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Not everyone wants to be a Startup

Lots of people have good ideas. But not everyone wants to live the startup dream - spending a year of their lives living on the breadline, going cap in hand to investors and living off promises of money someday in the future.

For example, I work in a University city. We have lots of clever ideas. There is an established system for the big ones, but there are lots of small ones too - things people have come across as part of their work - which are ignored by the big accelerators. The researchers and professors don't want to leave their research posts and - to be honest - would make terrible startup founders if they did.

I want to create a system where people can bring their startups to us - however small - and plug them into a team who can make them happen. One with expert technical platforms, a solid growth hacking team and the right domain expertise on hand.
And, of course, a pool of good investors.

Anyone have any suggestions, ideas or sources of help?

31 Replies

Andrew Lockley
2
0
Andrew Lockley Advisor
Investor and strategy consultant
Sounds like an accelerator or incubator. There's many of these. The ones with focus seem to be the best of the smaller ones.
Eva Dam
0
4
Eva Dam Entrepreneur
Student at Université Paris-Sorbonne
So there are small and big ideas?!!! What is the difference between a small and a big idea? What do you mean by big idea? and what are the establsihed systems that exist for big ideas? Isn't an idea just an idea (meaning small until it is fully developped)? Do you consider accelerators and incubators as established systems for big ideas?
James Thomson
2
0
James Thomson Entrepreneur
Founder at Raven Labs
Actually, there could be a seed of something here.

Agreed there are lots of accelerators which seem mostly to have a positive impact. But I've approached a few tech ones up here and they all seem to require a software developer on board before they'll consider you.

Recruiting a good developer is difficult enough when you do know how to do it and can be a genuine minefield at the best of times. It's not a task I'd wish on the uninitiated as a poor decision can be very costly.

There's then the thought that actually do you genuinely need a full time CTO to run a simple app or web site - not everything is technically deep. Sure you need someone on hand and able to react quickly as you iterate and fault find, but I'm not certain this needs to be a full time team member - could easily be a company with a few good people.

I'd pondered on a similar idea for up here in the North East, where we have Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria, Teesside and Sunderland Universities all close together.

Never thought quite how to pitch it, though.

Give me a shout directly if you're interested in my findings so far.
Aiborlang Andrew Chyne
0
0
Aiborlang Andrew Chyne Entrepreneur
Bass Guitarist at Klevoans
It boils down to integrity. Bringinga team of startups to come and work together is the best method. The best criteria could be those startups which are willing to rub shoulders with others, irrespective of which organization do they belong to. One needs to place others before oneself. When one think of providing better service to the customers, naturally he or she is fully engrossed with the consumer's behavior. This has to be the manner of working rather than thinking of one's own startups' stake in a new collective project.
Gordon Harling
0
0
Gordon Harling Advisor
CEO/President at Innotime Technologies
I co-founded a co-working space, www.lafourmiliaire.com, not an acccelerator or incubator so there is not a fierce pressure to commercialize everything. Every month or so we share product ideas, we have plenty of them and we don't have time to do them all so we freely offer them to anyone who wants to pick them up. There is no funding associated but anyone who wants to put i sweat equity can do so and then sort out the share of revenue when there is any.
Big ideas, which are potentially fundable, we collaborate to put together a business plan and team and then pitch to angel financiers or VCs.
It is a small but 'organic' way to try to launch those ideas we don't have time for - they aren't worth anything i you don't execute on them... and we steer away from anyone who is too greedy to join a team and share
Bob Caspe
5
1
Bob Caspe Advisor
CEO, Entrepreneurship & Innovation Global Education Programs at International Entrepreneurship Ctr
At the IEC (http://iecpartners.com) we created a concept called E2B, or Entrepreneur to Business.

Basically we observed that many if not most of the business ideas that entrepreneurs were working on were destined to failure. In most cases, the product ideas were consumer oriented, based upon the needs of the entrepreneur, and the cost of customer acquisition had not been considered by the founders who in turn spent most of their time on product development.

My experience in high tech taught me that 90% of the cost of product introduction is marketing and sales, and only 10% is development. Thus, most of these companies simply couldn't afford to get their products into the market and relied upon wishful thinking like "viral marketing."

The E2B process starts with a real, established businesses, that have a need, often for operational improvement, that a team of hard working, and bright entrepreneurs can accomplish. The entrepreneurs are in most cases simply unfamiliar with the industry or the need.

Our jobs, as an incubator, are to "make the match" and then to provide a framework and adult supervision.

We begin by establishing relationships with large, well funded, often local, companies, and introduce them to teams of entrepreneurs who listen to their problems and create solutions. We provide the framework that gives each what they want: the company gets a solution, the entrepreneurs get the opportunity to build an independent company albeit with their first customer already identified.

Let me not understate the complexity of this process. Often, the entrepreneur is not ready to abandon their "narcissistic" tendencies and a belief that they are building the next "facebook." As well, good engineering design and development practices need to be enforced so as to not "over promise and under deliver." But, we have found that B2B as opposed to B2C is often lower risk and more satisfying to both parties. And E2B offers a way to give both what they really want.
Mark Wing
0
0
Mark Wing Advisor
Client Engagement Director at Small Back Room
Great idea Peter. Sounds like an incubator business, with perhaps a heightened sense of purpose. Will you have 'access to (Gov) finance' as part of the offer?
Jaudat Ali
4
0
Jaudat Ali Entrepreneur
Co-Founder GiFsports
Sounds like a novel idea.

The thing about a startup idea is the pain point behind it. And any great startup is fueled by the passion of the co-founders to resolve that pain. Alot of solutions, iterations and tweaks to a startup's product and business model come because the founders were passionate about it.

I don't know how you can replicate that in an environment where everyone isn't passionate about all the ideas.
David Robinson
1
0
David Robinson Advisor
Investor, Innovation & Entrepreneurial Consultant
Here i Utah I am working with the Universities and a state agency called the Utah Science and Technology Research Initiative to create an ecosystem of innovation. There are several parts from I-Corps style Lean Canvas for technologies at the idea stage, accelerator help and money for early stage companies, interim management to help raise that Angel or Series A, support and direction from large companies, even a large Innovation Fund to support growth and development. Let's connect at Dave@TRAC-Team.com to discuss if you have an interest.
Thomas J. Kaled
1
0
Thomas J. Kaled Advisor
Business Development Consultant @ thomas.kaled@gmail.com
Some good thoughts here @PeterJohnston including the development of an operational definition of 'big and small' but good ideas. Secondly without focus, a small idea in restaurants, manufacturing and in software,would appear to present staffing challenges. Economies of scale you might gain in the overhead labor functions of finance, admin, marketing, sales etc. are distinctly different hence you gain little. It is however an interesting concept that you have and an equally curious intellectual challenge to consider.
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