StartPad Countdown 1 - The Best Laid Plans of Startups...

50 %
50 %
Information about StartPad Countdown 1 - The Best Laid Plans of Startups...
Business & Mgmt

Published on February 2, 2009

Author: startpad

Source: slideshare.net

Description

It's easy (and perhaps necessary) for a new entrepreneur to be very optimistic about the business opportunity before them. But not every great idea translates to business success.

Mohit Srivastava and Mikhail Seregine, previously of Faves.com and ClayValet.com respectively, discuss the rise and fall of tech startups. We will hear from these two experienced entrepreneurs who have learned the hard way how difficult it can be to achieve a successful outcome.

The goal of this talk is to arm you with knowledge of potential pitfalls and to help you recognize realistic and achievable goals for your own project.

Mohit Srivastava Co-Founder & Former CTO of Faves.com Copyright (c) 2009 Mohit Srivastava

Copyright (c) 2009 Mohit Srivastava 1996-2000 BS in CS 2000 Dev 2002 Dev Dec 2004 Co-Founder & CTO Dec 2008 Senior PM Oct 2008 Consultant

Co-founded Faves in December 2004 Grew to 10 employees (including 2 founders) Launched at Gnomedex in June 2006 Initial offering: “Share the Web, Connect with Friends” Raised approximately $2M via multiple angel rounds Still operating in low burn mode and are pursuing a few high ROI yet relatively low cost initiatives Copyright (c) 2009 Mohit Srivastava

Co-founded Faves in December 2004

Grew to 10 employees (including 2 founders)

Launched at Gnomedex in June 2006

Initial offering: “Share the Web, Connect with Friends”

Raised approximately $2M via multiple angel rounds

Still operating in low burn mode and are pursuing a few high ROI yet relatively low cost initiatives

Over 1M monthly visitors Over $2 sitewide CPM in some months One of TechCrunch 2007 “Web 2.0 Companies I Couldn’t Live Without” Technology Pioneer in aggregating friend activity (pre-Facebook newsfeed and pre-Twitter) Pioneer in creating an intelligent in-page yet no-install authoring experience Copyright (c) 2009 Mohit Srivastava

Over 1M monthly visitors

Over $2 sitewide CPM in some months

One of TechCrunch 2007 “Web 2.0 Companies I Couldn’t Live Without”

Technology

Pioneer in aggregating friend activity (pre-Facebook newsfeed and pre-Twitter)

Pioneer in creating an intelligent in-page yet no-install authoring experience

Copyright (c) 2009 Mohit Srivastava

Copyright (c) 2009 Mohit Srivastava

Situation: We unknowingly overemphasized items that were “comfortable” to us while underemphasizing those that were more important for the business. Mitigation: Checklist that captures the major components of a product lifecycle. This would have kept us grounded. I recommend: http://www.pragmaticmarketing.com/pragmatic-marketing-framework . Corollary: Hire and/or find a co-founder such that you have the expertise to cover the checklist. Copyright (c) 2009 Mohit Srivastava

Situation: We unknowingly overemphasized items that were “comfortable” to us while underemphasizing those that were more important for the business.

Mitigation: Checklist that captures the major components of a product lifecycle. This would have kept us grounded. I recommend: http://www.pragmaticmarketing.com/pragmatic-marketing-framework .

Corollary: Hire and/or find a co-founder such that you have the expertise to cover the checklist.

Copyright (c) 2009 Mohit Srivastava

Situation: We underestimated the difficulty in building a viable advertising-supported business. While both our CPM and traffic levels were respectable, one of those two parameters needed to be *exceptional* (e.g. 10x). Mitigation: CPM: More focus on a vertical with higher CPM’s. Traffic: More focus on positioning and distribution. Copyright (c) 2009 Mohit Srivastava

Situation: We underestimated the difficulty in building a viable advertising-supported business. While both our CPM and traffic levels were respectable, one of those two parameters needed to be *exceptional* (e.g. 10x).

Mitigation:

CPM: More focus on a vertical with higher CPM’s.

Traffic: More focus on positioning and distribution.

Situation: We had difficulty articulating why customers should pay for our white-label feature set. They perceived us as a “nice-to-have” but not a “must-to-have”. Mitigation: Create an offering where the return on investment (ROI) is simple and direct. Articulate why you help your customers make more money and/or save money. Copyright (c) 2009 Mohit Srivastava

Situation:

We had difficulty articulating why customers should pay for our white-label feature set. They perceived us as a “nice-to-have” but not a “must-to-have”.

Mitigation: Create an offering where the return on investment (ROI) is simple and direct. Articulate why you help your customers make more money and/or save money.

Situation: We did not have somebody with deep pre-existing relationships with our target customers. This is often *the* differentiator in a customer selecting your offering over a competitor’s. Mitigation: Talk to your advisor network to find such a person. Be generous with equity and/or incentive-based compensation. Do not underestimate the value of relationships. Copyright (c) 2009 Mohit Srivastava

Situation: We did not have somebody with deep pre-existing relationships with our target customers. This is often *the* differentiator in a customer selecting your offering over a competitor’s.

Mitigation: Talk to your advisor network to find such a person. Be generous with equity and/or incentive-based compensation. Do not underestimate the value of relationships.

Situation: We focused on a general purpose Internet audience. We found that acquirers often prefer more targeted audiences. They (just like advertisers) are willing to pay to get access to customers consistent with their business. For example, a bookseller might pay for a community book review site. Mitigation: Build your business around a lucrative and targeted user base. Copyright (c) 2009 Mohit Srivastava

Situation: We focused on a general purpose Internet audience. We found that acquirers often prefer more targeted audiences. They (just like advertisers) are willing to pay to get access to customers consistent with their business. For example, a bookseller might pay for a community book review site.

Mitigation: Build your business around a lucrative and targeted user base.

Situation: We (and hence our customers) were conflicted: Were we about bookmarking or were we about friend activity aggregation? In what area did we want to be known as the “only”, “best”, “first”, and/or “most-used” way to accomplish something? Without good answers to the above, we fragmented our development activities. Mitigation: Answer the above questions Hire a positioning expert Copyright (c) 2009 Mohit Srivastava

Situation:

We (and hence our customers) were conflicted:

Were we about bookmarking or were we about friend activity aggregation?

In what area did we want to be known as the “only”, “best”, “first”, and/or “most-used” way to accomplish something?

Without good answers to the above, we fragmented our development activities.

Mitigation:

Answer the above questions

Hire a positioning expert

Situation: We could have given more attention to our highest value (yet smallest in number) group of users. Mitigation: Periodically segment your user base. Understand the dynamics of each group, which groups you want to invest in, and what features will best target those groups. I recommend this case study by HBS – http://harvardbusinessonline.hbsp.harvard.edu/b02/en/common/item_detail.jhtml?id=707406 – which shows how LinkedIn did just that. Copyright (c) 2009 Mohit Srivastava

Situation: We could have given more attention to our highest value (yet smallest in number) group of users.

Mitigation: Periodically segment your user base. Understand the dynamics of each group, which groups you want to invest in, and what features will best target those groups. I recommend this case study by HBS – http://harvardbusinessonline.hbsp.harvard.edu/b02/en/common/item_detail.jhtml?id=707406 – which shows how LinkedIn did just that.

Situation: For awhile, we had a high “maintenance tax” which compromised our ability to innovate. This was a combination of us having built our own datacenter and us not bounding our database calls (i.e. no more than n joins, kill queries after ). Mitigation: Don’t build your own datacenter. Anticipate requests that could bring down your site. Note: This is not the same thing as over-engineering in anticipation of massive user growth. Copyright (c) 2009 Mohit Srivastava

Situation: For awhile, we had a high “maintenance tax” which compromised our ability to innovate. This was a combination of us having built our own datacenter and us not bounding our database calls (i.e. no more than n joins, kill queries after ).

Mitigation:

Don’t build your own datacenter.

Anticipate requests that could bring down your site. Note: This is not the same thing as over-engineering in anticipation of massive user growth.

Release early, and release often. Don’t be shy to share you idea – especially with friends and potential advisors. Do they get it right away? Copyright (c) 2009 Mohit Srivastava

Release early, and release often.

Don’t be shy to share you idea – especially with friends and potential advisors. Do they get it right away?

More About Me http://faves.com/users/mohit http://thishostedlife.com Questions? Copyright (c) 2009 Mohit Srivastava

More About Me

http://faves.com/users/mohit

http://thishostedlife.com

Questions?

Add a comment

Related presentations

Related pages

startpad.org

Hier sollte eine Beschreibung angezeigt werden, diese Seite lässt dies jedoch nicht zu.
Read more

The Best Laid Incentive Plan - Documents - Docslide.us

The best Laid Incentive Plan Case Description The case study presents an ... StartPad Countdown 1 - The Best Laid Plans of ... 1. Best Laid Plans ...
Read more

The Ultimate Startup Marketing Strategy by Venture Harbour

The Ultimate Startup ... and I’ll do my best to answer them. Chapter 1. ... me come up with a more concrete marketing plan and ideas ...
Read more

The Twelve Month Countdown: Mobile and EMV? Mobile or EMV ...

The Twelve Month Countdown: Mobile and EMV ... How Berlin Earns Its ‘Startup Capital ... you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice ...
Read more

Open Government | FOIA Ombudsman

Posts about Open Government written by amyatogis and C. Lemelin. ... Posted in Open Government | 1 Comment. ... The Best Laid Plans: ...
Read more

Kamloops News | NewsKamloops

Libya's rivals declare unity Cabinet under UN plan January 19 2016 ... killing 1, coating town in mud ... You also may be aware that Vin is the best ever.
Read more

Google Play Music

Ok Google, play music. Free, curated radio for what you're doing, how you feel, or what you want to hear. Sign in. Bring your music along.
Read more

Businessweek - Bloomberg

... graphics and videos from Bloomberg Businessweek magazine. ... +1 212 318 2000. Europe, Middle East, ... Game Plan ; Small Business ; Personal Finance ;
Read more