Optimizing Your Startup: Insights From a Team of Venture Builders

Optimizing Your Startup: Insights From a Team of Venture Builders

You’re a startup founder who’s been busy trying to build a fully functioning startup over the last year. Or maybe you just have an innovative new idea.

Things are moving in the right direction, but you’re not quite sure how to take the next big step. You’ve heard about Venture Building (VB), but you don’t know if it’s the right move for you and your team (maybe you don’t even have a team in place yet).

As the ecosystem focuses primarily on how to raise capital successfully, it rarely discusses how to access operational support and optimize each function of a startup and its lifecycle. We’re here to change that. 

We have a full suite of experts here at Modus who have been where you are – building a company from scratch. We know what it takes to succeed and scale, and we focus on people first which means we’re here to help you build your startup every step of the way – just like a co-founder.

Our Venture Builders consist of six primary functions – Tech, Marketing, Product, Strategy, Design, and Research.

We caught up with the heads of each function in our venture builders to get their first-hand insights on how hands-on support in their specific domain can optimize and add value to a startup, as venture builders who do this day in and day out. 

Strategy

What are your biggest learnings from supporting companies in Ventures Lab? 

  • Set yourself up for success by validating your market. This falls into 4 categories: 
    1. 1. Confirm with users that there is a clear pain point 
    2. 2. Determine whether you have a way to reach potential customers quickly 
    3. 3. Discover if these customers have spending power. 
    4. 4. Is the market (# of customers) growing?
  • Next is to plan your mission. Set the milestones, timelines, and owners with others on your team. Task by task, step by step, what needs to be worked on every single day in order to smash those milestones and launch quickly
  • Having a team will help you move a lot faster and increase your chances of success. Hustler (strategy, sales, finance) –  hipster (marketing + design) – hacker (tech + product).
  • When founders use leverage i.e. get more done in less time or effort they are more likely to succeed. Global trends are moving towards pay-per-use, pay-for-performance, pay-for-results and value-based results. With Modus, there’s no payment. It’s value-based execution and we win together when the venture is a success. That’s leverage.

What’s the greatest value VB adds to startups/founders?

The purpose of a startup is to find a functional scalable business model as quickly as possible. This is what the VB strategy team brings to the table. Strategic expertise in uncovering optimal business models which is a lot more than just the revenue model as most early founders incorrectly assume. Optimizing your business model encompasses everything from how the venture will create value, distribute value, and capture value.

What’s your one piece of advice to startups joining a VB?

VB is a great place for startups to get started. My advice is to always bias towards speed – focus on the foundations first, and then optimize later. This should be a strategic priority for your business in all areas, from marketing to product development to pricing.

Technology

What’s the greatest value VB adds to startups/founders?

VB can be a huge help to startup companies during their early stages. This is when things are most chaotic, especially on the technical side. The founding team has to deal with a lot of goals, such as setting up email accounts and domains, choosing the right technologies, and establishing development processes. We do all this while also building the product. Our fundamental value is that we help quickly stabilize the tech side of things, thus bringing order to what can be a very chaotic time.

What’s your one piece of advice to startups joining a VB?

You already have a good idea, don’t kill it with predetermined biases. Accordingly, always seek what enhances your vision and understanding of the problem you are solving and its solution.

Product 

What are your biggest learnings from supporting companies in Ventures Lab? 

  • The first version of the product is not final, and the product is something that evolves.
  • Focusing on building a product that addresses a real problem that real customers have is way more valuable than perfecting a product that does not solve a real problem.
  • Quote: “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” – by Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn
  • Market product fit is very important – in a market with lots of real potential customers, the market pulls the product out of the startup.

What’s the greatest value VB adds to startups/founders?

VB is essential for quickly reaching an MVP. It helps you start with a hypothesis, test it and prove it (or pivot). You can discover and develop your P/MF through a process, rather than having an A-ha moment. Getting your product right means that P/MF translates into market acceptance and people wanting more of your product.

What’s your one piece of advice to startups joining a VB?

If you don’t have the resources to sustain the product, but believe you have a great idea and lots of expertise, join a VB early!

Related read: Bias in Product – Most Common Biases in MENA Product Development


Research 

What are your biggest learnings from supporting companies in Ventures Lab? 

  • Founders come in with little knowledge and expertise in research. In some cases, they don’t understand the importance of research and how it can help their business grow. Our goal through VB is to empower these founders, educate them on the importance of research, and have them explore and make mistakes. This helps shape their learning and growth..
  • Shifting mindsets. We have to emphasize and educate founders on the importance of research by getting them involved in the process. This way, they can understand the process and see how it impacts them.

What’s the greatest value VB adds to startups/founders?

VB can help you validate your concept or product. By using data-driven methods and user feedback, you can prioritize what to launch with and what to keep in the pipeline.

Marketing 

What are your biggest learnings from supporting companies in Ventures Lab?

  • Founders might have a great idea, but if they don’t understand the market and all other factors, it will be tough for them to sell it to certain customers.
  • Supporting startups to always be solution-oriented and know how to cope with market changes is critical – it helps them differentiate themselves from all market competition. Always have a backup plan ready in case market conditions change.

 What’s your one piece of advice to startups joining a VB?

Know your audience! Whenever you’re starting or expanding a company, it’s important to know your audience. This means understanding who your customers are, what they want, and how you can best serve them. Having this information acts as your compass, guiding all your decisions from product development to marketing and partnerships. So don’t neglect this essential step in business growth!

Design 

What are your biggest learnings from supporting companies in Ventures Lab? 

Early visions of a product or service are stress tested against real users and bring to light gaps and short sightings in stable and volatile markets. What you learn from this can seriously impact your trajectory, or core business offerings. Be humble in this process.

What’s the greatest value VB adds to startups/founders?

  • Validates your business with real users
  • Designs and iterates in an agile environment
  • Make use of the specialists, share insight, and network with others in VB

What’s your one piece of advice to startups joining a VB?

Narrow the business down to a small list of key features that connect with your target user base. Become the car salesman and pitch that to yourself. Are you sold?

A solid Venture Building team can help you optimize and add value to your startup. They’ll work with you to develop a strong business model, create a solid foundation for your company, and help you reach your target market. Plus, they’ll be with you every step of the way, offering guidance and support when you need it.

So if you have a startup or an idea that is mission-driven and powered by tech, but don’t have the resources to do everything on your own, that’s where we come in. At Modus, our team of experts are here to guide you along the way to help you de-risk and succeed.

Discover our Venture Builders


More Resources:

Debunking 5 MENA Venture Building Myths

Why we Launched Venture Builders in MENA

Why You Need a Venture Architect on Your Team

Summary
Optimizing Your Startup: Insights From a Team of Venture Builders
Article Name
Optimizing Your Startup: Insights From a Team of Venture Builders
Description
Our venture builders will share their first-hand insights on how hands-on support in their specific domain can optimize and add value to a startup, as venture builders who do this day in and day out. 
Author
Modus Editor
Publisher Name
Modus
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