Category: Startup

The BOOTSTART Manifesto ᔥashmaurya

So far and after 25 years, 6 companies and about 25 partners, I do know how important are this kind of manifestos’. There is a lot of true in it, and needs a lot of grit, vision to keep learning, to sustain the empowerment and must of all, the joy of doing so.

This manifesto from Ash Maurya is a good one to follow and share.


There’s never been a better time to act on your “big idea”. And this manifesto will show you how.

1. Entrepreneurs Are Everywhere

While we may look different and speak different languages, the world is flatter than it’s ever been. We are living through a global entrepreneurial renaissance that can be witnessed in the worldwide explosion of university entrepreneurial programs, startup accelerators, and corporate innovation incubators started in just the last 5 years.

We all want the same things and fear the same things.

2. The Persona of the Garage Entrepreneur Has Changed

Entrepreneurs are no longer just two guys in a garage. They can be found in all walks of life. The reasons for this sudden spike can be attributed to:

  1. Rising student debt 
    Student debt in the United States recently crossed the $1 trillion mark. We are still training the next generation to be workers at an ever increasing tuition cost, but good work has gotten harder to come by…More students are instead seeking out entrepreneurial education and experiences while in college (and even high school) — some with aspirations to build the next Facebook, while others simply want to better equip themselves.
  2. No lifelong employment
    With the security of lifelong employment and pensions gone, more people are looking to get in the driver’s seat and take control of their destiny. Side business startups are on the rise.
  3. The need for large companies to innovate or be disrupted
    The pace of disruptive innovation has been accelerating over the last decade, with Blockbuster being the latest casualty in the news. Even previous disruptors are starting to get disrupted by newcomers. This has magnified the increasingly important role of intrapreneurs.

3. There is No Better Time to Start

What has really accelerated the uptake of entrepreneurship globally is that for the first time in history, we all, more or less, have access to the same tools, knowledge, and resources thanks to the Internet, globalization, and technologies enabled by Open Source and Cloud Computing. It is cheaper and faster than ever before to launch a new business, and there is no better time than the present to start.

This represents an incredible opportunity for all of us.
But there is a dark cloud in all of this.

4. Most Products Still Fail

While we are building more products than ever before, the sad reality is that the success rate of these products hasn’t changed much. The odds are still heavily stacked against starting a new business and most of these products unfortunately still fail.

And that’s a real problem.

We pour a lot of our time, money, and effort into these products. Especially for a first-time entrepreneur, these failures can be a real setback both emotionally and also financially.

5. A Dozen Reasons Why Products Fail

Here are twelve reasons we commonly attribute to failed ideas:

  1. No money
  2. Poor team
  3. Poor product
  4. Bad timing
  5. No customers
  6. Competition
  7. Lack of focus
  8. Lack of passion
  9. Bad location
  10. Not profitable
  11. Burn out
  12. Legal issues

6. The Number One Reason Why Products Fail

At the heart of all these reasons is one core reason:
We simply build something nobody wants.

All the others are secondary manifestations or rationalizations of this brutal reality.

Why does this happen? I attribute the entrepreneur’s singular passion for their solution as the top contributor to this failure. This is the Innovator’s Bias that causes us to fall in love with our solution and makes “bringing our baby to life” our sole mission.

But a build-first approach is backwards. It’s backwards because you can’t brute-force a solution without a pre-existing problem.

7. The Number Two Reason Why Products Fail

Failing at something requires starting. The number two reason why products fail is that they never even get started. We spend too much time analyzing, or planning, or making excuses for not starting — we wait to first write a business plan, or find investors, or move to Silicon Valley.

8. You Don’t Need Permission to Start

The world has changed. Going back just a decade, starting up was expensive. Getting software licenses to build your product, or office space to meet with your team, required capital investment. Today, all these things are free.

The question today isn’t:
“Can we build this?”

“Should we build this?”

You don’t need lots of money, people, or time to answer this question. Here’s how…

9. Love the Problem, Not Your Solution

It starts with a fundamental mind shift. Your customers don’t care about your solution but their goals. Identify the problems or obstacles that get in the way of their goals, and you identify the right solution to build.

Having more passion for your solution than your customer’s problem, is a problem.

10. Don’t Write a Business Plan

Business plans take too long to write and nobody reads the whole thing anyway. Create a 1-page business model instead. It takes 20 minutes versus 20 days. People can’t help but read it and share what they think. That’s a win.

Spend more time building versus planning your business.

11. Your Business Model is THE Product

There is no business in your business model without revenue. Revenue is like oxygen. While you don’t live for oxygen, you need oxygen to live. Your world-changing idea is the same.

Before rushing to build, make sure that the underlying problems you identified in the previous step represent a monetizable problem worth solving.

The best evidence of monetizable pain is a check being written.

12. Focus on Time Versus Timing

You can’t control the timing of your idea but you can control how long you spend on your idea. Unlike money or people which can fluctuate up or down, time only moves in one direction.

Time is your scarcest resource. Spend it wisely.

Time-box everything. The power of a deadline is that it comes due — provided, of course, that the world doesn’t come to an end first. Set an appointment with your team to share your results and discuss how you move forward from wherever you end up by the deadline. Set another deadline and go. This is the best way to hold yourself accountable.

13. Not Acceleration, But Deceleration

Optimizing for time does not mean going fast on everything, but rather slowing down to focus on the right thing. Pareto’s 80/20 rule applies here. Your biggest results will come from just a few key actions.

Your job is to prioritize what’s riskiest first and ignore the rest — until it becomes what’s riskiest.

14. Not Faux Validation, But Traction

The number of features, size of your team, or how much money you have in the bank are not the right measures of progress.

There is only one metric that matters — TRACTION.

Traction is the rate at which you capture monetizable value from customers.

Don’t ask people what they think of your idea.
Only customers matter.

Don’t ask customers what they think of your idea.
Measure what they do.

15. Remove Failure from Your Vocabulary

The fail-fast meme is all about embracing failure as par for the course. However, the taboo of failure is so crippling that most people work really hard to avoid, sugar-coat, or run away from failure. This is counter-productive. You need to instead completely remove “failure” from your vocabulary.

  1. Break your big ideas or strategies into small, fast, additive experiments.
  2. Use staged rollouts to implement your ideas from small to large scale.
  3. Double-down on good ideas, and silently discard your bad ideas.

When you do these three things, you aren’t failing, but course-correcting towards a larger goal.

Be brutal with your ideas but have faith in yourself.

16. It’s Time to Act on Your Big Idea

There are no shortages of problems in the world. As an entrepreneur, you are wired differently. You are wired to seek out solutions. All you have to do is channel your attention on the right problem. And you’ll leave the world better off than when you entered it. Isn’t that all that really matters?

Don’t waste this moment. It’s time to dust off the ideas deep in the recess of your mind and take action.

It’s time to reboot, level up, and start.

TAKE ACTION | Get more details or learn more about BOOTSTART.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR | Ash Maurya is the best-selling author of Running Lean, and the creator of the popular 1-page business model format: Lean Canvas. His mission is to help entrepreneurs everywhere succeed.

Please share this manifesto with others.

Link to original:

Is This Startup Ready For Investment? Via: steveblank Blog

ᔥ Posted on  by steveblank

Since 2005 startup accelerators have provided cohorts of startups with mentoring, pitch practice and product focus. However, accelerator Demo Days are a combination of the graduation ceremony and pitch contest, with the uncomfortable feel of a swimsuit competition. Other than “I’ll know it when I see it”, there’s no formal way for an investor attending Demo Day to assess project maturity or quantify risks. Other than measuring engineering progress, there’s no standard language to communicate progress.

Corporations running internal incubators face many of the same selection issues as startup investors, plus they must grapple with the issues of integrating new ideas into existing P&L-driven functions or business units.

What’s been missing for everyone is:

  • a common language for investors to communicate objectives to startups
  • a language corporate innovation groups can use to communicate to business units and finance
  • data that investors, accelerators and incubators can use to inform selection

While it doesn’t eliminate great investor judgment, pattern recognition skills and mentoring, we’ve developed an Investment Readiness Level tool that fills in these missing pieces.


Investment Readiness Level (IRL) for Corporations and Investors
The startups in our Lean LaunchPad classes and the NSF I-Corps incubator use LaunchPad Central to collect a continuous stream of data across all the teams. Over 10 weeks each team gets out of the building talking to 100 customers to test their hypotheses across all 9 boxes in the business model canvas.

We track each team’s progress as they test their business model hypotheses. We collect the complete narrative of what they discovered talking to customers as well as aggregate interviews, hypotheses to test, invalidated hypotheses and mentor and instructor engagements. This data gives innovation managers and investors a feel for the evidence and trajectory of the cohort as a whole and a top-level view of each teams progress. The software rolls all the data into an Investment Readiness Level score.

(Take a quick read of the post on the Investment Readiness Level – it’s short. Or watch the video here.)

The Power of the Investment Readiness Level: Different Metrics for Different Industry Segments
Recently we ran a Lean LaunchPad for Life Sciences class with 26 teams of clinicians and researchers at UCSF.  The teams developed businesses in 4 different areas– therapeutics, diagnostics, medical devices and digital health.  To understand the power of this tool, look at how the VC overseeing each market segment modified the Investment Readiness Level so that it reflected metrics relevant to their particular industry.

Medical Devices
Allan May of Life Science Angels modified the standard Investment Readiness Level to include metrics that were specific for medical device startups. These included; identification of a compelling clinical need, large enough market, intellectual property, regulatory issues, and reimbursement, and whether there was a plausible exit.

In the pictures below, note that all the thermometers are visual proxies for the more detailed evaluation criteria that lie behind them.

Device IRL

Investment Readiness Level for Medical Devices

You can watch the entire presentation here

Karl Handelsman of CMEA Capital modified the standard Investment Readiness Level (IRL) for teams developing therapeutics to include identifying clinical problems, and agreeing on a timeline to pre-clinical and clinical data, cost and value of data points, what quality data to deliver to a company, and building a Key Opinion Leader (KOL) network. The heart of the therapeutics IRL also required “Proof of relevance” – was there a path to revenues fully articulated, an operational plan defined. Finally, did the team understand the key therapeutic liabilities, have data proving on-target activity and evidence of a therapeutic effect.

Therapeutics IRL

You can see the entire presentation here

Digital Health
For teams developing Digital Health solutions, Abhas Gupta of MDV noted that the Investment Readiness Level was closest to the standard web/mobile/cloud model with the addition of reimbursement and technical validation.

Digital Health

Todd Morrill wanted teams developing Diagnostics to have a reimbursement strategy fully documented, the necessary IP in place, regulation and technical validation (clinical trial) regime understood and described and the cost structure and financing needs well documented.

Diagnostics IRL

You can see the entire presentation here

For their final presentations, each team explained how they tested and validated their business model (value proposition, customer segment, channel, customer relationships, revenue, costs, activities, resources and partners.) But they also scored themselves using the Investment Readiness Level criteria for their  market. After the teams reported the results of their self-evaluation, the  VC’s then told them how they actually scored.  We were fascinated to see that the team scores and the VC scores were almost the same.

Lessons Learned

  • The Investment Readiness Level provides a “how are we doing” set of metrics
  • It also creates a common language and metrics that investors, corporate innovation groups and entrepreneurs can share
  • It’s flexible enough to be modified for industry-specific business models
  • It’s part of a much larger suite of tools for those who manage corporate innovation, accelerators and incubators

P.S. if you want to learn more abut the IRL and other tools, we teach a 2-day class for corporate innovation, accelerators and incubators. Info here

Link to Original Steve Blank blog post:

Is This Startup Ready For Investment?.