Now that everyone has gone home and the decorations, pizza boxes, and empty bottles from our Stay Foolish Farewell Party have been cleaned up, we wanted to reflect on some of the events that happened and some key lessons shared during our September Startup Bootcamp session.
Our teams from Malaysia arrived at SV In.Fusion’s working space on Monday September 8th eager and motivated to start learning. Over the course of the next two weeks these entrepreneurs were immersed in a thorough and practical education program in business, technology and design, while getting a view into Silicon Valley, its culture, practices and people.
Eight master classes were conducted by top Silicon Valley mentors on topics ranging from Silicon Valley Culture, Networking, to UX/UI Design, and Lean Startup methodologies. Other master classes covered Startup Financing, Growth Hacking, Marketing & SEO and more.
Workshops followed each of the master classes, where we asked the teams to put their new skills into practice and to work on everything from their elevator speeches, pitches, and formal presentations, to their company profiles on social media, their business models and their financial goals. SV In.Fusion and BootstrapLabs worked closely with each team, providing feedback, advice and suggestions.
SV In.Fusion also brought in top startup founders, industry experts and thought leaders who made presentations and led discussions on finding great partners, customer acquisition, pricing and business models, and hiring & recruiting as your startup grows. The group traveled around San Francisco and Silicon Valley meeting and collaborating with founders, startup advisors, and developer relations resources from companies such as Twitter, Google, Amazon, Facebook, eBay/Paypal, Salesforce and more.
Our entrepreneurs really had the opportunity to sharpen their pitches and messaging about their companies. Startup Bootcamp included pitch presentations, pitch training and the ability for each team to make presentations during our VC office hours at Andreessen Horowitz, to visiting investors, and finally to the SV In.Fusion / BootstrapLabs community who joined us for our final pitch event at the Stay Foolish Farewell Party on Friday September 19th.
A large amount of information was shared with our Startup Bootcamp participants We know that they will be reviewing, contemplating and executing on many of the key lessons they learned. Here are some interesting facts, thoughts and tips that our master class mentors and others shared during the Bootcamp:
- Tech startups fail because they lack customers, not funding
- Competition: it is ok to be in a competitive space if you have a better solution
- A rule of thumb: it is easier to keep a current customer than to acquire a new one
- About 50% of your web visitors will not make it past half the article or web page they have landed on
- Major steps in the sales/marketing process: Attract -> Convert -> Close -> Delight
- Customer lifetime value (CLTV) helps you make important business decisions (sales, marketing, product development, customer support)
- NoSQL is hot right now, but unless you have a very specialized application it is recommended that you start with an SQL DB (It’s well worn technology, easy to find trained staff, and you aren’t going to break SQL DBs in your 1st 10M users)
- Don’t reinvent the wheel – use SOAs (Service-oriented architectures) to save time and keep you focused on your application
- Hire “A” Players, hire people smarter than you
- Presentations: the title of each slide is important, many people just read the title
- Bonus tip: Remember the “Rules of the Garage”
Our next Startup Bootcamp starts the 3rd of November, 2014. We are currently interviewing candidates. If you are a startup entrepreneur interested in a program where you can Immerse, Learn, and Apply the lessons of Silicon Valley, we invite you to apply at the SV In.Fusion website. If you know any entrepreneurs that would benefit from our program, please pass along this information and refer them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.