquiring supply chain companies.

 

 

Conclusion

The short-term risks and challenges for Tesla and GEM are different. Tesla, facing the incumbents and moving down market while incumbents are outpacing Tesla on features and Jobs To Be Done. GEM, a low-end disruptor with a business highly dependant on suppliers.

But the long-term risks for Tesla and GEM are, surprisingly, the same in my opinion: if the long-term trend is less car ownership, that paints a future where the cars won’t sell as much as they are today in terms of volume. The car market is a consumer one now, which means the Tesla high-end strategy of building a compelling brand is super powerful, but if the future is fleet sales than the buyer and user are no longer the same.

This would open an opportunity for a company that understands the best Jobs To Be Done to win the market from the low end.

 

 

[1]  Tesla.com https://www.tesla.com/blog/secret-tesla-motors-master-plan-just-between-you-and-me

[2]   Polaris.com http://www.polaris.com/en-us/gem-electric-car

[3]    Tesla.com https://www.tesla.com/blog/master-plan-part-deux

 

Bartek Pucek

Head of Mobile & Digital Onet Ringier Axel Springer

 

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Huge Thing is about mentoring -> 5th batch!

 

We’ve just launched fifth edition of our program! 12 startups are set and ready to learn from the bests and to develop their products.

4th of December was the official date of starting our acceleration program, together with Alior Bank.

2 weeks ago we opened  fifth edition of Huge Thing acceleration program and it was already fourth edition for me. If one thinks that it became a boring routine for us, then it’s completely wrong. Each and every single edition is different, we learn a lot, we listen to startups carefully to know their opinion and we change things accordingly– says Kasia Kolakowska – Program Manager of accelerator.

 

 

Plan of this edition was created according to Lean Canvas; workshops and meetings were arranged in order: Issue/ Client/ MVP /Solution /Communication Channels/ Funds/ Measure(project evaluation). We’ve put workshops and sessions in the same order, according to mentioned topics. We’ve decreased the amount of group workshops for individual sessions because we believe it will bring more value to startup’s work. During 4 months-long program fintech startups will gain needed mentoring and direct access to meeting potential investors.

Motto of this edition says „Huge Thing is about mentoring” because the biggest value during program is the knowledge shared by our mentors. From one edition to another we expand the circle of experts and focus on finding best fit for every single startup. For the first time teams will work alongside their own tutors – individuals that will support each team from the beginning to the end of program. Tutors set goals for team and navigate members around the circle of experts which will definitely help a lot all of the teams and get them closer to final success.

Each startup will also work with mentors from Alior Bank – they will meet on a daily basis to create product that has a chance to be developed under Alior Bank’s eye.

Program doesn’t guarantee to their members that Alior Bank will decide to deploy their products on a market, but teams have a rare chance to see how big financial institutions work. It is a priceless insight – they can understand what processes drive these institutions and in which directions they are going.

 

 

It became a tradition to have Speed Dating sessions with investors. We’ve added also the opportunity for startups to go to London and Berlin and meet with investors and governance institutions to gain even more, international knowledge and insights about foreign markets.

According to Startup Poland report, 48% of Polish startups export their products abroad and almost 60% of them gain regular income – that is why we thought it is crucial to send members of our program abroad.

Fifth edition of Huge Thing will end on 28th of March – make sure you put this date in your calendar!

 

Startups participating on 5th edition of Huge Thing:

BankMail saves time and money wasted currently by Polish citizens in queues at the post office while trying to collect registered letters. BankMail is a digital mailbox securely connected to e-banking platforms, where users comfortably sign, send, collect and store all their legally important docs.

CashFlow Manager with Treasury is a platform for managing the foreign exchange position in export and import companies. We have already launched the simple prototype and created the special solution that is the currency audit for business. There are two people in the team Radek and Grzegorz.

Contract Checker For Enterprise Customers, who want to automate business processes involving text analysis, Contract Checker is AI-based Robotic Process Automation tool that analysis documents such as legal agreement to find key data and export it to other systems.

GameHR is an automated SaaS platform with scientifically proven HR games. Our product merge the findings of neuroscience, gamification and make recruitment process more friendly and resistant to manipulation. We are the bridge between your company and the best suited employees.

Limitless is a Micro-investment app licensed to Financial players, targeted to Millennials. It allows them to save for their future without sacrificing their present needs.

Metricso is a social media intelligence platform providing brands with deep knowledge about their customers. With use of artificial intelligence and advanced analytics it helps marketers to make smarter decisions.Using Metricso you can enrich your knowledge (CRM database) about each and every of your customers with hundreds of variables describing interests, behaviors and characteristics.

MidYou – We will change status quo in housing rental industry. MidYou helps landlords to manage their properties in one place, digitally. From private individuals to big portfolios.

Pergamin is an easy way to minimize legal risk and to digitalize paperwork done in the company. We provide small and medium-sizedbusiness with a solution to manage all the legal issues in one SaaS system – from automated creation of contracts, through issuing invoices to storing all the documents in one place to have them in front of your eyes before you even blink.

PingFin – Control your finances with an automated mobile assistant. PingFin aggregates all banks’ accounts in one place and allows you to plan your finances correctly. Keep an eye on your credit history, get smart tips, achieve financial goals, spend money effectively.

Supozu is linking banks with blockchains. Their platform will enable fast and secure blockchain token purchases thanks to the PSD2 directive and integration with banks’ APIs.

QueryStorm is a full-blown development environment inside Excel. Sporting fashionable C# and SQL language support, QueryStorm brings a well needed face-lift to Excel, making it into a spiffy new tool in the modern developer’s toolbox. With this stylish and chic new developer accessory, you’re guaranteed to effortlessly woo people into your sheets.

 

 

Read more about 5th batch

 

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The Netherlands will host large conference dedicated to ICO

 

At the end of November, Amsterdam will host a conference dedicated to the advanced tool of investing in startups – Initial Coin Offering. The event, called ICO Event Amsterdam, will gather about 300 participants: investors, lawyers and developers of blockchain projects, who managed to attract million investments due to the public placement of tokens.

According to organizers, the event company Smile-Expo, the conference will be useful both for young companies searching for financing, and investors looking for a way to invest money. The event will be also interesting for specialists from different sectors, whose fields of competence include ICO and cryptocurrency.

Speakers of the conference are experts on cryptocurrency, blockchain and global investments. They will make reports addressed to both investors and startups planning to issue their own tokens.

Key topics

  • ICO boom in the context of the international economy.
  • Comparison of ICO and traditional investments: advantages, disadvantages, specificity of regulation.
  • Challenges and positive effects of the ICO era.
  • Legal regulation of ICO in the Netherlands, Europe and the world.
  • Practical examples for potential investors. What should be taken into account when choosing a project for investments?

Sally Eaves, CTO, Professor of FinTech, Strategic Advisor on Global Issues, speaker and author; founder of Aspirational Futures, project manager at STEM and charitable mentor. She will tell the audience about ICO in a global context: how economic realities are changed and what will happen in the investment sector in a few years. This information is useful for those building business strategy of the company.

Esteban van Goor, advisor on venture capital and ICO, will review the real prospects of ICO on the Amsterdam investment market. He will also analyze practical cases on the legal support of ICO from the moment of the project launch.

The conference will also feature reports of Jonathan Chester, founder of Bitwage Bitcoin payment service, and David Siegel, blockchain expert and consultant. Smile-Expo reports that the pool of speakers is constantly updating, and many other names respected in the crypto community will appear in the program soon.

An important part of the event is exhibition area. Two dozen companies will present their developments: blockchain-based programs and applications, created for various business areas. The conference will also include a pitch-session: representatives of startups (exhibitors) will present their presentation to investors.

Location

Amsterdam is chosen as the venue for the conference, since it has formed a community of businesspeople and investors interested in cryptocurrency and ICO. This issues are largely promoted by the country’s policy: the government plans to introduce blockchain into the financial system and declares the creation of the National Blockchain Coalition.

The conference will be held at the Postillion Convention Center Amsterdam (Paul van Vlissingenstraat 8, 1096 BK, Amsterdam, Nederland).

In 2017, Smile-Expo holds a series of three ICO Events. The previous event took place in London on October 11. The conference was attended by about 250 people; the audience listened to 15 speakers. According to the participants’ feedback, the event was informative and facilitated productive business communication.

The program and registration is available on the ICO event Amsterdam website.

 

 

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4th batch – summary by Metis.finance

My name is Michał and I am the CEO of Metis.finance a startup team that was assembled under one common purpose – to improve the way small business owners manage their company’s finances. Me and my partner, Rui Meleiro, had experience working both with small businesses and large corporations and saw the potential in introducing the ways corporates handle finances to small business owners. We had the knowledge and were determined to pursue our idea but what we needed was a well structured organisation to bring this concept to life.

We searched for knowledge, mentorship and a good environment to nurture our newly-established company. This is how we found the Huge Thing accelerator.

 

During first intensive pre-acceleration weekends we got to explore the spirit of the program by meeting other participants, talking to Alior Bank mentors and training our pitching skills (with great help from mentor Piotr Bucki). At this stage we were also informed about the legal framework in Poland (this was especially important and helpful for our international colleagues). But what we appreciated the most was getting some initial feedback on our idea and crafting our business model with the Lean Canvas methodology. After those intense but very exciting pre-acceleration weekends we were well warmed up for what was ahead of us.

 

 

Eventually 9 teams remained as participants of the program (us included in this merry bunch) and began hard work on their ideas. During many valuable workshops we learned how to properly define our target group personas, discussed business models and pricing strategies and also participated in design thinking seminars. Once again we had the privilege of working with Piotr Bucki, our guru in the field of quality pitching. We also explored marketing and sales techniques with Artur Jabłoński (whose tips and recommendations serve us well even today). And those are only two examples of many mentors from various backgrounds who have influenced us with their extensive knowledge, practical advice and their broad perspective. In this context we have to mention Mateusz Szajdak, our Alior Bank mentor, who was very helpful along our whole Huge Thing journey and was always ready to serve with advice and tips.

Mentorship and workshops were an important part of the program but, as many startups learn in the process, even the best project cannot move on without proper funding. Therefore, we participated with great enthusiasm in the investor speed dating sessions organized by Huge Thing. This was a totally new experience for us, which allowed us to build first VC connections, learn how to effectively pitch our project and listen to valuable feedback. To top that off Huge Thing also organized trips to London and Berlin, just in case we would like to go international with our fund searching activities :).

Our Metis.finance project is now well under way. We have grown along the course of the program in terms of team membership (we now have 4 people working with us on a daily basis). We also have a good strategy, first version of our dashboard with group of business owner beta-testers. This was a first accelerator experience for us and we joined the program with some initial expectations (finding valuable mentors, exploring the startup community, broadening our business network and learning a thing or two about business 🙂 ). We can now easily say that they were answered and that the progress we have so far would not be possible without Huge Thing – a great community of mentors, aspiring founders and positive people with whom we will definitely be in touch and recommend other startuppers to do the same.

 

Michał Świerczyński

https://metis.finance/

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