Lean Startup

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My team amazed me recently by pitching a new cyber security angle for GoPC. It was under our nose the whole time but it took Corrado Fiore our Solutions Architect talking to Peter McCredie our new head of Marketing for the lights to come on.

After days of grueling debate we tested our hypothesis in the market and over the last 2 months every single business we’ve pitched to has bought it asked for an evaluation.  We even have a government department and one of Australia’s largest banks now evaluating it.

BankVault was born. It’s literally 10x easier to sell, it’s 10x higher margin, and spearheads everything else we do. We’ve lodged a new patent application and now investing behind success to grow this derivative product that runs on the Rainmaker platform.




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Andreesson and other Silicon Valley VCs have chimed in warning on the growth of vacuumous business models built on hype and hope.

My own lesson from surviving the GFC in Silicon Valley was the sooner you work on the hardest issue of all, what it takes to get a customer to pull out their credit card, the better off you and your investors will be. The day investment sentiment turns is the day you need to be viable. For most SMB entrepreneurs revenue is fundamental but Startup entrepreneurs think they can out smart that fundamental. Some do but for every one that does thousands vaporize. A proportion of those could have done it better and become viable businesses.

GoPC moved away from a Freemium model straight after the GFC. I remember meeting the CEO of Gh.o.st in 2009 when they had some 700,000 subscribers. I asked him how they were monetizing and he told me they had ideas but being funded by Sequoia Capital this wasn’t urgent. The following year they ran out of funds and were shutdown.

We actually tried a Freemium model again in 2013 with Rainmaker. Consumers were able to get a complete virtual machine free and simply pay for add-on applications and storage. We finally accepted that Rainmaker should just target SMEs, not consumers. They have much deeper pockets and real IT problems that need to be solved. I’m happy to say its working.

And this month we just starting trialing another consumer play with a new technology product called Raindrop, but it’s monetizing from day one.  http://raindrop.gopc.net.

I’m running another LESANZ “Innovators Pitch Night” at IBM on 31st July. This is to showcasing 7 investor-ready entrepreneurs to the investment, startup and commercialisation networks in Perth.

Please help me get the word out.  I am filtering and coaching pitches this week so still open for submissions from investor-ready startups.

With the event oversubscribed last year we will be limiting numbers and there is a cost to cover catering so please register early to ensure a place.

Venue: IBM West Perth, 31st July from 5:15pm – 8:30pm
Judging Panel: Larry Lopez, Ray Hart, Dr Marcus Tan
Moderator: Graeme Speak
Full Details Here: http://bit.ly/162eyQX

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This week I facilitated an event for eGroup.org.au members, the main Western Australian group representing Internet entrepreneurs.

The thrust of the evening was training on Lean Startup principals created by Eric Ries and Steve Blank. We can learn from a book or we can learn by doing. Rather than make this a lecture I decided to turn this into an experience.

The structure of the evening was split into an intial Brainstorming session in teams, generating as many new business ideas as possible. To put an edge on it the teams were to pitch their two best ideas to the larger group. It such a total success with everyone having a ball and some brilliant ideas pitched. Individuls then voted on the best pitches and then formed into teams to work on these business ideas.

The teams then used the Lean Canvas to flesh out the detailed business model for each idea, again pitching to the group at the conclusion.

There were about 30 Internet entrepreneurs taking part and the feedback was that people loved it. I am certainly a fan of the Lean Startup principals. I recall seeing a presentation in Palo Alto or Mountain View in 2009 on this very subject and wonder if it was Eric Ries. I felt at the time that it was one of the most important ideas I had learned from Silicon Valley.

Here is the advertisement to the eGroup.org.au

Entrepreneurs aspire to be SERIAL entrepreneurs.

This months eGroup is an opportunity to stretch outside your normal thinking framework and experience the power of group thinking processes which you can then apply in your own business.

We have picked a set of the best idea generators used by start-up entrepreneurs and will working together in groups to develop a series of never-seen-before online business concepts, which we’ll build into mashups and then turn these into robust business models. What is more the process will be compressed into just a 120 minute experience.

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