The previous study year I worked with start-up company named Arctos brings nature close to people, by making it easy to find and book outdoor experiences. They’re building a platform that connects users to local partners, who offer experiences and activities such as hiking, camping and kayaking. You can use a local bus to go Nuuksio where Arctos performs. The main idea is to lower the first step to go to nature.
So I made their survey and gave some feedback about their current situation. I advised them to expand to Sweden also and their main goal is to expand whole Scandinavia but before that they have to test the idea in Finland to see if it works well. I also advised them to increase their marketing so people will get know it and then start use the service. I really like the idea because it connect busy urban peoples and nature by lowering the cap between them.
Here some nice links:
A week ago I joined with some of classmates at the STHML Tech Meet Up event. The event was totally crowded and air ventilation was not that good. The event was divided to two pieces, the first part was a overview of this month’s biggest investments in Stockholm start-ups. Some of those start-ups came to the stage to tell about their business and chatting with presenters. For me that part was quite boring because generally the presenters just chatted at the stage without any goal.
At the second part some investors came on to the stage and told something about themselves. After that started real pitching where some start-ups tried to convince the investors about their ideas or business opportunities. The first pitcher’s idea was to solve a refugee problems with a mobile application where they can communicate, get some activities and information. I personally liked the idea but I am a bit worried about how they can get enough income because that segment’s purchasing power is really low. After that, there was some other pitches which I can’t remember clearly because I didn’t find them enough interesting for me.
But I can clearly remember Gymgo’s pitch which didn’t go that well. Gymgo’s idea was to create universal gym membership which means that you can use any gym anywhere you want. After one minute presentation one of the investors said “PASS!” that was like a punch in the pither’s face. The investors commented the idea like usually people don’t want to use all gyms because they just pick the closest one. At the end of Gymgo presentation the pitcher presented that Gymgo covers other activities like hiking, skiing, climbing etc. So the investors started asking “Why the name is GymGO when it is not for gyms only?!”. That was a good point. I think the main idea of GymGo is good but I assume that the prize for customers will be really high, it will be really hard to get all gyms and other activity providers into it and also people really rarely need worldwide gym or activity membership. If you have money for travelling around the world you have money for a random gym visit in a random place, and maybe it is also cheaper.
After GymGo it was Zeifie pitcher’s turn. Zeifie is a security app or device which you can use when someone following you and you are afraid to be robbed or raped. I liked idea and also investors generally liked it. One of the last pitches was a random guy from the audience who wanted to tell his idea. The idea was that everyone can be an advertiser so you can post advertisements to your facebook, twitter, linkedIn or other social networks. So he explained his idea like that “if you have 300 friends and you post one advertisement to your facebook, you can get like 2-3 euros from advertisers if you can reach those peoples.” The investors and my opinion is that the idea might work once but when some of my friends start to spamming my facebook with advertisements, I will block or remove him/her. And that idea will probably lead for whole facebook or twitter being just full of advertisements because all just keeps spamming them so idea can’t work like that. I also think that advertisers outcome will be bigger than income. The guy who presented the idea was totally convinced about his idea and he couldn’t understand why people didn’t like his idea.
- Business Model Canvas and innovation
BMC was useful because it gives you good visual overview about your business and how the different blocks affecting to whole BMC and to other blocks. One important thing in BMC is that you should use different colours for different customer segments so BMC is clear and easy to read. BMC is a useful tool so I think I will use it in the future.
Picture 1. Gillette’s BMC.
Sometimes people think that an invention means an innovation which is not true. “An invention is a novel idea and innovation is the commercialization of that novel idea.” Creating a successful invention can be a lot harder and might requires a lot of money so that is one reason why big companies like Apple can create strong long lasting innovations. There are four types of innovations: technology, process, product/service and business model innovation. For me the most eye opening innovations were product/service and business model innovation because just changing those a little bit it might affect to your business income a lot. For example the right business model can be the main reason for the success, one good example about that is Spotify whose business model is totally different comparing to iTunes’ and that is their main reason for success.
- Approaches to Product Ideas
I liked this part because the way how you think is usually quite limited so getting better ideas you have to break the old chains. You should think really carefully what you really need and not need or how you can make your product more interesting for your customers. Variation of product attributes or functions is divided to 5 categories:
- Subtraction: Remove a key element.
- Multiplication: Copy a key element.
- Division: Dividing a product into components.
- Task unification: assign new task to exiting elements.
- Attribute dependency change: create new dependencies or break old ones.
Nophone was a good example about subtraction but the whole idea behind that is just a joke so is it really anymore subtraction when you remove almost all key elements? Like my friend said “I just created NoNophone which volume and weight is zero, and you can summon it by just using your imagination”. The example about camels and task unification was great because a camel is a lot more than just a carrier. Also the example about sprinklers and removing dependencies were really useful.
- Start Up Finance & Venture Capital
For me this part of the course was maybe the most important because getting an invention and if you want to rise it to innovation level or just get started you will need funding. Three the most common way to get funding are 3Fs & Bootstrapping, Debt financing and Equity financing. Understanding these financing opinions advantages and disadvantages generally helps you think which kind funding is good for your company. Very important part of equity financing was to know differences between angel investors and venture capital investors also when to use them, how they might affect, advantages and disadvantages.
Why I picked this course? There is a simple answer to that question being that one day I might be an entrepreneur myself and I really want to be a good one. Specially I want answer for that what I should do when I have good business idea and I want to create profitable company so the biggest cap or black hole in my knowledge is what comes between great idea and running a quite stable and profitable company. The question is really complicated and there is no right answer for it but I think there is good and bad answers. The real job for me is to evaluate the good ones from the bad ones and then create my own vision how to survive the crucial beginning of my company.
I am not quite sure if these blog posts or tweets help me become the master of entrepreneurship but that we will find out. I have studied just a few business courses but rather studied and spoke with others students I get the feeling that entrepreneurship is more like art or black magic than anything else and it is also weird that almost all business students don’t want to create their own company. The more you study business the less you want to create your own business. Maybe one reason for that is the really hard beginning, high risks to fail and usually big investments so in many cases you will sell your whole life for your own business and if you fail hard you will lose everything. But there is also chance for success so if you rock and you rock hard I think that it will be really nice especially if your company or invention can help people around the planet and make this a better place for us.
We will see if this course can give us right keys and tools for creating profitable business which I really hope. So it is now the teacher’s turn to convince us. But still I think the most important parts for success are:
- good idea,
- confidence in your own business,
- vision and
- great team!
Lastly there is a picture bellow which tells what people think about entrepreneurs and I think the last picture tells the true story what being entrepreneur really will be. I really hope that society or friends are right at least this time!