Welcome to Our Network: VentureRocket Partners with Cerebro Labs!

We’re more than happy to announce our new partnership with Cerebro Labs!
Cerebro Labs is an incubator and accelerator for pre-seed and early-stage tech startups in the Philippines. Founded in 2017, the company has a pool of business and technical mentors, some of whom were previously trained in Silicon Valley.

Apart from its incubation and acceleration programs, Cerebro Labs also connects startups to its unique network of domain experts, investors, advisors, and corporate partners.

On top of that, Cerebro Labs also offers well-equipped co-working facilities for startups looking for a comfortable space that fosters collaboration with other startups.

In this partnership, Cerebro Labs will set up the VentureRocket white label platform. In our turn, we’ll provide Cerebro Labs with our wide network of startups and investors seeking for cooperation.

At VentureRocket, we believe that this collaboration will help Cerebro Labs build promising partnerships with other VentureRocket’s network members as well as enable our network startups to get great boosting assistance and suitable co-working space opportunities for their further development.

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How to Keep Your Startup Afloat: 7 Common Mistakes You Should Avoid

Running a startup successfully is not only about what you do properly but also about what mistakes you avoid and – what matters – how you avoid them.

In this article, you’ll find 7 common missteps to be avoided if you want to keep your business operating. It will be useful if you are thinking of starting your business, have a pree-seed/early-stage startup, or even have been running a company for many years.

1. You start your company all alone
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in building and maintaining your business is to think you can do it all by yourself. The reasons why you should consider having a founding team are numerous: not so many tasks can be undertaken by one founder, the skills and experience you have may not be enough (so that you’ll need to have those 1-2 more people helping you running your business), and finally when you have your ups and downs, the support the co-founders may provide you with is really valuable.

Even having three or four co-founders isn’t too many, if you have a good decision-making hierarchy.

Besides, as we’ve said before in Building Your Startup: How to Make Your Startup Go Live, VCs are more eager to invest in startups that possess a founding team, rather than an individual founder. 

2. You manage your budget incorrectly
Starting a business without a good understanding of how much money you will need for both setting it off and maintaining it is a dead duck. That’s actually where your business plan comes in handy 😉

As a rule of thumb, initially, every startup does not bring any profit, and there’s a small  amount of time before your money runs out. If you get money from investors, you want to take enough so that you could move to the next step of  fundraising. To get that flexibility, we recommend that you initially spend money only on building a solid prototype. 

Except for raising enough money, you want to consider spending your money wisely. List out all your expenses needed for both starting and keeping your startup operating in the very beginning.

Do not hire lots of people at first: this will not only increase your expenses, but also slow your business down. Initially, the only people you’ll need are developers and business devs who will promote your product and bring customers to you.

3.You don’t spend money on marketing
What’s the point of developing your product if you do not offer it to your end users? Product development has little sense without sales, so make sure marketing is one of your business priorities.

Besides, marketing is not only about the way you make money, but also about the way you get familiar with your customers. By taking into consideration your users’ feedback, you can improve your product as well.

Needless to say that the more time is spent on your product development, the less time is left for making money. 😉

4. You don’t look for remote workers
This point is often underestimated by many business owners. To get good work done, you’ll definitely need skillful developers. However, not all of them may live in your country. To increase your chances of building a great product, you want to look for tech specialists abroad. As quarantine has shown, working remotely is no less efficient as having your in-house team right before your eyes. Besides, many countries may offer you skillful remote workers at lower rates in comparison to your country 😉

5.  You don’t ask for help
Again, thinking that you are Jack of all trades doesn’t work. OK – you’ve got a co-founder. You attend different meetups. However, that’s not enough. At some point, you will still feel the lack of experience, and the only reasonable option is  to turn to others for help. Different business issues require particular knowledge and multiple approaches to use, that’s why having advisors/mentors who could help you in making educated decisions is a must. We’d recommend that you think of spending your expenses on hiring a mentor/advisor just as you start building your team.

6. You hire people only for skills
Another huge mistake that may bite you many times in the future is hiring people, taking into account only their professional skills. At the end of the day, your team is people, and those are people you are to spend most of your life time with. If you or your  teammates are not comfortable with a developer who is a great specialist, you’d better not hire them. A person who’s hard to work with will eventually bring you more loses – at some point, other team members or even a customer may leave you if they don’t get along well.

7. You don’t build relationships
Connecting with potential partners is great, but no less important is trying to keep those relationships alive. Besides, you never know who your potential partners might be so it’s always good to develop relations with anyone you meet at the conferences, meetups, business trips, etc. Besides, the people you get acquainted with might introduce you to someone who’s an 800 pound Gorilla in your market.

Practice shows that even if you’ve been doing a good job and your business is operating less or more profitably, you could be missing one or more points from this list that might be crucial in the long run. Hope those tips help you and remember: knowing how to avoid a mistake is a half of success. 

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Spreading Blockchain in Sweden: VentureRocket Signs a Partnership Agreement with Swedish Blockchain Association!

Great news for all our network members: VentureRocket has partnered with Swedish Blockchain Association!

Swedish Blockchain Association is a non-profit organization that aims at building Swedish blockchain community, spreading blockchain knowledge, and providing network opportunities to all its members.

With the help of its blockchain-based platform, SBA builds a secure and transparent way for enterprises, organizations, developers, and other blockchain enthusiasts to connect and educate.

To enterprises and institutions, SBA offers educational sessions, talent hunting, finding upcoming blockchain events, expert tech consulting, finding new partners, and other professional services. Meanwhile, developers and other young blockchain enthusiasts can enjoy educational services, exploring job openings on the job portal provided by SBA, news and events’ updates, and blockchain consulting to boost their blockchain awareness and find career opportunities.

FutureBlock, aims to connect best blockchain industry startups and build a network of global blockchain ecosystems that spread blockchain knowledge and cooperate in a trustworthy and secure way. Thus, in this collaboration, we’ll provide SBA with the VentureRocket white label platform. In addition to that, SBA will access our network startups, accelerators, hubs, VCs, and other network members that could add value to spreading blockchain among SBA’s participants.

We believe that this cooperation will help us accelerate blockchain competence as well as bring more business partnership opportunities to both VentureRocket and SBA’s network members.

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The Startup Execution: Six Do’s to Run Your Business Effectively

Running a startup is like driving a car: understanding how to do it is essential; however, execution is the real core of driving.

You’ll find this article useful if you consider building a startup, feel you lack experience/skills in managing your undertaking, or understand you’re driving your ‘car’ in a wrong direction.

Here are our 6 tips on how to execute your startup successfully – make sure you read them up to the end 😉

1. Define Your Execution Strategy

This is what you should always start with in any business. Do not try to do everything at once, trying to network with as many people as possible, promote your product everywhere, and offer both a great brand and low-cost services. 

Pick one strategy and stick to it, bearing in mind that you want to arrange regular meetings with your board of advisors to improve the business strategy and look for more options on what works/doesn’t work together.

Besides, understanding your strategy as well as clearly conveying it to your employees are the key to smooth communication and eventually productiveness within a team.

2. Have a Strong Team of Decision Makers
Running the whole company alone is a tough task. Very often, you’ll lack some skills, more often – a good piece of advice, and obviously you’ll feel some lack of emotional support if you run your startup solo.

We’d recommend that you build a team of several decision makers and have your board of advisors in place. Brainstorming new ideas and their critical analyzing, seeing the larger picture, and making final decisions are easier and more productive when done in a group of people.

3. Build Your Business Roadmap
In any startup execution, as in driving, going in a random direction is like driving somewhere you do not know without a map. It’s senseless. You need to develop your plan (a business roadmap) split into milestones to see what your points of destination are and this way measure your success. If you have been building your startup for years and can’t evaluate what exactly has been achieved during this time, you must be not tracking your progress. Measuring your progress is essential not only for understanding where you stand, but also for motivating your team to move forward. This is where a roadmap comes in handy.

4. Find Your Mentors
In <Building Your Startup: How to Make Your Startup Go Live>, we’ve already talked about the importance of forming a good team since those are the very people who develop your product. When building a team, make sure it does not finish with developers. A smart CEO always thinks of having a couple of good advisors and/or mentors as a part of a team. Advisors are people who’ll help you create an effective business strategy and consult you in making important decisions. Mentors, on the other hand, are like your private coaches: they  will help you grow as a personality and a company leader.

5. Establish Your Corporate Culture
Your corporate culture defines those values that (ideally) are shared by all your team members and sets up the working environment they work in. You shouldn’t underestimate this point since it’s always hard to both communicate, motivate, and manage your team if the employees are not on the same page in the context of work ethics and team engagement. Even if a person is a good specialist, still toxic to your culture, do not hire them. The employee who’s hard to work with will cost your business more than the salary you pay them. 

6. Know Your Life-Work Balance
Again, let’s refer to the car driving analogy. A tired driver is worse than no driver. A tired CEO is a no-CEO. As a company leader, you are in charge of tens of responsibilities, like hiring, managing, and communicating with the whole team, building connections with partners, promoting your product, etc. Very often, it’s impossible to avoid sitting up late, but this is what you should learn to minimize if you want to keep driving. Find your happy medium between work and family not to face burning out in the future. Besides, if you feel unhappy with your work, this is not likely to motivate new employees/partners to join your team. 😉

Final Thoughts
Having a great startup idea is only a good start for building a successful business. The most time and importance go to its implementation (besides, very often, the process of your startup execution tests how good or relevant the startup idea is).

As in driving, a skillful startup running depends on practice. However, mistakes made in business will definitely cost you more than buying a new car. Hope, those six tips help you avoid those costly mistakes and add to building your company.

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The New Version is Here!

We are proud to announce the release of our new version –  V 2.2

The main features are:

My Network: Get your users to meet each other
Your members and companies can now connect with each other and track all of their existing connections on My Network page.

Inbox: Get your users to talk
With our built-in Inbox module, your members and companies can talk to each other without leaving the platform.

In the table below, you can find the list of the new features

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Building Your Startup: How to Make Your Startup Go Live

Starting a startup is a challenging aspiration that has hundreds of pitfalls, especially if you don’t have a clear plan of what and how to do.

In this article, you’ll find our insights into how to successfully set off a startup. It will both come in handy if you are new to the world of startups or are already in the process of launching your project. 

Define Your Idea
A successful project always starts with a clear idea of what you want to do and – what’s more important – a good understanding of the project’s purpose. Identifying the main idea of your startup and answering the right questions are a starting point of your project’s implementation.

Apart from this, whenever you consult an advisory company or come to a VC firm/investor for fundraising, they will always ask you what, why, and whom you are building your product to. Make sure you know how to answer for you’ll need this not only to attract investors but also to build your team, recruit people, and eventually sell your product.

Besides, in the process of answering these questions, it might turn out you need to change your idea into a completely new one. 😉

Form a Great Team
OK, you have a clear idea of what you want to build. You know perfectly who your target users are. What’s next? The next thing is to gather ‘the right’ people and build a cool team.
Ideally, you want to start a company with between one and three more founders. The main point here is not only about the risk sharing but also about the knowledge and skills these co-founders may provide you with. Besides, VCs are more likely to invest in startups that have a founding team rather than a founding individual.

For a tech startup, we recommend that you start with a management team that covers these aspects: a product person – the one who knows how to build a good product and whom to hire to design it, an engineer – ideally – a skilled and experienced CTO, a finance person, and a management, capital raising, and business development co-founder.

If you want to find talented developers, consider hiring remote workers because you might simply not find great specialists in your country.

Also, make sure you surround yourself with good advisors and mentors – those guys will help you understand your market, assist in identifying your strategy, and help you grow as a leader.

Make a Business Plan (and Then a Pitch Deck and a 1-Pager)

If you think you can perfectly do without a business plan, you haven’t succeeded in launching a project yet 😉  A business plan is the very doc that clears things up in your head, identifies all the important details, and – what’s no less important – presents your startup to potential investors. Besides, statistics say that people are more likely to get fundraising or obtain a loan if they have a good business plan in place. That’s why it’s highly recommended that you write a really good/clear/complete business plan. 

Typically, it covers your company’s goals and philosophy (those “what?”, “why?”, and “to whom?” questions), provides market research results, gives development time estimates, your team structure, and illustrates your budget. 

After finalizing your business plan you can move to preparing a pitch deck and a 1-pager. 

Get Appropriate Funding
Starting as well as keeping your startup afloat is impossible without capital. The most typical sources of getting money for your business vary from personal savings and friends or family’s loans to Angel investors/VCs’ investments, banks’ loans, or crowdfunding. For sure, it’s hard to start a business relying only upon your personal savings, that’s why approaching investors for fundraising is a common practice in the whole world.

There are hundreds of resources you could use to approach an angel investor/VC, like Angel.co, InvestorList, SeedProof, or the old good LinkedIn. On the VentureRocket platform, you’ll also find a network of investor groups and VCs’ ecosystems from all over the world you can easily connect with and approach for fundraising.

That said, for early stage startups, the best way to find them is through personal contacts. As a rule of thumb, individual investors as well as VCs pay more attention to the startups recommended by someone they know and respect.

We’ll talk more on how to effectively raise your capital in the next article.

Execute Your Project
Finally, a successful startup launching depends greatly on its execution. What does it mean? This basically covers defining (and later – improving) your company’s strategy, determining its milestones and measuring its progress regularly, hiring, managing, and communicating with your team, spreading a word on your company, and tens of other tasks you usually do as a CEO to turn your startup into a great company. 

Setting off a technology company may be a long walk (even longer than you might think in the beginning) that should never appear as a set of random actions. Thus, we say: find your idea, build a strong team, create a business plan, get fundraising, and then – finally – execute!

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Building More Investment Opportunities Together: VentureRocket sets up a partnership with Aiassetx!

Happy to share that we’ve set up an amazing collaboration with Aiassetx!

Aiassetx.net is a blockchain-based online platform acting as a huge marketplace for investment. Supported by the biggest US and African pension and sovereign funds, Aiassetx  provides a smart and easy opportunity for African and international startups to present their projects and find funding. Aiassetx does this, by uniting its accredited members – African and international asset owners and institutional infrastructure investors with infrastructure project developers and infrastructure fund and investment managers who work in Africa – in a safe and secure way.

Aissatex was founded by Hubert Danso – an investment expert and the CEO and Chairman of Africa investor (Ai) Group who also acts as a chairman on numerous boards and an advisor of different Heads of State and governments in Africa on infrastructure investment issues.

In this cooperation, Aissatex will use the VentureRocket white label platform, becoming  a part of our network. In our turn, VentureRocket will enable Aissatex to access our network of startups and investors.

We believe that this partnership will help us provide our network members with a gate to African market as well as open more investment opportunities for both VentureRocket and Aiasserx’s members.

To join the Aissatex platform, go here

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One-Stop Guide to Launch a Startup: 15 Steps

For the past two decades, entrepreneurs got excited about endless opportunities that a startup world can offer them: from serving hundreds of millions of people to a billion-plus valuation to achieving a dream of your life. Taken that only half a percent of startups make it to the top, it’s better to follow a paved path. If you want to build a successful startup, here is a proven to-do list.

  1. Do your market research first.

Find a problem people can’t solve. Or what they don’t dare to solve even though it remains painful to them. If you were to find a cure for cancer, people would pay any price. However, you may select a much less complex niche: this startup idea grid can inspire you to look for potential gaps.

  1. Pick a solution with high potential returns. 

It is inevitable that some “brilliant” solution will visit your mind. So the next step would be to validate it. Start with the Problemeter evaluation to tap into 6 areas of importance:

  • Popularity
  • Growth
  • Urgency
  • Cost
  • Legal obligation
  • Frequency

A partner at YCombinator Kevin Hale discusses these in detail:

  1. Form a great team.

After you get excited, it is time to pitch the idea to the right people. Statistically, teams with two or more co-founders are more likely to succeed. Find someone who a) is as excited about your startup as remains realistic about it and b) possesses a different set of competencies than you. Usually, there is a manager with business analysis skills and a technical person to form a CEO-CTO duo. Filter the list of potential candidates by common values and a commitment to work rather for company options than for salary.

  1. Test your hypothesis.

Once you identified a clear need and researched the market, it is useful to prioritize your findings (sometimes referred to as “insight”) and brainstorm solution concepts together with your team. By this time, the initial idea will be shaped by your co-founders to pass the reality check.

Then start testing by talking to potential customers. Simple forum discussions or product interviews will confirm (or disprove) your hypotheses.

Credit: John Cutler via Twitter

  1. Iterate frequently.

If the hypothesis is wrong, iterate and experiment again until the idea is validated. Fall in love with a problem, not a solution. Your team will support you.

  1. Incorporate in time.

Once you find a solution that resolves a pain point, start preparing for the building part. Establish a legal entity to gain trust in the eyes of investors and customers. For most startups, incorporation in Delaware works just fine for two reasons: no state corporate income tax and presence of a respected court system. Otherwise, any country with English law is acceptable.

  1. Do some branding at the very start.

While the product itself is the most important thing, branding helps your target audience recognize the solution and recommend it to friends easily. There are tonnes of books on branding, but this is what makes a brand essence:

Credit: OceanOne

Begin with naming and simple design: here are sources with free logo and presentation templates.

  1. Prepare a business plan.

Traditional business plans are bulky. For a startup investor, there are key themes that must be included. These will fit on 10 pages:

  • Executive Summary
  • Company Description
  • Products and Services
  • Marketing Plan
  • Operational Plan
  • Management and Organization
  • Startup Expenses and Capitalization
  • Financial Plan
  • Appendices
  1. Build an MVP.

Start small and focus on a single feature to deliver a minimal viable product or MVP. It should be compelling enough for a user to fulfill his need and affordable for your team to adjust the product according to feedback. 

  1. Gather a community.

They say getting on board 100 people who love your product is better than obtaining a few thousands of leads. So explore the ways to find yours. Show them the MVP and gather feedback until you find a product-market fit.

  1. Protect your IP.

Meanwhile, register intellectual property. It can be just a trademark or a complex technology. Protecting your IP gives a competitive advantage and attracts investors. 

  1. Raise capital.

There are various ways of fundraising that we will cover in the future article. Kevin Hale illustrates what an investor wants. He advises thinking in terms of a problem, solution, and insight.

  1. Develop corporate culture.

It is critical to hire according to your corporate culture. Airbnb founders were looking for their first employee for months just to make sure to embed the DNA of their company. This initial investment paid off with loyalty and innovative approach within the team.

  1. Grow.

Until this stage, you should have found a proper solution to a real need validated through customer feedback. Your MVP turned into a known product with its market fit. The company generates some revenue, employees love working there and a loyal customer base advocates for you. Now, apply for an accelerator to take the company to the next level.

  1. Scale. 

Once the metrics look good, get them exponential. Refer to Masters of Scale for advice from famous entrepreneurs who have gathered decades of experience in turning a startup into iconic businesses.

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Our New Version is Here!

We are proud to announce the release of our new version –  V 2.0

The main features are:

1. Adding Ecosystem Members roles:

This set of features enables you to add different Ecosystem Members roles (e.g. Service providers, partners, etc.), create a landing page for each one, display them in a directory, and offer all users to contact the Ecosystem Members.

2. Onboarding Configuration:

This feature gives you an easy way to configure the onboarding process of both Companies and Ecosystem Members, i.e. the fields and documents required for each process.

In the table below, you can find the list of the new features

Console Feature Description
White-label Administrator Block Admins + Hide Company FlowAdministrator can block Company’s admins or hide a Company from investors and other ecosystem members.
Company Edit Flow> Company Edit Flow Administrator can edit Company information
Companies Accreditation Approval flow Redesign
Investor Accreditation Approval Flow Redesign
Create Login and Restore PWD Page Redesign
Members page Administrator can manage Ecosystem Members under Members page. Including:
  1. Table of all Ecosystem Members
  2. Ability to view Ecosystem Member’s profile
  3. Ability to approve/decline Ecosystem Member’s roles
  4. Ability to invite Ecosystem Members to the platform
Company Set Digital Security Offering or Rights Offering Mode per Fundraising If Company Fundraising mode is set to Both token based and equity based, that Company can select Fundraising mode when creating a Fundraising.
Members page Companies can see all Ecosystem Members on the platform. Including:
  1. Ability to view Ecosystem Members detailed landing pages
  2. Ability to Message Ecosystem members
Edit profile Company can edit their profile.
Tagging management Each Company can set their tags when creating a profile, or when later revisiting a profile.
Ecosystem Member Configuration
  1. Translations will be managed per white label. Any change one white label makes will not affect other white labels.
  2. Roles and their profiles can be configured per white label.
Merge Companies and Fundraisings Companies and Fundraisings pages are merged into one page Market (Companies) for a better user experience.
Message Ecosystem Members can message companies and other Ecosystem Members.
Support Ecosystem Members can send support inquiries to the Administrator of the white label.
Landing page Ecosystem members can see all other Ecosystem members on the platform. Includes:
  1. Ability to view Ecosystem Members detailed landing pages
  2. Ability to Message Ecosystem Members
Profile page and edit
  1. Ecosystem Member can see their own public profile.
  2. Ecosystem Members can edit their profile data.
Onboarding Improved onboarding in order to include all Ecosystem Member roles.
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VentureRocket and Fitrepreneur: a Partnership to Transform the Fitness Industry

We’re proud to announce that we’ve signed a partnership agreement with Fitrepreneur!

Fitrepreneur (www.fitrepreneur.co) is the product advisory company within The Fytns Group, which provides capital, services, and advisory to fitness  app, device, and equipment companies.

Founded by Jonathan C. Miller (www.fitrepreneur.me), with 30+ year experience in creating innovative services and products, Fitrepreneur acts as a startup accelerator, by providing early-stage fitness technology companies with process and knowledge that require to become market leaders. In addition, Fitness Ventures (www.fitness-ventures.com) provides capital to innovative fitness app, device, and equipment companies.

Fitrepreneur provides early-stage fitness technology companies with everything they need to succeed. The Fitrepreneur Co-Creation and Continuous Innovation Process has a proven track record: Peloton (IPO), Fitstar acqd by Fitbit (acqd by Google), Endomondo acqd by Under Armour Connected Fitness, Fitmob acqd by Classpass, Massive Health acqd by Jawbone, Virtual Active acqd by Netpulse (acqd by eGYM).

In this collaboration, Fitrepreneur will join our network, by installing and leveraging the VentureRocket white label platform.  In our turn, we’ll provide Fitrepreneur with access to our network members.

We believe that this amazing partnership will help us bring more impact to the fitness industry as well as create more business connections and investment opportunities within our network.

Want to get services or schedule a talk with Jonathan C.Miller? Go here www.fitrepreneur.co.

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