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Broken Chair

I frequently use a metaphor of a chair when I advise entrepreneurs. I compare the viability of a company with a four-legged chair. If any of the four legs is missing, perhaps you can keep sitting on the chair for a while, but when you lose balance you fall. When two legs of the chair are broken, then a fall is sure!

What are the four legs of the viability of a company?

THE FIRST LEG OF THE CHAIR: TECHNICAL VIABILITY

This is about entrepreneurs or their teams who dominate the production process. The means of production and the appropriate technology should be available, and entrepreneurs should be able to own it. As a conclusion the company should be able to produce something that works.

The technical viability leg is usually the first thing that entrepreneurs achieve, because entrepreneurs normally start a business on something that they control and that they have knowledge in. However, this is not the case for some entrepreneurs and their business projects start limping from lack of technical viability.

An entrepreneur wanted to develop and to sell an innovative tool for household recycling. Continue Reading…

640px-Marco_Polo_traveling

Marco Polo, first entrepreneur who raised venture capital

Marco Polo, the Venetian merchant, who arrived to China in the thirteenth century, was one of the first entrepreneurs who got venture capital. He convinced several wealthy Venetians to finance his commercial expedition to Asia. Marco Polo promised that he would share his profits of this risky venture with them. These funders were a kind of precursors of the current venture capital, which main characteristics I describe below in a simplified form: Continue Reading…

Tubos de Ensayo

– It is a company that uses scientific and technological knowledge systematically and continuously to produce new goods or services with high added value.

– They mainly operate in top-level strategic sectors, such as microelectronics, biotechnology, medical device, nanotechnology, etc.

– They perform R & D in-house or in close cooperation with universities and research centers.

– Many start-ups are not technology-based companies.

– Similar terms: knowledge-based companies, new technology-based firms.

Some technology-based startups in my region, (Navarre, Spain) are: Bionanoplus, Orbital Aerospace, Lev2050, Recombina, Proinec, Pharmamodelling, Kunak, ….

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What is Crowdfunding?

31 July, 2013 — 4 Comments
crowdfunding

Crowdfunding. Photo by Colbrain on Flickr used under a Creative Commons licence

Crowdfunding is the action, by which a person, company or organization asks a multitude of people to finance his/its projects via Internet, each of them giving a small quantity of money.

Some entrepreneurs and organizations have developed different crowdfunding platforms. They are web platforms that offer projects creators a display space to publish their projects in order to get financing. These platforms also allow the projects to use a secure payment page to ensure that the projects receive their money. In exchange, most platforms receive a commission based on the amount collected.

Which kinds of crowdfunding exist and what do the financial backers receive in exchange? Continue Reading…

Mini Cuadernos JoJaJo

Copies of the first and second version of my mini-notebooks

A couple of years ago, when I started reading about “lean startup“, the entrepreneurship methodology by Eric Ries, I remembered a story from my school days that may serve to illustrate the basic features of this methodology.

When I was ten, Santa Claus never brought me my Scalextric car racing game, instead gave me a useful stapler. When we were in class and an assignment needed to be stapled, we used to ask the teacher to do it for us with his own stapler. So with my new gift, my classmate and I decided to make several small writing notebooks that would serve to help us remember our assignments. Continue Reading…

What is Lean Start Up?

17 July, 2013 — 1 Comment
lean startup

Photo by John Fischer on Flickr used under a Creative Commons licence

It is a methodology for the creation of enterprises developed by the entrepreneur and consultant Eric Ries in his book “The Lean Startup” published in 2011. It has been a huge success among entrepreneurs, especially among internet entrepreneurs.

This methodology is based on the idea that a startup is an organization formed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model under conditions of extreme uncertainty.

The main point is to build a minimum viable product with basic features that are supposed interest to customers and launch it quickly to test if the hypotheses are true or not. By this way entrepreneur can learn a lot about the business, his products and his customers. Then, the entrepreneur decides whether to persevere or “pivot”, correcting some of the hypotheses.

encierro

Photo by Globomedia on Flickr used under a Creative Commons licence

These days are special for those of us who live in Pamplona. The city is transformed for nine days during the festival of San Fermin.

Humorously I can say that the skills needed to enjoy the Festival are similar to those that startups entrepreneurs require: Continue Reading…