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Hebben jullie reeds betalende klanten? Dan verwachten wij dat de volgende vragen in het businessplan beantwoordt worden.
|Probleem van de klant: welk probleem heeft de klant en hoe wordt dit door jullie opgelost?||Markt: hoe groot is de markt waarop jullie je richten en welke concurrenten en substituten zijn er?|
|Product en/of dienst: wat is de status van jullie aanbod en op welke wijze is er een concurrentieel voordeel te behalen met de gebruikte technologie?||Business model: Op welke wijze verdient jullie bedrijf geld en wat is de financiële prognose voor de komende 3 jaar?|
|Finance: wat is de financieringsbehoefte en hoe wordt het geld gebruikt?||Team: wat is de achtergrond, rol en de ervaring van de teamleden?|
Op basis van slechts 4 vragen krijg je een goed beeld wat de belemmeringen zijn voor de groei van jullie bedrijf:
Als de antwoorden op de eerste twee vragen 100% luiden, jullie meer dan 18 maanden achtereen de maanddoelstellingen halen en 3x zo hard kunnen groeien met de huidige cash-flow, dan kunnen wij niet veel toevoegen.
In alle andere gevallen zal er werk aan de winkel zijn met betrekking tot de strategie (vraag 1), de personele bezetting (vraag 2) en de executie (vraag 3). In dat geval is er vaak ook een aanvullende financieringsbehoefte (vraag 4).
Daarnaast biedt Value Creation Capital samen met Spark Entrepreneurs Education een groeiprogramma van 12 maanden aan. Ambitieuze technologiebedrijven (scale-ups) worden hands-on ondersteund bij het bereiken van haar groeidoelstellingen. Klik hier voor meer informatie over het programma.
“Software is eating world” says Marc Andreessen in his Wall Street Journal article. What he means is that software is creeping into all other products as well as creating the basis for completely new products and services that we didn’t even think we needed. Most industries will become software driven and some will also be disrupted by software killing the incumbents and giving fresh life to the lean and agile insurgents.
Conclusion: The information technology (IT) and software industry is growing and IT is creeping into all other industries. The IT and software industry rocks. It’s a great place to start and run a business!!
The other good news is that the barriers of entry are declining. With just a few Macs, some development tools and an Internet connection we can have a minimum viable product on the market in no time. Through the Internet and social media we can reach billions of potential customers and as the marginal cost of selling software is zero, we can bank the full gross margin. Even when we deliver our software as a service through the cloud, our marginal cost per additional user is low and continues to decline. No need for manufacturing, logistics and repair shops.
No wonder that a lot of software companies show immense growth rates, outstanding profit margins, impressive return on assets, shorter and shorter time to IPO and that the industry as a whole is attracting about 65% of all venture capital available on the planet.
The Dark Side of the Moon
Looking at the big picture the IT and software industry obviously also produces a massive amount of casualties. A majority of start-ups don’t survive the meeting with the market (or the missing market), but of those that do manage to get some tracking and even profitability most fail to cross the chasm not to speak of making it past the tipping point.
New businesses are mostly started on bright ideas in the lab or with customers. Seeing the gap in the market or seeing that we can do something no one else has thought of before, we move ahead and start our business. We become successful and even profitable, but then it levels off.
It’s an arms race for global market leadership
Because we don’t realize that the IT and software industry is also an arms race for global market leadership, and when we don’t understand that then we get overtaken by those who know the rules of the market penetration game better than us.
People get the same ideas at the same time across the globe. We believe we are unique, and maybe we are, but not for long and mostly only in our domestic market. Somewhere else someone else is starting a similar business. They are more focused than us and they have a sharper sense of urgency than us, so they move faster than us, grow faster than than us, cross the chasm before us and get past the tipping point before us. Now they are enjoying superior CAC/CLV ratios, economy of scale advantages, are more attractive to investors, file for huge IPOs, have a large base of customers that make new potential customers more comfortable choosing them and so on. Before we get our act together they open a subsidiary in our domestic market and while we are fighting to protect our home turf they start recruiting our people.
Now it is too late. We had the opportunity, but we failed to execute fast enough. Will we get acquired and capitalize a little on our efforts? Maybe, but probably not. Why should they acquire us when they can recruit our people and take our customers?
The software industry is increasingly becoming a global winner takes all game. We either win the game or we lose the game. If we want to play in the IT and software industry we better be prepared to go for the gold.
CAC: Customer Acquisition Cost, CLV: Customer Lifetime Value, IPO: Initial Public Offering.
Thank you to the The Dark Side of The Moon for allowing me to use the image.
I write about issues related to revenue growth and globalization in the software
You can follow me on Twitter: @hpbech
Hans Peter Bech is an author, economist and consultant. He is a frequent blogger on issues related to growing software driven companies to global market leadership and is the author of several books and whitepapers on business development in the software industry. Hans Peter also facilitates workshops for software executives in the TBK Academy¨. Hans Peter holds a M.Sc. in macroeconomics and political science from the University of Copenhagen. He speaks Danish, English and German and is a certified ValuePerform, ValuePartner and Business Model Generation consultant.