Education, entrepreneurship, startup

On the state of Startups in Rhineland

Düsseldorf, NRW Germany

Düsseldorf, NRW Germany

Gründerszene has interesting piece about the state of startups in the state of North-Rhine Westphalia (NRW) where I reside and have been championing as a great place to found your startup in since 2011.

I got asked about my opinion about the startup scene in Düsseldorf. Is it all roses?

Here’s the bit translated from German:

“But the startup scene is growing in other cities. The Cologne co-working space Startplatz is now represented here [DUS] since September last year. Monthly events like the Rheinland Pitch provide for networking opportunities and inspiration. The Factory Campus also opened in the recent Dusseldorf Startup Week. That is to say the startup spirit is flying high also in Düsseldorf?

Serial founder Vidar Andersen sees it differently. The Norwegian was previously instrumental in the Cologne startup scene, for example in bringing Startup Weekend to Cologne back in 2012. He sees potential for improvements in Düsseldorf, where he now lives.

‘Düsseldorf is today where Cologne was a couple of years ago’, he says. ‘The scene hasn’t self-identified as such yet, and it is being dominated by service providers like coworking spaces, corporates and investors at the moment. The founders are missing’.”

Yes, I think the Feeders (service providers) still think they are the Leaders (must be the founders) in Düsseldorf. Perhaps the Feeders would do wise in getting onboard the Boulder Thesis as it has to be the other way around to grow a successful ecosystem:

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Customer Development, Education, entrepreneurship, Lean Startup, startup

Customer Development Resources for Startups

First rule of Customer Development Club: No selling! Ever!

First rule of Customer Development Club: No selling! Ever!

A first time founder of a very early-stage startup asked me recently about how to do customer interviews (aka doing the Customer Development part of the methodologies collectively known as The Lean Startup) properly.

I get asked this question a lot. Because doing customer interviews is for many like Justin Wilcox puts it, “a special kind of torture”.

At the end of this article, you’ll find a bunch of resources to help you conduct customer interviews like a boss. But first, let’s take a look at what this Customer Development thing is, why it is so important and how to avoid the usual mistakes.

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Education, entrepreneurship, startup

Vesting For Startup Founders Explained

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It’s pretty much expected by your potential investors that your startup should have a 4 year vesting plan with a 1 year cliff, accelerated on an exit event with a double trigger for the founders. But what does all this mean?

BTW: If you like this post, you’ll probably love the much more in-depth Pitching Masterclass.

It’s a question I get asked all too often by first-time startup founders, so I’ll try to explain it here once and for all. You don’t need to be a lawyer to understand it. Read on to master your vesting.

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Education, entrepreneurship, pitching, startup

How to Pitch Your Startup

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Yours truly live on stage at LeWeb in Paris pitching “Gauss — The People Magnet” (Image CC @francois_tancre)

How to Pitch Your Startup

I see a lot of startup pitches and pitch decks. And most of them suck. So let me share some basic knowledge to help you avoid my rookie mistakes and to help you massively improve your pitch before you reach out to investors, before you start raising that funding round.

(If you like this post, you’ll probably love the much more in-depth Pitching Masterclass.)

There are actually three pitches you need to master. Read on to master them all.

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