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Category: Accelerate Page 1 of 2
I am mentoring at a pre-seed accelerator, the Founder Institute, and they have an Admissions Deadline on January 19th. I think that this three-month startup launch program could really help you build your business.
You can learn more here. If you use the link below to apply, the admissions team will know that you have been referred, which further improves your odds of being accepted. Let me know if you have questions about my experience mentoring for the program, keep me in the loop, and good luck!
Be referred, use this link https://lnkd.in/eZEP49i
In the startup world, Give First means simply trying to help anyone – especially entrepreneurs – with no expectation of getting anything back.
It’s the pay-it-forward principle that builds strong startup networks.
Hosts David Cohen and Brad Feld – Techstars cofounders, lifelong entrepreneurs, and startup investors—talk with mentors and founders about what giving first looks like in action, and how it makes great entrepreneurship possible.
Listen for stories and actionable advice in every episode.
Subscribe now to get every episode delivered to your favorite podcast listening platform https://bit.ly/2KjQGpz.
Don’t forget to subscribe to Berg Moe Puls at the same time – A global approach to entrepreneurship and funding of startups.
I have been involved in the internationalization of companies before (Seed Forum Global, First Tuesday, Global Direct, etc.) and have after 2003, systematically been developing an extensive network of entrepreneurs and investors.
Based on the platform Gründerklubben – The Norwegian Entrepreneurs Club, we aim to do to it again are now looking for international partners (accelerators, technology vendors, global consulting companies, early-stage funds, etc.) that want to team up with us.
Please contact me at email@example.com for more information.
We are currently creating a new international brand that will be the powerhouse in this endeavor.
Now, we have a technology platform under development that will transform how companies communicate with the market, find investors for their projects, and great partners.
Gründerklubben already has more than 23 000 members in Norway, and last month we also acquired the biggest entrepreneurs network in Bangkok, Thailand. We now have 147 502 people in our system and are planning to grow fast.
Vision; We are creating the worlds most significant global network of entrepreneurs. Startups are the real job creators and problem solvers of this century. We want to inspire even more companies to have a comprehensive approach to their rollout and will develop a platform to make it easier to reach out to potential customers, partners, and investors to succeed.
Mission; We develop a member club and support forum for entrepreneurs. We help startups to grow and prosper using the power of sharing is caring, best practice and a world-class application linked with social media tools.
Goal; To build the world’s biggest global entrepreneurs club and support forum.
Two years ago I was in Moscow for a week attending GEC 2014 at the same time as Putin, and a group of senior followers was celebration the takeover of Crimea at the square outside Kremlin. After many trips to Russia over many years, I could feel that there was a dramatic change in the air, and the rest is history. When I the stumbled over Starta Accelerator on LinkedIn it created an interest and an urge to learn more. Many of my investor’s friends and entrepreneurs in Russia have been escaping the country the last years.
Starta Accelerator (www.StartaAccelerator.com) was initiated by Starta Capital VC fund and its founder Alexey Girin. Starta Capital is one of the leading VC funds in Russia. It has received prestigious awards granted by Russian Venture Capital Association, National Venture Industry Award, and National Association of Business Angels award, so they have a quite a reputation to bring to the table.
The Accelerator’s main mission is to introduce startups with East European R&D roots to best practices, trusted advisers and mentors, and overcome cultural differences through a customized educational program that help startups to gain traction in U.S. and become part of the local startup and investing ecosystem.
I have been a coach for several companies from Russia through Seed Forum International and have observed that there can be serious cultural challenges involved. Just to be clear, it is the same challenge for us heading eastbound and maybe even harder.
My chat with Ekaterina (Katya) Dorozhkina;
Katya is the Managing Partner at Starta Capital & Accelerator. The author of Zero Budget Marketing and Making ArtWork, A ROI-Based Marketing Guide for Entrepreneurs and Startups. Co-founder of @DenArtStudio.With over ten years of experience in the field, she has been on both sides of the brief, helping large corporations and small start-ups with marketing, business and product management. Past clients include Samsung, Casio, American Express, American Airlines, and others.
Katya received her Master’s in International Economics and currently finishing up her Ph.D. She lives in NYC, where she spoils her adopted dog, Bucks and her goldfish, Cash. Katya donates all of the income from her books to a charity fund called Change One Life, which helps connect orphans with families.
I have a strong hypothesis that the entrepreneurial environment in Russia is a little bit difficult right now. Are there many Russian entrepreneurs fleeing the country?
-Indeed, the economic situation has recently declined dramatically. The market liquidity along with the prospect for the future is questionable for many startups and entrepreneurs in general. This pushes entrepreneurs to get out of their comfort zone. They are forced to consider new strategies for their businesses, or they try to move towards more attractive markets that can provide a better future for their businesses and products.
I imagine cultural barriers are an important consideration for these entrepreneurs. What are the main challenges?
-As with any cross-cultural exchange, it takes a time to get used to the new cultural rules. For businesses, cultural differences can present an obstacle to developing and growing business. The challenge that we face at Starta Accelerator is to help Eastern-European founders adapt to a U.S.-oriented mindset within a short time. In general, it takes years to adjust culturally to a new place, but adapting to U.S.-business culture is our focus for the first month of the program.
-One of the main cultural differences between U.S. and Eastern European founders is how the path to success is imagined. European founders are more careful and cautious. They still live in the “waterfall product development” process—they’ve been taught to create the product first, then sell it. However, in the U.S., startups are all about being lean and agile. U.S. founders market and test ideas first, and then create products and raise money. In both scenarios, making mistakes is unavoidable, but it should not prevent you from trying.
There are many accelerators in NYC. What make your initiative unique?
-For startups, our business model is narrowed down to the particular challenge of Eastern-European companies entering the U.S. market. There simply is no other accelerator with this focus. The accelerators in NYC do a fabulous job, but they are only accessible to local startups or companies with sufficient local experience. These startups already participate in the U.S. startup ecosystem, and they are familiar with the local rules. Other accelerators just cannot predict or assist with the challenges facing Eastern-European companies that are trying to join the U.S. startup ecosystem.
-Our one-on-one coaching program also sets us apart from other accelerators. In addition to mentoring by industry leaders, our founders receive individual coaching on Business Communications, Marketing, Business Development & Sales, Product & UX, and Investment Relationship.
-We also provide more value to investors as we select more mature startups with MVP, traction and powerful R&D teams that operate from Eastern Europe usually at a much lower cost than in U.S.
You have a demo day coming up. What kind of startups will we meet?
-At our demo day, you will meet startups from various industries in multiple stages of growth. As I mentioned, we have companies with proven traction in Europe. Some have already raised sufficient money, and some are in the early stages of looking for seed and pre-seed funding. These companies span various tech products and services—from deep techs like VR or navigation technologies to fintech apps and much more. You will have to check it out to see them all!
Working closely with startups on a daily basis can be a challenge. Where do you get the energy?
-Good question. Sex, drugs and rock-n-roll?
-Joking aside, I just love what I do—and in a way, my passion for startups is a kind of drug. Working with startups comes with a whole slew of emotions—from frustration to excitement—but ultimately it is rewarding. Seeing the determination and hard work of these startup founders is inspiring. It keeps me going and makes me do my best to help these guys succeed.
-Plus, I get some kind of peer-to-peer auto-recharge. Our accelerator is like a solar panel, when our group of energetic, smart and determined founders work side-by-side on a daily basis, they give each other—and me—a special natural energy and support. They are not competing against each other. Rather, they are all united by the same goal, and that lifts everybody up.
Where do you see yourself in three years? What are your personal goals for Starta?
-My personal goal is to create a new form of accelerators that will create a new player in the market or change the VC/Startup world completely.
-Right now, it looks like a zoo: unicorns, cash cows, “foxes” and “hedgehogs.” (A study from Columbia University placed VCs and angel investors into two categories, “foxes” and “hedgehogs.”)
-Instead of breeding a new animal, I would like to create a feeder for all. Or, better yet, convert the zoo into an amusement park with positive experiences for each of the players, not just a rollercoaster for startups.
-My professional goal is to finish fundraising for Starta Accelerator Fund for the upcoming four classes over the next two years, which will help to support about eight startups per class and increase the chance of creating an Eastern-European unicorn success story.
More info on the companies presenting and registration for the Starta Demo day at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/starta-accelerator-demo-day-tickets-22171956920
First book project – Launching March 31st at “Kickstarter” is “Artic Recipes”. I have several hundred recipes from my late mother, Borgunn. Many of them are handwritten and represent wild arctic cousin at its best. I will make the food myself, take beautiful pictures and finance the work at “Kickstarter”. Goal: To make people aware of the fantastic food that we have in the North of Norway.
My challenge, as for all the projects that are launched from different crowdfunding platforms every day is to get a critical mass of people showing up with their credit card. To get influential people or just friends on Twitter and Facebook post automatically the same day as you go live is what Thunderclap offers. Under the hood, there are interesting features I am testing out right now. You will have more details and how this launch went in a new post first week of April.
How Thunderclap defines themselves;
If you want to see how a campaign page looks like, you can have a look at my Thunderclap site at https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/38850-artic-recipes-kickstarter?locale=en
There are many interesting things happening in the Norwegian music industry, but I was shocked when I learned that totally unknown Aurora Aksnes was the voice behind this year’s John Lewis Christmas Advert. I song is also rising on iTunes and are as we speak at sixth place. Where will this end for young and for sure talented Aurora?
John Lewis Christmas Advert 2015 – #ManOnTheMoon
This talk I gave at a local TEDx event, in Bergen produced independently of the TED Conferences. I am talking about the present and future of entrepreneurship in Norway and try to examine the challenges of Norwegian startup companies on the entrepreneurial scene. Why is it so hard for startups to survive and grow is such a rich and prosperous Scandinavian country?
I am working on refining this lecture and on a book focusing on challenges Norway have ahead, so all feedback and comments are of high value for me.
Berg Moe, Trond Giske and Bjørn Kjos at the opening of Gründernes Hus (The Entrepreneurs House) in Oslo.
Sometimes, I wonder if the Norwegian entrepreneurs are allergic to selling and prefer to innovate and write business plans. Repeatedly I saw they have written grand plans but has done little get in touch with the market through sales.
I think that first has to sell your product/service before you spend too much time and energy on developing and writing business plans. Time is a precious resource = money, and many times it is possible with simple means to speed up time to market and through feedback from real customers do a product and service that the market wants.
Here are some examples;
Case A: I received a visit from some friendly people with an idea I liked. When I heard that they had spent one and half years to write a business plan and had not spoken to a single customer, I was ill.
I asked if it was ok that I called to a potential customer that would be interested. It took me a few minutes to find a candidate and called up and drove a short 3 minute pitch.
They were enthusiastic and wanted to have a meeting, and they became not only a customer but would also finance part of product development and to be a contributor.
Case B: I always used to say that it is good to have a draft contract/letter of intent lying in the cloud if you are looking for customers or investors. I’ve done it several times myself, and it speeds up the process.
Sometimes in meetings it is a “turning point” where the hot prospect says “this is interesting, and we would like to more into this”. That’s when you pull out an LOI (letter of intent) and sells it and close it on the spot.
Ones we had 34 meetings during seven days in Eastern Europe and returned with 22 LOIs. The tour was also a critical factor for us to raise 4.5 million in seed funding.
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The Gründernes Hus (The Entrepreneurs House in Oslo) we will have a focus on sales and acceleration of the process to get to market. We will also use our global network and expertise, providing power to kick-start the growth of the companies.
We are developing a roadmap that we will be complete during the summer, but already have four companies on they way into the system and much more in screening and pipeline.
The official opening of the 3rd-floor Accelerator is at the same time as the official opening of the 1360 m2 house. We have not written a business plan so far, but just taken action and focused on business and has sold close to 100% of what we have on sale so far.
Soon we sell memberships for Kafékontoret (Co-working space on the 1st floor). It’s just to get ready if you want to be a part of a great environment.