Startupi i kriza

Vatroslav nas je u komentaru uputio na novi članak našeg Stanislava, koji piše za blog-mrežu Mashable. Kako posljednjih dana intenzivno razmišljam o utjecaju ove financijske krize na startupe dobio sam inspiraciju i po svom dobrom starom osjećaju napisao komentar koji je zaslužio postati i člankom na ovom sajtu. Cjelokupni tekst komentara prenosim dolje, a usput se ispričavam svima kojima engleski jezik predstavlja problem: izvorni tekst je bio na engleskom, a posljednjih tjedan dana sam već počeo i razmišljati na tom jeziku…


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Stan, just a few thoughts from your own neck of the woods:

1. I don’t think we’ll see a significant downsizing of VC and angel investments. Those funds are provided by people with extra cash, and that cash isn’t going anywhere (unless, of course, they weren’t smart enough to pull it out of banks before they went down, in which case I’d rather not to be funded by them anyway). The opportunities to increase your wealth through investing are being severily reduced — real estate market is going down, stock markets are going down, etc — and even risky investment opportunities such as startups have a much better chance of a good ROI as opposed to those traditionally safe investment targets.

2. This is not dotcom bubble burst, this is a completely different kind of crisis. At that time we saw a bubble growing and bursting in a single industry — online technologies — while the rest of the business world was doing quite fine, even after 9/11. And the bubble was actually an anomaly — if you discount it from the financial charts you will notice that the general trend of online industry was steadily upward, and we have now reached similar levels of investments as seen during the bubble, only more widespread and without the feeding frenzy we saw then. And besides that — people will always invest in technology, and especially online technology is such a young field that there is still more than plenty of room for innovation and even non-innovative opportunities there

2a. Any startup which is not prudent about the way it spends its cash is certainly doomed, and rightly so. During the dotcom bubble we have seen plenty of startups with extreme burn rates, but as I said above it was an anomaly — a pre-revenue company simply can’t afford to overspend.

3. The best moment to invest to a startup is in a downtime. First, most startups need three to five years to develop a product and reach a level of maturity where the investors can reap rewards (through trade sale or IPO). If we look back, we can see that some of the most successful technology startups were established in the time of the post-bubble “nuclear winter”: the examples are Google (1999), Facebook (2004), YouTube (2005) and Skype (2005), to mention just a few. Second, no crisis lasts forever — if we learn from history, we’ll see that even the Great Depression lasted no more than a decade. The world today has much more mechanisms to control the crisis than were available in 1930s — one of them is effective global communication being enabled exactly with online technologies — so it will likely last just as long as it takes a new technology to grow useful.

4. And finally, I would like to once again add to the differentiation between projects and businesses; or rather, I’d like to use the term “innovations” instead of projects. When you’re starting up, there are only two things you can possibly be building: one is an innovative technology (or an innovative process, or a way to do business, or something else; the key word is “innovative”), and the other is sustainable business. If you’re lucky, you’re doing both (like Google or SpinVox did), but it’s nothing wrong if you just have a new technology without a business model, or are copying an existing business model on a new market. The point is to have at least one clear, easily identifiable points where you differentiate from others in the market; this point of differentiation — or competitive advantage, as they often call it — can be a proprietary (but superior!) technology, or an underserved market, or even simply a better process allowing you to be significantly better/quicker/cheaper than the competition.

It is not important whether you build your company with a clear business model, or you’re just developing a killer technology and don’t want to think about how it will be used; the only problem is if you’re deluding yourself that your competitive advantage is significant enough to make a difference. If you’re making a Facebook-clone which differentiates only by being in a language spoken by four million people, you’re in for a rude awakening.

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6 thoughts on “Startupi i kriza”

  1. Kako se kaže, business mora biti business i kad je tržište na vrhu i kad je na dnu, inače je samo “beginner’s luck” ili trendovski projekt. Ciklusi se izmjenjuju i mora biti takav da to uzima u obzir i radi i u takvim uvjetima.

  2. Mislim da će ova kriza udarit najviše startupe, jer to je najrizičnije tržište, rizičnije i od dionica.

    Mislim da će biti problema s financiranjem startupa iz razloga što će novac poskupiti.

    Anđeli će se teže odlućivati na investicije u startupe kad na burzi se sad otvaraju prilike koje su potencijalno mnogo sigurnije od startupa. I da nadodam brže unovčive, neće trebati sigurno 3-5 g.

    Mišljenja o tome?

  3. Tomislave, moje mišljenje je da ni ti ni ja ne znamo dovoljno o tome. Želiš li reći da treba odustati od startupa zato što je kriza?

  4. Berislave i moje je mišljenje je da ne znamo dovoljno, o ičemu. Želite li reći da će zbog financijske krize krize doći do zastoja financiranja bilo koje vrste?

    Ja mislim da upravo to žele reći svi eminentni stručnjaci – predsjednik uprave Zabe primjerice – e sad ako vam nije poznato to nije neki izolirani slučaj, pa svjetsko bogatstvo je izgubilo 50% vrijednosti. To je tih 50 % iz kojih bi anđeli trebali ulagati u startupe, bar se meni čini, možda još negdje čuči kakvih 50% :-)).

    A i malo prosurfajte i poglečte kaj pišu vani – recesija godinu dana minimum.

    Ne treba odustati od startupa al mi recite tko će ih financirati, ja ne govorim kao vi sve je relativno, sve se da objasniti statistikom ili bar većina. Statistički gledano smanjit će se ulaganju u startupe, pošto je kod nas to bilo vrlo malo ili ništa, čini mi se da broj pada jednako ili blizu 0 u narednih godinu dana.

    Evo sad znate što želim reći. Nemorate nagađati.
    Čujemo se za godinu dana da vidimo što/tko je bio u pravu.
    Ja se nadam da budete vi.

    A percepcija je sve u današnjem svijetu, dok ljudi prokljuve da se magla prodaje bojim se kasno uvijek je. Zar ne, Berislave?

  5. Ne treba odustati od startupa al mi recite tko će ih financirati

    U postu gore sam manje-više odgovorio na to pitanje, ali da ukažem na nešto drugo. Ajde da uzmemo da niti jedan startup na svijetu (ili barem u Hrvatskoj) do daljnjega neće moći naći nikakvog investitora. I što onda?

    Startup se može pokrenuti i bez vanjskog kapitala, naravno ovisno o tome čime se bavi i što znaju raditi ljudi koji ga stvaraju. Može se primjerice kodirati u slobodno vrijeme, ili na druge načine raditi na svom projektu.

    Ali, Tomislave (ako ti je to pravo ime), ono što ja nikako ne razumijem je tvoja upornost da dokažeš kako tu netko nekoga mulja, “prodaje maglu” i pokušava prevariti. Za mene osobno, svaki tvoj novi komentar — na CRANE-ovom siteu ili ovdje — navodi me na zaključak da si jedan sitan i licemjeran zavidnik i da te jako boli ideja da bi netko mogao biti u nečemu uspješan a da ti nisi. Da si tu količinu energije uložio u stvaranje nečeg stvarnog i vrijednog, siguran sam da bi daleko dogurao.

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