April 2020 - Flat6Labs


StartSmart 4th Webinar Recap: Impactful Communication with Investors During COVID-19

In our fourth Flat6Labs StartSmart Webinar, Mike Preuss, Co-founder & CEO of Visible.vc along with Marie Therese Fam, Managing Partner of Flat6Labs Cairo, discussed how startups can approach investors virtually but effectively during the pandemic. Mike and Marie highlighted how you can leverage KPSIs and metrics to win over investors, and how it is virtually possible to communicate all of that online.

Cash Has Never Been More King than today

How you will be managing your burn rate in the upcoming months is much more important than how much you are growing nowadays. Investors will be looking at your ability to to maintain cash flow, while still running your business, Mike said.

Send consistent updates

Mike said that in one of their surveys, they have discovered that founders are more likely to get investments if they are consistent with their reports to investors, in fact it increases their chances by %300. During the COVID-19, investors will likely be looking at startups that has a record of maintaining their reports. Most founders can’t raise because they don’t update investors regularly.

Where You See Failure, Investors See Opportunities

From developing multiple relationships with startups and funding many, investors develop this pattern and skill to recognise troubles and opportunities. If an investor sees that your metrics haven’t been met for this month, they might consider funding you or providing you with the resources to help further grow your business. Don’t fall short on sending your reports as much as your investors want, and compare on a month to month basis.

Consistence Cadence Will Help Your Investors Fully Trust you

Instead of micromanaging you into sending reports, setting clear KPIs, and metrics, or having unreasonable demands of you because they don’t really understand the nature of your workflow, you will give them what they want beforehand, so that automatically stops you from getting innumerous requests. In the eyes of the investor, you are an active and an engaged entrepreneur. Consistent cadence also gives you time to reflect on your operations, and what needs to be done or changed.

If You Don’t Need The Money, Don’t Raise The Money

Some bad investors will be looking out to getting the maximum out of your business for little change. You have to be careful while choosing your investors during the COVID-19 pandemic, and if you can maintain your position in the market and operations, then there is no need for it.

Make sure to join our upcoming Webinar on May 5th, 2020 with Roxanne Varza, Director of Station F along with Faten Aissi, Marketing & Outreach Manager of Flat6Labs Tunis. For more information and to register, click here.

StartSmart 3rd Webinar Recap: Building a startup in Silicon Valley

In the third webinar of the StartSmart Webinar Series, Amira Yahyaoui founder of MOS, a Silicon Valley based startup, and Tarek Chelifah, Flat6Labs Tunis Senior Program Manager, discussed what it is like to build up a startup in Silicon Valley and how it compares to building one in MENA. Here is the quick recap.

“You don’t need to be in silicon valley to do something great”

To Amira, an entrepreneur should first and foremost be building for the experience, the journey, and changing people’s lives. Entrepreneurs need to realise that wherever they are in the world there are problems that require innovative solutions, which will ultimately change people’s lives, hence, “you don’t need to be in silicon valley to do something great,” Amira said. She added” “the only interesting thing about silicon valley is the technology and the people,” and if you can read books, watch webinars, and listen to podcasts coming from the silicon valley, you can start anywhere.

“Don’t think of just your country, think regionally”

Entrepreneurs are always caught up in building startups with a focus on the local market, but if we try to look for differences between the Egyptian and Bahraini market, we won’t find many. At the very core, our cultures, markets, and purchasing powers are very similar. So “don’t think of just your country, think regionally.”

“Failure is loved cherished, and accepted in Silicon Valley”

One of the things that Amira highlighted was that people in Silicon Valley seem to be very resilient, hardworking, unshaken by fear of failure, and are risk-takers. ‘“Failure is loved, cherished, and accepted in Silicon Valley” because you learn from it, and investors look for people who are hardworking, passionate, and experienced. we won’t find many.

“I believe so much in hunger & scarcity to build”

Amira believes that being an entrepreneur means that you can do lots of things with limited resources. Get creative with the resources you have, and utilise everything you have to its maximum potential. “You cannot build anything in silicon valley if you are not willing to work hard,” Amira said.

“To get to Series A you need to show a considerable spike in the number of users/clients”

After getting your seed fund, don’t expect investors to be encouraged to invest in your startup if you haven’t had a considerable spike in the number of clients/users/customers. This is what investors in Silicon Valley look for, they want to see that your solution is in demand because if it is not, they will not invest. A product/solution is only great if people need it.

“Find people who fit your company culture”

“Find people who fit your company culture,” Amira advised. No matter how much you believe in hiring people with different backgrounds and personalities, working with people who are naturally aligned with your company values, ethics, and goals will get you the best results and it will help your startup grow tremendously. Hire people you want to work with!

If you have any questions, you can reach Amira on any of her social media accounts using @mira404.

Make sure to join our upcoming Webinar on April 28th with Mike Preuss, Co-founder & CEO of Visible.vc along with Marie Therese Fam, Managing Partner of Flat6Labs Cairo. For more information and to register, click here.

How Flat6Labs Startups Are Mitigating the COVID-19 Outbreak Hurdles

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Legwork: The startups that required the physical presence of someone to complete the service/product delivery/installation.
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Industry Breakdown

Around 62% of the startups in agritech require legwork, this is because the nature of the job itself demands the installation and maintenance of tech equipment that aid and makes their processes more efficient. Hence their ability to work at normal capacity is affected.

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Our main takeaways

The industries most negatively affected by this phenomenon were: transportation, travel, agritech, & logistics. On the other side of the coin Edtech, SaaS, Fintech, E-Commerce, & IT seem to be doing relatively well.

StartSmart 2nd Webinar Recap: How To Out-Innovate

In the second webinar of the StartSmart Webinar Series, Alexandre (Alex) Lazarow, a global investor and author of “Out-Innovate: How Global Entrepreneurs from Delhi to Detroit Are Rewriting the Rules of Silicon Valley,” and Saleh Abbas, Flat6Labs Bahrain’s Marketing & Outreach Manager, discussed how entrepreneurs in the MENA region are implementing innovative approaches to running a successful startup.

The challenges that startups face in emerging markets are normally comprised of a mix of lack of access to capital, availability of highly skilled talent, and inability to create a structure for the startups, Alex said. Whereas, in Silicon Valley, startups enjoy access to multiple sources for capital growth. This is exactly why Silicon Valley startups scale and grow much faster than their counterparts in MENA, Asia, etc…

“Entrepreneurs around the world have to do more with less”

However, Alex believes, entrepreneurs around the world have more in common than any one would think, but the startup ecosystem, the economy, and the laws and regulations that a startup is bound by is what changes the story.

“Silicon Valley must learn from other centers of innovation”

In the times of the COVID-19, nevertheless, Alex said that Silicon Valley startups who have been privileged with access to growth resources, should take a look at how startups in the MENA are utilising limited resources to grow. Startups in general need to focus on what can be learnt from the pandemic and re-think their business model; focus on what they provide, and focus on sustainability.

“Use the pandemic to hire remote talents”

The pandemic is a great opportunity for startups to realise the potential of hiring remote talents to grow and expand their business operations. As Alex put it, “if you are capable of building your business remotely, you are also building the muscle that will support your local, regional, or global expansion.” Hiring remote talents also gives you access to areas of expertise that might not be available in your ecosystem at a lower cost even.

“Startups in the frontier ecosystems need to think globally”

Alex elaborated that startups in growing economies need to think of how their startup can expand globally or regionally when they are just starting out. It is important to create a solution that could be adapted to different cultures and economies because it will facilitate your growth. He highlighted that most of today’s unicorns had going global at their core from the very beginning. Entrepreneurs need to think about how you can build teams that communicate efficiently across the world, and how they can build that global muscle from day one. Also, the pandemic is enabling entrepreneurs to reach out to global investors without the need to travel. This is a chance for them to raise money and approach remote investors.

We highly recommend Out-Innovate as one of the top reads in the VC/Startup genre , you can get yours… here.

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To stay updated and find out more about Alex Lazarow check out his website here.

Don’t miss our upcoming Webinar on April 21st with Amira Yahyaoui founder of MOS, a Silicon Valley based startup. For more information and to register click here.

StartSmart 1st Webinar Recap: How To Take Off Your Startup During COVID-19 Outbreak

Two prominent figures in the entrepreneurial industry, Christopher Schroeder, a global investor with 20+ years of experience in entrepreneurship and Hany Al Sonbaty, Flat6Labs & Sawari Ventures Co-founder have hosted our first Webinar on “how to take off your startup during COVID-19 Outbreak. Here is a quick recap.

Harbour Your Cash and Reflect

The first advice we got from Schroeder for startups is to “harbour your cash.” Meaning that you as startup founders need to focus on cutting down costs if you are not generating considerable revenue, so that you will be capable of surviving and prospering after this period ends. Another point of the discussion was that some startups might struggle with raising money, or they will be met with “bad” venture capitalists who will try to take advantage of the situation, and it is imperative that you avoid them. He has also mentioned that it is important for founders to continuously reflect on what they are learning, and use it to develop their business moving forward.

Questions to ask yourself from Chris:

1) What do we believe now that we think might be different in the future?
2) What do we believe now that will be true of all times?
3) What are three things that we now know, we should have done differently?

Transferring Company Culture Virtually Isn’t Easy

Amidst all this, Schroeder has also stressed that transferring company culture, virtually, is not going to be easy. You have to have a very structured and clear plan for your team during this period on what needs to be done, how you are going to do it, and what means of communications are required.

The Pandemic Heightens the Need for Inclusive Services & Products

As we’ve all seen, this pandemic and the move to online communication, transactions, consultation, etc… has deepened the need for our economies to be inclusive of those who don’t have access to such technologies. Entrepreneurs should cease this opportunity to create solutions that bring inclusivity to a new level, Schroeder added.

Investors Are Not Looking for Crystal Ball Answers

On another topic, entrepreneurs should be aware that when approaching investors, those investors are not looking for “crystal ball answers,” they want to see determination, an ability to adapt and process new information that will benefit their business.

The Pandemic Has Opened People Up to The Virtualness of Things

Talking about the industries growing rapidly during this period, he mentioned that online education, fintech, and communications tools are growing massively, which could possibly have implications on how we operate after the pandemic. “The pandemic has opened people up to the virtualness of things, and to make use of them to make things more efficient,” as worded by Chris.

Read Books That Enrich You

Schroeder had also few tips on utilising the #StayHome policies that many governments and businesses have adopted by recommending that you read when you can. He said that it requires both discipline and trading off other leisures to make it work, and he outright advised against reading books like “how to survive pandemics.” Instead, entrepreneurs should be focused on reading books about how to navigate a business/startup, how to scale it, and basically anything that could enrich you with a new perspective on managing your business.

Chris’s most recommended books:
– Bill Burns — Back Channel
– Robert Caro — Working
– Ron Chernow — Grant
– Bernard Fall — Hell in a Very Small Place
– Ben Horowitz — What You Do is Who You Are
– Yu Hua — China in Ten Words
– Robert Zoellick — America in the World

Read his full Linkedin article here about the best books to read.

Make sure to join our upcoming Webinar on April 14th with the renowned global investor and author of ‘Out-Innovate’, Alex Lazarow. For more information and to register click here .