Alice Nell
February 18, 2016

Startup Basics 101 with Yatan Blumenthal | Stay, Scale, or Exit

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 #4: Stay, Scale, or Exit

You have survived a few years and you’re now in the lucky 20% of companies that are actually going somewhere. Congratulations! That is however, if you stay on the path of excellence.

 

Systematize your company

When you’re growing your company, a good question to ask yourself is: “What would I need to document if I’d want to franchise this company?”. Looking at your company in this way enables you to systematize most simple actions in your company and start optimizing. When your team expands, you’ll have all materials ready to get new hires up to speed fast and easy, Even though many might not like it, McDonalds is the best example of a completely systematized company. A good resource is e-myth. Combine the skill of logging, documenting, and creating manuals, with an experimental startup spirit, and you’llhave a winning combination.

 

Small is beautiful

So now push comes to shove. What do you want and what is best for your company? The cliché way for a startup is to start small and then dominate the world. ome companies however, have reached their sweet spot at a certain size. They’re doing well in one particular market or geography, and best way to go for them, is to  stay that way. For example competitors of Uber are best advised to stay strong to their local markets. There is nothing wrong with staying small; “small is beautiful”! You can run a tight ship, keep providing more value to your customers by improving on what you have, and keepyour employees, your customers, and yourself happy. A lot of hidden champions in Germany follow this approach: Steady client base, constant incremental innovation.

 

Go Big or Go Home

Equally you can try to go global and take over, become the next Uber, Facebook or Google. This approach will require a big portion of “no guts, no glory” mentality because you’ll have to take big risks and scale quickly. Be sure to get advice from seasoned business people. Running a company that goes from 10 to 500 people in a matter of months is something youdefinitely should get assistance on.

 

Sell your startup or Exit

Many startups dream of being picked up by a Microsoft, Google or Facebook. It can also be a General Electric, a Siemens or a Samsung. Tough choice to make; either you grow a bit longer and cash out for a bigger price, or you take the offer now. Consider the terms under which you’re willing to exit and sell, and also consider for how long you’ll want to stick around to make your company grow. It’s a personal choice, and it’s yours to make.

 

Is that all you got?

I know I know. There are a lot of steps missing here, and an experience of years is simplified and narrowed down into 4 basic blog articles. This is just a teaser to get you and your startup on theway of becoming successfulr with a scientific mindset. Get reading and experimenting, take Lean startup and customer development as inspirations, check out what Zappos is doing in terms of organisations  and have a look at the way in which SpaceX revolutionised space travel. Be daring in a rational way, and enjoy the Startup ride!

 

Want to know more about the EY start-up-challenge? You can read all about it on their website. 

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I’m currently in Sende - a great coworking and coliving space in Spain, very close to the Portuguese border. I travel pretty often and the idea of being out in the Galician countryside, around other creative, entrepreneurial people sounded like a good idea. I’m currently doing a sort of high-level "Design Thinking" appraisal of my business, rethinking what I’ve learned so far in this first stage of business and how we can improve our services to better benefit clients and artists. The rest of the time I spend on music-making, and mixing the next batch of my own music for future release.

People in beta Clay Bassford Bespoke Sound

To be honest, I sort of fell into it. I was always working somewhere between content marketing and the music industry and around seven years ago a friend of a friend was searching for someone to help him curating music for his boutique surf spot on the beach in Costa Rica. The owner was a big music fan, but he just didn't have time to keep all the music up-to-date. So I got introduced to him, we shared similar tastes, and agreed that I would do the music for his space - curating it and updating it with new music on a regular basis.

This for me was a dream come true. I could finally work with music all day, and at the same time, I could help create an awesome experience for the guests. I saw people's reactions when they heard a song they liked. I saw them dancing, getting a little closer to each other at the bar and that for me was really rewarding.

This was the moment when I realized that there is something special about this idea and I got interested if there is actually market out there. I did some market research, and a lot of interviews with different hoteliers people in the industry trying to get more feedback. And the idea started growing more and more. 

People in beta Clay Bassford Bespoke Sound



Interesting is the story of the last years winner in the category “Creative”. Hamburg based headraft literally took music experience to the next level by creating the world’s first AR Music Video for the German band “die Fantastischen Vier”. Designed for their song “Tunnel”, the cited app unfolds a virtual story world once the track starts playing, giving fans the opportunity to go on an interactive journey with the band rather than being a passive viewer. 

Applications are now open! Finalists will be awaited by a curious jury of five leading industry experts. Among others, Kathleen Cohen who was already taking part in the first year will be in the panel of judges again. With a 25-year multiplatform career history under her belt, she is one of the most regarded in the field. As a digital experience expert, she has successfully implemented projects for DreamWorks Interactive and IBM Innovation, to name a few.

Needless to say, the yearly AUREA Award is definitely the place to be. Apply and become a member of the community bringing together all the promising products and solutions in the AR/VR sector.

Photo by AUREA Award

OKAY BUT HOW IS BESPOKE SOUND DIFFERENT THAN PLAYING MY "DISCOVER WEEKLY’’ OR ANY OTHER AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED PLAYLIST ?

Well, both. Currently we offer the following two options: shorter publicly available Brand Playlists and long-form private Soundtracks for spaces. For both of them we work closely with the client to understand how sound fits into their brand DNA and what their audience is like.

We believe that the guests’ experience with a particular space doesn’t have to begin and end with their stay. The idea of the Brand Playlist is to be a public brand playlists designed to engage the customers before, during, and after their visit at a space. It’s always accessible for them and serves as a new, dynamic marketing channel.

The Soundtrack is slightly different. It takes sometimes up to weeks of work and is designed by a world-class artist, DJ, or tastemaker. For it we first work with you to develop a deep understanding of your business and style. Then we match you with the perfect artist, DJ, or tastemaker to create unique, always fresh playlists, custom tailored to match your brand. 

In both cases, we update them regularly based on guest habits and clients’ needs. 

People in beta Clay Bassford Bespoke Sound



The way we engage with the music community is something really important for us and honestly, what makes us different than other background music providers. A lot of the background music providers out there have internal teams of maybe five or six DJs that do all of the music for their clients. We aim to connect with the local scene and always work with local DJs. There's some kind of magic in finding the exact right artists for the brand.

And on the flip side of it, when we hire artists, we make sure that the project is also inspiring for them and that they would be interested in participating. We always make sure to pay them well. The whole project creates for them a new income stream that they wouldn't have otherwise.

People in beta Clay Bassford Bespoke Sound

Yes! This was really fun. The objective with the betahaus "betabeer sounds" playlist was to showcase the community side of betahaus. There are so many cool, interesting people in the betahaus community and we thought a playlist could be a perfect way to not only help bring the community together but also show the diverse funkiness of the communities of Berlin and Neukölln, which is why Hazy Pockets, a longtime local Berlin DJ known for his eclectic mixes, was perfect for this project.

This playlist moves from bluesy 60s rock into surf and tropicalia, picking up momentum into Motown and onwards through some laid back disco tunes. Perfect for the betabeer events betahaus hosts monthly!


YOU’RE CURRENTLY ENJOYING THE SUN FAR FROM BERLIN. WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE PLACES in berlin that YOU MISS THE MOST?

Oh, there are just so many! Like the Imren Grill for instance where you can find the best homemade Turkish food or Das Gift and Gordon which are both run by great music people. Kohelenquelle in Prenzleuer Berg is my favorite local bar (or rather kneipe). To satisfy my  techno / electronic records needs I always go to Hard Wax and one of my most special places is the Zions Kirche steeple, which has an awesome view of the city and a great Weinerei close by. 


You can see me around betahaus. Online, you can always check out my website and listen to our public playlists on Spotify. We’re also currently working on a collaboration with betahaus, so a special Playlist curated by is will very soon sound around the spaces in Kreuzberg and Neukölln. 

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