When you think of a new startup getting off the ground, what do you imagine? Someone having that eureka moment, getting their mates in on the action and moving to Silicon Valley to make megabucks? Sure that’s one, albeit outdated, way. Or perhaps someone enters a room full of likeminded strangers, with no idea, no team and still goes on to found a hugely successful company of their own. Doesn’t that sound enticing? That’s the way we do things at Demium.
Thanks to a flourishing, global entrepreneurial network, for newbies to the game there are now more opportunities than ever. The wealth of expertise and infrastructure that some incubators offer, allows those with the drive and determination to build their own business from scratch, even if they don’t know how. We look for talented people who demonstrate commitment, ambition, resilience and motivation to set challenging goals and achieve them. If you have expertise in a certain area, all the better, but it’s not essential.
So how does it work? First we assess and create talented teams by identifying skills, experience, values and style in individuals that we believe are complementary. We’ve had great success in forming and developing teams in our startup incubators throughout Europe, who’ve gone on to build ideas and companies. Read all about it in our medium post <Finding a cofounder>.
Once teams are placed together, we spend the first few weeks in our six-month incubation programme helping you — and the team we helped you form — identify, develop and validate ideas. It’s important to note that your idea won’t be your final product. The idea is merely a problem that needs a solution and therein lies your ultimate goal.
Demium has a dedicated team, the Ideation Committee, conducting extensive research on new market and industry trends and their ongoing development. These trends are analysed and monitored closely using a variety of sources, and then our team does a high-level review of customer pain points that have scope to be solved. For example, the increasing need for more storage solutions in the home. This is one of the problems established by our Committee and taken on by a Demium startup, which ended up founding Dropier, a company that collects, catalogues and stores anything you want and then drops it back to you upon request — all at the click of a button.
The Committee meets monthly to evaluate and rank ideas, before sharing them with the Managing Directors (MDs) in each Demium city. Our MDs, with a vast knowledge of their city’s startup ecosystem, then identify and adapt relevant ideas based on four things:
- An understanding of the local market needs
- Their own experience and that of their extensive network.
- What they know local and foreign investors might be tapped into.
- Areas in which local governments might support a startup.
The MD and local incubation unit will pull together specifications and discuss these with the teams formed during the AllStartup Weekend (ASW). Each team, based on their interests, experience and capability, will then select an idea (i.e. problem), undertake their own process of validation, and start to flesh out an early minimum viable product (MVP) or, in other words, a solution.
It’s super important that throughout this entire process the entrepreneur is focused on thoroughly understanding the problem as well as the target customer. Because ultimately the solution — in the form of a product or service — will evolve from this.
You might be asking yourself, “Will I be passionate about an idea if it didn’t come from me?” The answer is yes, because by our definition, an entrepreneur is someone who looks to solve problems and loves the challenge of solving problems every single day. This is the obsession that ignites the passion. But be careful not to confuse passion for love.
There’s a consensus throughout the Demium network that one of the main challenges entrepreneurs face with respect to developing their idea is not falling in love with it. You’ll hear our incubator leaders repeating this time and time again and that’s because it’s trickier than it sounds. Sometimes when you think you’ve got The Big Idea, you get a rush of excitement, achievement and anticipation, and it’s hard to consider that the idea might not work. In other cases, pride can kick in, and the defence of an idea then becomes a problem.
So keeping our entrepreneurs and early-stage startups on track in the initial stage, and not letting them get in over their heads, is one of the main tasks of our incubation teams. One they take very seriously. Dénes Csiszár, our Managing Director in Budapest, sums it up well: “You need to find a real problem, a problem so crucial that your customers will be willing to pay for your solution. Analyse that problem, feel it and want to solve it. But most of all, focus and don’t fall in love with your solution!”
We help our startups overcome this by ensuring that validation of the problem is comprehensive from the very beginning. By utilising this process, we’ve helped startups develop ideas across numerous sectors, including property investment, crowdfunding, home-based elderly care, influencer campaign management, code-free chatbots, jewellery e-commerce and a marketplace especially for second-hand bikes.
Everyone in our incubation teams have either started businesses of their own, invested in early-stage startups, or are mentors to a variety of entrepreneurs in various specialisms, so you can rest assured that you’ll be in safe hands with Demium. Plus, you’ll have access to our network of advisors across the ever-expanding Demium network.
So forget the eureka moment and don’t worry about a team. All you need to apply to one of our AllStartup Weekends is epic amounts of commitment and the determination to achieve your goals.