Entrepreneur, Mentor & Coach, Startup consultant, Ex-Angel Investor. Love internet and tech. Networks & Capital - VC. Currently, run Product for a B2B SaaS high growth company from Silicon Valley
I have sat on boards of startups and help them with the business strategy. Also wrote about the business developments of up and coming startups in Silicon Valley.
I have done fundraising for my own startup and invested in several ones. Also done fundraising for non-profits.
I have created a network of entrepreneurs, angels and VCs which I leverage to help new founders.
I work hard in understanding the core principles of a startup business to be able to bring the best value to it.
Leverage my skills in research and critical thinking to bring the best ideas to new companies. Help events understand their outcomes.
The only 2 companies I have heard of that could do something like this are:
1-Airship: they have automated all the processes of dispatching, logistics, customer support, credit analyses, order fulfillment, etc on the backend. In the front end you just built your own e commerce website. It is plug & play and that easy.
They built the order management, inventory system and dispatch on the back of a white label e-commerce site. They are focus on grocery stores so don't know how much it will fit your specific needs.
(Disclosure I know both CEO's and have invested interests
Usually it comes as "extraordinary events", which it would be a specific line apart in the P&L and would necessary have a note to explain the whole situation and how it won't happen again, and what are you doing to mitigate those risks (this is kind of from an accounting perspective and so you can also explain this line item won't show up again -hopefully- in your balance sheet)
First of all I want to clarify one thing on your question that I believe it's not accurate: SaaS is a way to deliver technology (products) not a business model. The counter part of SaaS is on-premise or legacy, which is not a business model but how you deliver your product.
For example, Salesforce is SaaS and their business model is charging per seat or user. Zenefits is a SaaS model and they don't charge the user of the product but take a commission out of insurances. Our company, COMPAS, is SaaS and we charge a monthly fee on an annual contract.
Sorry I didn't answer your question directly but I believe it's more important to ask the right questions before you get the wrong answers.
The best way (in my experience) is try to deliver the value but in a old-school way (not software related). Sometimes this is not possible, so you want to try to get as close as possible to what would be your product.
Example: I wanted to know if people would pay for software that would help them curate and manage their social media feed but get it deliver by email (for 40+ audience). I curated Twitter, LinkedIn and other social network where I could get graphs and started and email list. I got feedback that it was very useful and then I ask them if they would pay for it and how much.
My advice is: find the real value that your SaaS will deliver, and try to do it manually in small scale. Then try to get paid for it. If you get customers, then you may build something to serve them.
**sometimes this is hard to do if the problem you are solving is very complex. In this case you should pitch the solution to possible clients and see if there is enough interest for pre-sales or if they commit to a pilot
This question needs a lot of explanation. It depends what kind of business, what kind of investors and what is the long term goal of both.
If it was tech business, all the money would go to be reinvested in the business tone able to grow it and create as much value as possible. That is the only way investors will get their money back with a good return (and if everything goes well, which is 1% of cases)
If the moment was from family and friends and the business is a lifestyle one, then you should make some kind of repayment plan.
All this as long there is any money left. Remember that revenue is not profit
First thing you should do is talk to a patent lawyer. Specially your employers lawyer.
There is something called "trade secrets" that are consider all the knowledge that you are getting and applying. This secrets could be used by the company to sue you later on. Be very careful before you start. Get consent (written) from them with everything you will be using for your project.
**Im not a lawyer and this is not legal advise. But you should definitely try to get some specially if the success is based on IP & patents
This depends on several things, the two most important imho are: 1-what kind of investor he is 2-what kind of relationship do you want to have
1- There are some investors that are all about spray and pray. They will have 30/50 or even 100 investments. There is no way they can be on top of all of them, so they are more money focus, and if you really need their help then you can ask them. The other extreme is the one that has only a couple and spends time every week because he thinks that you are their lottery ticket. (And everything in be middle)
2-What kind of relationship you want to have
Here what you need to address is the reason why you took money from this person. Was it just for the $$? Advise? Connections? Industry expertise? Guidance? Knowledge on a specific area?(HR,Sales)
Depending on who they are and what kind of relationship you want (and why) you should adapt it to that goal. Once a month investors updates is a common one, but don't settle for what everyone does. Do what is the best for your company.
One more detail. I believe in different investors for different stages of the life of a company. Someone that knows how to build from scratch not necessary is good for scaling. So the involvement in time should also changes as their value also decreases/increases. This applies in time (as in stages) as also in how intensive or hands on they should be.
Short answer: depends on who, why and where.
Maybe this can help you to start: https://medium.com/startup-study-group/1-trick-to-get-a-vc-bd36f9dbff5b#.4vu98nfkb
If you are really thinking about building your product you should first do the alpha and beta. There is a strong community of tech people on Hacker News, ProductHunt and Reddit that will support your idea and even pay in advance if you can show a demo first.
Give you an example: Dropbox. Drew (CEO) made this short video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QmCUDHpNzE about how Dropbox was supposed to work. He send it to all the community and it becomes viral. Everyone started to sign up. He had a fremium model at start, but look at it now.
So I will encourage you to do two things:
Follow this order
1-Go and build your alpha/beta and create a demo that everyone can see and feel excited about
2-Share it with the community
3-If you want to "sell it" in advance you can use selz.com or payloadz.com
And rethink you business model and moentization strategy so it adapts to your product and not the other way.
:) If this helped let me know!
My experience is:
1-Net. It shows that you are committed to the value creation and not only bump sales (that maybe leave no profit). It also helps you get a better understanding of the company as you will get all the financial info of how do they get to that number. If you ask for sales only, you don't know how they are doing.
3-Usually you will ask for the balance sheet or IRS reports (if in the US, gets more tricky outside). This should be good enough. Remember is all based on trust and mutual benefit.
One last piece of advise, set yourself accountable. Ask what do you need from me, how often, what do you expect, what do you want me to deliver. Put it on paper, so then you know that there will be no future problems on what you did. Advise is a complicated asset to value, as clear you can get, the better.
First: I like the website but the friction you create with the email sign up is crazy. Be careful with it and measure the conversion between people visiting the site/sign ups. If the friction is too high there may be a problem.
On which strategy to take, I think if you are asking yourself about aligning with women groups you are asking the right question. You should focus on getting a few loyal users that can teach you where your product creates value for them. With the feedback you can push forward into focusing in the strengths and trying to create a community around it.
I took three calls on Clarity this week, and 2 others from Upwork. Among all my calls, JD stood out as the most caring, thoughtful and generous. He provided tremendous insights for me to consider in growing my business, and gave detailed notes and avenues to consider and why. I look forward to implementing some of the strategies we discussed and look forward to my next call with him. I highly recommend receiving a consultation from JD. Grateful we had time to share!
Great insights and sharing helpful ideas which I can implement. Thanks JD!
JD provided tons of clarity around priorities and fundraising steps. Will certainly be reaching out to him again.
Muy aterrizado y asertivo!
Great call. Came super prepared and gave me a couple of different paradigms for choosing a niche for myself as well as some specific recommendations.
Awesome advisor! Detailed with insights, and empathetic. Highly recommended!
Juan was amazingly helpful with advice on how to approach raising investment for my startup!
AWESOME human being, and valuable insights! Highly recommended. Thank you, JD!
First time using Clarity, although it took me some time to find out who I really want to talk to. (If there is any service or AI bot would be great.)
Luckily I met Juan, he helped me run through critical aspects of my project. He sent me 6 questions before the call, we didn't waste anytime on explaining what my project is. He has great sense of user behavior when building product. His advice on how to start the marketplace model and balance the supply and demand side is very helpful. Thank you!
Every time I use Clarity I feel I'm stealing something and that was magnified after talking with Juan. Tons of value from our conversation and the notes afterwards have been extremely helpful.
Outstanding work, Juan opened my eyes to some flaws in my business plan and pitch deck.