Alice Nell
February 3, 2016

Startup Basics 101 with Yatan Blumenthal | Validating & Establishing Sales

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 #2: Validating & Establishing Sales

In phase 1 we went over the basic to dos to set up your company. So what happens after you’ve chosen your name and set up your business plan? You’re entering a painful but exciting phase of validating your product and getting sales established

You’ve entered the initial stage of any business. Welcome to the start­up phase. Take a seat, you might be here for a while.

 

The problem-­solution fit

The first thing you want, is to find out more about your customers’ problem. You have an idea that you believe solves a problem, so now you need to find the people facing that problem, and make sure to co-­create your product with them.​ Everything will be an experiment; you will hypothesize your product as a solution to the customers’ problem, and through continuously asking and testing, you’ll build a product that actually matters. Get out there, conduct customer development interviews, pick up your notebook, and start building prototypes ­ even if it’s just on paper.

 

“Everything will be an experiment; you will hypothesise your product as a solution to the customers’ problem, and through continuously asking and testing, you’ll build a product that actually matters”

 

Ask yourself how much money you need

Rule of thumb is: the less money you take from investors in the beginning, the better your terms will be when you enter the growth phase. So The Notorious B.I.G. was not far off when he said “mo’ money mo’ problems” ­ although in the startup world you might say “mo’ investors’ money mo investor problems. Evaluate how much money you need; shortlist investors; approach, pitch and pander, but raise only what you need.

 

“Evaluate how much money you need; shortlist investors; approach, pitch and pander, but raise only what you need.”

 

Get your sales system up to speed

Sales are a science in itself, and the best way to think about your research into the problem­solution fit is as a precursor to sales. To be effective in sales you have to develop a clear pitch, such as Founder Institute’s famous “1 sentence pitch” or “the 15 word pitch”.

Next up; make a 10-­slide pitch deck where you explain the problem your target market has, how you’re planning to solve it, and in line with this; specify on your product(s).

Make sure you can explain to people in two minutes tops, what it is your product does and why it is solving a real painpoint. Look up the term “sales funnel” and check out which tools will work best for you.

 

“develop a clear pitch, such as Founder Institute’s famous “1 sentence pitch” or “the 15 word pitch”

 

Go only as fast as you can learn

Test, iterate, test, iterate: ​L​og results from all your interviews, analyse and do learning sessions daily or weekly. The same goes for After Action Reviews. This is paramount to you losing as little time as possible in getting a kick-­ass product out there. Implement appropriate accounting systems and make sure to keep it simple; you don’t want to spend more time on this than you have to.

This second phase ​o​f validating & establishing sales will prove to be a make-­or­-break for your startup. Without it, you won’t have the knowledge nor mindset necessary to pivot quickly and adapt to the market. With it, you’ll have the pre-­requisites to develop something important and the leeway to get to the next level of growth. Enjoy the ride.

 

“Test, iterate, test, iterate: ​Log results from all your interviews, analyse and do learning sessions daily or weekly.”

 

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!

Find more insightful information here

CloudMade (United Kingdom)

With 6 locations globally, CloudMade leverages cutting edge artificial intelligence to revolutionise the automotive industry. Their focus is on processing data to optimise and personalise the driving experience of the future. 


High-Mobility (Germany)

High-Mobility builds a data platform for applications working with personalised car data. Users can test their applications in a simulation environment, and get verified to access data from multiple car makers using a standardised connected car API.


Kiwi Last Mile (Spain)

Using a new multi-modal delivery platform, Kiwi offers an efficient, profitable and sustainable last mile delivery solution. Kiwi operates its own fleet, basing its operations in a new ‘cellular delivery model’. It has dubbed itself the ‘future of the last mile’! (Germany)

BRIVE reduces fleet and vehicle costs by rewarding good driving behavior. Better driving translates into savings on fleet costs and higher salary bonuses for drivers. It already comes with a BRIVE credit card!


German Autolabs (Germany)

The Automotive Voice Assistance platform from German Autolabs is a customisable conversational assistance solution for mobility. German Autolabs leverages deep domain knowledge; bypassing lengthy development cycles to build groundbreaking voice products.

Autofleet (Israel)

The Autofleet platform enables the transformation of fleet managers to vehicle-as-a-service providers. It innovates fleet management, using machine learning to predict demand, price dynamically, automate in-/de-fleeting, and optimise demand-supply matching in real-time.

Neohelden (Germany)

Neohelden is developing a digital AI-assistant for enterprise use-cases. You can think of it as Alexa, but for business. Users can customise the Neo platform intuitively via Drag & Drop, to tailor the AI-assistant to any possible needs.

Parkbob (Austria)

Parkbob organises the world's parking related data, and transforms it into actionable information for better mobility decisions. By creating a dynamic demand prediction model, it provides customers with an end to end solution that increases fleet utilisation and revenue.

VISCOPIC (Germany)

VISCOPIC leads in 3D data processing and worker guidance solutions, focusing on 3D sensing technology and augmented reality. It aims to guide companies into the future by showing them what technologies they need in order to be optimally efficient and productive.

Transmetrics (Bulgaria)

Transmetrics delivers predictive optimisation software for the logistics industry. Designed for express, parcel, pallet, and groupage businesses, the AI-driven software forecasts customer demand to calculate the most efficient linehaul plan for the entire transport network.

Have any of these brilliant ideas made you curious about the challenge? Follow us on LinkedIn for updates on the competition!

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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