The Demoday is dead, long live the Demoday

The Demoday is dead, long live the Demoday

What there is in for me:

  • Why Demodays aren’t working anymore?
  • How Wayra Brazil improved its Demoday format and achieved great results
  • What others startupa accelerators are doing?

In 2014, our team at Wayra Brazil was struggling with the limited results in our last Demoday. Wayra Brazil, as most startup accelerator, had at the end of its acceleration period an event to present its accelerated startups to investors and the market.

To contextualize, in Brazil, we were having a boom of startup accelerators, leading to a boom also in Demodays. Most of them were quite similar, a big event where startups pitched 5-10 minutes to an audience of around 100 people composed of venture capitalists, angels investors, press, partners (lawyers, accountant…), other accelerators, and other startups. After the pitch session, there was some moment to socialize, especially for the entrepreneurs to talk with the investors, while having food and drinks.

It was a big event, therefore was not only expensive but also a burden to organize it.

Our team decided to analyze the problems and propose improvements to this “traditional” format. As we always ask our startups to talk to their potential clients to understand their problems and perspective, we started by talking with our clients: Wayra’s startups, angel investors, and venture capitalist.

Talking with entrepreneurs, we understood better many of the challenges they faced and also asked for ways to improve. The main problems were:

– They had a lot of pressure to do the perfect pitch in 5-10 minutes in front of a big audience;
– They didn’t want to open all their numbers since there were non-investor people, press, and might even have competitors;
– They also had trouble to talk with the investors after the pitch session since the event was crowded, and investors were always stopped by someone;

Talking with the investors, we discovered more problems.

  • The partners in the VC funds didn’t want to participate in Demodays anymore because they couldn’t talk with the entrepreneurs, and startups didn’t present the important numbers. So they sent their analysts which didn’t have the same view and decision power;
  • Investors agenda, especially partners, are really complicated with many travels out of the town;
  • Investors started to see the Demodays as a networking event, instead of a significant deal flow event;

In summary, Demodays were starting to become more of a party than a fundraising event, which, of course, wasn’t what we wanted.

Working with those problems and the ideas investors and entrepreneurs told us, we began to brainstorm how we could improve the Demoday and achieve our goal of increasing the number and the volume of investment in our startups.

After a couple of days discussing, we decided to not only change some things of the Demoday, instead to restructure it. We decided to focus on improving the connection between the entrepreneurs and the investors. That is when we came up with the concept of the Demoweek. Here follow the main changes:

  • The event would be only to investors (angels investors and venture capitalist). If you’re not an investor, sorry but you’re not invited;
  • Instead of a big event for many people, we decided to make it more like a business meeting. The entrepreneurs would have 20 minutes with an audience of no more than 15 investors, who could ask any question at any time;
  • The Demoweek would be (surprise) a week long, giving more schedule options to the partners of the funds to participate. The investors would be divided into small groups to interact better with the entrepreneurs;
  • Each day 8 startups would pitch during the morning organized by the amount they were raising. So we had different days for angel investors, seed investors, Series A, and Series B, making it more straightforward for the investors;
  • Each day after the pitch session, we would offer lunch to the investors and entrepreneurs, giving more opportunity for interaction between the investors and the entrepreneurs;
  • Not all graduating startups were presenting, only startups that were performing and that were raising capital presenting. Also, they could be from any previous batch;

With all those changes, we had incredible results in our first Demoweek. The entrepreneurs and the investors loved the new format. More important; we increased the number of investments in our startups.

We achieved all this while lowering the cost and burden to organize the event. After our first experience, it was settle, our Demoday from that day on, would not be a Demoday, but a Demoweek.

We’re not the only ones to realize the problems of the Demodays, some of other Wayras were trying different formats to improve the outcome.

I know other formats from different accelerators that doing interesting things to solve those problems

One of those accelerators is Techstars Chicago, which has two separate Demodays. The first one happens in the morning only for important investors, where they put all the startups to pitch at the same time to different investors, one at a time, and then the startups rotate to pitch to another investor. The second is in the afternoon and is a bigger event open to the other parties in the community, more similar to the “traditional” Demoday.

The Demodays as we know are with their days counted; new formats will appear to solve the problems listed above and also to adapt to local ecosystems.

I would love to hear your experience with Demoday. How did you think they could be improved? Which other formats did you see and enjoyed?

Key Takeaways:

  • The Demoday format has many problems that some accelerators are trying to solve
  • Dare to think outside of the box, don’t be stuck with a traditional format if it’s not working for you
  • There isn’t a one size fits all for the Demodays, 
  • Always get your customer perspective of a problem before coming up with a solution

Stretch Goals for Startups

Stretch Goals for Startups

What there is in for me:

  • Should a startup use stretch goals?
  • What a startup needs to use a stretch goal?
  • The framework of The Stretch Goal Paradox works for startups?

I recently read an interesting article about setting stretch goals, “The Stretch Goal Paradox” by Sim B. Sitkin, C. Chet Miller, and Kelly E. See.

Setting stretch goals became quite famous recently, especially in the tech world because of the OKR methodology that Google, Intel, Twitter, and other use. In the OKR (if you don’t know what it is, read these slides), the goal isn’t to achieve 100%, but rather to set a challenging goal that even you working hard you would probably achieve 70-80%.

They are also very common when a new CEO is hired to turn around a company and needs to change moral of the team and also to convince the investors.

The article argues that not all companies should use stretched goals because it can backfire. Also, the authors propose a framework to evaluate if a company should use it or not, as you can see below.

r1701f_sitken_stretchgoals-850x578

They use two variables to evaluate: Past Success of the Team, and Uncommitted Resources. The framework seems to make sense, at least for big corporations. However, my interest is in startups! Would this framework work for them?

Let’s check each variable for a startup. First the past success of the team, by definition, startups are still in early stage, not having any real past success, at least in the actual company anyway.
Regarding uncommitted resources, we all now that startups don’t have spare resources, they always lack resources. They are most of the time working beyond their capacity.

Using those assumptions for variables in the framework, we got that none startup should use Strech Goals. But… Should they?

Growth is the fuel for startups, a startup without growth is a walking dead startup. So, startups should grow, not only grow but grow really fast. That means that they should put hard goals to achieve and work as hard and intelligent as they can to achieve it. Would any of the great startups we have been successful if they didn’t have bold and audacious goals?

That leads me to conclude that all startups should use stretch goals, meaning that the framework won’t work for startups.

Although I think all startups should use it, they have different problems than big corporations. Therefore they need to evaluate different variables to check if they should use or not.

  • The startup should have a metric-oriented and accountable culture. If the team isn’t focused on metrics and it isn’t held accountable for their results, setting a higher goal will just make the CEO get even more stressed;
  • Startups should understand well their business metrics before commit to a stretched goal. It’s bad to walk in the wrong direction, but it’s even worse to run with all your strength to the wrong direction;
  • The startup should have a Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal (BHAG). The team will put all their effort to achieve a challenging goal if it’s linked to a remarkable purpose, not just because the CEO set the goal.

There might have other pre-requisites for a startup to use stretch goal in a proper way, even though those seem to me as the main ones.

What do you think? Should a startup use a stretch goal or not? Why? When to use and when not to use?

Key Takeaways:

  • Stretch goals are even more important for startups
  • Use stretch goals when you have a metric-oriented and accountable culture
  • Use stretch goals when you know well your real business metrics
  • Use stretch goals when you have a Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal (BHAG)

Here follows some BHAG to inspire you with yours:
“A computer on every desk and in every home.”Microsoft
“Organize the world’s information.”Google
“Connect the world.”Facebook
“Transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere for everyone.”Uber
“Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”Tesla
“Make easy to do business anywhere.”Alibaba
“Remember everything.”Evernote

The Importance of Communication in a Startup – Part II

The Importance of Communication in a Startup – Part II

What there is in for me:

  • Why communication is a key attribute for entrepreneurs
  • Good news and bad news, which one to share with my team
  • How to build trust and motivate your team using communication

Continuing my last Communicating with Investors, now let’s talk about:

Communicating with the Team
If you’re really aiming to create a great company, you and your team are onboarding in a very tough journey. The problems with communications usually start in setting the expectation. As working in a startup is cool nowadays, everyone wants to work in one, but few are willing to face the struggle and work the long hours necessary to create a great company.

Startups need a talented and dedicated team, so it’s important to set the expectation to the new employees upfront and make sure they are willing to commit together with the rest of the team in this endeavor.

The other problem that many entrepreneurs face related to communication with their team is the difficult to inspire the team toward the dream the entrepreneurs have. Sometimes the entrepreneurs can’t articulate in a proper manner his mission, and other times is just a lack of communicating it well to the team.

If a CEO wants their employees to give all their sweat and blood for the startup, he needs a clear Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal (BHAG) and communicate clear and constantly to all members of his team. Elon Musk uses SpaceX BHAG to motivate his team to achieve unthinkable results, here follows its statement:

“SpaceX was founded in 2002 to revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets.”

That is a quite powerful goal to motivate SpaceX team, even during the many arduous times they face!

Another common communication problem entrepreneurs have is not delivering bad news.

Is part of the human nature to not like it to deliver bad news; we don’t want to disappoint people or make them feel bad.

Therefore, founders tend to only communicate good news to their team. When a big account is won, they celebrate; when an investment round is closed, they celebrate even more! However, when they lose the most valuable client or when the startup has a month of cash…silence! During these situations is exactly when you can identify the great entrepreneurs. They inform, take responsibility, and work together with their team in a plan to turn the situation around!

If you worked hard to hire an amazing team, don’t expect them to be stupid and don’t discover what is happening in the company. Also, remember the equation from the post Part I:

CHANGE + UNCERTAINTY = CHAOS

Although there will always be change, good and bad, in a startup, entrepreneurs can reduce the uncertainty by communicating the situation, preventing gossips and speculations that can lead the team into chaos.

Google has a meeting called TGIF ( “Thank God is Friday”) where any employee can ask any question to the founders, that shows a culture of communication and transparency.
When times are hard, it isn’t the lack of information that will save a company. Rather, a great leadership and a motivated team are needed to overcome this situation. For your team to work hard for you, they need to trust you! And they won’t trust you if you’re hiding the situation from them.
Concluding, communication problems with team can have a huge impact on a startup performance, for better or worst! Start a culture of communication while your team it isn’t that big, changing it in the future is going to be a bigger challenge!

Key Takeaways:

  • Have a great Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal (BHAG) and communicate it
  • Sharing bad news is as important as sharing good news
  • Don’t hide bad news; your team isn’t dumb
  • If you hired the right team, trust them
  • Change + Uncertainty = CHAOS

The Importance of Communication in a Startup – Part I

The Importance of Communication in a Startup – Part I

What there is in for me:

  • Why communication is a key attribute for entrepreneurs
  • How to build trust using communication
  • How to communicate bad news

It amazes me how few people talk about communication and transparency for early stage startups. Communication is probably the most underestimated skill for entrepreneurs, although everyone knows that is an important skill for great leaders.

I’m not talking about the ability to speak well and inspire people, although that is also an important skill, I’m talking about the ability to keep people informed about relevant information.

People tend to communicate well when times are good but shut them down when things go badly, however, these times are the ones that need to overcommunicate to prevent even worst things to happen, to not break trust, and to get help.

Harry Kraemer, a Kellogg professor about Leadership (I highly recommend his book From Values to Action), tells a simple equation:

CHANGE + UNCERTAINTY = CHAOS

In a startup, change is constant. Nonetheless, uncertainty is only created when people don’t communicate properly about the changes to the stakeholders.

There are two important stakeholders that invested literally their career and money into the startup, and that need to be aware of what is going on with. Your team and your investors!

I will break this topic into two posts, one for the investors and the other for the team.

Communicating with your Investors
I think most first time entrepreneurs are afraid of their investors and don’t want to show their weakness and mistakes. They only report the good news, leaving the bad stuff hidden. Although that seems logical, good investors know no entrepreneur will ever get everything right. Shits happen! Investors are more concerned how the entrepreneur react when that happens than the problem itself. If your investors expect you to get everything right, I’m sorry to say you this, but you probably got the wrong investors!

If entrepreneurs report only good news, this will lead investors to mistakenly believe everything is fine while it isn’t. When the investors discover what is really going on, they won’t trust anymore the entrepreneurs, leading to a micromanagement and a lot more reports.
When something serious happens with the startup, entrepreneurs should immediately contact the investors; I know its not easy but you need to do it. Making a parallel, if your friend gets seriously injured, you know you need to call their parents to give the news, it isn’t easy but is the right thing to do. Although investors aren’t your parents, they not only are in this endeavor together with you but also is in their best interest to help you out!

Frequently and direct communication with your investors is key to building confidence.

When I worked at Wayra Brazil as the responsible for the acceleration process, we had a one-page monthly report with the main KPIs of each startup with some business updates.

The startups that were struggling kept complaining about not having time to fill the reports. Interesting enough, the best startups delivered the report on time and without any complain, and they had much more work than the previous one.

My conclusion is that the best entrepreneurs understand that communication is key to develop trust with investors, and communication is a characteristic of great leaders. In the second part of this post, I will explore how to communicate with your team.

Key Takeaways:

  • Report frequently to your investors
  • Report good news as well as bad news
  • Report critical news as soon as they happen and ask for help
  • Don’t be afraid of your early stage investors; they invested in your startup mostly because they believed in you
  • Change + Uncertainty = CHAOS

O que é BPMN ?

o que é bpmn

BPMN é uma notação padrão que representa processos de negócios por meio de diagramas de processos de negócio. A abreviação vem do termo em inglês Business Process Modeling Notation – modelagem orientada a objetos.

Essa notação padrão foi desenvolvida pela Business Process Management Initiative como um método consistente para diagramar fluxos de processos de negócios. O BPMN é muito parecido com uma tabela de fluxo, mas é mais focado em gerar uma maneira útil e natural para gerenciar fluxos de trabalhos complexos.

Isso pode incluir qualquer um dos fatores internos e externos para contribuir com as operações da companhia. Usando o BPMN, supervisadores podem ter uma compreensão melhor das operações internas e mais conhecimento sobre como cada participante contribuir para o todo.

Normalmente, Stakeholders tem muitas questões para gerenciar, por isso se comunicar com clareza e de forma breve é muito importante. O BPMN é um dos melhores meios para implementar um método padronizado de compartilhamentos de fluxos de trabalho.

O BPMN é uma forma de tornar qualquer interessado tão informado quanto possível de qualquer atividade da empresa.

Como usar BPMN no meu negócio?

Stakeholders de negócios podem usar BPMN para ilustrar processos essenciais  das companhias. Essa é uma técnica muito eficaz para eliminar ineficiências, ajudar os membros a visualizarem novos caminhos e pode ser usada para inserir colaboradores de forma mais eficiente e eficaz.

BPMN 2.0 vs. BPMN

BPMN 2.0 é uma atualização do BPMN. Combinado com o BPDM – Business Process Definition Metamodel – uma forma única de linguagem. BPDM define conceitos usados para expressar os modelos de processos de negócios, enquanto BPMN 2.0 define a notação, metamodelo e um formato intercambiável.

Essa versão com nova forma e estrutura permite ao BPMN algumas funções adicionais que aumentam os possíveis usos e processos de decisão. BPMN 2.0  expande os usos do BPMN  para representação da criação e interação entre tarefas com modelos integrados ou unos.

Enquanto BPMN revela um sistema colaborativo de  negócio-para-negócio e processos de negócios internos, BPMN 2.0 amplia essa função providenciando símbolos para coreografias, colaborações, e conversas.

Para mais informações sobre BPMN acesse:

https://www.heflo.com/

 

Food Trucks são febre em São Paulo

Food Trucks são febre em São Paulo

Como Montar um Food Truck em São Paulo

É impossível não acompanhar na mídia o sucesso dos food trucks, mas afinal, quer montar um food truck em São Paulo, mas não tem conhecimento necessário ou está buscando o máximo de informação para tanto?

Pensando em você selecionamos os principais passos e cuidados necessários para legalizar e tornar o seu negócio em um sucesso.

Os restaurantes móveis customizados com muito estilo e gastronomia de qualidade estão cada vez mais populares em grandes e pequenas cidades do país. Porém muitos são iludidos por pensar que este é um negócio de baixo investimento e alta margem de lucro.

Qualquer empreendimento necessita não só de investimento financeiro, mas também tempo e um bom planejamento para que de fato o negócio vá para frente, consequentemente gerando lucro. Montar um food truck em São Paulo não poderia ser diferente!

Ter experiência na área culinária, gostar de atender o público e ter pulso firme para liderar uma equipe são uns dos principais diferenciais para quem deseja apostar em um food truck.

Além de possuir dinheiro para o investimento, características empreendedoras e amar sua profissão, o empresário vai precisar ter uma boa assessoria contábil e jurídica para poder operar suas atividades dentro da legalidade.

Passos para Montar um Food Truck em São Paulo

O primeiro passo para montar um food truck em SP consiste na adequação do veículo utilizado seja ele kombi, furgão, dentre outros. Vale lembrar que o “restaurante sobre rodas” deve ser adaptado de acordo com os padrões da Associação Brasileira de Normas Técnicas(ABNT) e homologadas pelos orgãos Inmetro e Detran. Estimasse que o valor inicial para um investimento de baixo custo gira em torno de R$50.000,00, mas pode ultrapassar os R$300.000,00 mil reais em projetos mais sofisticados.

Depois de terminar toda a parte estrutural e visual do food truck, chega a hora de legalizar o mesmo para que possa operar suas atividades na cidade. Em São Paulo são mais de 700 pontos autorizados para comercializar alimentos dentro de veículos. Se por um acaso for feita mais de uma solicitação . pelo mesmo ponto comercial, será feito um sorteio do mesmo. Os preços para permissão anual é de 10% com base no valor do metro quadrado do quarterão onde o food truck deseja operar com valor mínimo de R$192,65.

Todo empreendimento é cercado de desafios que são de responsabilidade do empresário, mas podem ser superados com muita pesquisa e planejamento. Seguindo os passos e dicas citados anteriormente para abrir um food truck em São Paulo as chances de sucesso e retorno de investimento podem ser mais garantidas.

Para outras dicas de negócios lucrativos acesse:

http://ideias.me/curso-de-brigadeiro-gourmet-receitas/

http://exame.abril.com.br/pme/noticias/os-10-setores-mais-lucrativos-para-abrir-um-negocio

O que faz um contador e como ele pode ajudar sua startup

O que faz um contador e como ele pode ajudar sua startup

Você sabe o que faz um contador? Um contador é um profissional que tem como objetivos cuidar de diversos tipos de questões financeiras, bem como cuidar de questões financeiras, de ordem tribtária, econômica e patrimonial de uma empresa. No seu dia a dia, este profissional lida com planilhas, bem como demonstrativos de resultados, contas para pagar e ainda receber as guias de impostos e vários outros tipos de números.

Esta é uma profissão que exige muita atenção e responsabilidade por parte do contador. E para exercer as suas devidas atividades, os contadores precisam ter um diploma de graduação em contabilidade que seja reconhecido através do MEC e ainda obter o registro através do Conselho Regional de Contabilidade. Os profissionais técnicos em contabilidade precisam contar também com o registro do chamado CRC.

“Levando em conta um levantamento do Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada (Ipea), saber o que faz um contador é importante, já que a contabilidade está entre uma das dez profissões que tem a maior taxa de ocupação em todo o país. Mais de 93% dos profissionais da área de contabilidade estão empregados, e principalmente trabalhando na sua área de atuação.” Afirma, Álvaro Nantes do site http://www.contabilidadezonanorte.com/.

Entenda o que faz um contador

O contador é um profissional fundamental para qualquer tipo de empresa e organização. Já que é ele quem acompanha todas as transações de empresas que ocorrem desde a sua abertura até mesmo o encerramento das suas atividades.

A função dos contadores não é restrita apenas a área de gestão de empresas, este profissional poderá ainda atuar nos mercados de seguro, perícia e auditoria.

Estes profissionais podem ainda atuar de forma autônoma ou como funcionários de escritórios de contabilidade, bem como empresas públicas e privadas, as organizações não governamentais e até mesmo em setores militares.

A auditoria contábil

Além de saber o que faz um contador, é importante saber que o profissional poderá atuar na área de auditoria contábil. O contador terá a função de verificar a exatidão de todas as informações contidas nos registros de ordem contábil, examinando ainda documentos contábeis, como os balanços, os fluxos de caixa, entre outras possibilidades.