What does a venture capitalist look for in a winning startup? How does an entrepreneur know when it's time to scale? In this episode of SalesFounders, we explore the playbook of venture capitalist, Paul Ahlstrom, and take a deeper dive into his book, Nail it Then Scale it. Paul shares 4 key strategies that every startup must understand: What is a minimum feature set? How do I validate my solution? What is my go to market strategy? and Why VC's have no interest in your business plan. Do you know what it takes to build a scalable startup? Join us and find out!
MINIMUM FEATURE SET
- Understanding the difference between Minimum Viable Product and Minimum Feature Set
- Start with the features that solve the customer problem. What is the process to accomplish that.
- Focus on the feature set that is most compelling to the customer.
NAILING THE GO TO MARKET STRATEGY
- Level 1 - You and your company - what are the things that I can do with my company to go satisfy that customer?
- Level 2 - Partners - Who are the people that are on the same side of the table as me wanting to sell that customer.
- Level 3 - Influencers - Boundary Spanners - both sides of the line - the people that are the glue of the industry - analysts and guru’s, press and media - key influencers in the space. Don’t go there till 1 and 2 are figured out.
- Level 4 - Advertising and Marketing - This is a branding exercise - the whole industry should scream your name -
Customers can validate but they cannot innovate - Paul Ahlstrom
NAILING THE BUSINESS MODEL
- Getting the essence of the model figured out before you have too much infrastructure is important. It get’s harder to adapt the bigger you get.
- The truth about business plans - a big fat guess
- Getting into the business model competition -
- Hypothesis - requires the big idea canvas
- Go into the field and start having a conversation around this. Discover and uncover the value exchange.
- Sensitivity analysis - When we have the interjection around 15 minutes, that would be good to narrate something different into it.
CROSSING THE CHASM
- What he didn’t know was the step-by-step process
- That’s been my mission - how do we increase the startup pace
- How do we increase the speed of doing things right more
- One of my life missions is to disrupt poverty
- Global corruption index (see below)
- Global poverty index map
- Intangible wealth - effective government and trust and effective judicial systems. It’s what we enjoy in America.
- So how do you transport or create that wealth in other countries.
Paul Ahlstrom is a co-founder and managing director of Alta Ventures, an early-stage venture fund and co-author of Nail it Then Scale it. For more than 30 years, Paul has operated on both sides of the table as a venture-backed entrepreneur (founder of Knowlix, sold to Peregrine Systems, sold to HP) and as an investor. To date, he has raised over $1B and directly invested over $500M in more than 125 startup companies. He earned his BA in communications from Brigham Young University and an honorary doctorate from the Netanya Academic College in Israel.