Venture Link Soup [2 grams]
Share a helpful link from your venture due diligence and research process that you found particularly helpful
How did you incorporate the knowledge/link into your own Venture?
Please be sure to share the URL/Video Link
This is the link to a CS50 for MBAs class intended to give Harvard MBAs a good perspective for working in tech companies or startups. I haven't explored it too much, but I will.
The next one is a link to Jeff Bussgang's website. Jeff is a Boston-based VC who started as an entrepreneur in tech. His blog is some pretty good perspective about what VCs value from upcoming entrepreneurs, and also about what is necessary for success.
This next link is a pretty great one - it's 300 Awesome Free Tools for Tech Entrepreneurs. I've used a couple of these things. SquareSpace is obviously one of them, and SquareSpace Free Logo... that was included in my Squarespace membership, but is still free otherwise.
I'm going to use HTML5 UP, which will deliver CSS templates for usage to brand my website and mobile app in a consistent "look".
I tried to use Google Trends, which tracks website visits and gives analytics for free, but it was more difficult than I had time for.
ImageOptimizer looks good, as image size requirements for different things can be specific, and changing things without professional tools is difficult at times.
MemeGenerator could be just clean fun, and could be part of some kind of social marketing campaign.
Optimizely looks to be hugely helpful with A/B Testing of websites and apps, so I'm going to use that during my Prototype testing.
Wharton Game Simulation Sirloin*** [5 grams]
Document your key learnings from the Wharton Startup Game Simulation
Describe the sweet and sour spots of the simulation
What type of compromises did you make during the negotiation process?
Describe your counterparties and their inherent motivations
Be sure to differentiate how this Simulation differs from Reality
If you did the Simulation again, do you think you could garner additional value (economic or otherwise) based on your wisdom during the first round
My key learning is that the time pressure of the game pushed me into acting in ways I would never act in real life. The big example here is that I would never have entered into an employment contract without negotiating terms.
I brought a lot to the table as an tech product guy, so I would have normally asked for more equity and salary. And in reality, even though I was hired, if I felt I wasn't hired at a fair rate, I would leave, because I would feel underappreciated.
In reality, most of the game I took on a Founder's role within the company, and I arranged the two deals that got our team to our funding number. Specifically, we received interest and an investment from one of our two investors. The combined investment came in under our goal amount of $5M, which the investor did not know because it was not communicated to him.
After anchoring on a certain set of terms, we accepted those terms to get closer to our goal. However, because we were still short, I proposed he double his investment in order to double his equity stake... and this was accepted by the investor, getting our firm to our funding number and increasing our firm's chances of success.
Counterparty motivations were my employer, who sought to minimize the equity distributed. And, Investors, who sought to both maximize equity per dollar invested, as well as a motivation to get us to our target funding amount for this round of financing.
This situation differs from reality because the time pressure would allow each team to actually do the math on each investment and the valuation numbers, instead of having to rely on doing math on the fly. I found it also difficult to deal with Founders without a sense of what they needed, and those without a sense of how to run a meeting and make a decision. It seemed like when speaking in groups, investors would simply walk away, and many times would not have a yes / no / lets speak later decision.
If I did this situation again, I would engage more aggressively due to the time pressure and split attention spans of most founders.
TAM 2.0 [3 grams]
Through hypothesis testing and retesting, has the the total addressable market for your venture changed?
Distinguish between the long-term total potential market vs. the sub-set of that market that is "addressable" by your venture in its first year or two
My TAM has actually changed. I have been thinking of OrangeCone as an app that is primarily for Local Executive Government subscribers. As I got to thinking about what the idea actually is as an app that can collect pictures about a place, geo-located them, and visualize and route those reported issues, it became clear that these capabilities and the mobile / web app would not be any different if my TAM expanded from Local Executive Governments to simply any institution that takes care of any public space in the US.
So my new TAM is:
•23,418 Local Executive Governments in the US
•7383 State Legislative Offices in US
•15 Metro systems servicing ~3.8 B per year
•384 Primary Airports in US, servicing ~743M per year