We receive hundreds of applications on the Startup Giants accelerator rounds and we appraise every single one, making an initial assessment based on the merits of your answers to each question. We know that you’re going to need some help and advice to get your idea moving like a pro, but there are a number of actions that you can do to help yourself win our respect…
1. Be absolutely excellent at what you do.
As investors, we’re a team of successful business owners and represent a growing network of business angels wanting to co-invest in our deals. Along each of our respective journeys, we have learnt, failed and succeeded with the best of them. We’re going to bring you the business, financial and marketing expertise that will nurture you into a true entrepreneur if you’re not one already. We need you to be incredibly knowledgeable about the industry that you want to go into and know that your idea comes from a place of experience.
2. Come to us with an excellent idea – and then show us how if it was copied, what would make your concept still stand head and shoulders over the competition.
We call this ‘the kicker’ – lots of people have good ideas, but they’re easy for companies who are already in the marketplace to replicate and roll out as part of their offering. Really focus and think how your idea could be developed to be truly unique and sought after – there’s a caveat to this – still submit your application even if you haven’t found your exact kicker yet. Sometimes it takes more than one eagle eye to look, see and develop it. We can help and we’re happy to, it’s just good to see that you’re thinking along the same lines as we are.
3. Think Freemium/marketplace, define your revenue model.
We’re looking to invest in either freemium or marketplace concepts – think Dropbox where you can utilise a specific amount of the service for free before signing up for a paid account to unlock more features. Paid subscription accounts offer you a monthly income and enable you to market future products to loyal customers – as long as your service remains reliable of course. You can then scale your business up at a rate that suits you.
4. Your idea should be for a consumer web app (ie: not B2B).
Channel your thoughts along the ways of later.com and you’ll be putting yourself in good stead to market to the masses. We’d rather you had 5000 customers paying £10 per month, instead of 10 customers paying £5000 per month (if you lose 5 customers you’ve lost half your revenue overnight).
5. Come to us when you have identified a subset of your specific niche to pilot your idea to
Can you cut a chunk out of your target market for initial testing of your concept? This is essential to get feedback on whether it’s needed/appreciated and how it can be altered to suit and maximise your eventual customer base.
6. You can target at least one million potential customers in that pilot
You can’t achieve bona fide feedback on a small group of test samplers. In the world of cosmetics 60% of thirty people saying that they liked a product seems to be acceptable, in the tech world it isn’t. To test a product properly we need to be able to draw valuable feedback to know how to market it to millions more people. Where will you find a million potential customers to target in a launch? Boots launched their Advantage Card and tested it out across Cornwall, will you be marketing your product in specific cities and pitching to universities? Or sourcing your test consumers 100% online? Something to think about …
7. There are no barriers to entry or commercial agreements required in order to launch
These barriers or commercial agreements could be anything from it being contingent on a particular person to launch it, a business to supply systems or a patent that’s already pending. If you suspect any of these, rework your model before you apply and come to us with an idea that’s ready to be explored.
Hopefully reading the above has set your mind whirring with ideas. If you tick off everything on the list, hurry up and fill out the application form, and if you don’t then grab a pencil and paper and start researching ways to adapt your idea. We look forward to seeing your application soon.
Cherry has worked in branding, copywriting, communications, and PR for over 14 years, and is Chief Wordsmith at Startup Giants and our main point of contact for journalists and editors.