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Guest Writer
February 12, 2016

Startup Basics 101 with Yatan Blumenthal | Growth

The word is out! You might have heard it; in March starts a brand new accelerator at ours! Who, what, where? EY start-­up challenge,​ in collaboration with b​etahausX.​ Great reason to ask our Chief Accelerator Yatan Blumenthal to write a series of blogs, and share some basic startup insights.

Phase #3: Growth

You have now overcome rejection, and your business idea and product have changed significantly. You’ve gone through many iterations and you’ve logged your learnings. You have revenue and proudly read the black numbers on your P&L sheet.


Pick your (Un)management Systems

When you have a small team, communications aren’t very complex, but you never know how fast your team will expand. This is why it’s important to think about the way you organize yourself from the very start. There is a wealth of management systems which work well, you just have to find your flavor. A developer team’s favorites are Agile and Kanban boards. Another one up and coming is Holacracy, employed by Zappos. It’s focused on distributed authority and Objectives- Key Results (OKR) system. Each system has its’ pros and cons; pick one, execute it, and you and your team will naturally find what suits you best. You’ll thank yourselves for taking the time to do so.


"There is a wealth of management systems which work well, you just have to find your flavor"


Culture eats strategy for breakfast

Take a  deep look into your company’s culture. What habits do you have as a founder that you are implicitly or explicitly ‘transfering’ to your employees? It’s of paramount importance that your team has a set of collective habits that you stick to, and that you constantly improve. If you don’t have habits, you’ll lose the overview once your company grows bigger.

Also think about what defines your company. Spirit of innovation, focus on fun, ability to fail and learn quickly? Whatever it is, make sure it’s reflected in your daily, weekly and monthly habits as a team. Recently I came across something called a “stinky fish” session. Stinky fish in this case means; what do you have in your pants’ pocket, that will start to stink if you keep it for too long? Having these sorts of sessions make a big difference for your team.


"what do you have in your pants’ pocket, that will start to stink if you keep it for too long?"


Keep a blog & tell the world what you know, experience, and learn

You are growing, so people want to know more about you. If you haven’t already done so, consider opening a blog or ‘online magazine’. Writing about things you learn or things you have knowledge about can teach your customers, business partners, and professional network something new. If you do, it can make a big difference in how they perceive you. It can also serve as a great tool for content marketing. Take a look at the buffer blog, which people read just because it describes first hand experiences regarding remote working, culture, project management tools, and more. The onemonth blog goes deep into methods for productivity. Go all in! Keeping a blog will also train you in communicating more concise and clearly.


"You are growing, so people want to know more about you"


Take the revenue path that most fits your strategy

Last but not least, consider your growth needs. Do you have one core tech that you need to develop, or will you need to attack the market aggressively to make sure you stay ahead? What are your needs and costs in terms of Research & Development? Remember the principles of testing and iterating from phase 2. They’ll save you big amounts of cash and time. To all questions such as the aforementioned, you should have clear answers. Only then can you make an informed decision about whether it’s best for you to finance your own growth, go into debt, or get VC funding. If you pick a VC as your source of financing, make sure they have “smart money” and can add more value than just zeros to your bank account.

Rather than taking advice from consultants or people ‘outside’, try to answer questions yourself, together with your team and your customers. Your company is unique, and while you can learn from others, the answers to your questions will always be at least a little bit different, than they are or were for everybody else.


"try to answer questions yourself, together with your team and your customers"


Wanna learn more and get all right from the start? Applications for the ​EY start­-up challenge are open until February 14th. Worried about travel expenses because you’re not in Berlin? Travel expenses up to €7.5 K are covered!

Why stop here? Find some more interesting articles here!

In addition to the betahaus locations, we've formed a close relationship with some of the world's best coworking spaces. With your betahaus membership, you can work from any of our partner spaces for 1 day per month.

Coworking Spaces in Europe

Republikken // Copenhagen, Denmark // Vesterbrogade 26, 1620 København V, Denmark

Le Laptop // Paris, France // 6 Rue Arthur Rozier, 75019 Paris, France

Le Laptop - Coworking Paris

utopic_US // Madrid, Spain // Calle de la Colegiata, 9, 28012 Madrid, Spain

utopic_US - Coworking Madrid

Nest 71 // Saravejo, Bosnia & Herzegovina // Milana Preloga 12, Sarajevo 71000, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Nest 71 - Coworking Bosnia & Herzegovina


Toolbox // Milan, Italy // Via Agostino da Montefeltro, 2, 10134 Torino, Italy

Edspace // London, England // Block D, Hackney Community College, Falkirk St, London, UK

Bios // Athens, Greece // Pireos 84, Athina 104 35, Greece


CoWorx // Kristiansand, Norway // Markens Gate 8, 4611 Kristiansand, Norway

CRU – Loja / Cowork // Porto, Portugal // Rua do Rosário 211, 4050-524 Porto, Portugal

SPARK // Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina // Bleiburških žrtava, Mostar 88000, Bosnia & Herzegovina

StartUp Armenia Foundation // Yerevan, Armenia // 0019, 1 Marshal Baghramyan Ave, Yerevan 0019, Armenia

Tøyen Startup Village // Oslo, Norway // Hagegata 23, 0653 Oslo, Norway

Tøyen Startup Village - Coworking Oslo

Smart Coworking // Prague, Czech Republic // Václavské nám. 806/62, 110 00 Nové Město, Czechia

Smart Coworking - Coworking Prague

Lighthouse // Tel Aviv, Israel // HaHaroshet 14-16 Ra'anana, Tel Aviv, Isreal

Lighthouse - Coworking Tel Aviv

Coworking Spaces in North America

Fueled // New York City, USA // 11, 568 Broadway, FL 11, New York, NY 10012, United States **Maximum 3 Days


Capital Factory // Austin, USA // 701 Brazos St, Austin, TX 78701, United States

Público // Mexico City, Mexico // Puebla 403, Roma Nte., 06700 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico

Coworking Spaces in South America

Area Tres // Buenos Aires, Argentina // El Salvador: El Salvador 5218, C1414BPV CABA, Buenos Aires, Argentina // Soho: Malabia 1720, C1414DMJ CABA, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Area Tres - Coworking Buenos Aires


HubBOG // Bogota, Colombia // Cl. 98 #18-71, Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia

HubBOG - Coworking Bogota

Coworking Spaces in Asia

CIT // Taipei, Taiwan // 10452, Taiwan, Taipei City, Zhongshan District, 玉門街1號

CIT - Coworking Taipe


Of10 // Mumbai, India // Prudential, Ground Floor, Hiranandani Gardens, Powai, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400076, India


Kibar // Jakarta, Indonesia // Jl. Prof. Moh. Yamin No.1, RT.7/RW.5, Menteng, Kota Jakarta Pusat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 10310, Indonesia

Midori.so // Tokyo, Japan // Midori.so Nakameguro: 3 Chome-3-11 Aobadai, Meguro-ku, Tōkyō-to 153-0042, Japan // Midori.so Nagatacho: 2 Chome-5 Hirakawachō, Chiyoda-ku, Tōkyō-to 102-0093 // Midori.so2: 3 Chome-13 Minamiaoyama, Minato-ku, Tōkyō-to 107-0062, Japan

Midori.so - Coworking Tokyo

Launchgarage Innovation Hub // Manila, Philippines // Level 2, Industria Mall, Circulo Verde, Calle Industria, Bagumbayan, Quezon City, 1110 Metro Manila, Philippines

Coworking Spaces in Australia

Independent Studios // Melbourne, Australia // 39/40 Porter St, Prahran VIC 3181, Australia

Coworking Spaces in Africa

Urban Station EGYPT // Cairo, Egypt // 2 Wadi El Nil Mohandeseen, Cairo, Egypt

Urban Station EGYPT - Coworking Cairo

Nairobi Garage // Nairobi, Kenya // Nairobi Garage, The Mirage, Chiromo Rd, Nairobi, Kenya

Nairobi Garage - Coworking Nairobi


BONUS: Cowork & Relax at the Coliving Space, Coconat // Brandenburg, Germany // Klein Glien 25 14806 Bad Belzig, Germany // Get €10 off your stay


Toni: Currently, we’ve somehow ended up in this niche of building a lot of internal tools for startups and teams. But this is not the only thing we want to do. What I like about it is that we’re starting projects from scratch and we have full control over them. 

Martin: The first project we worked on was a tool for a large scale real estate development company. What they needed was a tool for their Sales people - to be able to mark their different spots and locations at different stages of the sales funnel. So we created a tool that helps them in this process.

Toni: And this one actually served as a starting point for the tool we’ve developed for  betahaus, which aims to allow the Sales and Management team to see which team rooms are occupied right now, which ones are free or will be occupied in a few weeks or months, so no double bookings appear. 

Alex: These two projects were more focused on real estate, let’s say, but we’ve also done more design-heavy projects like the one we did for Artique which is an online artists agency. For them, we built a whole website and an online system to present their artists starting only from their logo. It had to be very flexible, because the artists needed to be able to edit their own profiles, putting their resume, changing colours.

Toni: Honestly, we have skillsets that you don’t usually find in developers. Because we've had lives that were not just about computer science. I think to some extent this is what makes us different. 

Martin: I believe one of the reasons why people pick us over other studios is because it can be very hard working with developers. If you’re not understanding their work, if the communication is not flowing, you, as a client can feel lost. We're easy to communicate with and we’re always open to feedback and we're open to discuss anything. In the end, after all iterations, if you say we need to start the website from scratch and that you don’t like the idea, we won’t take it personally. 

Alex: Also, I think, since we all work as coding teachers, we are officially qualified to explain what coding is to people who don't code, which is actually really rare because a lot of developers, as Martin says, don't want to, or literally just don't know how to articulate what they're doing. Whereas we are trained in articulating what it is that we're doing, why it's meaningful and why it takes a certain amount of time.

Photo by Lea GK

Alex: Zimt & Mehl - the Turkish bakery around the corner. It’s just soo good.

Martin: Oh, there is this Italian restaurant called Ristorante del Arte

Tony: Oh, my God, this place is so funny. It looks like a pretty average Italian restaurant, but the whole interior design inside is just decorated in such a weird way. The entire place is covered in frescoes. They have crystal chandeliers and Easter bunnies. Some Greek columns. It has a different name on the menu, on the side and on the Internet. And it was an ex-shoe-store.

Want to get in touch with Obst Digital? Come around betahaus | Neukölln and meet them here or send them an email to contact@obst.digital !


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