Was at two hackathons this week. EXCITE at JNTU and the Hyderabad edition of AngelHack. Very reassuring see the very steep jump in the depth of ideas, quality of teams and the view of the markets. From a very contemporary yet fresh take on location based sharing of pictures that trigger social conversations. To a Pebble watch solution connected to IoT sensors for security at home. To a solution that connects various social networks and extracts info in professionals. And then some. Many of the teams are very serious about pursuing further with their ideas.
That said, one common issue with early stage startup’s, which was evident this weekend also, is the lack of a purposeful user angle. While commitment is great, passion to start is encouraging, and technical drive is surely world class, the market view is very superfluous. Even as this is understandable given the very exam and clnpetetive tests focussed education system, it is not very difficult to cover key bases when considering startup ideas.
These are not just cliches. Simple economics. User has a problem. That is causing some commercial cost/loss either thru incomplete solution or inherent inefficiencies or errors in process, or just high cost. If the startup can find a way of improving any of these aspects that result in stemming the commercial cost or loss, we are in business! Simple. When assessing an idea, the first question to ask is what need of the users is the startup addressing. Is that need so compelling that the user is willing to pay to get a solution. If need present and compelling, the next consideration is what the incumbent alternate solutions are. And how the new solution is better than any and all of the alternatives. Not just better, is the startup solution technically and commercially feasible, With the unit economics rendering the solution viable. And the at scale opportunity resulting in a revenue size that is the enough to make the startup journey worthwhile.
These are the simple questions to ask when ideating for a new startup. Whether a product or a service, all above are required to make the idea an interesting and compelling. Further down the startup prototyping journey, the market aquisition angle and GTMs also starts become critical. Before going thru and last seed investment stage. But in the initial stages just establishing a compelling need, feasible solution and viable unit & scale economics are the key. Not difficult at all. Simple questions to answer! :).
Happy Starting Up!
Originally Featured in New Indian Express: http://epaper.newindianexpress.com/m/873827/The-New-Indian-Express-Hyderabad/14-07-2016#issue/23/1