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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Claudius: Design is the core of what we do and what we’re all passionate about, but hardly our only focus. Design, at LAUDO, stands more for designing a whole strategy, often very close connected with marketing. We’re developing websites and apps for our clients, but also help them reach their target audience through SEO, Google ranking developing newsletter systems, print brochures etc.

Claudius: A lot of other companies are seeing themselves as a service provider and don’t really question what their client wants and why. We pay very close attention if the work we provide for a client is in line with our personal values and vision. It’s not just delivering a product to the client, getting the paycheck and leaving, but also building relationships with clients and collaborating. Because they are often our doors to new opportunities

We see LAUDO as an airport, where the clients are our gates to new guests, new perspectives and new potential clients. It happens all the time that whoever we’re working for, from there we get a new project, which wasn’t planned before. So we open up a new gate. That’s how we were able to grow and why good connection with our clients is so crucial for us.’

‘’We see LAUDO as an airport, where the clients are our gates to new guests, new perspectives and new potential clients. It happens all the time that whoever we’re working for, from there we get a new project, which wasn’t planned before. So we open up a new gate. That’s how we were able to grow and why good connection with our clients is so crucial for us.’’
Photos by Lea GK

Orietta: I think one thing that makes us stand out on the market and our number one strength is the team. We’re a small team and we all look in the same direction and have the same approach and vision. That makes the communication go smoothly.

Joey: Another thing is that we have a very hands-on approach. We are the guys, who say: ‘’Okay, let’s do it’’. That’s our culture.

Orietta: When we started looking for a place I was already involved in the betahaus community. Working from previous betahaus locations and attending the community events, I already knew a lot of people in the 'haus ...

Joey: Yes, I remember on the first day we came to betahaus Orietta was like ‘’Oh, hey! Hi! Hey, how are you doing? Hi!'' giving high-fives to everybody and we were like: What is going on, why does she know everybody?!

Orietta: Well, the vibe in betahaus is just super easy going. You directly feel that you can meet people easily. If you go to the kitchen for example and just ask ''Hey how are you, what are you working on?''. We made many new contacts too.

Claudius: What makes it nice here is that people are enjoying being here and working on their projects.

Photos by Lea GK

Claudius: The truth is, we could probably afford an office for the same price, but that would put us between these four walls, which put you into a box, much harder to exit and to connect with new people. We went for a Team Desk because here we have so much more space and everything seems much more connected. You can easily meet people.

Orietta: And it’s just so spacious here. We have this super nice garden.

Claudius: I like being focused on my work but I also like if someone disturbs me from time to time. It helps when the door opens. In an office we would work in a whole different way. Here Gillord (Coworking Manager) is coming in everyday, giving me a hug, telling me about his workout .. that’s the main reason - the personal connection.

The day in betahaus starts with a hug and ends with a hug. The time in between is pretty much spent on doing what you love.
Photos by Lea GK


After you’ve taken care of your paperwork and you’ve signed up both in Bürger- and Finanzamt, you are all set up to start working. One of the best ways to get integrated into the city fast, meet like-minded people, and even find clients is by working from a coworking space. There are tons of benefits for freelancers and luckily Berlin has a lot to offer in this way. A coworking space is a physically collaborative shared workspace, which brings all kinds of creatives and entrepreneurs together. It’s a perfect place for startups, freelancers, digital nomads and even corporates searching for innovation. And it’s the biggest advantage towards the typical office space is that it pushes a collaborative exchange between its members and facilitates the creative process and networking.

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