Working on a startup of your own can attract a rush of emotions. While some days you work on a high, certain that you have the next big thing within the palm of your hand, some days you are left with a load of uncertainty and doubt. Whether your startup is a new mobile app, software or tangible product, the journey is nothing short of exciting.
Pinpointing the problem you wish to solve and laying out the concept for your app is just the first step. Once development is under way, the next daunting task would be to focus on how you can roll out the app to a relevant audience. As I am currently working on an app startup of my own, I thought I’d share a few marketing tips learned along the way. As like most startups, our budget was limited and almost nonexistent so here are a few tips which would require a large sum of, well, $0.
Disclaimer: I have only shared a few tips that helped us market our app. As we are yet to launch, I cannot comment on how successful this may be for you.
Create a Landing Page
Once you have finalized on a name, logo and tagline for your app, the next step would be to create a basic landing page in order to get some traffic to your site. The website should allow visitors to subscribe to your app in order to get updates on features and the launch date. You may also need to do some basic SEO for the site.
Tip: There are a number of free WordPress themes available for you to modify and use. Also ensure that your site is always up and running to avoid losing potential users.
If you aren’t active on social media now, it would be a good time to start. Through social media like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and many other platforms you can reach out to a mass audience relevant to your app. A good place to start would be to create a list of Facebook and Google+ groups and pages where your app can be promoted during the launch. Also create promotional material like infographics, tag clouds, videos, etc., which can be shared to create awareness.
Tip: Be careful not to spam in order to avoid being removed or criticized on the group. Also search for app review exchange groups which will help you get quick reviews for your app on the launch day.
Another great way to promote your startup is by following social influencers on Twitter, LinkedIn and Quora. If you reach out to relevant people, they may be willing to try out your app and talk about why they like it. Getting endorsed by an influential person within the mobile or app space will definitely earn you some good credit.
Tip: Actively participate in discussions on all platforms and then reach out to influencers whom you like to follow. You can also write answers to questions asked on Quora that seem related to your app. As long as you do not spam and hard sell your own app everywhere, Quora is a great place to market it to an intelligent and active online community.
These are good outlets to reach out to in order to get coverage about your app or startup. Make a list of such sites and ask for a feature or review about your app.
Tip: Make a list of tech sites first and prioritize them based on their reach and popularity. Getting featured or reviewed by a few well-known sites can make a big difference. While reaching out, remember to keep your e-mail very precise.
There are plenty of active forums which allow you to promote your app. These forums are filled with entrepreneurs like you and early adopters. No matter who reads your post, you are guaranteed to get some good feedback or downloads.
Tip: Before promoting your app on forums, it is recommended that you participate in a few discussions and build some sort of credibility. Higher credibility will most certainly lead to a better reception and response from other users.
The blogger community can be extremely helpful in reviewing or featuring your app / startup. Reaching out to as many relevant bloggers as possible can guarantee you some coverage on at least 2-3 blogs.
Tip: You can invite bloggers to test your app in beta and give you feedback. If they like it, they may agree to write an honest review on it. Also, don’t restrict your reach to the top bloggers. Bloggers who have medium reach are more likely to respond and take you up on a feature / review request.
Create a well-written press release and prepare a PR kit which can be sent to all print magazines, newspapers and established tech sites. You can also target local newspapers as they may be more open to featuring your app.
Tip: As a general rule, new startups seldom get featured in newspaper articles. But, if you reach out to specific journalists from these papers who have covered other startups, the chances of them featuring you are higher. For contacting journalists, check their articles for an email address or send them a message on LinkedIn or any other social media.
Attending Startup Events and Networking
This may seem trivial but there can be plenty of takeaways. There are various startup events organized around the city where startups at various stages – be it the idea or traction stage – come together to get advice and feedback from each other as well as mentors within the startup space. If your startup requires VC funding, these events are a great start to understanding what investors are looking for and you even get to pitch to a few of them and watch other startups pitching.
Tip: Networking is the key to good marketing at these events. Getting your brand known by other startups and mentors within the startup space will go a long way.
Stay Updated with the Latest News from the Startup Cloud
If you are planning to venture into the startup space, it is important to keep up with the latest news. Whether you are reading about successful funding a startup has secured or an ongoing warfare between two startups, it won’t hurt to stay tuned with what’s happening around you. If not, the comfort and motivation drawn from knowing that others out there are on a similar journey is good enough.
Tip: It definitely helps to know what promotional activities deemed successful as it could give you a few tips when marketing your own app.
Sites like F6S have a plethora of freebies listed on them. They are all focused on startups and can definitely come in handy. You will probably find a coupon for everything from hosting to marketing on it.
Tip: Not all freebies are free, but discounts will definitely be a lot better than what you would get otherwise. It’s best to sign up for an account in advance and keep checking for new freebies once a week.
As I mentioned earlier, I’m not sure which of these tips will give you the best results. Every startup is different and what works for one might not work for another. I just hope that this serves as a good starting point for those who haven’t made a concrete marketing plan.
This is an edited version of an article originally published at http://www.iamwire.com/2015/06/marketing-startup-0-budget/117560 by Andrea Noronha, a Management graduate with a specialisation in Marketing. All rights reserved by iamWire. Photo credit: Jason Howie. The photo was originally published on Flickr. It has been used to illustrate this text under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License terms. No changes have been made.
On Disrupt Africa, Keith Jones, Co-founder of Sw7, an accelerator based in Rivonia, South Africa, presents Africa’s tech innovation ecosystem and opportunities it offers for startups.
Alex Heber presents 5 things you need to know about Australia’s tech sector on Business Insider Australia.
“Schemes facilitating university-industry research collaboration in the UK should be simplified”, shows a recent review by Ann Dowling, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, commissioned by the British government. More information on Science|Business.
On TechCrunch, Elmira Bayrasli interviews some Greek entrepreneurs about how their work has been affected by the economic crisis.
“Sony has launched it own crowdfunding platform, FirstFlight”, Vinay Dora reports on Your Story.
Between 31 July–2 August, Iowa Western Community College will host Startup Weekend. More information in The Daily Nonpareil.
"Boston has one of the best developed startup ecosystems in the US", shows the Innovation That Matters: How City Networks Drive Civic Entrepreneurship report, conducted by 1776, an incubator based in Washington DC. The research was supported by the US Chamber of Commerce. Martin Desmarais provides more details in The Bay State Banner.
“The number of people working for Atlantic Canadian startups rose 14.3 percent in 2014”, Peter Moreira, Owner of Entrevestor, updates in The Chronicle Herald. The previous estimation was 9.4 percent.
Carlos Moedas, EU Science Commissioner, has made a proposal to set up a European Innovation Council. Anthony King presents the proposal on Chemistry World.
In Albuquerque Journal, Kevin Robinson-Avila shares his prediction that the expansion of tax credits for angel investors will significantly boost New Mexico’s startup ecosystem.
For more news, see also:
The author of the text is Birute Birgelyte, PR and Communications Trainee at Startup Commons. You are free to re-edit and repost this in your own blog or other use under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License terms by giving credit with a link to www.startupcommons.org and the original post. Photo credit: Stefanie Maria. The photo was originally published on Flickr. It has been used to illustrate this text under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License terms. No changes have been made.
The success of your startup depends a lot on your brand. According to Marketing-Schools.org, a brand represents a company’s market identity: who its members are, “what they do, what kind of quality they provide, their reputation for trustworthiness, and more.” Building a strong brand is an investment which pays off a lot in the end: your brand starts working for your financial benefit. Fierce competition and abundance of marketing information can confuse customers: they can be easily attracted, distracted and taken away by competitors. One of the most effective ways to secure the position of your business in the market is creating a good brand marketing strategy: a strong brand helps customers to filter out marketing information, directs them to your products or services and eventually establishes their loyalty. Brand marketing is not an easy task, however. Here are 5 tips which you might find useful for developing your startup’s brand.
1. Communicate clearly. Company X is a leading mobile app developer in country Y. This sentence is a marketing cliché: there are many companies which can easily fit in. The mobile app industry is developing so fast that every day can bring new ‘leaders’, who can become your direct competitors. So if you want to stand out in the market and have a reputation of a reliable company, you should choose words to promote your brand more carefully. If you, however, still consider yourself as a market leader, you should simply explain your achievements. Without a clear explanation, it is just an empty phrase. The same applies to other cases.
2. Analyse your customers’ needs. Despite so much emphasis on the customers-go-first idea, top-down brand marketing is still very popular. What is wrong with it? Customers have changed a lot: they are more aware of different opportunities and their own needs, more critical, demanding and independent decision-makers. Top-down marketers, however, seem to be ignorant of these changes. They still believe that they have some sort of authority to tell customers what to buy and do not see any business potential in treating them more like partners whose suggestions matter. Laura Schwab, Marketing Director at Land Rover, has predicted that in 2015 brand marketing will concentrate on customer experience: companies will be competing for providing the best experience for their customers. There is still a lot of time left to test the accuracy of her prediction but what is already clear is that customer choices are becoming more personalised and sophisticated. As a result, brand marketing campaigners will face more challenges.
3. Don’t be hyperactive online. Website / blog / Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn / YouTube / e-mail newsletters – these are only a few options of how you can increase your brand's visibility. It is not as easy as it seems at first sight. Being active online does not mean you need to start using everything at random. You should not share tweets with links to articles that are not directly connected to your startup’s activities nor post them on Facebook only to collect more likes – no random actions if you really want your brand to be associated with quality, reliability and professionalism. Each action you take online has to be meaningful: you need to know what you want to do, why and how it will affect your company’s reputation. You should also pay attention to the form: pick up as many communication formats and channels as you can manage well. In other words: you need a clear online communication strategy.
4. Tell stories. Storytelling is an integral part of brand marketing: a brand is promoted in the form of engaging stories about a company, its products, services or other activities. Brian Honigman, Content Marketing Consultant and CEO of Honigman Media, has also observed a new trend in brand storytelling: brand marketers have started “branding themselves as storytellers”. What does it mean in practice? For illustration, he refers to the case of OkCupid’s blog. Each post is a story on user dating experience: there are many insightful comments on dating trends illustrated with specific user data. This helps to retain interest in OkCupid’s service and build loyalty to its brand.
Why not to follow OkCupid’s example or try to develop your own storytelling technique? For example, you can encourage your customers to share their experience of using your product or service on social media or a blog. You can also regularly post some user data which might attract your customers’ interest and encourage them to comment. To get the attention of more demanding customers, once in a while you can also publish reports with more detailed user data and some comments. In short: continuous interaction with your audience can be essential for marketing your brand.
5. Use videos. Mark Evans, Marketing Director at Direct Line, claims that hyper-individualistic culture we live in has also affected brand marketing. He has observed that “people want to do business with people” not with impersonal distant companies. They need to see human faces behind a brand to connect with it better. In Evans’ opinion, one of the easiest ways to do so is short video production. If you deliver engaging and useful content, you increase chances of customer loyalty and interest in your brand.
There are a lot of high-quality startup promo videos. However, some of them can both quickly attract and lose attention. Why so? Let me try to explain it with this example: a startup has uploaded a short video in which all of the co-founders heavily promote their product. They present themselves as cool guys who try to convince that you need to get their product if you also want to be cool. This promo video has quite an attractive form but lacks effective content: Is being cool enough to engage customers for a long time? How can the startup compete with other startups which use exactly the same brand marketing idea? Finally: What unique value does it bring to customers? These are only a few questions to consider before filming.
Please share with us some other tips on startup brand marketing based on your personal experience.
Tech.Co invites innovative early-stage startups to participate in online regional Tech.Co Startup of the Year competitions. Ann Diab presents some eligibility criteria.
Product Hunt aims to establish closer cooperation with entrepreneurs in Kansas City. More information on Startland.
Tech In Asia has raised USD 4 million. According to Jon Russell, it is the biggest investment in an Asian tech media company so far. He presents Tech in Asia and explains what its recent success means for Asia’s tech community on TechCrunch.
In the Forbes Magazine, Alison Coleman presents Top 5 innovation hotspots in Europe: (1) Eindhoven, Netherlands, (2) Budapest, Hungary, (3) Lithuania, (4) Tallinn, Estonia, and (5) Lisbon, Portugal.
Mapme, an Israeli startup, has raised USD 1 million. It will be invested in developing its mapping system in the country and abroad. More information in B. Shane Morganstein’s article on Shalom Life.
Naya Ventures, US, is about to close its second USD 100 million fund and launch a new incubator programme. It is also trying to attract more investment from other local venture capitalists. Danielle Abril gives more details in Dallas Business Journal.
In the Entrepreneur magazine, Nate Good gives 4 tips on how startups can compete with big companies in attracting talented people.
EIT Digital, an innovation organisation run by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), has launched the 2nd Idea Challenge competition. It aims to find the 24 most innovative startups in Europe. The application deadline is 6 July 2015. More information can be found on ArcticStartup.
In Seattle, the University of Washington and Tsinghua University are going to establish a science and technology-focused academic institute, the Global Innovation Exchange (GIX). One of its founding partners is Microsoft. It has already invested USD 40 million in the project. Sean Dudley provides more details on OnWindows.
Nesta, an innovation charity, Future Cities Catapult, a smart cities organisation, UK, and Accenture, a management consultancy firm, have released the CITIE: City Initiatives for Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship report. It has compared the quality of city policymaking on entrepreneurship in 40 cities around the world. It has concluded that the best work conditions for entrepreneurs, especially for those working on innovative tech projects, are in New York, London, Helsinki, Barcelona and Amsterdam. Natasha Lomas presents some report results on TechCrunch.
For more news, see also:
The author of the text is Birute Birgelyte, PR and Communications Trainee at Startup Commons. You are free to re-edit and repost this in your own blog or other use under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License terms by giving credit with a link to www.startupcommons.org and the original post. Photo credit: ebayink. The photo was originally published on Flickr. It has been used to illustrate this text under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License terms. No changes have been made.
National and local governments around the world often struggle to design and implement new policies to foster the creation of new firms. The rationale is that small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are engines of labor creation. For example, in the U.S., according to the Census Bureau, SMEs employ about half of the labor force. This share is typically higher in developing nations.
Nowadays, some of these policies focus on hi-tech start-ups. Start-ups can not only create employment in the medium run, but can also innovate and push the world’s technology frontier further. Furthermore, some would claim that the externalities generated in a vibrant start-up environment would justify a market intervention.
But, how do you get the entrepreneurship ball rolling in a developing country? Clearly, limited financing is an important market failure that keeps small firms from emerging more frequently in developing countries. Volatility and weak institutions in developing nations imply lending risks are high even for large and already established firms. Entrepreneurs often lack collateral or other guarantees required by formal lending institutions. On the other hand, equity investors could make sizeable profits by hedging funds in several start-ups. It’s a classic “chicken-and-egg” problem: Lack of financing constrains the cultivation of entrepreneurs, and without entrepreneurs there are not enough hedging opportunities to attract investors. This “failure,” together with the possible externalities that the existence of these start-ups could generate, could be a good enough reason to justify government intervention. But, what is the optimal policy here?
There are two possibilities: Fund the firms or fund the funds. The former implies the government could act as an investor in the market by selecting and investing in new start-ups. This is one way the government could share a big chunk of the aggregated risk. This, in turn, could attract private investors to also join the game once there is enough deal flow (i.e. a big enough mass of start-ups waiting to be financed). The latter actually implies that the government would invest in venture capital funds, incubators and accelerators which will be the ones selecting and investing in new firms. This is another way for the government to share the risk with the private investors, thus solving the supply problem. Yozma, a fund of funds established by the Israeli government and later privatized, is an example of how this policy can be made to work (you can read more on the Israeli innovation ecosystem here).
Which policy is the right one? It is an open debate. Critics of “funding the firms” would say that the government incapable of deciding which firms should be funded and which should not, and such a policy generates risks of rent-seeking and corruption. They would claim that the private sector would do a much better job of selecting projects to invest in, and therefore “funding the funds” is the better approach. However, “funding the funds” is also problematic: The government would be subsidizing already wealthy investors, possibly crowding out some private investment.
All in all, both policies face a common issue: Taxpayers do not directly benefit, at least in the short run, from either strategy. As resources are limited, particularly in developing countries, it can be highly unpopular for a government to devote public resources to innovation and not to more pressing social issues. But at the same time failing to do so will keep us on our current path of increasing inequality between rich and poor countries. Policymakers understand this, and that is the reason innovation policies are becoming more and more important in the agenda for many governments in developing nations.
Financing, though, is only one of the elements required for a vibrant entrepreneurial environment. The more we see governments tackling the innovation conundrum, the more evidence we will be able to document, thus getting us closer to finding the right policy mix that will boost entrepreneurship and innovation in developing countries.
The author of the text is Dany Bahar, (@dany_bahar), PhD, Nonresident Fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Global Economy and Development program. It was originally published at http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/up-front/posts/2015/05/20-innovation-policy-conundrum-developing-countries-bahar by The Brookings Institution. All rights reserved by The Brookings Institution. Photo credit: Boegh. The photo was originally published on Flickr. It has been used to illustrate this text under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License terms. No changes have been made.
On the same day, William Xu, Chief Strategy Marketing Officer at Huawei, announced the company’s decision to accelerate industrial digitisation in Europe in cooperation with its European partners at the 3rd Huawei Innovation Day in Munich. More information in Huawei’s press release published in the Parliament Magazine.
On 23 June David K. Hurst will conduct a webinar on business innovation, organised by the Conference Board of Canada. Rick Spence reviews the agenda in the Financial Post.
SixThirty, a fintech accelerator based in St. Louis, has announced a call for applications for its Fall 2015 Cohort. The application deadline is 10 July 2015. Drew Thompson introduces the programme and the SixThirty team on Nibletz.
The UK is the leader in female entrepreneurship in the world: 30% of British entrepreneurs are women. In the opinion of Ann Pickering, HR Director at O2 Telefónica UK, British competitiveness could be even better if more attention was paid to gender stereotypes. She explains her point of view on City A.M.
TechStars, an international startup accelerator, has acquired UP Global, an NGO known for Startup Weekend and Startup Week events as well as Startup Next, an accelerator, and Startup Digest, a personalised startup newsletter. Duncan Riley provides more details about the acquisition on SiliconANGLE.
On Tech in Asia Anh-Minh Do shares the success story of Launch, a Facebook group which has become one of the main networking and startup news sites for Vietnam’s startup community.
Microsoft has revised its BizSpark Plus partner programme and announced that Sw7, an accelerator based in Rivonia, South Africa, will be its partner in Africa. The programme will be launched on 1 July 2015. Tom Jackson explains Microsoft’s decision on Disrupt Africa.
For more news, see also Startup News Review, 12 June 2015.
The author of the text is Birute Birgelyte, PR and Communications Trainee at Startup Commons. You are free to re-edit and repost this in your own blog or other use under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License terms by giving credit with a link to www.startupcommons.org and the original post. Photo credit: Nick Kenrick. The photo was originally published on Flickr. It has been used to illustrate this text under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License terms. No changes have been made.
Asked for sharing his impression of the 2015 LOGIN Startup Fair, one of the biggest tech startup events in the Baltics held between 7–8 May in Vilnius, Marcin Hejka, Vice President and Managing Director of Intel Capital, Poland, revealed that he had observed “tremendous progress” in the Lithuanian market during the past 2 years. He also made a comment that “Lithuania has improved more than any other country in Central or Eastern Europe or even the most and has put itself very solidly on the map of important technological ecosystems in the region.”
Other investors also acknowledged achievements of Lithuanian entrepreneurs. “The Lithuanian startup ecosystem could be described in these five words: technical, perseverance, networkers, community, underserved,” shared Linus Dahg, Associate of Wellington Partners, UK. Yanki Margalit, social entrepreneur and investor from Israel, evaluated the projects presented at the fair even simpler: “Less marketing and more content.” Both of them agreed that Lithuania deserves more international attention (startuplithuania.lt, 2015).
This text is a step in this direction: it will present 5 facts about Lithuania which entrepreneurs and investors looking for new business opportunities should be aware of.
Fact 1: Lithuania’s competitiveness index is improving very fast. In the 2015 IMD World Competitiveness ranking of 61 selected countries, it ranks 28th. It is a 6-position improvement since last year. This is the best Lithuania’s result so far as well as the best performance in the region this year. Estonia has declined by 1 position to the 31st, Poland has moved up by 3 positions to the 33rd, Latvia has declined by 8 positions to the 43rd. Lithuania has improved its competitiveness index in 6 categories: (1) by 7 positions in the economic growth category (from 44 in 2014 to 37 in 2015), (2) by 12 positions in the business effectiveness category (from 35 to 23), (3) by 13 positions in the availability of risk capital category (from 24 to 11), (4) by 8 positions in the international investment category (from 49 to 41), (5) by 7 positions in the government efficiency category (from 32 to 25) and (6) by 15 positions in the ease of doing business category (from 32 to 17) (startuplithuania.lt, 2015).
Fact 2: “2014 was a record year for Lithuanian startups". This is how Enterprise Lithuania (2015) has summarised the results of the Startup Lithuania 2014 survey, which has evaluated the performance of 52 innovative IT startups. Last year they attracted EUR 46 million in investment, had 405 employees and paid over EUR 2 million in tax in total. In 2013 these figures were much lower: there were EUR 34 million in investment, over 200 employees and approx. EUR 0.5 million tax. In addition, 2014 marks some other positive changes: branches of Game Insight, WIX, Uber were established, the game industry was developing successfully and a life sciences startup ecosystem project was launched. For more information on the achievements of the Lithuanian startup community last year, please see the survey overview.
Fact 3: On 10 June the Sunrise Valley Centre for Technology and Innovation was officially opened. It is part of the Science and Technology Park (STP) of the Institute of Physics, Vilnius, which conducts research and experiments in applied sciences and facilitates integration of science and business by assisting enterprises in commercialising research results and coordinating activities of the Laser & Engineering Technologies Cluster (LITEK) (STP, 2015; litek.lt, 2012). The Centre for Technology and Innovation has already accepted 23 high-tech companies such as Ekspla, a laser technology company, Ferentis, a biotechnology company, as well as some companies specialising in optoelectronics, nanotechnology and bioengineering. In addition, the Centre complex has a modern laser centre and nanoengineering laboratory (Neverauskas, 2015).
Fact 4: Lithuania has one of the best Internet upload and download speeds in the world (Mančas, 2015). In the Ookla Household Upload Index, Lithuania is 5th with a 52.02 Mbps upload speed. It is the highest position in Europe. The EU average upload speed is 11.1 Mbps. In the Ookla Household Download Index, Lithuania’s result is also very high: it has been ranked 8th with a 57.93 Mbps download speed. It is the 3rd best European performance after Romania (5th position, 71.93 Mbps) and Sweden (6th position, 60.49 Mbps). The EU average download speed is 31.4 Mbps (16 June 2015 data).
Fact 5: Lithuanians are among the best educated European nations (Mančas, 2015). The 2011 Population and Housing Census by Statistics Lithuania shows that “one in five Lithuanian residents has a university degree”. The best educated age group are 20–29 year olds: 22.8% of them have higher education (The Lithuania Tribune, 2013). The 2012 Eurostat European Adult Education Survey (ADS), conducted in all the EU member states, also confirms that the Lithuanian society gives a lot of attention to professional qualifications. More than 75% of 20–24 year old local students enrolled in universities and colleges in the academic year 2011/12. The EU average enrolment rate was 64.1%.
For more information on business opportunities in Lithuania, please visit the websites of Enterprise Lithuania and Startup Lithuania.
Larry Alton, an independent business consultant, gives tips on setting up a startup pension plan on Business 2 Community.
Keith Jones, Cofounder of Sw7, an accelerator based in Rivonia, South Africa, explains Africa’s tech innovation ecosystem on Disrupt Africa.
Between 10–11 June Halifax, Canada, hosted the 3rd Atlantic Venture Forum. Peter Moreira presents the event in The Chronicle Herald.
On 11 June the White House and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) launched the Startup in a Day initiative. More information in Ronald Barba’s report on Tech.co.
“Startups have under 4 minutes to convince investors”, a new study of DocSend, a file-sharing startup from San Francisco, and Harvard Business School shows. Brian Feldt reviews other study results in St. Louis Business Journal.
Lisa Chau interviews Deputy Mayor Kajsa Ollongren on the situation of entrepreneurship in Amsterdam on U.S. News & World Report.
Andrea Noronha gives some tips on how to market a startup with a USD 0 budget on iamWire.
Cogobuy Group, one of the largest e-commerce companies in China, has released a press release on PR Newswire that its INGDAN.com platform for intelligent hardware projects has attracted a lot of attention.
Dojo Madness, an eSports startup based in Berlin, has managed to attract a EUR 2 million investment. See Rachel Weber’s report on gamesindustry.biz.
Product Hunt has announced on Business Insider that it is going to add games as a new category to its website and app.
The author of the text is Birute Birgelyte, PR and Communications Trainee at Startup Commons. You are free to re-edit and repost this in your own blog or other use under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License terms by giving credit with a link to www.startupcommons.org and the original post. Photo credit: Jon S. The photo was originally published on Flickr. It has been used to illustrate this text under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License terms. No changes have been made.
Today, it's not hard to stumble across success stories of companies raising capital in alternative ways. By alternative, we mean not using banks or traditional lenders or even business angels. Since the financial crisis of 2007, anyone starting a business has realised raising capital is one of the hardest tasks and a critical area of the business plan.
This demand for alternative funding mechanisms has given a rise to a growing industry already estimated to be worth billions of dollars. According to recent research published by The Economist, in 2014 global investment in fintech reached $12 billion, up from $4 billion a year earlier. In addition, Goldman Sachs estimates that global revenues linked to the growth of fintech could be as high as $4.7 trillion.
Taking a step back, it's important to realise that funding is just one (important) piece of the puzzle. In addition to securing capital, there is a myriad of resources, services and environmental factors that are critical to startup development.
Timely access to professional services (such as legal, tax, accounting and developers / programmers) plays a positive role for startups to succeed. As a result, today we are witnessing the growth of ecosystems designed to support startups and small enterprises in many cities around the world. In dedicated areas or business hubs, incubators, accelerators and shared office spaces, knowledge sharing and mentor services form networks that support thriving business activity. These groups of experts assist startups and ensure they have access to timely knowledge and information they need, beyond capital requirements.
In addition, many governments around the world have rolled out new regulations covering equity crowdfunding or P2P lending and online digital investments. Governments are taking active steps to keep up with innovations in finance by providing frameworks and an environment in which operators and participants can transact safely and efficiently.
As startup ecosystems grow, so do the associated services that support them. At this highest level of small enterprise planning, neural networks or sophisticated platforms that monitor and manage them connect all stakeholders in real time and with access to critical business data. By using these networks, it is possible to better plan, measure and drive the growth of startups, identify bottlenecks and better allocate resources to them.
This is an edited version of an article originally published at http://www.growadvisors.com/blog/funding-startups-and-keeping-a-track-of-the-bigger-picture by Grow Advisors. You are free to re-edit and re-post it under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License terms by giving credit to the author with a link to www.startupcommons.org and the original post. Photo credit: Pictures of Money, https://www.cheapfullcoverageautoinsurance.com/. The photo was originally published on Flickr. It has been used to illustrate this text under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License terms. No changes have been made.
Technological innovations focusing on the financial industry have led to a rapidly growing new ecosystem called Fintech. A biological ecosystem generally comprises of organisms portraying continuously evolving relationships in a specific climate, leading to complex, non-linear structures. This is exactly what we are seeing with the Fintech entities. The economic climate is just right! The breakdown of trust due to the recent financial crisis has meant that society perceives a brick-and-mortar financial institution no different to a cloud entity!
Simultaneously, the extensive use of smartphones and Web 3.0, the uncontrollable rise of consumer debt levels and the massive increase of international financial flows have made the conditions ripe for Fintech to thrive. However, due to the recentness of this ecosystem, the timescale of the entities is in its embryonic stage. That is how quickly a Fintech is born; when and how it dies; how it exits, say through an IPO or acquisition; nested versus non-nested structures; the social impact of Fintechs and so on are continuing to be recognized as they occur.
We keep hearing the term ‘disruption’. Why?
At first glance, the emerging scenario appears quite simple: Fintech companies – mainly young, entrepreneurial startups – are producing innovative digital technologies to improve the customer experience, efficiency and range of the financial services such as lending, payments, retail and institutional investments, equity financing, and remittances. Entrepreneurship, financial development and digitisation are not new, right? Why then are we referring to a ‘disruption’? Well, the rapid speed at which the innovations are being created, commercialized and embraced by the society globally means that traditional business models of financial services are collapsing or being swiftly dismantled and recreated. One would expect the time period to be disruptive and groundbreaking.
How would you describe the collaborators?
While the convergence of entrepreneurship, financial services and digitisation necessarily means the involvement and collaboration of multiple entities, the synergy created by the Fintech ecosystem is much larger due to the fundamental, intrinsic and pervasive influence of both financial services and digital technology in our day-to-day lives. So we are seeing startups, seasoned entrepreneurs, local and foreign investors, venture capitalists, financial institutions, insurers, wealth managers, governments, telecom providers, retailers, corporations, consumers, educational institutions and specialist consultants who then get networked into hubs, accelerators, incubators and so on. The birth of new entities in the ecosystem occurs from both serendipity as well as planned innovations. The collaborations are customized, proactive and dynamic.
For instance, banks are working with startups to ensure that the innovations produced match their needs, and investors and VCs are willing to direct huge capital towards these startups because of high returns. Furthermore, financial institutions are also starting to provide greater funding for Fintech companies to get access to new products in a shorter timeframe. Governments are very supportive of Fintech due to the increase in jobs, skilled workforce and inflow of capital, and are trying to provide attractive environments for Fintech companies to thrive in.
In particular, how is the academia–Fintech collaboration occurring?
The academia’s collaboration with the Fintech ecosystem is occurring through several streams. The Entrepreneurship, Finance and Banking, IT and Communications disciplines are supplying the founders of Fintech startups. Universities and centres are providing mentoring programs and boot camps, sponsoring student-led Fintech clubs and allowing the use of their campus spaces for Fintech meets and events. Academic research is evolving around data analytics, cybercrime and fraud protection, network analysis and Fintech business models with new academic and practitioner journals being founded for disseminating the research. Technology companies in turn are partnering with Universities by setting up Chairs focused on expertise in finance, digital technologies and entrepreneurship to facilitate the rapid and smooth knowledge transfer and commercialization of academic research.
This is an edited version of an article originally published at https://blog.criterionconferences.com/socialtech/fintech-ecosystem-innovation-disruption-collaboration/#authorprofilebox by Dr Vijaya Thyil, Senior Lecturer in Accounting and Finance at Swinburne Business School, Swinburne University of Technology. You are free to re-edit and re-post it under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License terms by giving credit to the author with a link to www.startupcommons.org and the original post. Photo credit: Got Credit, http://www.gotcredit.com/. The photo was originally published on Flickr. It has been used to illustrate this text under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License terms. No changes have been made.
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