KindGeeks in London. Startup Funding: From Idea to MVP to Investment

The United Kingdom and London in particular have become an important strategic destinations for KindGeek. There are two good things about it: great business perspectives and a reason to visit London as often as possible. And visiting London is always a lot of fun, interesting experience, and pleasant fatigue, which is a loyal fella of tons of useful work. Who would reject a possibility to go on a business trip or a usual trip to London?

Just two weeks ago, our lucky co-founders Anton Skrypnyk and Yuriy Gnatyuk had another reason to visit Albion - together, with our partner SeedLegals, we decided to organize an event dedicated to Startup Fundraising: From Idea to Investment that would take place in London. As far as KindGeek had a decent share of experience with startups and the surrounding investment hustle, our co-founders were eager to share our insights and knowledge with aspiring entrepreneurs and other aspiring doers.  

So the wheels started spinning: and the organization of the event took off.  

It was decided that the evening for founders, makers, doers, and entrepreneurs would take place at Huckletree, a workspace accelerator, located among the twists and turns of busy streets of London’s White City. As the date of the event was approaching, we were informed that almost 70 people had booked the tickets. The number of the people who wanted to listen to KindGeek and SeedLegals and learn something new from us was inspiring.

Huckletree

On April 15, at 18 BST, Anton, Yuriry, and Anthony Rose from SeedLegals, were facing the crowd of 7 dozens of hungry for knowledge people at the stylish workspace and were ready to present. 

KindGeek’s presentation revolved around two essential aspects of startup development: Ideation and Discovery Phase, which predetermine the future of a product and its general appeal. Also, the visitors had a chance to win a free certificate for a one-week Discovery Phase. 

As you may know, creation of a successful startup is quite a feat of business and creative prowess: 90% of the new-born companies vanish into oblivion with a speed of a shooting star. And very often such a bad fate is a result of the strategic holes in Ideation phase and imperfection, or complete absence, of the Discovery phase. As many as 42% of startups fail because the ideas behind them do not solve relevant market needs. Therefore, Anton and Yuriy decided to focus on the process of creating an idea - ideation phase, and the process of perfecting the idea and making an actionable plan out of it - Discovery Phase. 

Our co-founders argued that aspiring entrepreneurs with all their passion and encouragement regarding their ideas tend to forget that “Discovering and validating the right market should be an essential part of Ideation process.” An obvious result of such inattentiveness - an irrelevant product. 

What is the solution to this issue? 

Part 1: Ideation. Customer Development

Focusing on customers and market since the very first day. In other words, making sure that the Customer Development process is an integral part of the Product Development. 

Take a look at the product development lifecycle below

 

 

 

The issues with this are

1) Costs of sales processes and marketing are being defined prematurely

2) Sales and marketing are aimed at following a plan and not at searching and examining customers and market

3) The first delivery of a product to a client becomes the primary goal

4) If the launch of a product is unsuccessful, the losses are significant

5) As you can see, traditional product development rudely simplified is “Build, and they (clients) will come.” As it was mentioned before, such an approach is not an actionable plan is a prayer. 

 

Now, take a look at Customer Development lifecycle.

 

1) Customer Discovery is checking whether a product solves a known market problem of a customer segment that is possible to identify. 

2) Customer Validation is checking whether the targeted audience is large enough to cover the costs of product development 

 

These first two stages, Customer Discovery and Customer Validation, are a Pivot of customer development. The Pivot is used to test any fundamental assumptions regarding a product. 

 

3) Customer Creation is checking whether a product is scalable and would allow for a company's growth.

4) Company’s Building is checking whether a company’s infrastructure is ready for scaling.

 

In 2011, Genome Startup Project identified premature scaling as top one reason of startup failures. Checking whether a product and a company are ready for scaling are essential steps to avoid such a bad fate. 

Therefore, the receipt to cure and inherently incomprehensive Product Development phase is to make Customer Development phase its integral part. Two become one, and voila, we don’t pray anymore but follow an actionable and relevant plan. 

To strip this idea off real-life examples and more in-depth and lively explanation of the experienced entrepreneurs, it was a main message of first part of Anton and Yuriy’s presentation. 

So, we have an idea now. What’s next?

Part 2: Discovery Phase

The second part of the presentation was dedicated to discovery phase, which is an essential Business Analysis instrument that helps systemise all the needed information and use it to develop competitive MVP that appeals to a target audience.

And to say honestly, discovery phase is quite a magical process that consists of 5 main stages

1) Research

2) Assessment and Requirements Elicitation

3) Interaction Design

4) Virtual Design 

5) Preparation for Development 

 

One of the central executive roles in Discovery Phase belongs to the archmage - Business Analyst - whose sharp mind and extraordinaire analytic skills are put to the test during the Discovery Stage. However, BA is not defenceless in the face of such a difficult task. He or she is armed with user research and modeling, stakeholder analysis, competitive analysis, usability assessment, heuristic evaluation, user testing, requirements workshops, personas, use cases, and other methods and tools.

Business Analyst works in tandem with soothsayer Designer who creates optimal design of a future product. Designer has not an easy task of figuring out the feel and look of an entire product that will help to achieve business goals and meet user needs. Designer uses interactive prototyping, visual concepts, user testing to accomplish it. 

Also, there is a System Architect, a mythical and powerful being with extensive knowledge and deep experience that he or she has to use in order to 

 - Identify the main architectural drivers

 - Define development team composition

 - Design and describe the logical and physical structure of a product. 

 

After BA, Designer, System Architect have performed their legendary magical rituals, you receive

 - Deliverable

 - Product concept

 - Prototypes

 - Visual concepts

 - Architecture concept 

 - Product implementation roadmap

 

In other words, you already receive something to showcase to investors, stakeholders, or users to receive sponsorships, interest of the target audience, or invaluable feedback. 

Discovery phase helps you start selling before the product is ready. A sheer magic as it is.

The described process is just scratching the surface of the tip of the staggering iceberg that the Discovery Phase is. However, this outline of the Phase helps put things into perspective and understand the essence. 

After Anton and Yuriy, shared their knowledge about the magic of discovery phase, they described some of the KindGeek’s cases. It was the end of the presentation. Our co-founders enjoyed the process a lot, and because of the feedback we received, we believe, the audience did as well.  

The London event was a rewarding and refreshing experience and we are eagerly looking forward to the new possibilities that the UK has to offer. Let’s Rock Together :)