DO NOT raise capital! BOOTSTRAP your startup and become a MILLIONAIRE in <2 YEARS! 30 years of experience: Serial entrepreneur (sold multiple BOOTSTRAPPED startups) with DEEP expertise in starting, growing, scaling, and selling companies.
Raising capital can actually decrease your odds of success because if you raise too much capital you can actually price yourself out of the window of exit opportunity.
There is increasing misalignment between venture capital and founders.
I am the living proof that you DO NOT need vc capital to take your startup to a successful exit.
What you really need to ask yourself is:
Am I working on the right idea?
The single greatest ROI you can get in personal branding is your own .com domain.
Think about it, what email would you consider as more trustworthy/authoritative?*
Social media has changed a lot recently, mainly organic reach is dead, including on LinkedIn.
That said I am very keen on LinkedIn and Instagram but each must be used wisely.
If you're going to be blogging and don't want to waste time and money, you NEED to blog from a SEO FIRST perspective.
In other words you need to "reverse engineer" your content so you can tap into existing traffic.
I'm glad you mentioned networking and events. Definitely something you should leverage on as long as you have a story to tell (we all have stories!).
Professional coaches can be beneficial, but there's a lot you can get done on your own if you put in the time.
Why don't you book me here and I'll share some of the successful strategies that I have used myself.
Check out my reviews and recommendations here: https://rodrigomartinez.fyi.to/recommendations
*Unfortunately Rodrigo Martinez is a very common name, thus my own custom domain was taken. You might have a better chance. BTW not all registrars are created equal. Happy to share more during our call.
A recurrent question in the region. Thank you for asking!
I've been based in Singapore since 2012 and have contributed to the expansion of the different startup ecosystems in Southeast Asia (more here: http://exitcoach.fyi.to/linkedin), including Malaysia. In 2014 I was part of MaGIC (Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre)'s Startup Academy Launch sharing about exit strategies for startups and have seen how both tech hubs have evolved over the years.
Both options have their pros and cons with perhaps a few more pros for Singapore as the preferred business hub in the region. However it would be necessary to better understand the specifics of your startup as this will greatly impact your choice. For example, perhaps your startup caters to the muslim markets. Does your expansion include hiring of local and overseas talent? And so forth.
Please use this link to setup a free 30min introductory call so I can learn more: http://ExitCoach.fyi.to/FREE and better support your needs. Thanks again for your question!
Thank you for asking your question here on Clarity. The healthy discussion will also benefit many members of the community.
The first company that I built and successfully sold, a BBS turned ISP (aka "Internet Service Provider", more here: http://www.linkedin.com/in/exitcoach), was indeed a "radical new approach". The internet back in the mid '90s was so "radical" that Elon Musk said this about it: "Back in '95 there weren't very many people on the internet, and certainly nobody was making any money at all. Most people thought the internet was going to be a fad." (video here: http://ElonMusk.fyi.to/YoungMillionaire). That company took me 7 years to build and sell, VERY painful first few years. No money for new tyres, then no money for petrol, eventually no money for public transportation.
My second company, a free web hosting service, provided a radical new user experience. Rather than hosting your free web page on an "ugly" Geocities URL you could use an elegant www.yourname.hpg.com.br, among other clever enhancements. But at the core, hpG was no different than Geocities, Tripod or many of the other contenders. Apart from the enhanced user experience it was because we had a SOUND exit strategy from day 1 that we sold that company in 18 months and with a valuation 3X higher than my first company. BOTH with NO outside investors btw.
Personally, I prefer the kind of "radical new approach" that enhances the user experience, zooming on an image by spreading 2 fingers over the screen (thank you Steve Jobs), than the radical kind of time/money that goes into the R&D required to create a palmtop, only for another clever entrepreneur to come along and leverage on your previous investment and reap the rewards thereof. Like what happened to Xerox, the inventor of the GUI, when Microsoft/Apple had a sneak peak at it.
As far as investors go, it's a zoo out there. And "marrying" the wrong one can have grave consequences for the unexperienced entrepreneur. Most of the "big investors" are taking a portfolio approach (not that you cannot extract value from such a relationship) and many of the "smaller more manageable investors" bring little or no value other than financial capital.
What you really want to find is intellectual capital, investors that have previously built and sold successful companies themselves before. The Marc Andreessen's of the world. Investor's that care much more about WHO you are, WHY you are pursuing entrepreneurial success, and that are asking themselves WHAT they can do to help you make your dreams come true. Investors that invest in true founders and not fundraisers.
You may want to also look at this other related question here on Clarity: https://clarity.fm/questions/4857/what-is-the-ideal-time-to-reach-investors
If there's anything I can do to help you build and sell a successful startup, feel free to engage me here on Clarity. Thank you!
Great question! Thank you for asking it here on Clarity as I'm sure the healthy discussion will also benefit many members of the community.
I have to admit that my answer will be biased as both of my first two successful startups that I sold ("exited", more here: http://www.linkedin.com/in/exitcoach) had no outside investors, thus my co-founders and I walk away with a HUGE smile on our faces because we had NOT diluted our equity. Why would you want to dilute your equity stake unless there's STRATEGIC reason, right? Raising funds for the sake of raising funds (aka joining the fundraising "frenzy") has a multitude of negative effects, for founders, their employees and even the startup ecosystems. Unfortunately it happens a lot: http://ExitCoach.fyi.to/ExitMess. Perhaps a discussion for another day. :)
Back to your question! The 2 main factors in the "equation" are the investor and the investee (yourself). Ultimately, it's the underlying mindset of both that will be fundamental to a successful outcome.
I believe in using EXTREME examples to understand concepts. Let's say for example that you are a veteran entrepreneur that has built and successfully sold multiple companies. You also have the Wisdom to not be used by the excess cash (the "temptation is REAL, first thing I see after a fundraising announcement is a hiring spree), but put it good use, wisely. And on the other side you have an investor that has all the industry connections, that is a serial entrepreneur as well (has built and successfully sold multiple companies) AND is a "saint" (extremely favourable terms for you), then BY ALL MEANS take the money!! It's a no brainer.
Any other type of "equation", unlike the one above, carries extra additional risk and should be analysed on a case by case scenario. Many startups fail, precisely because they lacked the Wisdom and did not think strategically fundraising. Rather than seeking proper advice, as you already have, they followed the fundraising "frenzy".
I'd be happy to take your call here on Clarity and help you write a beautiful story out of your own successful entrepreneurial journey. Thank you!
Now is the best time to make your dreams come true! Some, as the say in Brazil, may have been "born in a golden crib", others are counting on a rich inheritance, still many have married in to wealth.
For the rest of us, there has never been a better time to build and sell a tech startup. Valuations have gone up 10X since the first wave of tech acquisitions, barriers to entry have been vaporised and the playing field has been levelled, yet only those with the right mindset will succeed.
What you really want to ask yourself my friend is: are chatbot startups getting acquired? Who is buying chatbot startups? What kind of chatbot startups are they buying and why? Happy to help you with those questions.
As for the mindset, here's your north: http://RMentrepreneur.fyi.to/ElonMusk
Great question! I've said it before and I'll say it again: Asia is growth and you cannot afford to not have an Asia growth strategy, regardless of the size of your company. I've been based here in Singapore for nearly 5 years and have observed how Singapore's leaders have worked hard to position Singapore as the regional hub in many industries, thus having a Singapore footprint is one the crucial steps in any company's strategy. Footprint can be anything from setting up a subsidiary company or finding the right type of local partner. The region presents tremendous opportunities but also offers a few challenges such as the diversity of its cultures and customs. Working with someone that knows the region and also has an international background is key. Having travelled the region (Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei, etc.) extensively and built a solid and trustworthy network, I'd be more than glad to support your expansion into the region. Do engage me here on the platform and provide me with more details about your business and what goals you'd like to achieve. In the meantime I encourage you to visit http://Singapore.fyi.to/InsightsfromtheInside where you can download a very special book on occasion of the SG50 celebrations where the Singapore International Federation partnered 50 individuals from around the world who have lived, visited, studied or worked in Singapore to share their stories about what makes Singapore tick, Singaporean idiosyncrasies, the surprises they found, and their involvements and contributions to the local community. My essay "What is There Not to Love about Singapore?" can be found on page 146.
Be like Pierre Omidyar (eBay founder). If the financial outcome of your acquisition makes your dreams come true, then by all means chose option A. Go and take care of yourself, your loved ones, and go and impact the world! Influence precedes impact.
The ROOT of entrepreneurial success is your compelling WHY, the reason you are building your startup. The journey to success is not all a bed of roses and your compelling WHY is what will keep you going when times get tough. Make sure that it is something near and dear to your heart and never let anyone judge you. I've gone through the full journey of entrepreneurial success twice so far, from conception, creation all the way to closing a success deal (exiting my startup). Happy to take your call and help you in any possible way I can to achieve your goals. "There are 62 McLarens in the world and I WILL own one." - Elon Musk (http://www.chamedeo.com/video/kSHUha9ABNY/young-elon-musk-featured-in-documentary-about-millionaires-1999/)
I like Carl Bass's (CEO of Autodesk) definition of innovation: "Innovation, simply put, is to make things better." Consider Viber's success story: acquired by Rakuten for almost US$1B in less than 4 years. Their secret sauce? Rather than creating a new market altogether, they entered an existing market (VoIP) and focused on delivering an enriching user experience*. Sounds familiar? Yes, Steve Jobs did NOT invent the MP3 player, did NOT invent the tablet and did NOT invent the smart phone. Having successfully exited two startups so far, I'd be happy to take your call and help you find a target market with higher odds of yielding a successful acquisition. *http://RMentrepreneur.fyi.to/Viber