StartSmart 6th Webinar Recap: Seed-stage Startups: A Global View - Flat6Labs


In our sixth Flat6Labs StartSmart Webinar, Patrick Riley, CEO of the Global Accelerators Network (GAN) shared his global insights on seed stage startups during and post COVID-19. Interviewed by Flat6Labs Beirut Managing Director, Fawzi Rahal, Patrick talked about the challenges and opportunities for startups to access the human and financial capital they need to solve problems and create impact during these challenging times.

“Acceleration doesn’t have to be in person.”

COVID-19 pandemic has proved that virtual acceleration is more than just possible. A testament to that is the number of accelerators in GAN, who have shifted virtualised their models. “The functions of an accelerator haven’t changed, but the mechanisms did change,” Patrick said.”

“Investors have the money.”

You need to prove to investors why your company is safe, stable, and most importantly, taking off during this season. Most investors nowadays think of whether they should wait for the storm to pass, or if they should doubledown on investments they have already made. In order for you as a startup to get their funds, you need to show growth, ability to scale, and high adaptability to COVID-19.

“Ask your customers/clients what they are doing, not what they need.”

Lots of businesses of varying sizes have changed their business models overnight to cope with pandemic, and all of them are dealing with new challenges. If you can ask them what they are doing, know the services they are offering, you can most definitely know & assume their challenges/problems, and develop/adapt your offerings to help them. Patrick added, “Your solution must always be relevant.” You can research different segments and find your “sweet spot,” and start developing a prototype or even launch a startup that is revolutionary, but no one wants because it is not relevant. When you start a research to create a product/service, think of how long it can stay relevant to people and businesses.

“5-year-old companies are the ones who will be creating jobs.”

With many companies laying off people due the COVID-19 pandemic, the unemployment rates have skyrocketed in the past months across the globe, but startups, as always, can flatten the curve. Patrick said that according to their surveys and research that companies that are 5-year-old or less are capable of creating new jobs much more than 6+ year-old startups.

“You are not your business.”

The most successful entrepreneurs and founders didn’t make it from the get-go, some had to struggle a bit to finally create that one innovative solution that is bound to change the world. Failing at one venture, two, or three doesn’t make you a failure. Learning when to quit, pivot, or try something entirely new is what shows your strength and resolve.

“There is something about real life interaction that virtualness cannot replicate.”

Partick has elaborated that now might not be the best of times to find a co-founder for your startup, and that you need to do it in real life because you get to know that person in front of you when you do that.

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.”

Tell your team where you are going today, and be flexible enough to adapt & change your plans next week if necessary, but know that in the end you will get “there.”

Read Patrick’s recommended blogpost entitled “The One Chart That Gets Me Up In The Morning.”

Make sure to join our upcoming Webinar on June 2nd, 2020, Co-hosted by Ramez El-Serafy, CEO of Flat6Labs, and Khaled Talhouni, Managing Director of Nuwa Capital. For more information and to register, click here.