Laurent GibbClarity Expert On Growth Stage Startups
Bio

Startup Helper. Multiple Entrepreneur. Addicted to Hyper Growth. Worked for companies like eBay and Criteo. Adventures include: 2 x IPOs, 1x Exit, 3 x Pivots, 1 x Turnaround and 2 x Failures. CEO. Mentor at Seedcamp. Startup Builder and Advisor.



Recent Answers


There are a number of different ways of reaching angel investors.

First, identify the type of angel investor you are looking for.

Then initially look within your own network, share what you are doing and you might be surprised.

Next research where your investors hang out and try and be part of the conversation.

Maybe there are incubators or accelerators that would be suitable and who can support you or facilitate investor introductions, meetings, and pitch events.

Maybe it might make sense to seek a grant or get funding from a partner who would also benefit such as in the education sector?

Another option that takes time is to find and connect to your investor audience through networks such as LinkedIn.

You can then nurture those relationships over time, ask for advice, keep them updated, take conversations offline, and establish trust.

Then probably after 6+ months of nurturing when you do raise funds, you should have earned a warm relationship that will allow you to approach them with regards to potentially funding your business.

Warm intros are definitely the best approach. Once you have your initial investors keep building relationships and they may recommend new investors next time round.

Worth noting with angels there is smart and dumb money and you may find that a coach/mentor from your sector provides more value compared to an angel who may be able to support you but on a more general high level. But as a rule of thumb always ask for support, your investors will usually provide, they are aligned with your potential success.

Good luck!


Have you had a look on Google for startup + jobs + equity?

There are sites like https://angel.co/ who call themselves "the world’s largest startup community."

You can find interesting startups that are looking for cofounders and team members who will pay with a combination of salary and equity.

You wouldn't get profits but you would get a (small) share of the business.

Obviously, there's a risk calculation to be done with startups and how much money you may be prepared to lose in lost earnings if things don't go well.


With more than 500 million blogs out of 1.7 billion websites in the world the blogging space isn't without competition. Bloggers account for a mind boggling 2 million blog posts daily.

When creating a blog you don’t need a revolutionary idea, however your blog should focus on something specific, focusing on your unique experiences and using your distinct voice and brand.

A good resource is Neil Patel who has many useful articles giving advice on how to create and market a blog https://neilpatel.com/how-to-start-a-blog/

With regards to creating trust there is no need to display your personal information.

The key thing is to create highly credible and engaging content referencing other sources and experts and vice versa. This is not just text content but also quotes, imagery, graphs, data, video, podcasts, etc.

Once you become a reference in your space, people will start talking about you and linking back you will know that you have started to achieved this.

It takes times to create quality and trustworthy content and it is best to invest in the time to do this rather than to create cheap quick content which will damage your trust.

Good luck!


Unfortunately, the answer is it depends. There are no fixed rules for assigning equity between you your 3 team mates.

You haven't said whether you will be working full time on this from the start, same for your colleagues and the roles each person will be doing so I will assume you are in my ranser.

Assuming they will be your cofounders each supporting with a key part of the business, taking the same risk by joining at the same time and sharing the load equitably then the answer is sharing 4 ways might make the most sense.

Split equity evenly and be done with it.

However, this isn’t the approach most startups use, because generally each founder/cofounder will contribute a different amount of money and/or time.

More than 50% of the time founders end up calling upon the law when it comes to equity distribution issues if things haven't been set-up fairly from the start.

The main cause behind these disputes is interpersonal conflicts because of questions about fairness. But it doesn't have to be this way.

If a 4-way split isn't the right option you may want to consider a method called the “dynamic split”or “slicing the pie” (https://slicingpie.com/) where instead of focusing on the unknown future, you determine your split based on what each co-founder is willing to invest now.

Good luck!


The first thing to consider is are you building this as an MVP or are you digitizing a business where you are already offering this service successfully offline.

Ultimately you get what you pay for and if you go down the cost-effective route initially MVP style you will need to rebuild at a later date.

If you're replicating an existing business that you are digitizing it would probably be worthwhile to use cost effective developers and more of a prototype approach.

Based on the description of what you are doing I am going to assume you are looking to develop an MVP:

1. Using WordPress - using existing theme (free) or use a designer on Upwork/PPH to create a design and wireframes (~ +/- $1k). Use existing membership/payment plugins (cost as per use), use developer to customise and bring everything together $2-5k. With this solution there it is likely there will still be manual operations to do in background as it is difficult to customise word press 100%

2) Using no-code solution like Bubble. This is a fast and easy way to create web and mobile applications. There is a learning curve which can be quite steep depending on what you want to do. The cost for this is $0 except for your time, depends if you are time poor or could be working on something delivering more value. You may need to use a professional for more complex customisations and integrations cost for this tbd depending on what you want to do.

3. Build from scratch - create a business and requirement document/user stories. Post on Upwork, PPH or similar. Talk through with a few bidders, this will help you get your idea to a more advanced stage and may also uncover things you haven't thought of. Estimated cost for an MVP $5k-$40k

Time to launch for all the above would be 2-4 months estimated for a basic stripped back MVP.

I have gone through this process many times when building MVPs and businesses, there is, unfortunately, no fixed way, it will depend on your situation.

Good luck!

Laurent


This sounds like an exciting venture and a worthy cause, EdTech is a hot space right now, and rightly so.

Something to consider first of all is whether you want to build an MVP or a basic prototype.

If you are digitizing something which already exists, and therefore the need and model is proven in the real world, then it might be worth building basic foundations with a prototype.

This means that you can then build on it as you learn more about how your customers want to use your marketplace.

If cost is a major consideration then you might want to "fake it until you make it" i.e. create a slick online proposition but leaving out much of the plumbing in the background initially, and doing the background operational functions more manually.

The additional benefit is understanding how the marketplace will operate before translating that into product requirements, I used this method for over a year initially when creating a marketplace and it served us well.

The more "perks" and functionality you want to add the more cost will be involved, just focusing on the basics and doing those right is best as often when it's not clear how users will use the marketplace you can end up creating functionality that isn't used.

This comes at a cost both financially as well as time-wise when you could be developing other stuff.

It is important not just to think about the technical/product solution which is exciting and fun to do but the overall business.

In terms of funding one of the approaches might be:
1. Self-funded/friends and family - until something tangible to show e.g. MVP
2. Angel funding
3. Angel/growth funding as you scale

Unless you can bring onboard a technical cofounder who will build for equity or you can access government grants or similar support funding.

Marketplaces are capital intensive, require a lot of marketing and a lot of throughput, something worth considering from the outset.

Good luck!


Finding a cofounder is tough, especially at early stage.

I think the way your are approaching it make sense and I followed a similar path.

Once you have developed an MVP you will have more to show both to potential cofounders, employees and investors.

This will also allow you to raise some seed funding to alleviate the financial burden f just you financing your company.

Until then it is hard for people to commit if there isn't anything tangible enough because of risk perceived.

Follow your vision and create a story and basic MVP to share, seek feedback to validate and then convince people to join your adventure, if it's an exciting one they will join.

Good luck!


To determine market size, you will need to look at potential customer data or revenue/transactions each year.

You will need to:
1. Define your target customer and audience
2. Estimate audience size and target customers
3. Determine growth rate if possible taking into account organic and churn
4. Calculate the market size for both revenue and products/services sold

In terms of resources:
1. You can use bottom up data e.g. if opening a men's barbers then x number of men have x number of haircuts per year x average cost (in your target geography)
2. Top down data - get data from industry associations and apply your assumptions

This process isn't complicated but it is time consuming when done comprehensively.

You can also find freelancers on various sites who will do all this background research for you and who sometimes offer a secret shopper service calling competitors to get data such as for pricing.

Good luck!


There are quite a few platforms out there, each one with its own intricacies.

The first question is, can you raise funding without using a Crowdfunding platform?

Running a Crowdfunding campaign can deliver good results but can be a lot of work and be a big distraction for the business.

The best way to start is to research what platforms might be most suitable.

Then it is worthwhile to sign up as an investor and to follow some of their existing campaigns and understand how they promote campaigns.

This will give you an idea of which platform will help you find your target investor audience.

It is also worthwhile trying to understand which platforms have run campaigns matching your sector in the past and whether they have been successful.

Also looking to see how many campaigns each platform is running in a given month and whether they are achieving their goals.

If campaigns aren't getting fully funded, it could indicate a mismatch in investor audience or potentially too much competition from simultaneous campaigns.

Once you've shortlisted 2 of 3 platforms, the next step is to engage and meet/speak to each platform.

Each platform will have slightly different business models. It is important to understand the details as it could impact your cost of doing the current round and any future investment that comes through investors introduced via the platform

Also, don't be fooled; to raise a round on Crowdfunding platforms, you will need to bring your own investors onto the platform, typically contributing to a third of the total raise. This is necessary to ignite the campaign at the start and give it momentum. The platform will usually agree to charge you a smaller commission for any investors you bring on to the campaigns directly.

These are just a few points to consider, good luck!


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