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3Si invests in breakthrough innovations within early-stage ventures that can disrupt markets. We build our portfolio based on compelling people, transformative ideas, significant intellectual property, deep market understanding, and the opportunity for capital efficiency and leverage. 

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So You Want To Do A Startup?

January 1, 2017


Take a pencil, sharpen it and shove it in your eye. It will feel better than what you are about to do to yourself.


Startups are one of the hardest things to accomplish and many fail within the first year. Everyone has that great idea they believe will make them a millionaire but not everyone can make that idea come to life.


Below, we discuss the steps to create a startup business. These may look like 7 simple steps but as mentioned above, it will be more painful than sticking a pencil in your eye.


Don’t let the information scare you because if Steve Jobs had been too scared to start Apple we wouldn’t have some of the best technology we have today. This article should be used as a warning and a guide to help you prepare for your own startup. This will help you decide if this idea is truly something you want to move 


Here are 7 things you'll have nightmares about:


1. Money

You Won't Have Enough

A startup is a business and businesses cost money -- lots of money and free coffee isn't free. You'll need to pay staff, suppliers, bills... and yourself -- in this order. We hope you didn't forget the taste of Top Ramen Noodles.


Funding Sources
  1. Personal savings... 60.3%

  2. Business loan from a bank... 10.7%

  3. Personal credit card... 10.4%

  4. Personal assets other than savings... 7.7%

  5. Personal home equity loan... 5.6%

  6. Loans from friends & family... 2.6%

  7. Business loan from the Government... 0.7%

  8. Government guaranteed bank loan... 0.7%

  9. Grant... 0.4%

  10. Venture Capital... 0.4%

Get whatever seed you can -- sell your xbox and all the games, sub-let your room, do dishes at Denny's. Do anything to get the amount to get you going.


Round-A Startup Survival Rates
  1. Two years... 69%

  2. Four years... 44%

  3. Five years... 40%

  4. Seven years... 31%

Scared yet? Even if you get your idea off the ground, nobody guarantees you a steady job. Quit now! I've heard a career in information design pays enough.


2. Team


You Can't Afford The Best

Pray to Joe Pesci you are good enough and have at least one co-founder that's better than you at what he/she does. Face it -- you'll have to do at least four jobs all at once to have half a chance to make this work. Freelancers cost a sh*tload of cash. So hire permanent staff rather than temps.


Learn anything and everything that can benefit your startup.


Teams: Founders & Co-Founders

Hint: Shoot your ego dead -- surround yourself with people smarter than you.

  1. Worse: Marketer, PR Person, 2X Sales, Wordpress Expert and Designer -- Loaded team.

  2. Bad: Marketer - No muscle to get things going.

  3. OK: Product Designer and coder -- Almost there. You better get a pretty face to sell your crap.

  4. This Is It: Marketer, Product / UI Designer and Coder -- This is an ideal core team. Stock up on caffeinated drinks and get to it.

3. Time


Why Are You Wasting Time Reading Pointless Linkedin Articles?

Iterate, iterate, iterate! Then iterate some more. Even if you have an original idea, there are around 10 other teams already doing it. You don't have time to waste on anything other than your product. Get help! Any help you can get. Accelerators seem to work.


Accelerator Programs
  1. 500 Startups... 6 months

  2. I/O Ventures... 12 weeks

  3. Tech Stars... 12 weeks

  4. The Founder Institute... 12 weeks

  5. StartupBootCamp... 12 weeks

  6. Y Combinator... 12 weeks

  7. Gammerebels... 12 weeks

  8. Excelerate Labs... 12 weeks

  9. AngelPad... 10 weeks

  10. The Capital Factory Accelerator... 10 weeks

4. Knowledge


CTO, Term Sheets, Node.JS, Responsive Design, MVP... WTF

Your dream team skill set should look like:

  1. Product Person -- Product development, UI/UX, Design and Front-end development.

  2. Coder -- Server maintenance, Mobile, OOP, UI and Back-end development.

  3. Marketer -- Investor relations, Legal, SEO, SEM and Campaigns.

5. Location


Not Anywhere Near Canada

You're working on something that will give Instagram a run for its money but you're based in Essex, U.K. It's a lovely city, quite, peaceful and you can get wasted at the Boars Head Pub anytime you want. Great. Move!


Good thing London isn't far away. First thing you do is rent the cheapest flat / room, get yourself a desk at an innovation warehouse and work your arse off.

Get use to this... you just started the journey.


10 Best Countries for Business
  1. Canada

  2. New Zealand

  3. Hong Kong

  4. Ireland

  5. Denmark

  6. Singapore

  7. Sweden

  8. Norway

  9. United Kingdom

  10. United States

6. Customers

You Can't Predict Where The Masses Are Going -- Hope To The Heavens You Can Lead Them

There is no golden answer to what the customer wants. Customers don't have clue what exactly they want either. If your startup is in the ballpark with the product, you just need to solve one problem with it to get traction going.


That's it! Next you need to listen, iterate and build on the hype. Simple. I wish!

There are always hints.


Read up on what's going on and try to add your two cents in.


11 Hottest Industries For Startups
  1. Relaxation beverages... 24.8%

  2. Social network / Mobile app development... 24.4%

  3. Internet publishing and broadcasting... 9.9%

  4. Corporate wellness services... 9.8%

  5. Online survey software... 9.6%

  6. E-commerce and online auctions... 9.6%

  7. Wineries... 4.9%

  8. Human resources and benefits administration... 4.2%

  9. Scientific and economic consulting... 3.8%

  10. Street vendors... 3.7%

  11. Ethnic supermarkets... 3.7%

7. Sanity


You Hope I'm Joking, I'm Not -- Seriously

It's easy to forget why you started this journey in the first place. Stress and pressure to succeed sometimes become too much. Take as many breaks as you possibly can -- unwind from time to time.


Hey, there is always another startup, right?


Btw, I'm not laughing at you. I'm laughing with you. Through the tears, out of one blood shot eye, I'm running 3Si Venture Capital.


I can't imagine doing anything else.

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