Jip Brouwer (L) and Relectrify co-founders Valentin Muenzel (M) Daniel Crowley (R)
1) Build a strong co-founding team
If you already have fantastic co-founders around you, great! If you haven’t, before MAP is the perfect time to go and pull these in. In my view, the two most important qualities of a strong co-founding team are complete and utter trust, and being able to work very well together. While complementary skills also hold a lot of value, required roles and skills tend to shift as startups progress, so prioritise fast learning and flexibility over fixed skills.
2) Know your unfair advantage
Behind the glitter and glamour, startups are hard. You are competing against the odds.Make sure you are acutely aware of the advantages you have over your competition that will stop them from doing what you are but with more resources. Technical know-how and networks are good, traction and/or protected IP are better, all of them together are ideal. And if you haven’t inherently got an unfair advantage, then figure out how to build one. Fast.
3) Put together a compelling pitch
There are good pitches, and there are compelling pitches. The former allows the audience to understand what it is you are doing, the latter makes the audience care emotionally and want you to succeed. They may even be compelled to help, whether by providing good advice, introducing you to relevant contacts, and/or becoming an unofficial brand ambassador. So don’t stop working on your pitch when it is good; make it compelling.
4) Pitch to people
Whatever it is you do, go and pitch your idea to people. Talk to your friends, prospective advisors or mentors, and even strangers you meet during your day-to-day life about what it is you are doing. It’s a scary prospect at first because someone could steal your idea. But consider that most people have more than enough on their plate. The few that do not, typically have their own share of ideas to pursue. And there is also that competitive advantage of yours, which means you should be better positioned than almost anyone you meet. The feedback you will get is incredibly valuable for improving both your pitch and your business. And if you happen to meet the one person that has spare time, is interested in your idea specifically, and is better positioned than you to solve the problem, then you’ve just stumbled upon a great co-founder.
Co-Founder of Relectrify
Hypetap co-founders Detch Singh (L) Nik Madhok (R)
Our company, Hypetap went through the Melbourne Accelerator Program in 2015. I couldn’t be more appreciative of the experience, both for myself as a founder and for our company. In the true MAP spirit of helping other start-ups succeed, I wanted to provide some insight into why you should apply to MAP with your start-up.
- Mentors and advisers
I always thought that everything about succeeding with a business is based around hard work and smart execution. I now realise that those two things are just half the battle. Who you know can make all the difference.
We came to realise that even the shortest conversations with the right people can really accelerate the course of your start-up. MAP has amazing access to mentors who have been there and done that. The right conversations with them will stop you from spending 3 weeks down an avoidable rabbit hole of despair – trust me! Their advice is invaluable, and if your background is purely technical, some of them can also help with all those other business functions like legal advice and accounting.
- The other start-ups
Although the selection process is competitive, it means that you’re in a cohort of a very select few businesses who are probably on a strong trajectory with smart founders. We learned so much from the other start-ups on a weekly basis. Everyone went out of their way to make introductions for each other and solve problems together. It is a great environment both socially and professionally. You will make lifelong friends.
- The program and demo days
Throughout the program the MAP team will hold you accountable, but they are also there to help. There are weekly touch bases, great mentor dinners and an incredible new workspace in LAB14. You will have every opportunity to succeed, but it will also be up to you to take advantage of the opportunities put in front of you.
All of this culminates in demo days across Melbourne, Sydney and Silicon Valley which will give you great access to potential customers, press and investors.
So in closing, if you were in two minds about applying to MAP I hope this has firmly put you in the “I’m applying” camp. You will definitely increase your company’s chances of success. Even if you don’t get in, going through the application process will still force you to ask yourself the hard questions about your start-up. There is still every benefit in applying.
Co-Founder of Hypetap