Posts Tagged ‘igap’

Deadline for iGAP 3 Fast Approaching

conor 31st of August 2011 by conor

I’ve never heard a negative word said about iGAP (The Internet Growth Acceleration Programme). If you are an internet start-up and you have €3,000, it may be the best investment you could make in the future of your company.

The deadline is Friday 9th so get your skates on. Great post over on the EI blog with quotes from those who took part in the previous two.

 

Why you should consider applying for iGap

admin 16th of August 2010 by admin

This a guest post by Keith Bohanna co-founder of dbtwang. Keith is an experienced internet consultant/trainer to many Irish organizations, and is involved with numerous initiatives @ startups in Ireland. Keith participated in the first iGap Programme promoted by Internet Growth Alliance & Enterprise Ireland

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Between November 2009 and April 2010 15 Irish internet businesses were brought through 6 days of workshops and coaching to force them to refine and focus their business models and commercial propositions.

It worked really well and this post give you our take on it as one of the participants.

First of all we had to pitch for the place – last year over 40 businesses went for the 15 places and you can expect that to go up significantly this Autumn when the call for iGAP 2 goes out as each of us as participants are passionate advocates of the programme and process.

Having been awarded a place we turned up at the first of 6 day long workshops. Key differentiator here between this and some other programmes – the majority of the workshops were lead by an experienced entrepreneur based in either the UK or the USA.

So we experienced:

Jonathan Dillon – Strategy and Value Proposition

Coming out of a background of Yahoo Strategic Partnerships and Acquisitions he now works with technology businesses across 3 continents.
His session was about the broad focus of our businesses – the market we were after, our growth ambitions and our positioning.

This was the first time I had heard the acronym BHAG – Big Hairy Audacious Goal.

Ed Bussey – Monetisation and Revenue Models

Ed is a serial entrepreneur who has been successfully involved in figleaves.co.uk and then ZYB. He now runs Clash Media.
He spent the day working through the various models open to internet and technology businesses and then helped us explore the likely parameters around how each model works in reality – ie how we should manage our expectations and assumptions when forecasting.

Justin Knecht – Customer Centric Service and Product Design

Justin straddled the academic and entrepreneurial worlds at the time with a post in the Centre for Design Innovation in Sligo and a flegling start-up – Perfect Pints. Since then he has committed full time to the world of self employment!

He explored the fuzzy world of brand and services with us and forced us to consider the practical impact of “customer touch points” as we continued to design and implement our services and solutions.

Sean Ellis – Marketing & Customer Acquisition

Sean was the closest thing (next to Jonathan) to a consultant on the programme – but he has some pedigree. An advisor to businesses such as KISSmetrics and Performable he is one of a number of A list bloggers in the area of lean start-ups and metrics.

With his session being in January we missed the day (we were attending the NAMM trade show in LA). He covered the key need to focus early and often on customer needs – with the Product/Market fit being crucial. So you establish exactly what people want and will pay for before you start expensive marketing and sales campaigns.

Oren Michels – Internet Business Development

Oren runs Mashery – an API enabler and general powerhouse in San Francisco. He has also founded businesses (WiFinder) and been involved at senior level in Feedster.

He gave us a great grounding in Business Development – helping to position it in terms of sales and also providing a process by which business partnerships could be identified, flitered and negotiated.
He also said that API’s are essential! Which is very likely true for any internet business intent on scaling

Brian Caufield – Preparing for Funding

Brian has been a VC (Trinity VC), a founder (SImilarity Systems) and an angel investor. He was also the programme lead for iGAP.

He laid out the reality of funding in Ireland – how the game is played at each stage, what exactly those stages are and what to expect as you move through each of them.

Thats some detail – what was the outcome? Based on the output (a 10 minute pitch session to a panel of entrepreneurs in front of 50 people) I can honestly say that every single one of us as participants could see major improvement in each others propositions.

We had heard them all in the opening sessions in November and by 21st April every business was more clearly focused with much a stronger value proposition and a compelling reason to invest in them. That is a very tangible outcome – it makes each of us much more likely to succeed by virtue of positioning, focused effort and better communication.

Specifically for dbTwang we may well have received the prize for best improved pitch. We started with wooly aspirations (in the hairy Aran Knit category) around a social network for guitar lovers and aspirations towards premium content.

We are about to launch in August (just waiting on that elusive merchant account) a premium service called Guardian which will help musicians and guitar enthusiasts protect their guitars from loss. It addresses a specific pain in the marketplace and is a very clear proposition with strong positioning.

Thanks are due to the guys in the Internet Growth Alliance – Colm Lyon, Ray Nolan and Dylan Collins principally – whose experience of successful startups helped them formulate a programme which is directly relevant to helping high potential startups become global faster and more successfully. They managed to get the attention of Enterprise Ireland where Ray Walsh and Jennifer Condon carved out funding and Sarah Buckley ran things.

Final point worth noting – while the programme is aimed at High Potential Startups not every participant who started iGAP 1 had HPSU status. That might change this time round in iGap 2

Apply now for iGap 2

Alliance iGap Programme kicks off

admin 25th of November 2009 by admin

The Alliance Internet Growth Acceleration Programme has kicked off with fifteen Irish internet businesses selected, attending a 2 days residential covering “strategy and value proposition revenue/monetisation models” at the Knightsbrook hotel, Trim.

The launch of the iGAP programme was sponsored by Realex Payments

Companies selected include

Travelaffiliate

Lantenant

Sonru

Getitkeepit

Trezur

Eventelephant

MicksGarage

Cloudsplit

Eurolanguages

dbtwang

Spoiltchild

coclarity

Onformonics

Copperfasten

Panodo

Product Management – Useful tips

admin 22nd of October 2009 by admin

In Ireland we constantly hear that we don’t have enough skills/resources @ product management.

Here is some useful tips, resources, etc to check out.

The Role
The role of product manager is to capture the product vision and make it happen. The person is usually a jack of all trades, with a background in Computer Science/MBA. They normally work with small, agile engineering teams.

Initial Idea – Product Vision
Initial product requirements are captured – usually on a wiki – from a variety of sources [powerpoint, napkin, funding documents, etc]

Check out some useful wiki services – such as Google sites, Socialtext or Confluence.

One useful trick is to apply the Working Backwards model – as used in Amazon, Microsoft, etc.

The Lean Startup
The Lean Startup is a practical approach for creating and managing a new breed of company that excels in low-cost experimentation, rapid iteration, and true customer insight.

Check this video from Eric Ries, at the recent Seedcamp

One of the key concepts from Lean Startup is Customer Development – and I would recommend everyone to read Steve Blank’s book on the subject – Four Steps to the Epiphany

Sean Ellis, presented at recent Seedcamp on Customer Development [note: Sean is participating in IGAP Programme]

Once you have a plan/idea documented, you can start to build stuff. Currently most teams work to an iterative Agile process like Scrum. Some great tools that support these methologies are Jira/Greenhopper – great for small teams, who maybe located all over the world, who want to ensure transparency on what’s getting done.

This video is good at explaining Scrum

Most VCs and Angel investors, are preaching the power of Lean Startups – check what Ron Conway and Mike Maples have to say in these videos.

Watch it on Academic Earth

Product/Market Fit
Original product designs are usually minimalist – Product Management conduct some user studies, with a focus on asking lots questions – What does user really care about?

With lots of experimentation – a focus on low fidelity prototyping. Tools such as balsamiq make prototyping UI very easy.

In a lot of cases – releasing an early version into public domain, to see if users respond well.

Bottom Line – you’re looking for Product Market Fit.

Analytics
Finally analytics play a critical part in product management. The goal is to make the product better over time from feedback, from metrics, etc.

Dave McClure is one of the best guys at articulating Startup Metrics – amongst others like Andrew Chen, Scott Rafer, etc.

Check out a recent presentation from Dave at FOWA

Start-up Metrics that Matter by Dave McClure from Carsonified on Vimeo.

Summary

1. Work Backwards
2. Lean Startup
3. Customer Development
4. Product/Market Fit
5. Analytics

iGAP – Internet Growth Accelerator Programme Launches

conor 29th of September 2009 by conor

Today saw the launch of a new joint initiative between Enterprise Ireland and the Internet Growth Alliance headed by Colm Lyon of Realex called iGAP.

Over 6 months from November 2009 onwards, iGAP will focus on practical learning and intensive support for Irish web businesses who wish to grow aggressively at an international level.

The programme will culminate in a funding pitch scenario where the participants be put to the test by experienced venture capital and angel investors. Participants will also be partnered with an experienced business leader who will act as an implementation coach to ensure the programme learning is embedded into the company.

The full cost of the Internet Growth Acceleration Programme is €10k per company (2 participants). Enterprise Ireland will fund 80% of this cost leaving a company fee of €2k.

A very welcome aspect of the programme is that it is open to to non-clients of Enterprise Ireland too so it won’t be a love-in of the usual suspects. The presence of some real heavy hitters in the industry means this really is a very serious initiative and has tons of upside for those who participate.

Closing Date for Applications is October 16th.