Mentoring at Techstars

Last Friday I had the pleasure to sit down with an impressive crowd here in Berlin. I was talking to the first Techstars cohort which brought a wide range of marketplaces and software/infrastructure as a service businesses. For quite some years this has been a core expertise of mine and I could provide startups with metrics, conversion hints plus a number of other insights. I found it surprising I could contribute to some other solutions too e.g. app security. But in the end it is not only about sector expertise but also about network and introductions you can make.

These talks have reminded me about two common patterns with startups.

1. Business Intelligence

Startups start gathering and analyzing metrics too late. Founders, metrics show your understanding of your own business. And investors base their investment decisions on metrics e.g. traction, growth etc.. Not measuring the drivers of your business adds to your risk as investment and eventually hinders your investment rounds and valuation.

2. Viral Growth

Founders often ask me how to scale their marketing and sigh how expensive is to acquire qualified traffic. At the same time I see perfectly plausible platforms just missing one brink in order to grow organically. So my advice may sound too philosophical but is quite applicable to many of you: Founders, grasp your platform fully and fix that missing brink to virality first. Money facilitates growth but does not create it.

Special Kudos to @Jens, Brian and the Techstars team. I found the organisation, location and team very strong and focused. Was also pleasantly surprised by the many follow ups from founders. I wish them all the luck and of course I will deliver to my commitments as agreed.