Lessons from Experience: How To Make Your Startup a Success

Wawiwa’s Founder & CEO, Eran Lasser, gave a lecture to over 70 students at NewTech Academy, Wawiwa’s partner in Romania, about how to make your startup a success. 

Eran based his lecture on his personal experience founding and scaling companies and startups that grew to large businesses, some of which celebrated M&A exits. Wawiwa is Eran’s latest startup. Eran shared his personal experience with the students and covered everything from the startup ecosystem to key startup buzzwords, challenges and opportunities in the startup world, and practical tips for starting out. 

For anyone looking to dive into the startup scene, this lecture is a great kickstart. Below you can read the main insights from the lecture.

The Startup Landscape: Know Your Local Market

The startup world is an exciting place, filled with opportunities and innovations. Yet, each region offers a unique set of characteristics that can impact your startup’s success. For starters, getting to know your local market inside-out is not just beneficial—it’s essential. 

Take Israel, for instance, a country celebrated for its robust government support for startups and the notable presence of unicorns (startups valued at over $1 billion). Such insights can be incredibly helpful, guiding you to make informed decisions tailored to your environment. 

This depth of understanding enables entrepreneurs to understand the local ecosystem, identifying opportunities that align with market needs and regulatory landscapes. Knowing your market helps you leverage trends, anticipate challenges, and find your niche more effectively.

It’s fascinating to see how different sectors dominate the scene. Fintech startups, for example, account for 7.1% of the global market. Close behind, life sciences and healthcare startups make up 6.8%. Meanwhile, Artificial Intelligence (AI) startups are already taking 3rd place, representing 5% of the global startups market. 

Startup Buzzwords: A/B Testing, MVP, Angels, VC, and Accelerators

Understanding the lingo in the startup ecosystem is crucial for anyone looking to make a start, so let’s break down some of the many key terms. 

Starting with A/B testing, this is a method where two versions of a product or service are compared to determine which one performs better. It’s a critical tool for optimizing user experience, whether it’s testing different product features, or marketing messages. 

Another essential term is Minimum Viable Product (MVP). This concept is all about creating a product with the minimum features needed to satisfy early adopters and gather valuable feedback for future development. The MVP approach helps startups avoid spending unnecessary time and resources on features that might not resonate with their target audience. It’s also wise to show potential investors a bit of everything rather than focusing on one idea. After all, they need the full picture to invest, not just a snapshot. Think of it like cooking for someone you want to impress; you wouldn’t just serve them a spoonful of sauce and call it dinner, right?

Moving on to the financial aspects of startup lingo, angel investors and venture capitalists (VCs) are two key sources of funding. Angel investors are typically individuals who provide capital for a startup. They’re often the first external investors in a startup, taking a risk when the company is in its early stages. VCs, on the other hand, are professional groups that manage investment funds. They invest in startups that demonstrate potential for high growth and significant returns, usually after some proof of concept has been established. Understanding the difference between these two can help entrepreneurs seek the right type of investment at the right time.

Additionally, incubators and accelerators are programs designed to help startups grow. Incubators offer support, resources, and mentorship to help startups develop their ideas slowly over time. Accelerators are more intensive, offering mentorship, resources, and sometimes funding, within a fixed-term, cohort-based program, leading to a public pitch event or demo day. Lastly, mastering your elevator pitch—an engaging and concise summary of your business idea, its value proposition, and market potential—is essential for capturing the attention of investors, customers, and partners quickly. This might actually be one of the most challenging tasks, considering you’ve spent countless hours developing your product or service, and now you must sum it up into 20 seconds.

Challenges and Opportunities: Product-Market Fit & Cashflow

Startups present both challenges and opportunities. The startup landscape is marked by a stark reality: around 90% of startups fail. This high failure rate, highlighted by CB Insights, comes from several factors. 

The foremost reason is the misjudgment of market needs—many startups build solutions for problems that aren’t important enough or simply don’t exist for their target audience. 

The second major challenge is running out of cash, a scenario all too common when the balance between investment, revenue, and spending isn’t carefully managed. 

Lastly, not having the right team in place can destroy even the most promising startups. However, failure is not bad. “In Silicon Valley and in Israel, the fact that your startup has failed is actually a badge of honor.”

The opportunities within the startup ecosystem are vast and varied. Startups are the birthplace of innovation, driving technological advancements and offering solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues. Access to global markets, digital tools, and remote work has lowered the barriers to entry, allowing more entrepreneurs to bring their visions to life. The supportive networks of venture capital, accelerators, and incubators provide the necessary mentorship, resources, and funding to navigate the early stages of growth. For the determined entrepreneur, the startup path offers a unique opportunity to transform a vision into reality, learn rapidly from the market, and potentially change the world.

The Startup Journey is Not for the Faint of Heart

The startup journey is one of discovery, resilience, and transformation. It’s important to remember that it’s okay to fail—you gain experience from every attempt. Success in this dynamic field begins with a good idea, a deep understanding of your market, and a clear recognition of a genuine need. 

Pursuing something you’re passionate about fuels your drive and sustains you through the challenges. However, the key to navigating the startup landscape lies in your ability to adapt; be prepared to evolve your idea constantly in response to feedback, market shifts, and new insights. Embrace the journey, cherish the learning, and keep pushing forward with your vision.

Partner with Wawiwa to offer tech training programs in less than 6 months!

Wawiwa bridges the tech skills gap by reskilling people for tech professions in high demand. There are millions of tech vacancies and not enough tech professionals with the relevant knowledge and skills to fill them. What the industry needs of employees is not taught in long academic degrees. Wawiwa helps partners around the world to reskill, and upskill people for tech jobs through local tech training centers or programs. The company utilizes a proven training methodology, cutting-edge content, digital platforms for learning and assessment, and strong industry relations, to deliver training programs that result in higher employability and graduate satisfaction. This, in turn, also creates a strong training brand and a sustainable business for Wawiwa’s partners.
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