A Start-up Business Tool – Prepare For Angel Investors & VCs
You haven’t heard from DRI for a while as we have been busy getting feedback on the beta version of D RISK IT. Over 160 android downloaders gave us some great feedback and it’s clear that there is work to be done on the Homepage interface. A lot has been crammed into this app and it seams it is not always obvious how to use it, so we will address that in the next build.
One or two have queried why we have developed the way we have; mobile app and not desktop browser and Android first before Apple iOS. The DRI experience would definitely lend itself itself better to the desktop environment and there has always been the plan to move over to it once the back had been broken of the mobile app’s workload. The original aim was two fold: firstly to put out a free fundraising / investment readiness app that would help give startup founders a better chance of gaining investor attention for their deal but secondly, to see how easy it would be to contain the three modules/tools and all their associated content in a smartphone app. For sure, we will hop over to the desktop soon but for now, we thought an app would be a convenient and neat way to learn-up on many aspects of fundraising and how to put the best possible deal in front of investors. In fact, one of our beta testers, who is currently fundraising himself, said that he managed to work his way through all three modules and then email himself the results via the app’s reporting facility, all in the space of his 45 minute tube train journey.
As for Android before Apple, well that was just the original developer’s strongest platform. In hindsight, going for Apple first would have been a lot easier but having broken the back of the work in going for Android first, it will be a delight when we move over to Apple.
If you haven’t yet downloaded (Android) or registered (Apple) the app then go to the homepage here to do so.
At last, after months of planning, it’s good to see the Android app finally on the Google Play store and to have something to look at and play around with on a phone; even if I did have to buy another handset to do so (I’m an iPhone user and so have to wait a little longer before I get the app on my Apple device).
Download In The Google Play Store
If you’d like to try out the app for yourself and you’ve got an Android smartphone, then click the ‘Google Play’ icon below to go to the Play Store where the app can be downloaded ‘FREE.’
Screenshots & Help Videos
There will be additional blog articles in the near future to review in detail the app’s three modules. Feedback so far has been really helpful and positive and it seems there is a groundswell of opinion suggesting that the app would work better in a website. This is good news as once the iPhone versions has been released the plan is to start working on the website version.
Accelerators, Incubators, Investment Groups, VCs, Brokers & Crowdfunders
The app has initially been developed with startup founders in mind but the three modules in the app, along with additional features are being developed for the wider investment and funding community. If you belong to one of the groups in this paragraph’s heading and have tried out the app, then we’d really love to have a conversation with you to see what you like and don’t like about the app. We’d also like to get your ideas as to how D RISK IT can be developed for your use in the funding landscape.
The original plan wasn’t to turn the DRI into a fully fledged company straight off but to just throw out a helpful little app into the international startup community for a relatively low outlay. Without trying to run before walking, DRI has set itself the objective of seeing how cheaply It can launch by bootstrapping as far as possible. There’s no need to give away equity and courting investors at this stage would be both lazy and foolish until some form of business case had been proven. Until there has been any degree of meaningful validation achieved, DRI will hold back from approaching investors and has set out to find ways of accessing minor development capital (free money) without giving away equity. For the time being, this rules out approaching accelerators, or taking out a loan. The following Forbes article details why you should consider not taking VC money and the arguments are kind of the same for DRI, even at the seed stage:
My first experiences with crowdfunding were about 2 years ago when this new form of financing was just starting to hit the headlines. In my deal brooking capacity, I thought it might be a good idea to set up a deal arrangement with a crowd funder. The only significant UK player at the time was CrowdCube and the idea was to shove a few of the smaller deals I got from time to time, over in the direction of CrowdCube. A year or so later one or two others started popping up such as Seedrs and it was in my time as director of Keiretsu Forum London that I came across CrowdBnk, who were themselves looking for launch capital. As DRI started taking shape I started to research the different types of crowdfunders activity and saw that there were mainly three types. Firstly, ‘equity’ based crowd funding (the main players being Seedrs & CrowdCube), secondly were the donation based sites, where pledges or ‘donations’ are given usually to charitable, social or media focused causes (IndiGoGo) and lastly there was ‘reward’ based Crowdfunding where product rewards are exchanged for a fee. In a way, these rewards can be viewed as pre-launch or early sales revenues, with the additional bonus of achieving free marketing. It was therefore a no-brainer for me to explore reward based crowd funding and the current biggest UK operators for this are CrowdBnk. If you are considering crowd funding then the following link might be helpful: www.startups.co.uk/which-crowdfunding-platform-should-i-use.html
My experience with reward based Crowdfunding is that it relies less on how many investors are ‘signed up’ with the Crowdfunding website but more to do with the degree of marketing prowess that do or don’t posses. You need to be pre-armed with a planned series of ready & waiting marketing activities. I was still getting some of my marketing ducks lined up and approached it a little earlier than would have been good. My experiment with rewards based Crowdfunding can be seen here: https://www.crowdbnk.com/p/d-risk-it. At some point in the future I plan to also try and display on Kickstarter (which has the largest international footprint), as well as the interestingly configured AppsFunder.
Like to share your recommendations or experiences?
It’s 2013 and I find myself coming over all entrepreneurial again. The last time I was involved in an entrepreneurial startup was over five years ago. Smartphones were just beginning to come centre-stage and a company called Facebook were looking like they might give MySpace a run for their money. Prior to that (2000-2005), I’d been the owner of a digital agency building many company’s first websites. With mobile, tablet, social media and platform technology all affording a multi-reach approach, this time around, the startup game is very different. This first became apparent to me when I started to put together an early P&L for D RISK IT. I realised that the projection of reach from social media aspects and customer acquisition benchmarking was going to be where my challenge would lie. Setting that challenge aside for the time being (I will probably pick it up for another blog article), a major discovery is over just how many free or low cost resources there are out there to develop my product or its promotion campaign. This blog is the first of several looking at some of the great resources that I’ve found along the way. Here’s the first …
If you haven’t got either the time or the ability to put up a holding page on your domain whilst you grow your product and business plan, then LaunchRock is a great time saver. With a selection of templates, you make your choice then drop in your “Coming Soon” content and your branding (if you have any yet). Your audience can leave their basic contact details and receive an email alert once your product goes live. The registration details (sign-ups) are hosted in a simple database that can be viewed within your LaunchRock control panel. This CP gives you a basic set of analytics but you can also use Google Analytics at the same time to capture the google analytic formats. My only (minor) criticism is that the templates do not always utilise the full width of the page and so if you want to include more text than the template afords for, then your content may slip off down the page.