I attended my last Start in Paris last night =/ It was a great one though so it was great to end on a great note =]
The evening started with a great potpourri of tips from melty founder Alexander Marsch. Here are a few excerpts:
- Your team is THE most important thing. Make sure you have a sales guy (no, your engineer who is kinda OK at sales will not cut it), a CFO and someone in charge of product development/all the techy stuff. Having a competent person in charge of EACH one of these important aspects–sales, vision, development–will inspire trust and win you big bucks with investors (or at least make it possible for you to win all that $$$.)
- Continuing the human theme–get your self a kick ass advisory board. Network you ass off to meet people who are not only influential in your industry (to get you clients and partners) but also knowledgeable. Their expert advice will help you with development and market positionment. It will make your job considerably easier.
- Don’t raise funds right away. If you do, you will not have complete control over your product, you will get used to having $$ to spend (a good reason Marsch mentioned NOT to raise a lot of money when you do raise btw), you will not be able to adjust to user feedback as quickly and efficiently, and you won’t be able to raise as much money with the same number of shares as you would have with the time to prove your idea. Was that clear enough? Money is bad (in the beginning.)
- Surround yourself with people who motivate you. Entrepreneurship is hard, really hard. You are going to jump for joy, feel like the world is caving in and coming to an end, want to give up… so make sure you have people there to give you a good kick in the butt and tell you to keep going.
- Last but not least, this one isn’t new, but failure is an amazing teacher. Failure is not the end of the world. If anything, it’s the beginning of a startup that will be even better than your last one.
After that amazing advice, 5 startups took part in the pitch competition:
FioulReduc helps Frenchmen (and women) buy fuel to heat their homes more cheaply.
Sportlinkd is a social network that helps you find someone to play sports with locally.
Potati is a safe internet navigator for kids.
HumanoGames created Happy Life, a Facebook game that teaches players about entrepreneurship all while funding microcredit in real-life and fascilitating players’ transition from Facebook user to real-life donator.