Startups, What Makes One Succeed or Not, and a Little on Funding.



Startups –  We hear a lot about them these days, particularly if you live in the land of vineyards, silicon and venture capital otherwise known as ‘The Bay Area’.  As a serial entrepreneur, it’s enticing.  Hell, it’s more than enticing, it’s intoxicating !  But for every startup that tries to sprout it’s seed ( seed $$ that is ), hundreds of thousands fail.  In 2012, 514,000 new businesses were started according to a recent Mashable article. So where is this all happening.  Well, as suggested, a large percentage is occurring in silicon valley and the bay area but increasingly, the independent spirit that ignites the fire and stokes the coals of an entrepreneurs heart is spreading to cities like Boulder, Co., Austin, Tx, Ft. Collins, Co., Seattle, Wa and Cambridge, Ma.  Cities like Nashville, TN and Charlotte NC are also seeing a rising boom in startup technology companies and incubators as the land is cheap and opportunities are ripe without competition.

From Mashable:

Screen Shot 2015-07-12 at 9.10.29 PM


So let’s talk about what makes one succeed or fail for a moment.  I recently listened to a rather interesting TedTalk on this precise topic by Bill Gross, a serial entrepreneur.  Here are the top five areas from this talk that were evaluated from the standpoint of success or failure :

Screen Shot 2015-07-12 at 8.53.56 PM

Interestingly enough, of these top five elements, I would have guessed that funding would have been the number one reason why most Startups fail, at least that’s what I’de always been told.  I’ve also personally found this to be true.  That said, as it turns out, after having looked at over 100 of both his own and 100 external companies, it turns out the statistics paint a different story as shown below  ( excerpt from his talk ):

Screen Shot 2015-07-12 at 8.54.17 PM

I would have never guessed timing was the most critical element but, in combination with impeccable execution, timing was crucial.

Let’s chat briefly about funding options as it seems I see or hear about a new source of crowdfunding just about every day.  There are many ways to gain seed funding, round A funding, or VC funding – short of going on SharkTank.  This is often accomplished in a step wise fashion as the company gains ground and begins to demonstrate adequate revenue based on market traction.  I’ve listed several companies that provide avenues through which one can solicit for funds.  Bear in mind that if funding is provided from and external source, crowdsourced or otherwise, equity and shares rapidly dilute and your profit margin will be affected accordingly.

Here are a few of the most popular :

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4 thoughts on “Startups, What Makes One Succeed or Not, and a Little on Funding.

  1. Hey Mark,

    This a very interesting article. It is really amazing how easy is to start up a business in USA, in contrast to some European countries. I thing this is a part of the American way of doing things based on individualism and hard personal effort. I was surprised to see that timing is the main success element and not funding or idea!!! I was thinking that implementation /execution, which is coming second in your list, was the major success factor . Thank you for sharing this blog with us.

  2. Mark, you did a great job on the presentation of this complex, yet very interesting topic. Your use of visuals throughout the text keeps the reader stimulated. I think you also wove the external sources smoothly into your blog and particularly like the layout of the 5 essential elements for success. I also like how you include how your perceptions changed after doing your research, “I would have never guessed timing was the most critical element”. I think most readers can relate to this, as it appears one of your commenting readers has already. Great job. I look forward to reading more on your blog.

  3. Hi Mark,

    Interesting post! I agree that you presented a quite complex topic in an interesting and simplified way. The use of the infographics is also quite helpful to demonstrate your point about the most important elements of a start-up and also the top 5 metro areas where start-ups are blossoming. I think your blog really whets the appetite to learn more about this topic, since you have presented in such an easy-to-understand way! Great idea to include a link to the Ted talk that you watched on this topic. Just goes to show the power of bringing together experts (even if it’s indirectly) and like-minded people in a common space and linking them to good resources.

  4. Hi Mark, this is a great post! I appreciate how you broke down a complex topic into an easy to follow blog. I also really liked the link to the topic and the graphics that you chose. Great work!

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