We visited Capitalfest, where startups and investors meet, mingle and might partner up. An interesting conference where several pioneers took the stage to share their insights. We’re so kind to share those easy to overlook yet crucial insights, so you don’t miss a tip or trick if you couldn’t make it.
1: Social media does work; always be nice
When Boyan Slat started with the Ocean Clean Up, he wanted to get in touch with relevant stakeholders. How did he manage to get their attention? Twitter! He just sent a tweet and met with one of the heroes that kick-started his company. Social media does work, you just have to be nice.
2: Partner up; add value
Slat makes money from recycling plastic via the Ocean Clean Up, which enables him to make his dreams come true. He partners up with companies, by making them advertise on the ocean cleaning units (for 5 million euro’s). And, moreover, he sells the recycled plastic to B2B-companies. They are allowed to advertise that they use the recycled plastic. That’s really adding value for your partners.
3: Don’t overestimate the risk
Do not overestimate the risk. Boyan Slat started with the Ocean Clean Up, just because he wanted to dream big. Projects with a level of risk are actually quite attractive because they solve a huge problem as a whole. Funny detail: once in Silicon Valley, Slat heard that he didn’t dream big enough. For some, aiming for the moon is still not high enough.
4: Don’t underestimate the power of exponential growth
Deep Nishar of Softbank shares the famous story of the rice and the chess board (see this explanation and of course: Moore’s Law). But it’s not all just about growing exponential. We’re able to cut down the costs sequencing a human genome dramatically: from 100 million dollars, now to a 1000 dollar, in five years to 100 dollars. Have you ever wondered about the chances that this technology creates for healthcare?
5: Outsource IT (but, to Morocco)
Dennis Schacbracq, CEO of CodeLogice, not one of the speakers, told us he outsourced his complete IT to Morocco. Morocco? Yes, Morocco. Who would have thought that the Moroccan government did actually invested in IT-skills for the youth and is now on the rise as Silicon Valley of the Mediterranean? Well, that may be an overstatement, but it might be a chance for your business.
6: Adapt to new markets
When Gillian Tans (CEO Booking.com) was asked how she entered new markets, she stated that Booking adjusts to new markets. Sounds simple, right? It does, however, that still a lot of companies don’t adapt to new markets and don’t adjust their proposition, communication, etc. Always source for demand and adjust to new markets.
7: Start in Amsterdam
One of the advantages of starting a business in Amsterdam (for example) is that your employees might be more loyal than those in the Valley. That is what Pieter van der Does (CEO Adyen) states. In the Valley, he reasons, more and more (hip) companies (like Facebook, Netflix, etc.) compete for the same talented workforce.
8: Always keep asking for feedback
Werner Vogel sounds like the number one fan of feedback. Even the CEO of Amazon.com doesn’t get enough of keeping in touch with his customers. He advises you to always ask your clients what troubles them in day to day life (where’s the pain?). He learned that customers use his software in various ways he didn’t think of. And therefore found new functions and ways to help entrepreneurs focus on their business.
9: Pitch like a pro
Stewart Rogerts and Alejandro Tauber help founders that think to know what is newsworthy. News is: data on your platform about certain trends or developments, launch or product launch. News is not: funding news (only if it is like millions +), landing new customers (only if they’re huge, like Google or so) or your growth story: you’re in business, we expect you to grow.