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Welcome to Demo Day!

 Today, 5 p.m. through 7 p.m. Nur-Sultan time, Venture Rocket Eurasia is organizing the Demo Day event as a part of Venture Investment School.

Venture Rocket Eurasia is an online ecosystem management and investment platform set off by AIFC Fintech and the Titanium Technologies Group that unites tech startups, accredited, professional, and institutional investors, and other ecosystem members in one place.

As a part of its educational initiative – Venture Investment School – they are launching the Demo Day event – the final stage of the School which is an online workshop focused on first-time investors. During it, you will be able to evaluate several technological startups (retail, Saas, and fintech industries), together with invited judges.

The Demo Day is a great opportunity to:
 ✔meet experienced investors who are ready to share their knowledge and answer your questions
 ✔practice analyzing real startups with experts
 ✔connect with other investors
 ✔invest in a chosen startup join the Venture Rocket Eurasia platform

📌The judges will cover:
👉Anuar Seifullin
👉Robin Butler
👉Ruslan Rakymbay
👉Alim Khamitov
👉Mikhail Shatrov
👉Cyrus Baghai
👉Mirat Akhmetsadykov
👉Marat Tolibayev

Business angels, venture funds, and others will also participate in the event.

After the Demo Day, Venture Capital School certificates will be issued to those who have participated in all stages of the Venture Capital Investment School (including the meetups conducted on May 11-13).

📌Register for the Demo Day here – https://venturerocket.vc/education/

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VentureRocket: New Version Is Up and Running!

We’re excited to announce a new release of VentureRocket!

Whether you are an Investor, a Startup, or an Ecosystem Member, we want you to fully enjoy your experience with the VentureRocket platform.

Thus, in this version, 2.5.1, we have introduced a brand new feature – Workspaces!

Workspaces: Communicate with Investors and Other Ecosystem Members Even More Effectively!

We want to help you keep your Investors and other Ecosystem Members in the loop.

 From now, White Label Admins and Companies can create digital Workspaces – rooms for interaction with Investors and other Ecosystem Members, like advisors, mentors, judges, service providers, and more. Leveraging your Rooms as a Startup, you can find:

✔The Feed section for both the Company (the Room Owner) and the Room Members to create and publish posts with attached photos or youtube videos.

✔The Repository section where the Admin and the Company can upload necessary documents, and

✔The Members section to see all the Room Members

These features will enable you to share relevant news and communicate with your network members in a more efficient way. 

👉Currently, only White Label Admins can add Members to the Rooms. In the future, we’re planning to enrich this functionality by enabling Companies to create Rooms and add Members there.

We are constantly working to improve our platform, thus more cool features are expected in the future.

To join VentureRocket as a Company (Startup), please, go here.

To join us as an Investor/Ecosystem Member, feel free to register here.

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6 Major Reasons Why Investors May Reject Your Startup

When you get a “no” answer from investors, you should remember that being rejected is a common thing in a startup world. We have mentioned in previous articles, that only 1 startup out of 100 is lucky to receive funds. However, the absence of luck is not the only factor in a pitch deck’s failure.


In this article, we’re gonna focus on 6 main reasons why investors may reject your startup. You’ll find it useful if you have already failed to get fundraised and are not sure why or if you’re just in the process of approaching the ‘right’ people and want to be fully prepared. 

So, here we go.

You’ve Approached Investors Improperly
This is the first thing you should think of when you get rejected. Are you sure that was the ‘right’ investor? Have you approached them in all relevant channels? Have you checked their LinkedIn profile, company website, and investment history before arranging a fundraising meeting? Have you asked for recommendations before approaching?

You need to know your investor before asking for capital raising. And we do hope you haven’t cold-called or email spammed them to arrange a meeting, have you? 😉


✔It’s All About Your Team

There is always a team behind any startup. Even if it may seem subjective to you, your investor has to like you and your team before they make up their mind to invest in your startup.

Here, the point is not about your being highly skilled and experienced in your industry or promising things you think investors would like to hear. A smart investor will always analyze the whole team for what they are truly looking for to see the big picture. And if you’re not a technical guru or don’t have dozens of successful startups to show – don’t worry. If there are people who can cover what you lack, that’s great.

When analyzing you as a founder, an experienced investor will seek strong personality traits. He will definitely check your communication and leadership skills, by the way, you present your project. Being confident is good, however, here, it’s important not to oversell yourself.

Besides that, investors will want to know how coachable you are. If you seem to have difficulties with accepting feedback/criticism and not ready to change something if really needed, that might be a sign for an investor not to deal with you at all.

On top of that, what really matters to all investors is how honest and trustworthy you are to see if it will be comfortable and safe to build relationships with you. Thus, if there are any obstacles in implementing your startup or anything else investors need to know, make sure you make them informed before you become partners. 

Your Pitch Deck Needs Improvement
There is no such thing as an ideal pitch deck. However, after every fundraising meeting, you have a chance to understand what needs improvement. At the end of the day, a badly prepared pitch deck is one of the most common reasons why startups get rejected.

Take a look at your pitch deck. The most crucial points that may make investors not consider your pitch are as follows: 

  • You haven’t clearly defined the problem your project is solving.
    This is probably the main point in your pitch deck since it both makes investors interested in your undertaking and shows how deeply you understand your market. If you can’t explain the problem you aim to solve, this will also mean you don’t understand your customers’ needs. So, why considering a founder that doesn’t know the basic and most crucial thing – what and whom their business is meant for?
  • You haven’t considered all (or at least some of) the risks. We are not tired repeating that being honest is crucial when it comes to a startup-investor collaboration. If you don’t mention in the very beginning the possible obstacles that might block your startup from implementation, and investors ask about them, that’s a sad-end story. Make sure you’ve analyzed and presented them well – this way, an investor will see that you are both trustworthy to work with and prepared for different scenarios to go by.
  •  Your business plan is unrealistic. Here, we talk about the inaccurate financial projections and incorrect calculations you may make in your business plan. This will present you as an unprofessional entrepreneur and your business as a not promising one. 

If you have just started your business and want to get a 5 million revenue in a couple of years, investors will not believe you. The same goes for making too low financial projections – all investors want to invest in businesses that will bring many customers (and thus money) in future. Be reasonable and accurate here (we hope, you’ve also taken care of all the calculations being done correctly;)).

And finally, make sure you are not asking too much. If you are, you definitely must have a set of success stories in place to present and base your request on. 

  • Your pitch deck form is not reader-friendly. If your style and formatting are not clear, the text is too long and overly technical, and – what’s more – there are typos and grammatical mistakes, this will not only make it hard for investors to understand your business, but also make them not want to read it at all. Think of other, better prepared, pitch decks. Which ones will they choose to check first? And which startups have more chances to get an appointment after?


Find our tips on how to build a winning pitch deck in this article


However, it’s not always about you who’s done something incorrectly. Very often, it’s some ‘outside’ factors that influence the investor’s decision not to invest in you. Let’s take a look at them:


✔You Have Better Competitors

Thinking that you have no competitors in your industry is wrong. And having not analyzed your competitors before even considering setting off a startup is even worse.

The reason why investors may reject your startup is that they have already seen your business idea and have probably invested in ‘your better’ competitor. That’s why make sure you have something unique to offer long before you make up your mind to knock at the investor’s door. 😉



It’s Not the Right Time
From what we have seen, a number of startups fail because they ask for funds too early or too late.

Very often, founders with a functional prototype come to VCs that usually don’t invest until that’s a Series A investment round (if this is your case, use this meeting to understand what milestones you need to hit before asking for an investment).

Sometimes, founders are too late with their ideas because they are no longer innovative and thus no longer unique or interesting to investors.

This way or another, if you mix up the time you need to approach an investor, it may take you even more time to get your next opportunity.

And sometimes, It’s All About Them
It may seem strange but sometimes, a VC may reject simply because it has committed all capital to the existing investments. That’s right.


As a rule of thumb, VCs commit to their funds during the so-called necessary investment period – the first three or five years. Sometimes, they don’t invest, because they have completed investing in their first capital call and are waiting for the next one.

However this info is always kept as a secret. Instead, the VC will arrange a meeting with you to listen to the latest updates, see the possible/future deals, and just show they are still in the game. 😉


At VentureRocket, we support startups by connecting them with proper investors in our global ecosystem of startups, accelerators, incubators, hubs, and individual members. We also assist business undertakings in applying for international governments’ support.


Interested in finding your fundraising options? Explore your opportunities and join the VentureRocket ecosystem here.

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Failing a Business Is Not the End of the World: 8 Tips to Bounce Back after Your Startup Fails

How many entrepreneurs that succeeded in their first attempts to build a business do you know? What about your specific industry? The truth is that 90% of all startups fail (eager to know why? Read about the most common reasons why startups die in this article). It doesn’t mean that this fate is inevitable. Nevertheless, the chances are very high, and you have to deal with that.

In this article, we’ll focus on what you should do in case your business has failed, and you are not willing to give up (are you?). It will be even more useful to read if you are just starting to build your startup and want to get fully prepared for all the scenarios.

So, here we go…

#1. Analyze Your Business Failure
This is the first thing you do when something happens the wrong way. Analyze what things have led to this event and what should/shouldn’t be done in the future to avoid the same result. Even if the reason is something outside – a major client has terminated relationships or you’ve been outcompeted, it will be useful to review your business plan, think of the backups you could have made, take a look at your strategy and the team, etc. This will help you not only find your weak points but also give valuable lessons you’ll need for starting your next undertaking.

You could also spend some time studying other startups’ post mortems or consult an advisor/a mentor/a more experienced founder to get important guidance and support.

#2. Recharge Your Batteries
Becoming depressed and devastated after a period of hard work, first milestones, and many plans to cover is more than natural. Devote some time to your emotional healing – not just because you need to find new inspiration/ideas/a plan to go by, but also because both your physical and mental health need this.

Take a rest without any work – whatever you prefer to do in your spare time, make sure you really DO that, since it will be impossible to make a new good start with a head full of the same negative thoughts.


#3. Find New Funding Resources
It is impossible to start a new business without proper capital. In case you’ve spent all your savings and have no emergency fund, the best time to start looking for a new reliable source of income is right after your previous startup fails. We hope you do remember that finding a new investor takes time. Even more time is spent on making them want to invest in your business.

We’ve already talked about the best ways to get fundraising in Raising Your Capital: 6 Tips from VentureRocket: approaching investors, VCs, accelerators/incubators, requesting a bank loan, applying for a grant, and more.  In case you decide to ask for an emergency loan, make sure you have a plan in place to pay that loan back. Also, remember that many government grants are matching programs. If you decide to go with this option, they can require you to match up to 25-50% of the needed funds. 


#4. Work Your Network
Winning new investor meetings through startup competitions seems too time-consuming to you? Or do you want to check other options too? The great and really short way to do that is to look through your network.

Dedicate some time to check and approach your LinkedIn contacts, talk with your old clients, ask them for recommendations (in case you are approaching new potential partners, seek to meet decision-makers), etc.


That said, don’t focus only on people you already know. Increase your chances to meet a matching investor, by expanding your network – attend more networking events and connect with more entrepreneurs there.


#5.Improve Your Team
A poor team is one of the top reasons why all startups fail (read on more reasons why startups die in this article). Even if that was not your case, and you think that your team is good enough, after your startup fails, it’s reasonable to evaluate those ones who work with you, too.

Think of what skills you/your team members still lack. Maybe, there are some important positions (a marketer, a sales manager, a business analyst?) that you didn’t take into consideration when building your company? Or maybe, it’s time to hire a good recruiter who’ll help you find exactly whom you need?

Your team is the core of your business – make sure you fix it if you don’t want to end up the same way.


#6.
Build a New Business Plan.
Now, that you know where to find new capital resources and have chosen a couple of good ones to focus on, it is time to prepare your new business plan. Be it an angel investor or a government officer checking your grant application, they all will want you to present your business plan.

In this article, we have already talked about building business plans (see “Make a Business Plan (and Then a Pitch Deck and a 1-Pager)”). You could also read more detailed explanations of a business plan’s structure on bplans.com or download business plan templates here or here.

If the reason for your startup failure was money-related, we do recommend that you make a new business in collaboration with a good consultant. You could also consult an entrepreneur who leads successful startups (that might be even more useful since, most probably, they have already made the same mistakes and know exactly what a good business plan should cover).

#7. Tailor Your Pitch
Approaching new investors with the same pitch deck is like thinking you’ll succeed making the same mistakes. Your pitch deck needs to be improved not  only in terms of a business plan you attach to the pitch deck. Most probably, there had been some blockers on your way before you reached your investor. Now, it’s time to reduce them.

First of all, optimize your investor fit, by studying thoroughly exact angel investors and their companies or the organizers of the startup competition.

Next, anticipate the possible questions you may be asked in the meeting and think over your answers beforehand. Most probably, some of the investor’s questions can help you understand what info your pitch lacks or what could be explained in a different, more effective way.

And, of course, prepare a new business plan.

We’ll talk more about the ways to improve your pitch deck in the next article, so keep calm and make sure you check our updates. 😉


#8. How about New Opportunities?
Finally, failing a business may be your opportunity to consider positions at other companies or trying yourself in a new, yet somehow related role.

You have probably heard people saying that when one door closes, another one opens. This may exactly be the case with startups as failing one startup often opens doors to another one. With the acquired experience, you could join a new company as a C-level executive or as an advisor.  Many founders also start consulting other startups of the same industry before they get another chance/enough money to make their second try.


At VentureRocket, we help startups find proper investors as well as unite them, together with accelerators, incubators, hubs, and individual members (like field experts, advisors, consultants, mentors, service providers, etc.) into one global ecosystem. We also assist startups in applying for Malta-based government grants to provide them with tested fundraising options.

Explore your opportunities and join the VentureRocket ecosystem here.

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VentureRocket for Universities: VentureRocket Partners with THNQ Global Corp.!

We’re happy to announce VentureRocket for university incubators and student entrepreneurs. 

In close cooperation with THNQ Global Corp., we are working on the implementation of the package focused on young entrepreneurs aspiring to build their startups.

The VentureRocket For Universities package will cover:

-dedicated entrepreneur programs to help entrepreneurs develop their entrepreneur DNA, collaborate, and collide with other entrepreneurs and mentors,

-a digital infrastructure to support a startup community in a university or municipal economy through online collaboration rooms, events, workshops, registrations, etc.,

-a marketplace for regional programs, mentoring, and peer-to-peer encouragement,

-a digital badging/micro-credentialling system to show recognition, support, and motivate entrepreneurs through their journey,

-global mentors and experts to share experience and wisdom with entrepreneurs,

-a set of tools and methodologies to teach and guide the entrepreneurs on their journey,

-and much more.

What’s THNQ?
THNQ Global Corp. is a parent company for Colin Christensen to bring to life his passions for entrepreneurship. As a founder of several businesses and experiencing the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur, he serves as an Entrepreneur In Residence for MacEwan University, launched a do-it-yourself online program and book for entrepreneurs and mentors called The Entrepreneur Roadmap, founded and operates an Accelerator called Fuse42 focusing on the Sustainable Development Goals, and is himself a social entrepreneur as a co-founder of LendHOPE, a crowdfunding micro-lending platform aimed to end poverty, and expanding rapidly this year.

VentureRocket For Universities is planned to be launched soon. 

We believe that this program will be key in supporting universities to help those looking to discover and improve their entrepreneur journey, connecting with peers and business experts to boost their network, and creating better opportunities to attract investors.

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It’s All About Building Your Startup: Why You Should Join Startup Ecosystems

Startups are like human beings: they can’t exist isolated. As a rule of thumb, startups are created and develop within some context – an accelerator, a community, a network, or an ecosystem where it is easier to network and find support and growth opportunities.

In this article, you’ll find insights into what a startup ecosystem is, what you should consider before entering it, and what benefits it offers to its members.

You’ll find it useful whether you’re just considering building a startup or already have one and are in search of a good ecosystem to join.

To make things clear, let’s firstly take a look at what an ecosystem means and what you should take into account before entering one.

What is an Ecosystem?
We take a startup ecosystem as a privately or government-supported dynamic group of independent economic players that create products or services and are linked in mutually beneficial relationships.

The ultimate goal of any startup ecosystem can’t be underestimated for it impacts people and economies from different perspectives: it helps its startups/investors find investment opportunities; connects founders, business partners, and customers; and – in a global context – creates jobs, attracts talents, and boosts a city’s/country’s brand value and economic development.

It’s worth mentioning that not only startups comprise a startup ecosystem. Apart from them, a startup ecosystem can cover:

  • Сolleges, universities, bootcamps, and other educational entities.
  • Angel investors, VC firms, crowdfunding websites, private and government support programs/grants, and other funds providers. 
  • Incubators and accelerators that can combine different services – from providing fundraising and co-working opportunities  to technical assistance and mentoring.
  • Co-working spaces – companies that offer shared office spaces.
  • Different field experts, like individual advisors, advisory firms, consulting companies, mentors, etc.
  • Service providers, like bookkeepers or banking providers.
  • And finally, those who help you spread a word of mouth about your setting off – media providers (like online publications, blogs, and their social media accounts).

    To make an educated decision, make sure you answer these questions before you join a specific ecosystem:
  • What makes this ecosystem unique? Check what makes it differ from other local/global ecosystems to understand if it could offer you more benefits.
  • What might be the challenges or restrictions of joining, setting off, or growing a startup in this ecosystem? Some ecosystems, for example,  work only with early-stage startups or impose limits to how big a company can get within it. 
  • What industries does it deal with? You have to check if what you do matches with the ecosystem’s activities.
  • What are the local/global startup success stories within this ecosystem? That’s for you to know if it is really capable of giving you the opportunities you look for. 
  • Who are the leaders of this ecosystem? You want to learn who they are, what they do, and what their background is, since this is a part of your preparation for approaching them.
  • Is the ecosystem based on government programs or private capital? In some cases, an ecosystem can even combine both private capital and government-driven activities, by helping its portfolio companies apply for government grants, like we do at FutureBlock Malta.

    Now, that you know what makes a startup ecosystem, let’s get straight into why joining it is really important for your startup.


    Fundraising Sources
    By joining a startup ecosystem, you immediately get access to people who may get interested in funding your startup since fund givers, like angel investors, investor groups, investor clubs, VC firms, etc., make an important part of a startup ecosystem.

    It is worth mentioning that accelerators and incubators can also offer programs that provide selected startups with the needed capital. Very often, they collaborate with different governments and this way give access to government-driven support plans/grants or assist in applying for them.

    Besides, a great advantage about being a part of one ecosystem is that it becomes much easier to approach fund givers: there is no need to look for them outside – you all become connected within one network. 


    Business Growth Opportunities
    Another great advantage of joining a startup ecosystem is that you get a possibility to interact with companies that provide different business growth opportunities.  Normally, accelerators, incubators, and hubs can not only invest in pre-seed or early-stage startups, but also offer acceleration programs that include business development services, like guidance in choosing the right resources and building a technological roadmap, assistance in the building and implementation of your marketing strategy, software consulting, mentorship and training, etc. 

    Co-working spaces also add to a startup’s business development since they provide shared working space conditions as well as  give you access to freelancers who work in an arms’ reach – a great way to connect with them. 😉


    Knowledge Sharing
    If you are a part of a startup ecosystem, you inevitably get involved in a number of events the ecosystem members organize (if not invited to, you will still be among the first ones to hear about the upcoming conferences/meetups/workshops/hackathons), the aim of which is to spread specific knowledge or help you achieve/practice relevant practical skills. 

    Besides, many startup studios/accelerators organize academies or camps that assist in acquiring your industry knowledge or provide you with great mentors who will help you master your business management and soft skills and grow both personally and professionally.


    Access to New Partners and Customers
    Being a part of a startup ecosystem always means collaboration with other members. Thus, if you’re looking for new partnership opportunities (which is obvious if you are trying to grow your undertaking), there’s no better place than a startup  ecosystem. Joining one is a direct way to access many new customers or connect with new partners who deal in the same industry and have complementary services to offer.


    New Market Penetration
    If you are willing to grow your startup’s global activity, you need to join a startup ecosystem. In global ecosystems, you’ll find customers/partners from all over the world which means an opportunity to enter any country’s market.

    At FutureBlock and VentureRocket, we give access to thousands of investors, startups, or accelerators, from  Israel, the USA, Canada, Europe, Kazakhstan, the UK, Malta, and much more, being a gate to the world’s numerous markets. 


    Access to New Roles
    Apart from an opportunity to be a lead firm in the ecosystem, any partner can perform other roles within it, including traditional supply chains, operational capacity, sales channels, and complementary products and services.

    Besides, in many startup ecosystems, you have a chance to change your role to a completely new one. The thing is that if your startup fails, you are often welcomed to enter the network as an individual service provider and assist as an advisor or a  consultant for other startups or even as a mentor for executives. There’s always a chance to take up a new activity, still being a part of an ecosystem. Sounds great, doesn’t it? 😉

    At VentureRocket, we unite investors, startups, accelerators, incubators, hubs,and more  into one global ecosystem. Moreover, we deal with governments that support startups from all over the world.

    Explore your opportunities and join the VentureRocket ecosystem here.
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Why Startups Fail: Top Nine Reasons from VentureRocket

No matter how sad it is, let’s face the music: around 90% of all startups fail (that’s what statistics say). Moreover, it is essential to know that 10% of startups across all industries fail within the first year, others – during  the first two or five years of development. 

The lack of investors, giving up because of your burning out, disharmony among investors – these things happen. However, the most common reasons why most startups fail are others (read further to know them 😉 ).

In this article, we’ll focus on the top cases when startups don’t survive. Whether you feel that you’re about to be among them, or everything is cool, but you want to be forearmed – you’ve chosen the right place to read.

Let’s take a look at those reasons, starting from the very end…



#9. You Ignore Your Customers
Engaging with your customers is crucial for the business survival since they are both your end users and the source of your ideas to improve your startup. No matter how great your product is and how fascinating the features you’re rolling out are, if your end users don’t like/need them, you’re doing the whole work just for fun.

We encourage you to talk with your customers, ask them to share their opinions, and – what’s even more important –  enable them to leave their feedback again and again, so that you could understand what things need improvement and how to better develop and test your product.

Many founders prefer not to make others see their prototype until it is done and dusted. However, that’s a mistake that leads 14% of startups to a failure. If you don’t know what your potential customers think of your startup – be it because of the fair that someone will steal your idea or the understanding that your prototype is not perfect enough to present it to people – you’re wasting a great opportunity to improve your product before they start using it.

To find that balance, the first thing you should do is identify your pricing strategy. Whether it’s competitor-based pricing, a value-based model, penetration pricing, or price skimming, choose the model that fits specifically your business. At the end of the day, your target audience may share the same pain points, however, their budget opportunities may vary greatly.


#8.You Don’t Do Enough Marketing Activities
Marketing is often underestimated by many founders, especially the technical ones, who prefer to spend money on R&D services rather than on sales.

However, if you want people to know about your product, you need to promote it. Here’s where marketing comes into play. Besides, the COVID-19 pandemic has clearly shown that online marketing is a must to keep your customers interacting with the product. As statistics say, 14% of startups fail due to the poorly conducted marketing.

Of course, in the very beginning, you don’t need a separate team to promote your product for you can do it by yourself, but make sure you start forming a marketing team as soon as you get fundraised.



#7. Your Business Model is Wrong
There’s no need to explain that a successful startup should be based on a profitable business model. Usually, founders get too optimistic about how easy it will be to attract customers (thinking that just building a website will automatically bring customers) and might choose a business model that typically works for many startups but does not really suit their case.  Think thoroughly if you need a product/service business model, a subscription-based one, an on-demand one, a freemium type, or any other model. Choosing the wrong business model is an expensive mistake, as the cost of acquiring customers will simply get higher than their lifetime value.



#6. You Build a Poor Product
Statistics say that more than 17% of startups fail to survive because of the low quality of their product. Here we talk not just about the bugs that your product has, but also about how easy/intuitive/comfortable/understandable it is. If the product doesn’t fit your customers’ needs and expectations, if its UI is not friendly, and it enables a poor UX, no one will eventually use it. Again, to avoid this mistake, make sure you engage your customers in the process of the product’s QA – get feedback from your end-users, conduct A/B testing, offer white hat hacking opportunities, etc. Spending time and money on making your audience help you fix your product will save you tons of time/money and create proper sales opportunities in the future.



#5. Your Pricing is Way Off the Mark
Surprised? This seems to be easy, since you can look at your competitors and put the same price, however, the main point here is to calculate a reasonable price for your product (which 18% of startups fail to do). Remember that your price should be high enough to cover costs but low enough to attract customers. 



#4. You’ve Got Outcompeted
The next crucial factor that makes more than 19% of startups give up is strong competition in the chosen market. Having some competition is actually a good and healthy thing that shows that your industry is popular, and the product you’re offering is in demand. That said, the thing that matters here is a sound estimation of both your competitors and your capabilities.

When entering your market, try to analyze and understand what companies you’ll have to compete with. Check how many people are already doing what you aim to. Then, consider what could help you add more value or bring something different which will make your business stand out.  



#3. You’ve Built the Wrong Team
Building a  weak team is one of the top reasons why startups fail (according to statistics, 23% do). That is why it is highly important to start with a team of people whom you really know and trust to avoid misunderstanding and inner conflicts that may lead to the termination of business relationships.

The first employees you hire are the most important ones – those are people who undertake many responsibilities and are likely to advise/invite other employees who share the same values. In other words – they have much power to either grow your company or break it at all. Thus, we do recommend that you establish a team of potential builders you are comfortable to work with. Check our tips on how to build a winning team and whom to hire in this
article.



#2. Huston, We Have a Problem: You’ve Run Out of Money
This reason seems to be more than obvious, still, more than a half of startups fail to avoid it. The lack of capital resources is commonly caused by the following:

  • You burn your cash.
    If a founder lacks budget management skills or allows personal emotions (a strong desire to grow fast) to get in their way, they can easily end up blowing money in different directions and on things that are not urgent, like providing their employees with cool perks, building departments that you can deal without in the very beginning (like a sales department or a recruitment team of several people), etc.

    What we say is before you reach the next round of funding you have to operate on limited resources – spend money only on essential things and save whatever and wherever you can.
  • You hire people too fast. This is actually a mistake most startups make. You want your team to consist of many skillful developers – that’s for sure. You want it to grow fast, and hiring new people is something you’ll do when your startup develops. However, hiring lots of people before the need arises is what you should definitely avoid when you’ve just started your business.

    Focus only on people you really need and add more employees when you have the proper budget for it. Find out what positions are best to cover while setting off a startup in “Building Your Startup: How to Make Your Startup Go Live”.

  • You start fundraising too late.
    Very often, founders start both fundraising and – what is no less important – preparing for it too late. More often, they choose the wrong investor – the first one to agree to give funds – in order to finish capital raising fast. Keep in mind that fundraising is a long process that needs at least 6 months of active meetings and even more time for good preparation for them. Besides, remember that before you succeed in raising your capital, you’ll get rejected dozens of times which also takes time. 😉

    To make things organized and really work for you, we recommend that you a) start approaching investors before you come to ask for money b) prepare a killing pitch deck (learn our secrets on pitching investors successfully here), and c) select at least two people who will be in charge of raising funds and reporting to your team regularly (every 2 weeks).



    #1. There’s No Market Need for Your Product
    As statistics show, the major reason why most startups fail is that the market they build their product in does not really need it.

It happens when:

  • You haven’t clearly identified your end users’ needs and what pain they have. Thus, the product you offer does not interest them or offers a value that is not big enough to make them want to buy your product.

    Taking into account all that, we do recommend that you determine whether your product has a value and what exactly it is – a product that is good to have or the one that is a must – before you even start making a prototype and pitching investors.
  • The market size you’ve chosen is very limited.  That’s why the people who might have the pain your product solves and the funds to buy it are simply not enough.
  •  It’s not the proper time for your product: the market and/or the needed technology have not actually been formed yet. You might be several years ahead of your market so that your customers are simply not ready to buy your product.

    Hope, we’ve made things a bit clearer. 😉

    To avoid many of those failures, at VentureRocket, we help startups find proper fundraising resources and build business opportunities. We deal closely with many investors, innovation ecosystems, and governments that support startups from all over the world.

    Explore your opportunities and join the VentureRocket network here.
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Helping Startups Win Their First Investors: EPIIC Venture Attractor Has Launched The Scale To $1M Startup Program!

We’re happy to announce the launch of The Scale To $1M Startup Program, built by the EPIIC Venture Attractor. VentureRocket is collaborating with the Venture Attractor to promote this powerful new “pre-accelerator” program.

EPIIC Venture Attractor is a university-based research initiative of the El Pomar Institute of Innovation & Commercialization (EPIIC) at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) that aims at scaling promising startups to help them successfully attract capital. The Colorado Springs, Colorado based attractor is focused on startups in the industry cluster composed of three primary sectors:

  1. Sports and outdoors
  2. Health innovation
  3. Human performance


Because the acceptance rate at most accelerators is less than 10 percent, the EPIIC Venture Attractor has introduced The Scale To $1M Startup Program – a 6-month online pre-accelerator education program, designed by Dr. Thomas Duening, for early-stage, seed stage, pre-investment, pre-accelerator, or first stage startups from all over the world.

What Does the Program Include?

  • Weekly one-hour online modules focused on scaling your startup
  • Tested action-oriented templates and tools to support your scalability
  • Dedicated mentorship services with weekly online one-on-one meetings 
  • Monthly progress pitches that enable peer-to-peer feedback and support
  • Assessment, measurement, and metrics services
  • Online investor Demo Day at the end of the program, featuring sector specific investors from around the world
  • Participation in a global entrepreneurial ecosystem 


Find more info on the program in the 2021 Program Schedule and Modules.

The primary aim of the program is to help you grow your business and prepare you for attracting your dream investor.

At VentureRocket, we believe that this program is a great way to get knowledge, resources, and support from experienced field experts and entrepreneurs, with the opportunity to collaborate with them.

Moreover, the Scale To $1M Startup Program will act as your bridge to different networks, by enabling you to work in small peer groups and build your peer network and introducing your startup to its ecosystem investors (at the end of the program).


The application process ends on March 17.
To learn more info and apply for the Scale To $1M Startup Program, please, go here.

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Opening Kazakhstan to the VentureRocket Network: VentureRocket Sets Up a Joint Venture with AIFC Fintech!

We are more than proud to share that VentureRocket has signed a strategic partnership with the government company of Kazakhstan – AIFC Fintech.

Astana International Financial Centre is a financial hub supported by the Kazakh government that aims to attract startups from all over the world, by connecting entrepreneurs with international investors and industry experts and supporting them with local incentives.

Covering 560+ companies from different industries, like asset management, private banking, green finance, fintech, etc., Astana International Financial Centre aims to connect the economies of Central Asia, the Caucasus, EAEU, West China, Mongolia, the Middle East, and Europe.

AIFC Fintech is a point of integration between innovation and new ideas with a view to promoting economic development in Central Asia. Our mission is to bring together key participants in the financial technologies ecosystem, international partners, experts, entrepreneurs, start-ups, and technology projects to stimulate the development of financial technologies.

At VentureRocket, we believe this partnership will help us enable our network members to open the world’s various markets, enjoy great benefits provided by the partner of Kazakhstan, and bring more investment opportunities to them.

To explore your opportunities from AIFC Fintech, please, click here.

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Building a Winning Startup Team: Whom and How to Hire?

One of the biggest challenges for a startup to face after fundraising is hiring the right people. Every employee you hire, especially at the very beginning of your startup establishment, influences the whole team, that’s why it’s more than important that you take a strategic and systematic approach in hiring them.

In this article, you’ll find our insights into what employees are worth hiring and our best practices on how to attract great talents. It will be useful if you’ve just started your business or are simply interested in improving your head hunting skills and vision.


Establishing The Right Mindset
In our experience, the key to building a team successfully  lies in the way you approach the hiring process itself. In Building Your Startup: How to Make Your Startup Go Live, we’ve recommended  that you start your business with only those people you need and add more people as your capital boosts. Before you decide to grow your team further, it’s important that you keep in mind the following: 

  • Be constantly hiring
    Don’t wait till the need for a new employee arises – make your recruiting process proactive, by constantly looking for good specialists. Study and realize the best recruitment practices, develop your talent pool, and don’t hesitate to invest money in your team’s engagement in this process. With this in mind, when a new project starts and you have a lot of new job openings, you will already have a pool of ideal candidates to select from and spend less time on the recruitment itself.

  • Make recruitment one of the priorities for the whole team
    Ideally, it’s not only the CEO and the HR manager who should actively take part in hiring activities. The best practice is when each team member is aware of what new candidates the company is looking for and helps, by advising potential candidates. To do that, implement an employee referral program, so that each contribution gets rewarded.

  • Build positive relationships
    It’s important to build and maintain good relations with all candidates, even with those ones you are not hiring now or rejected in the past. Or, we’d say, especially with those ones you’re currently not hiring or rejected some time ago. Firstly, you never know what projects can arise in the future – you might need those candidates later. Besides, every candidate you deal with may or does spread a word of mouth on your company. It is very important that you act in a positive and friendly way with them as this could attract other employees to your team.

  • Your perfect candidate will change over time 
    There’s no doubt that your first employee will be different from every following one, especially those ones you’re gonna need in even 6 months. What you think is your perfect candidate now will be changed with every new customer. It’s important that you take a fresh look and evaluate your priorities regularly to avoid hiring people you do not actually need.

Now that you see the big picture and have the right attitude towards the hiring process, let’s take a look at what qualities could describe a good candidate:


#1. They Possess the Skills You’re Looking For
When it comes to hiring people, the first thing you need to identify is who your perfect candidate is. Build the exact profile of the candidate you’re looking for, defining exactly what skills they should possess, what level of experience they need to cover, whether a new graduate could be considered too, whether you need someone with in-depth knowledge in one specific area or with a broader range of knowledge, etc. One thing is for sure – your ideal candidate should fit the skills you’re looking for.


#2. They Fit the Corporate Culture
Things are quite simple here – you have to like your candidate before you hire them. This doesn’t mean you take only those people you feel sympathy for. The main point here is that you need to know that working with them will be comfortable for both you and your team. Look for someone with the ability to get along with them on a daily basis and add to the positive working environment conditions.

The candidate who doesn’t fit the corporate culture can create a negative working atmosphere and even bring the team’s productivity down. At the end of the day, it’s all about the people you work with. If they’re the best developer out there but they can’t work with the rest of the team, we do recommend that you don’t hire such a developer.


#3.  They Are Eager to Learn
Depending on the project, there’s no definite answer whether it’s better to hire a highly experienced developer or the one who’s learning fast and is ready to develop, together with your startup.

However, both of them have to be open to learning new things if they want to stay competitive and work in a long-termed project.  We recommend that you hire people for potential – as a rule of thumb, smart, self-motivating, and hard-working people manage to perform at a higher level of productivity, adjust to new conditions faster, and are more likely to bring creative solutions. 

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#4. They Are Able to Multitask
A business undertaking always starts with a small team of a few people. As you don’t have much money to invest in hiring more people initially, you have to firstly rely on people who are able to multitask. Look for people who are eager to take on many responsibilities and have their finger in every pie. You’ll definitely need them, at least in the early stages of your company development. 


#5. Soft Skills Matter
Soft skills are often underestimated by people who occupy technical positions. As a rule of thumb, they tend to be more introverted, and it’s easier for them to demonstrate their practical skills rather than the soft ones. However, communication skills are no less important than tech knowledge and experience, even if you’re looking for a software developer. The abilities to articulate your thoughts clearly to people of different backgrounds, connect with them, work as a team player, and adjust to new employees/customers/partners are the basis for building a strong team with smooth communication processes.


#6. Look for the Things You Can’t Train
Having many good developers in a team is great, especially if they have much experience to share with other team members. However, when we talk about a startup, the number of team members is rather limited here. It’s not likely that one person can be a Jack of all trades. Besides, it’s impossible to teach all the skills, especially those ones that come “out-of-the box” with an employee, like   enthusiasm, self-motivation, diligence, ability to play in one team, etc.  Thus, we recommend that you look for people with skills (both hard and soft) that you are not able to teach or don’t have the right person to guide in.


It All Starts with Attracting People
The ultimate attraction about your startup is about building a company that people are willing to work for. That said, when you are a small team of several people working hard on a new project, convincing top specialists to join you is not that easy. 

With this in mind, we recommend that you focus on the best practices to attract new people to your startup. Now that you know your ideal candidate profile, let’s move to the great ways to find and hire them.


#1. Attend and Organize Events
Networking is the key to finding not only new partners, but also new employees. That’s why attending and speaking at local events are great resources for finding good candidates. Invite them to an event that you could organize in your office, like an open day, a meetup, a workshop, a coffee party, etc. This is your non-intrusive way to hunt for local talents and introduce your team in a more personal and informal way.


#2. Offer Flexible Work Options
In times of the COVID-19 pandemia, it’s important that you can offer flexible working options. Statistics say that employees place most value such perks as flexible working hours, a more paid vacation time, and work-from-home opportunities. That will not only help you attract more people to your team but also increase the number of great specialists from other countries willing to work remotely.  Besides, this way you show that as an employer, you care about how healthy their work-life balance is.


#3. Be Present In Social Media
At the beginning of building your startup, you’re completely unknown to your potential audience. That’s why it’s highly important that you invest time and money in establishing your online presence.

If your company has no website, no blog, no Facebook or LinkedIn profiles, there are small chances anyone will get to know you (unless you’ve asked for recommendations). We do recommend that you take a strategic approach to all the content you have and build profiles in as many popular social media channels as possible from the very beginning – both your potential candidates and customers need to know that you’re alive and are actively developing.  


#4. Offer a Competitive Payment
No need to really explain this point – in most cases, people choose places with higher compensation, even if they’re offered many perks instead. Moreover, competitive compensation is not only about how you attract people to work for your company, but also about how you retain them. 

Of course, in the very beginning, it’s likely your employees will be underpaid. However, make sure you bring their salaries up to market rates as soon as you’ve secured your first funding – don’t give them a chance to leave your startup and then spread a word of mouth that you’re underpaying your employees. Building your reputation is not what could be postponed till later. 😉 


#5. Finally – Ask for Recommendations
Personal recommendations are the biggest and, probably, the only source of candidates when you start expanding your team. Here, it’s the time to practice your soft skills and win new hires, by simply communicating with them in a more personal way. Dedicate time to building your network both in the real world, by attending conferences and talks, and online, by adding people on LinkedIn  or asking your 1st connections for recommendations. Maybe, your next great hire is in your 1st connections’ network or already knows/follows you – check that. 😉 

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