What I learned from Startup Weekend NYC business-to-business edition (B2B)

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The classic Startup Weekend NYC ice breaker: Rock – Paper – Scissors!

Having volunteered at several previous SW events, I found Startup Weekend NYC B2B Edition to be really informative. The event was stacked with helpful mentors and speakers, including Roger Osario, Startup Weekend Facilitator, Eddie Cullen, Community Manager at Grand Central Tech, Tony Chang, Product Manager at Intuit, and Chi Nguyen, Product Strategist at Perka and Lead Organizer of Startup Weekend B2B.

Blaga Popova, Director of Engineering at Voyat and a former Startup Weekend NYC organizer, kicked off the weekend by highlighting some important differences between B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-customer) companies:

B2B companies typically have lesser known brands
B2B companies usually deliver platforms that work behind the scenes and may be white-labelled, whereas B2C companies rely on popularity and brand recognition.

B2B companies have a few large clients, while B2C companies have many customers
B2C companies often build products that create enjoyment or convenience for a wide audience.  Their larger user bases can quickly swing from wild enthusiasm to complete disinterest in a matter of days, creating instability for the  business. Conversely, B2B companies enjoy greater retention rates. Clients take longer to acquire and onboard, but they see the purchase or subscription more as an investment, so they often stay and help improve and steer the product.

B2B companies focus on solving existing problems and maximizing near-term revenue
Investors can be especially tough on B2Bs. Venture capitalists demand more developed business plans that account for revenue, product/market fit, and scalability. The flip side, however, is that B2B companies also tend to stabilize more quickly, so they can rely less on investor funding in the long run.

B2B companies need to consider how to seamlessly integrate with legacy software that already exists
B2C companies have more flexibility to build on trending frameworks and technology. Shane Brauner, Vice President of IT and Operations at Schrödinger and a mentor at SW B2B Weekend, commented, “Lack of integration with existing, legacy  systems is a key blocker for startups who are trying to get businesses to invest in a new technology.”

Overall, I learned a great deal from just the Friday evening kickoff of the Startup Weekend B2B Edition, and I’m curious to know what YOU think. What are some of the biggest similarities or differences between B2B and B2C companies? Which one do you prefer? Let me know in the comments section below!

Edited by Chi Nguyen and Cynthia Knapic.

 








Interview with Our Sponsor: Rockstart

Startup Weekend Amsterdam welcomes back one of the sponsors from last year to the event again: Rockstart

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Rockstart gives startups rock-solid support in their first 1000 days. Since 2012, Rockstart has helped startups from all over the world grow faster. With 2 accelerator programs has helped more than 40 startups take off and created over 250 jobs. Besides accelerator, other initiatives like Rockstart Spaces, Answers and Impact are also part of Rockstart.

We interviewed Don Ritzen, co-founder and Managing Director of Rockstart Accelerator.

What history do you have with Startup weekend?

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The idea of Rockstart also came out of Startup Weekend which we organised for first time in 2009. I participated a Startup Weekend event in Copenhagen and my team won the weekend and afterwards we had members of jury and VC’s coming up to us and saying they’d like to invest, which was mind blowing. The startup continued, raised $2 millions and went to Silicon Valley, I couldn’t go with them. Here in Netherlands Startup Weekend has such an energetic effect that people that win the event or form a very nice team they sometimes quit their jobs right after the weekend but what I noticed is that they struggled to find launching customers or investors. I thought we should have something as a next step after startup weekend. We didn’t have anything like that in Netherlands and no one was doing it so I decided to do it, and met my co-founder Oscar Kneppers at Startup Weekend and together we launched Rockstart.

Why is entrepreneurship important to you?

I think it challenges you to make the most out of yourself and it gives you freedom and autonomy to make your own path. To create something when there’s only a idea is there on paper and make it come to life is the best feeling there is and everyone at Startup Weekend feels that because they start with nothing on Friday evening and they make something out of it by Sunday evening and that is why it’s such a powerful event and I think that is also the essence of entrepreneurship.

What effects SW has on ecosystem of city or country?

It has a big effect on people who join the event; after such a weekend they realise that the idea they have been walking around is not so difficult to implement and together with Sunday evening pitches guests the energy that is in the room on Sunday evening is something you won’t see at other events and that energy spreads across the city, infects other people and encourage them to join the event or do entrepreneurial things on their own.

Why someone with a business idea should come to Startup Weekend Amsterdam?

It simply is the best platform to take your idea to next step. You can keep it to yourself and grow it in your own time but when you start to share, it gets better. With more thoughts and different point of views make something improve. People who have ideas usually don’t do something with them and some years later at some dinner party they say ‘look at the company who raised another 5 million, i had same idea 2 years ago’. Startup weekend is a platform which allows you to do something with your ideas.

Why should people with full time jobs come to Startup weekend even if they don’t want to build their own company?

You leave the weekend very energetic with a lot of ideas and insights in terms of how to do your job differently or better. For example working with business model canvas or working with different people you don’t normally work with gives you a different approach to the usual way of working and that brings a lot of improvement.

Why you decided to sponsor?

It is about giving back  to Startup Weekend as I got a lot from it, it brought be where I am today. I think its nice to have other people have the same experience which i had.

Looking forward to our coming event? Buy your tickets soon. Early Birds Sold Out.

Buy your Startup Weekend Amsterdam 2015 Ticket Now!








Career Goals For 2015

Sort yourself with a new organisational system. Get your emails arranged into folders, file your important paperwork and get a diary and planner on the go. It’s not glamorous stuff but you’ll be pleased at how much more efficient you’ll be. Your career can easily get off track if you allow yourself to slip into sloppy practises – but you can address this in 2015.

Update your CV. Even if you’re not applying for a job it’s always worth keeping on top of your CV. Not only will it mean that you keep an important document up to date but it’ll also force you to reflect on what you’ve achieved and what, if anything, you want to do next. You’ll also be primed and ready should the job of your dreams pop up on Jobstoday. Tie this in with creating or updating your LinkedIn profile – which can be a useful shop window and a way of picking up useful tips to further your own career. 

Challenge yourself to raise your game. Performing well in your job is one sure-fire way to get noticed and move your career on. Set your sights on one particular aspect of your job and zero in on that. Look at how you can improve and set your own personal targets to do better. 

Create your own personal website or blog. The world wide web has room for everyone to showcase their own personal talents. A website or blog can be a useful way of proving your worth to a potential employer as well as giving you an outlet to write or upload information about a passion or hobby – and also a way of people getting in contact with you. It needn’t be expensive or too time consuming either. 

Enter yourself into a suitable training programme. Find out what courses you can take on in your company or with an outside body and use them to develop your skills and add another string to your bow. It’ll boost your career and give you a fresh challenge to get your teeth into. You might also be able to become an expert in a particular field and be someone others turn to for help and advice.

Engage in a discussion about pay. Don’t bottle up any concerns you might have about your salary – book in a chat with your boss and get it off your chest. Keep the conversation professional and courteous and listen to what they have to say. You might want to offer to take on more responsibility in order to earn more. If you don’t ask you might miss out, pick your moment and get this done in 2015.

Downtime is vital – make more space for it in your schedule. Your home life and career are not completely disconnected. One way to succeed in your career is to strike a healthy work/life balance. If you’re not going in to work fresh because you’ve been agonising over work for hours at night you will struggle to succeed. It’s tough to get this right so factor some time in your diary for leisure activities and stick to them.








Startup Grind 2015

Tuve la oportunidad de asistir al evento de emprendimiento y comunidades organizado por Startup Grind en California para el año 2015. Un encuentro de alcance mundial en donde se  dieron cita personajes de alta relevancia en emprendimiento.

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Es interesante poder ver el sentido de comunidad en su máxima expresión. Líderes de comunidad de UP Global compartiendo espacios y en varios casos, proyectos con directores de capítulos regionales de Startup Grind. Dos instituciones unidas por el fin común de desatar la capacidad emprendedora en el mundo.

Llegué al evento con expectativas altas, -siendo en el corazón de Silicon Valley con más de 1500 asistentes y una amplia difusión- y con total agrado puedo decir que fueron superadas. La articulación de actores es impresionante, se logró una dinámica de charlas con un contenido robusto y exitosamente eliminadas las conferencias de “esta es mi super startup, mira lo bien que me ha ido”. El formato de entrevista rápida es muy eficiente para generar preguntas de interés de la audiencia y no caer en el clásico adulamiento de los entrevistadores a los invitados.

A mi parecer, las siguientes son las intervenciones más relevantes del evento:

Gran carisma por parte de Vinod Khosla y su planteamiento sobre la experiencia en los negocios: “los expertos no siempre son las personas ideales para predecir el futuro debido a que efectivamente se convirtieron en expertos de cosas que ahora son parte del pasado”.  Es asombrosa la sencillez de un hombre con una fortuna neta superior a los 1,500 Millones de dólares que realmente se divierte escuchando a los asistentes y de par a par les sugiere, aconseja y hasta bromea con sus peticiones.

La apuesta de Google Ventures es clara. Según Bill Maris, el futuro de la salud humana está en una adecuada distribución de la tecnología que impacte problemas latentes de la población mundial y su supervivencia. Llegar hasta el punto en el que podamos dar por hecho un mundo sin cáncer, sin enfermedades y sin debilitación.

Paul Ahlstrom, fundador de Alta Ventures, nos presentó un video que ilustra de una manera genial lo que se siente y cómo se ve un caso de éxito emprendedor (ver aquí).

Una experiencia de muy alta calidad y que en realidad sirve para hacer un fuerte llamado a la acción. Pasar del asombro y la admiración por las historias de éxito a crear proyectos que cambien realidades y mejoren la vida de las personas.

Para más información de emprendimiento en Latinoamérica, conéctate con nosotros a través de Facebook, Twitter, o LinkedIn.