Returned at 1:30am this morning from San Francisco and the True Ventures founders camp, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
I love being around entrepreneurs because they have an insatiable desire to learn. Otherwise, they cannot succeed. The market has a way of humbling you and making you constantly strive to learn. I love this environment.
State of the Valley
John Callahan opened the camp and talked about the state of the startup world in Silicon Valley. He said that there is a lot of seed capital, but very little B and C round capital. It’s going to be a tight time for seed startups for the next 12 months. (Note: if you’re struggling to find talent, make lots of connections with the startups because stats say that 60 percent of them will become available in 6-12 months)
Interestingly, in 2011, we introduced ourselves with a small handful of companies (maybe 4-7, I can’t remember). This year, there were 39 new companies! That reflects both the growth of True Ventures and the state of the seed market. Only the hotest companies are going onto B and C right now.
True Ventures has invested over 100 million in the last 12 months and the companies have created over 500 new jobs
Finally, one of my favorite take-aways from the camp was a session by Sean Ellis (from Qualaroo) on how to determine if you’re ready to scale. Or, better said, how to get ready to scale. Sean has a post called the Start-up pyramid that is a high-level version of his session.
Qualaroo – Sean Ellis
- Build desire
- Reduce friction
- combos of hooks and promise
- address conversion issues
- front load aha moments
- Smooth path to must-have UX
- Max % that reach experience
- What is the primary benefit that you have received? (multiple choice – is step 2)
- Why was the benefit important? (open ended survey)
- User testing (live or online)
- Query to correlate action to long-term engagement
- Survey with activity filter
- by event – what have they done?
- by lifecycle – how long have they been doing it?
- Product/Market Fit
- Optimize Conversions
- Optimize Macro/Micro Engagement
- Maximize LTV
Net Promoter Score – big brands? A mistake for startups, he thinks. He invests in the NPS companies that are not overpriced.