Archives for the month of: October, 2013

acccYou may have noticed the subtly changing UX of the Dreamstake platform. This is because we are re-positioning our offer to address some of the funding issues facing startups in Europe.

Early stage tech startups are increasingly following a specific path to get to market. This normally involves following at least some aspects of the lean startup methodology. Many startup founders start by building a prototype (MVP) and strive to achieve product/market fit before seeking investment and scaling on a global basis.

It has long been recognised that simple VC type funds are inadequate in supporting very early stage startups because they are unable to provide enough support.  Various incubator and accelerator models emerged to try to address this issue.  Incubators evolved through academic and governmental institutions and provide workspace, professional support and access to seed funding. Unfortunately, they have mostly underperformed because there has been a lack of incentive to be ruthless in moving failing ventures up or out.

Accelerators are normally privately funded and take a more performance oriented view. Most are roughly based on the Y-Combinator model which has been highly successful in creating some great success stories. However, Y-combinator has very special advantages associated with their Silicon Valley location, which cannot be simply replicated elsewhere. Many pale imitations have been cloned.

Dreamstake recognises that the internet has the potential to revolutionise early stage funding in much the way it has other industries.  An online accelerator solution offers many advantages;

  • More scaleable – Most physical incubators/accelerators are based on small cohorts that are limited in the numbers they can accommodate. They are also based in fixed locations. An on-line solution has no such limitations.
  • More time sensitive – Physical incubators/accelerators work on a set timescale. This may not coincide with the readiness of the startup.
  • More effective- An on-line accelerator such as Dreamstake incorporates a rating algorithm which allows the tracking of startups throughout the process.  This makes investment decisions easier and more reliable.

The Dreamstake on-line accelerator is the first of it’s kind and has been evolving for the past couple of years. Next January we will enter a new phase as we build new funding options into the business model. We believe that we have a unique solution for European tech startups that will bring higher levels of support and greater access to funding than previous solutions.

Dreamstake provides end-to-end support for entrepreneurs wishing to get a startup funded in the shortest possible time. The startup rating system allows entrepreneurs and investors to monitor progress. Dreamstake Academy provides guidance on how to create a successful startup. Dreamstake will link startups with suitable mentors and professional advisors.
Startups that have successfully achieved an acceptable rating will be given the opportunity to feature at monthly demo days and investor pitching events.

 

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Tell me a bit about your background?

Prior to ‘Capsuling’, I worked as a theater and film director for 15 years. Born in Jerusalem, I grew up in Tel Aviv. I moved to London at the age of 24 to study directing. Later, I founded the Conflict Zone Arts Asylum, a worldwide network of artists from Conflict Zones. I moved to Berlin in 2007 where I worked at Ballhaus Naunynstr, a theatre dealing with Post-Migrant political and social issues.

How did you come up with the idea for ‘Capsuling’?

As a theater director, I worked with artists from conflict zones. I was looking for ways to investigate multi-layered historical narratives and confront the taboos behind conflicts with an element of playfulness.This brought me to explore the idea of the actual ‘places’ remembering people. I believe that if we became more aware of the different perspectives people held in our direct surroundings, we could be more sensitive, open, and have less prejudices of our neighbours. The idea of places being able to tell stories of people who visited them was very interesting to me.

Connected to that was my frustration with traditional theater, and my need to look for a new frame of storytelling which would be more suitable to how people communicate, consume and share information worldwide today. So I decided to integrate people more by using their Smartphones.

What is ‘Capsuling’ all about? What is your vision?

‘Capsuling’ is a discovery focused mobile app using time location specific “capsules.”

We enable moment-sharing in context, without losing the element of surprise.

I am dedicating the next years to finding solutions for the overflow of information that takes us away from the here and now. I’m also integrating human values learnt from the theatre with the online culture. The following link explains in short what ‘Capsuling’ is all about:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmM8L8-hBOE

Tell me about your team?

A great team! Each one of us brings a variety of very important competencies to the table enabling us execute our grand plan together and make it happen.

Our CFO and is an INSEAD MBA graduate with experience in sales, management and a wide international network of powerful individuals in every region of the world. Our CTO is a super developer for the front and back end mobile and internet software architecture. Our community and partnerships developer is a musician and a performing artist with exceptional creative thinking and human relations charm. Our server programmer, has a degree in computer science and an irregularly high IQ! Our Graphic designer Maurice Redmond is a branding genius who built the website for Early Bird VC in Berlin and many more. We also have Mr Cedric Naintre from Paris on our team as the advisor for the business strategy.

What stage are you at with your business and what comes next?

We are currently in private beta. We are entering public beta in Berlin this November with some high profile partnerships. You can register here: http://www.capsuling.me/

What are the main challenges that you face? 

We are currently looking into Angel Investment, after Bootstrapping (Crowd-Funding and public funding) for the past year. We are also looking for a talented front end developer, Angluar JS & Phonegap, to work with us on the next stages of the beta, with a prospect of taking on a lead role in the company.

Tell me an interesting fact about yourself.

I give ActorPreneur workshops, where I teach peers how to perform better in the business world.

Visit http://www.capsuling.me/

Twitter: @CapsulingApp

Dreamstake provides end-to-end support for entrepreneurs wishing to get a startup funded in the shortest possible time. The startup rating system allows entrepreneurs and investors to monitor progress. Dreamstake Academy provides guidance on how to create a successful startup. Dreamstake will link startups with suitable mentors and professional advisors.
Startups that have successfully achieved an acceptable rating will be given the opportunity to feature at monthly demo days and investor pitching events.

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The mistakes an angel and accelerator-backed startup made and what we learned along the way.

Tab (previously Subscrib) was a web-based prepaid loyalty app that started in the basement of Campus London in late September 2012 by Shawn ZvinisChristoph Sassenberg and Gary Luce.

The idea was simple: customers would open prepaid accounts at local shops and earn bonus credit by doing so. We would eliminate payment fragmentation and use the transactional data to automate retention and marketing for these shops. Best of all, customers did not need a smartphone, as we used their mobile number to create their account.

We raised seed money from a local angel investor early on, joined an accelerator and started to grow the team. We encountered a lot of issues that on their own we could have tackled, but together set us on a path to failure that we struggled with.

Read more…

Dreamstake provides end-to-end support for entrepreneurs wishing to get a startup funded in the shortest possible time. The startup rating system allows entrepreneurs and investors to monitor progress. Dreamstake Academy provides guidance on how to create a successful startup. Dreamstake will link startups with suitable mentors and professional advisors.
Startups that have successfully achieved an acceptable rating will be given the opportunity to feature at monthly demo days and investor pitching events.

Haven’t we all been to a startup networking event and met someone who tells you that their ‘great’ idea is going to change the world? You stand and listen to their ambitious claims for a few minutes to realise that they haven’t even done their homework. The idea isn’t new or it simply won’t work. Soon, it transpires that they have done no market research yet still expect to find a co-founder.
Surely these guys are just deluding themselves and not only are they wasting their own time, but also everyone else’s. Here are a few ways to spot the ‘dreamers’:
‘I have a unique idea’ – Let’s face it, there are 7 billion people on our planet. It is highly unlikely that any idea is unique. If you look at the stats, many of the most successful startups did not have unique propositions. It’s the implementing of the idea what matters.
 ’I have 8 other great ideas’ – A variation of the above. Steer clear. It is difficult enough to make one idea happen. More than one spells lack of focus and not 100% passion.
‘Where are the beers?’ – Beware of ‘entrepreneurs’ who only attend networking events for free booze. They are free-loaders not entrepreneurs. It’s the content of the event, that should attract real entrepreneurs, not free beers.
‘I can’t tell you anything’ – We are in ‘stealth mode’. This generally means they haven’t worked out what they are doing and are too embarrassed to admit it.
 ’My website is under construction’ – It’s fine to have a landing page for a couple of months. But it’s not okay to have a site under construction for 6 months. How difficult is it to build a website these days?
 ’I have a fixie bike’ – Having a fixie bike, a cool beard or moustache may make you a hipster but it doesn’t make you a startup founder. There are quite a lot of these species roaming the streets of Shoreditch. Good to hangout with. Bad to invest in.
 ’I only need £1M’ – Asking for unrealistic amounts of money at an early stage is a sign of naivety and sends out warning signs. Look for entrepreneurs who look for funding that is appropriate to what they need to get them to the next stage.
 ’I have been working for IBM’ – …for 20 years. Working for a corporate company, however innovative, is not entrepreneurial. Being a rebel in a corporate world is still not being entrepreneurial. It is just being rebellious. Working for a bank is definitely not being entrepreneurial, however much you embrace innovation.
 ’My mum told me it would work’ – The best validation for an idea is proof that someone will buy it. This can be achieved by creating an MVP. Then you can prove to your mum and everyone else that you have something tangible and worth investing in.

I hope this will help you spot the ‘true’ entrepreneurs and you can use this as a guide to ‘sift out’ the sensible ones from the dreamers. These are people with a good idea, a plan of action and hopefully some traction. Generally, these are also serious folks who have already accepted that they will need to take risks to pursue their passion.
We love ‘real’ entrepreneurs and are always on the lookout for the very best!

Dreamstake provides end-to-end support for entrepreneurs wishing to get a startup funded in the shortest possible time. The startup rating system allows entrepreneurs and investors to monitor progress. Dreamstake Academy provides guidance on how to create a successful startup. Dreamstake will link startups with suitable mentors and professional advisors.
Startups that have successfully achieved an acceptable rating will be given the opportunity to feature at monthly demo days and investor pitching events.