Startup-O is a Singapore-based assessment and investment platform that discovers promising startups from the South/ Southeast Asia region and connects them to seed funding through its partner funds and venture building network of market experts.
Anuj Jain, Co-Founder and CEO of Startup-O, is passionate about entrepreneurship and its power to create lasting value. In his talk, he shared about the 10 Commandments that would help anyone to self-audit their startup idea, enhancing its probability of success.
1. Simplify and put your Startup Idea on One Page
Approach your startup idea with a lean canvas approach to help structure and give yourself clarify of thinking. This way, you would know exactly what you are trying to do instead of wasting time and going round in circles trying to explain what you have to do.
2. Start by Validating that the Problem is Worth Solving
Instead of always going to your inner social circle for validation on your startup idea and how it would solve a current problem in the market, approach second degree connections to critique and poke holes in your idea so that you can get a sense of how the market would respond to your idea.
The most important thing is to score your idea by going out to meet your targeted customer personas and ensure that they are willing to pay for the idea you are creating.
3. Solving the Problem in a Unique Way
Remember that you may just be a solution out there with multiple alternatives in the market. Focus on what your unique value proposition is and find an angle to drill down the essence of what makes you unique compared to your competitors.
This is even more important as you strive to become a serial pitcher since it would help in angling your elevator pitches or 10-15 minute demo pitches to intrigue and catch the attention of your audience with your very first sentence.
4. Possess some Insider Knowhow or even Access to Expertise in the Industry
The most underrated sort of asset is not only industry knowhow but also access to certain expertise and networks. Successful companies have one thing in common: deep domain expertise. With access to these expertise and networks, it provides you some sort of leverage or technology breakthrough over someone with deeper pockets trying to copy your idea.
5. Getting out of the Building
It is always important to know how to approach bringing your idea or product to market or even commercialising it so that you can bring it to the next level.
Always look to build on your idea & product by getting out of the building, going to networking events, meeting multiple customers and getting feedback directly from the market.
Your idea cannot be built by just conceptualising in a boardroom or an office. As a founder, you would have to spend lots of time with the identified customer personas to find out what’s working and what’s not in order to refine your idea based on the market wants & needs.
6. Identify the Cost Drivers & how you’re going to make Money
A business is not just about creating a product, but selling a product at a profit so that the stakeholders involved can benefit. The importance of having strong financial understanding and projections for your company cannot be understated. Even if your company is not generating any revenue, there should be at least a financial model of monetization in place.
7. Articulate and Show why your Model will be the next Big Thing?
There are namely 4 pillars of investment that you should always build your company around, building the right team, the product’s unique value proposition, scalability of the targeted market as well as whether or not your product is financially feasible.
The first thing to consider is building the right team consisting of individuals with complementing expertise. The next, would of course be the unique value proposition that your product is offering that differentiates you from your competitors.
Evaluating the scalability of the market would help you to ensure that it is not too niche when you eventually dominate the targeted market is important as well. This would help you to analyse and understand which verticals are worth targeting and which are not.
Lastly, it is important that you ensure it is financially feasible by doing a feasibility study and understanding certain aspects of the business that you are trying to monetise.
8. Team & Traction
Investors often look for a team of founders so that there would be synergy within a team. Having a synergistic team has a positive correlation in gaining traction and this is definitely a key metric in the early stages.
If you are able to show execution capabilities and that you’re gaining early traction, you can get not only investors enthusiastic about your product but also users as well.
9. Stop running after money, Choose your Investors Carefully
The quality of money is priceless. A good Venture Capitalist (VC) contributing beyond money could be the best competitive advantage at an early stage. Interfering investors with nothing but money to contribute drains energy.
10. Being People Savvy
One startup life recipe is mixing both the (Inter)net and (Hard)work to form a Network. Get out of your comfort zone, learn things that you have no idea about and most importantly get out there to energise and network for your company!
Final Words of Advice
Some startup founders seek to create something just to escape their bosses and
become one themselves. Always remember that success is not guaranteed and that running a startup is not a sprint but a marathon. A marathon that feels like a sprint everyday.
Watch the entire Arcadier Inspire Summit talk by Anuj Jain here