Reimagining Startup and Enterprise Innovation

8 Things We Learnt at Startup Grind Europe Conference

Blog by Morbhen Rattray, Communications Manager, Oracle Global Startup Ecosystem

Startup Grind Europe connects founders, investors, VCs and everybody in-between in the day-long event which takes place slap bang in the middle of London Tech Week. The Oracle Global Startup Ecosystem team were there as sponsors to showcase our programs, to connect with delegates and also share learning and expertise on stage. With over 100 sessions forming the event, there was an expanse of knowledge to tap into. So, what did we learn?


  1. Margit Wennmachers, Partner at Andreessen Horowitz, discussed when a startup should consider PR:  It’s not necessary when a startup is working on its product and not yet thinking about going to market so don’t rush it! When you are ready, create your own content as your customers want to hear from you directly. Moreover, you have control of your own story and when you have to suspend disbelief, having your own content helps you manage better. And it might sound obvious but don’t lie! Trust matters. No matter what you do you have to be true to your brand, to who you are.


  1. Richard Moross, Founder and CEO of Moo, the online print company who turned £10m capital into £100million revenue. His advice? Get an email everyday with your bank balance – it’s a big motivator!


  1. Jeff Kelisky, CEO of Seedrs: The best answer you can get from a customer is ‘yes’. The second best is ‘no’. The worst is ‘maybe’, you can’t do anything with a maybe. At least with the other two you know where you stand.


  1. Judy Wade, Global Lead, Fuel by McKinsey: It’s difficult for startups to win their first customer and when they do, they tend to give away their whole store to get their proof of concept. Startups need to think beyond this milestone and understand their goals upfront to avoid falling into this trap.


  1. Derek Andersen, Cofounder Startup Grind: Empower your customers to succeed by building experience into post purchase, Duolingo and Zoom are great examples of this. Make it an experience and you can create more engagement, value and build toward relationships.


  1. Margit Wennmachers, Partner at Andreessen Horowitz, talked about startups’ appetite for risk as fundamental to the success of a startup: The greater the appetite for risk, the bigger the chance of success. Risk to learn. Failure is tolerated. Wennmachers believes you should surround yourself with people who have an appetite for risk if you want to be successful with your startup.


  1. Kamran Elahian, Founder and Chairman Global Innovation Catalyst, told us about the magic of failures. A veteran entrepreneur with over 29 years of experience in the high-tech industry, Kamran co-founded 10 companies and exited 6. He said everyone talks about successes and not failures. He said a startup is like your baby. When it fails, it is really painful but if you don’t start it, you've already failed. One should never stop trying to overcome all fears in order to succeed.


  1. Jason Williamson, Vice President at Oracle Startup Ecosystem, and Julia Qiu, Partner at Mosaic Ventures: Startup founders should have conviction in everything they do, especially when pitching. The key is to be consistent; crystalize your KPI’s, write and use a playbook to help yourself get to the next stage and stay true to yourself. In the investment community collaboration and engagement is ongoing, if a startup gets funding the relationship doesn’t end, alumni communities are building for continued support.

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