Redesigning Startup Chile - What should we start doing!
This post is a part of 3 points feedback structure by Phil Daniels.. what should we stop doing, start doing and keep doing. This post answers question no. 2: what should startup Chile start doing.
I love Startup Chile. Its been a brilliant experience so far. Given a chance I will definitely repeat it. Though I know as per new rules they dont allow existing entrepreneurs to apply again. Sad!
While I loved it so far, If I was made in charge and was given a chance to run Startup Chile I would do lots of things differently. Here are the few additions that I will implement and focus on. These comes partly from my own need as two times entrepreneur and partly based on my experience offering entrepreneurship classes at university which were like mini incubator itself.
I am going to structure it in bullet points for better and skim readability. Please take note this is not criticism but rather constructive ideas on how can we take Startup Chile to next level of excellence.
My thoughts are based on the premise of the key objective of the fund and resources invested by Corfo, as I have understood and may not be completely relevant.
Current: I am not sure if we are held accountable at all for the progress of the startup. Current system is process driven and fix interval driven. The moment you get in, You have all the key dates of the presentations finalized. No importance is given to individual projects performance and stage. Focus is on inputs and authenticity but not the outcome and progress.
Suggested : We should use a standard scale of startup life cycle and map every startup the moment it gets in to this scale. We should then understand where they stand as on date and what it will take them to go to next stage. Regular meetings should be scheduled to follow up on achieving the targets for the next stage. This is a super big thing and can change the whole experience upside down.
Why progress: 1. This will improve the performance of startups and increase the likelihood of success. 2. Startups not so serious will not be attracted anymore. Hence space for more quality & serious startups. 3. More successful startups in Chile will likely to stay and expand in Chile, giving more milage and advantage to Chile.
Current: 404! Nothing found!
Suggested: I would get impanel top guys from various sectors who will be willing to mentor startups if so they liked. These mentors should ideally be the top guys in Chile or abroad. Every startup should be expected to have at least one Mentor / Advisor on board from their sector. And every startup should be expected to have regular meeting with the Advisors. Ideally startups should be free to discover their own advisors, but helping them with a ready reckoner list and references would be immensely useful.
Why: Well No! No one is really that smart to pull it off yourself. Hence having an advisor significantly improves the chances of success. It also can bring sensibility in financial spending. Hence all the benefits of point 1 applies.
Current: Its not really easy to change your project. You need approval and all.
Suggested: We should be flexible with the projects. Rather we should encourage pivoting and completely shifting early on if the project doesn’t seem to materialize. It makes no sense pushing people to perform on a project that even founders are not confident. Hence the advisors and the Sup team should together push to ensure the money and resource (including time) is spent on something legitimate.
Why: Because what matters is that the projects are successful and not that the project spend all the money or that they are doing what they promised while applying. I would say invest in people not projects (while selecting). All benefits of point 1 applies.
Current: Its self organized. Its left to the community to take initiative. Which is good. I like that. But maybe someway this can be more optimized.
Suggested: Will do for sure is that will make a common list with the People participated in Startup Chile and common list of skills. We need to ask everyone to list and rank their key skills and strength. We should ask everyone to list their key strengths / skills. We should strongly recommend cross contribution on the project of your choice. Note: strongly recommended, but not mandatory.
Why: One working on cross project is an excellent way to be creative and learn more about business and startups. Also lot of startups face issues / challenges, solutions to which is available usually inhouse. Why not use community to help each other.
Current: We have SupAcademy sessions. Basically whenever we have guest speakers we organize sessions or anyone worthy or willing to give talk on any topic SupAcadmey session is scheduled. This is good but not best. Because you dont always get the session that you need and when you need.
Suggested: Well there are few key broad areas where most startups need help or guidance. They are usually strong in one or two domain and might be lacking expertise on yet another domain. But we all need to empowered in all the areas that are critical to our business. These domains could be: Internet marketing, Programming, Startup/Business theory, Product management, Sales, pitching to name a few. Once enrolled in the domains interested, there should be regular classes to ensure the mastery over those topics. We dont need expert or paid resource to delver these classes. It can be managed for free. Reach out for more info on how.
Why: As I mentioned earlier, Invest in people not projects. The team that wins is usually the team thats well trained. The better we train our teams the better they are equipped to stand against the global competition and more likely to succeed, more likely to refer to their friends and which should get more and better applicants.
If you think this will take up too much time doing all these, trust me its not. It needs right organizing and it would be one seamless process with minimal involvement and time consumption.
I would like to close with my personal recent learning. The most important thing any startup should ever think of or brain storm is how to do things that might take 6 months in 2 weeks. How to fail faster and succeed with more confidence but keeping time at the helm of all affairs. Dont count how much money you are spending. Count how much time it will take before you know if you will fail or succeed. its all about time. Trust me, its possible to achieve things of 6 months in 2 weeks. If you want to know how, reach out.