Contemplating a tech startup?
Hey you, with the app idea!
Think lean. So say the experts. Launching a web or mobile app requires the same smart business planning, savvy leadership and sound management as launching any other business. . . and then some.
If you plan to raise investment capital, you need to at least be able to bootstrap your way to a minimum viable product (MVP). Not exactly Most Valuable Player status, but sort of. An MVP is a product that has just enough features to gather valuable data about how it functions and performs so as to justify moving forward with development. Lean could be the one quality that keeps your product alive through the bumps and hurdles on the road to launch.
Silicon Valley entrepreneur Eric Ries and his Lean Startup movement argue that lean is the most cost-effective method for product developers, the most scalable for future growth, the most approachable for team development, and the easiest way to get in the door without breaking the bank. I couldn’t agree more.
What else besides lean? Investors want to know about your team — who’s on it, how do you work, what’s your process. Do your founding members bring complementary strengths to the table? Do they offer a diverse set of experiences? Asked what they look for in a startup, the folks at TechStars say “team, team and team, (followed by market, progress and idea),” as reported on their blog. Despite the cutting edge, latest-and-greatest persona, the app world values people and their skill sets, work experience and character as much as any industry in today’s marketplace. Good to know.
Investors also keep an eye on your marketing plan and look closely at your ability to gain traction, a concept tied to early use. They want to see users engaging with your app to make purchases, view ads or do whatever it is you’re asking them to do in order to realize an income stream. The idea is to gain traction early, to move from development and experimentation to the real thing as quickly and as efficiently as possible.