Innovation does not occur by the individual. You need a team effort to push an idea through the innovation funnel and turn it, eventually, into an implemented product or service. The team does not necessarily have to be the same over the whole process, but a good balance in technological, business and user-insight skills are key.
Today’s innovators and entrepreneurs are more and more part of a growing community that is networked and connected in the on-and offline world to share knowledge, best practices and stories, as well as to meet potential employees, investors and clients. Having access to a local and global network is an important asset: it will help you to test assumptions, open doors and raise awareness for the change you have in store.
The importance of the team can also be witnessed in investor’s criteria. Just to quote a few:
- “Early stage funding is even more about the team than the idea. A team needs to have what it takes to succeed, whether they understand their proposed customer, and whether they can pivot towards a scalable business model worthy of a follow-on investment (Innosight)”
- “A superior technical team (Techfarm)”
- “Track record and professional background of the team (Active Venture Partners)”
- “Experienced management team with a thorough and credible execution plan. Ensure that your team includes people who are leaders in their field, have a customer focus and understand the specific sub-segments of your target market. (MaRS)”
- “We look for teams of high-quality entrepreneurs with a track record of leadership and performance – either in the company’s specific industry or in prior entrepreneurial ventures. We also look at your team’s passion for and commitment to the new business idea, and your ability to inspire confidence among future stakeholders, including employees, potential customers, and investors. (Cambridge Angels)”
You have detected a serious challenge and need solutions to solve it? Now what?
In innovation management we often refer to the Innocentive case with seekers and solvers for challengers. This is often marked as the beginning of the open innovation and crowdsourcing movement. However, this technology (scouting) platform is focused on companies and scientist.
How to team up?
You have the solution for a wicked problem. Now what? You need co-founders!
For startups we see new platforms erect to facilitate the ‘meet and great’ or ‘speeddating’ to find the right partner to complement your skills and add value to the business proposition. Cofounderslab is facilitating matchmaking for entrepreneurs. They have the adagio: “Strong team = strong foundation = better chance of success” . Another one is Techcofounder: an online directory of passionate developers interested in launching a new startup. And lastly, Co-Founder Wanted, which is becoming bigger and bigger and recently participated in the global entrepreneurship week. They offer local meetups that offers in-person matchmaking for co-founders in over 30 cities in America, because “a great co-founder or team member, like true love, can be hard to find…but easier if you get out there and meet more people ;).” Perhaps time for someone to bring them over to Spain?
On the short term, you might find your co-founder during events or in the wide network of meetup groups dedicated to (social) entrepreneurship, technology or innovation. Also incubator and accelerators are taking the collaborative approach. La Salle and Telefonica will jointly present on Thursday the 28th their Talentum Startups Program, for which co-founded teams can apply. Next week the Startup Jobs will be organized. Although the focus is on recruiting early stage companies and developer and design job seekers, opportunities for co-founding will surely arise with some many creative and entrepreneurial minds on a few square meter.
Barcelona is home to a variety of promising internet companies and features a lot of events related to big data, hackathons and the internet of things. Are you involved in this scene and want to scale up on a European Level? Than the Web Entrepreneurs Challenge might be the way to accelerate your business. This call for proposals recently opened and is part of the Startup Europe EU initiative. The focus is on entrepreneurs who use web and mobile technologies as main components in their innovation. A budget of €10M funding will be allocated to projects to accelerate web entrepreneurship in Europe by using new cross-border services co-developed by several local web entrepreneurship ecosystems and hubs working together.
So who is your startup co-founder and why are you such a good team?