All successful entrepreneurs start with passion for a cause that gives meaning to their work life. But a hunger to change the world is merely the first step in a journey that leads most new ventures to the poorhouse. Yet a tiny fraction of start-ups succeed. Based on interviews with over 150 entrepreneurs, dozens of start-up investors and experts on entrepreneurship, this talk will offer entrepreneurs a map that can increase the odds of start-up success. It will provide a framework for helping start-up CEOs to set goals, pick markets, raise capital, build their teams, gain market share, and adapt to change. The talk will illustrate these frameworks with case studies from Cohan’s research and present tactics for applying the concepts to their own start-ups.
Peter Cohan is a strategy consultant, start-up investor, teacher, corporate speaker, pundit, and author. He has invested in six start-ups, three of which were sold for a total of $2 billion. Before founding Peter S. Cohan & Associates in 1994, he worked with HBS strategy guru Michael Porter. Peter is the author of 11 books, most recently, „Hungry Start-up Strategy”. He teaches business strategy to undergraduate and MBA students at Babson College and entrepreneurship at Olin College of Engineering.
Oliver Holle will give a personal view on 20 years of startup life, resulting in distinct perspectives on a number of questions. Given his current role as CEO of a seed stage venture fund, he constantly looks out for factors that typically drives startup success. In this context, the specific value of the startup idea may weight less than the team dynamics and leadership skills of the founder. Innovation is of course a critical success factor, yet we increasingly see copy cat startups or very incremental business model innovations that perform extremely well. Based on his own experience and the 20+ startups he has been involved as an angel / investor in the last few years, he tries to map out a dynamic path for startup success and the critical fail points / success factors that all entrepreneurs have to wrestle with.
Here, a new role for quality investors is starting to emerge where the investor takes a much more hands on approach than previously thought of. Oliver Holle will wrap up his talk with his perspective on the state of affairs of the Austrian / CEE startup ecosystem and the opportunities and challenges that come with it.
Oliver Holle, born 1970 in Vienna, Austria, is a serial entrepreneur and investor. While still a student in 1992, Oliver founded his first internet startup, SYSIS, that took smart, interactive games to the exploding online market. SYSIS’s increased focus on mobile resulted in 2004 in the formation of 3united AG, a local 3-way merger that created a leading European player in the mobile content industry. In 2006, 3united was acquired by VeriSign Inc. at a valuation of USD 67m. Post transaction, Oliver relocated to California, to take on global responsibility for VeriSign’s mobile media business. End of 2008, he left VeriSign to return to Austria and assisted technology startups in corporate development, fundraising and establishing a base in the US market. In June 2011, Oliver launched Speedinvest, a seed stage venture fund, backed by 35 private investors from the region. Oliver Holle holds a BA in business administration from the Vienna University of Economics as well as a MPhil in Economics from Columbia University, New York.
Great ideas and the hunger for success are the first steps in achieving a business goal. Key preparation and planning requires, setting objectives and funding implementation which are often the stumbling blocks for any new starter.
Within this talk the basics needed for this specialized sector will get analyzed. Questions like “how to build a successful sustainable operation” and “how to globalize your business to meet the needs and requirements of a multinational sector that is always evolving” will be reconsidered.
Christian Sael is the founder and chief software architect of the Alteatec Group. He created his first IT company in 2001 with a vision to build up an international group of companies, generating new and exciting projects at the forefront of technology. The Alteatec group has now offices in major European countries and America. After finishing his studies, Christian’s employment history was a diverse and fruitful one helping develop major international companies around the world. After finishing university, he worked his way up to Senior Consultant at Microsoft International Plc. Christian then moved back to Austria, joining the Telecom Group as Area Manager for Application Service Providing. In 2009 Christian made a shrewd investment by funding his brother Andreas intheirfirst restaurant venture, The Hill. Which has now become a chain of four well established and revered restaurants within Vienna.
After founding your company, you will face the challenge of financing your startup. But nowadays the bank isn’t the easiest nor the best way to get some money. So the questions are: Which alternative sources are available? What does it mean for a company to on-board a Business Angel and how does crowdfunding/-investing work? What is a venture capital company and should I go for public funds? In this talk you’ll get some insights into the topic of alternative corporate financing and how you could address these sources.
Daniel Horak holds a Master Degree in Business Information Systems, from the Fachhochschule Technikum, as well as a master’s inBusiness Management from the FH Wien. Before he co-founded CONDA in 2012, he gained experience as an entrepreneur and founder of his first startup, Spoken Language System in 2007. Currently, Daniel is the managingdirector for marketing & sales at CONDA, the Austrian crowdinvesting platform, and is well connected in the Austrian startup community.
There is a number of ingredients required to establish and grow a local entrepreneurial ecosystem. On one side, one of the most important is the proactive role of the public administration in providing an entrepreneurial-friendly territory and legislative tools that can enable this ecosystem; on the other side there is the need of creating a self-sustaining local community by creating awareness through events and meetups.
The Autonomous Province of Trento (Italy) has been investing for the past 30 years on R&D in the ICT sector, investing both in advanced Research Centers and a University ranking among top ones in Italy for ICT; moreover, since 2012 Trento hosts the 6th node of the European Institute of Technology – ICT Labs.
Trento RISE was founded in 2011 with the mission of bridging the gap between Education, Research and Business. TechPeaks – The People Accelerator – is one of the flagship programs of Trento RISE with the goal of enabling the creation of a local startup ecosystem which can tap into the technological know-how produced by Trentino research centers and university by also attracting international talents to Trento.
The creation of an innovative acceleration program such as TechPeaks and the operation of making Trentino attractive for both international entrepreneurs and investors poses a number of challenges: from the political & legal point of view, to the cultural mindset of local companies & institutions.
Paolo Lombardi is Manager of New Business Creation at Trento Rise (www.trentorise.eu), the Italian research-education core partner of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) ICT Labs (www.eitictlabs.eu). A former experienced researcher in Artificial Intelligence in Italian and French Universities and at the European Commission, Paolo is a Fulbright BEST scholar in Technology Entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley, and has been involved in technology transfer through means of startups since 2008, and on startup community building since 2010. He is co-founder and micro-angel investor in two companies in human language technologies and mobile gaming. Currently he is managing director of TechPeaks, the People Accelerator, the new public and international accelerator program for ICT start-ups based in Trento, Italy (techpeaks.eu).
This lecture presents an overview of Professor Michael Cusumano’s most recent book, titled Staying Power: Six Enduring Principles for Managing Strategy and Innovation in an Uncertain World (Oxford, 2010). The focus is on “big ideas” that can help firms remain competitive over long periods of time and tackle the simultaneous challenge of “innovation and commoditization” – the demand for new products, features, and services, at low prices or even for free – which has occurred in many high-tech industries, especially in information technology. The lecture will focus on the first two principles, which describe how companies need to compete in high technology as well as other industries: The importance of understand industry-wide platforms, and not just products; and the importance of understanding the role of services, or “servitized” versions of products, as a new type of hybrid business model for product companies, ranging from IBM and SAP to automobile manufacturers. The other principles relate more to how firms can improve their agility and ability to adapt to change by focusing on capabilities, not just strategy; incorporating pull concepts, not just “push,” in their operations and planning; exploiting scope economies, and not just efficiencies based on scale; and pursuing flexibility in operations and strategy, rather than just efficiency.
Prof. Dr. Michael A. Cusumano received a B.A. degree from Princeton in 1976 and a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1984. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Production and Operations Management at the Harvard Business School during 1984 – 86. Professor Cusumano received two Fulbright Fellowships and is Professor at the famous MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management). He spezializes in strategy, product development and entrepreneurship in IT. His book “Stayin Power: Six Enduring Priniciples for Managing Strategy & Innovation in an Uncertain World” was named as one of ten top business books of 2011.
The world constantly changes along with digitalization similarly to the way we communicate with each other. Digital natives use technology fundamentally different: they maintain their friendships differently, they learn differently, they get informed differently and even shop differently. It is easily to see in these developments only dangers and problems. The fact is that they are a reality and we have to adjust accordingly. Innovation and the generation of new ideas is therefore a key qualification. The innovative development of traditional business models is thereby a necessity and sometimes even the decisive element in the fight for survival.
In other words: the change becomes a constant. The internalization of this paradigm is the crucial point when dealing with the digitalization risk. The dynamism and innovation power of start-ups and civil society initiatives is easy to be observed-the key question is, however, to which extent are companies open to these initiatives and capable of meaningful cooperations and respectful partnerships.
On one hand, it is necessary to find partners who are strongly different from oneself. Different ways of thinking, cultures, and business models are good prerequisites for innovation generation. At the same time, dealing with these differences requires our own expertise and solutions. Ultimately, the differences offer great opportunities. The example of already established companies and start-ups illustrates that. The big supertanker of the global economy needs innovative technologies and business models, rapid product development, market proximity, entrepreneurial thinking and fresh energy. Fast growing start-ups dispose and need partners with credibility and experience as well as resources and infrastructure. Established companies, in turn, dispose of these.
Cooperation can be seen as an opportunity for a positive look into an uncertain future and to allow continuous development of their own business models. To recognize this and to act timely is therefore a key competence for all companies. Innovation and openness to new ideas are the tools that make this possible. Partnerships and new forms of cooperation are the strategies by which the innovative potential can be realized. This requires special skills on both sides of the partnership and certain rethinking. But with rational policies and instruments, it is possible to overcome the current risks.
Werner Wutscher is an Austrian Business Angel (Business Angel of the year 2012) and founder of New Venture Scouting. His goal is to connect the worlds of startups and corporations. He is also an expert in the field of sustainability, specifically focusing von retail and greentech. He holds several advisory board functions in Austria, India and Jordan. Before that he was 14 years in senior management and federal administration.
Born as a son of farmers in the mountains of Carinthia, Werner Wutscher strongly believes that sustainability is the key strategy for the future. Sector wise he gained his expertise in the area of food and green tec. As Business Angel he supported the founders and holds investments in seven start-up companies. Before that he was working for 14 years in top management positions in the Austrian Federal Government and in corporate companies such as the Agrana Beteiligungs AG and REWE International AG. Werner Wutscher holds a law degree from Karl-Franzens-University in Graz and a Master’s degree from Harvard University, USA.
He acts globally and serves in the board of various companies in Austria, Mumbai and Amman like Kelag AG, Zielpunkt GmbH and Godavari Biorefineries Ltd. He strongly believes in an active civil society, therefore he is engaged as Member of the board of the Austrian Angel Investors Association, in the Austrian Business Council for Sustainable Development (respact) and Vice-President of the National Park “Hohe Tauern”. In 2009 he was nominated Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum Davos (WEF) and coordinates the Global Shaper initiative of the WEF.
Research universities can play a central role in the innovation ecosystem, driving regional and national economic growth. Lenore Blum will describe their initiatives at Carnegie Mellon University (Pennsylvania, USA) during the past 10 years that have helped transform the Pittsburgh region, “remaking an iconic steel town into a modern innovation factory”.
Lenore Blum, PhD held various positions in different academic institutions in the course of her career. She has served the professional community in numerous capacities, including as Vice President of the American Mathematical Society (AMS), as a member of the MIT Mathematics Visiting Committee and as third President of the Association for Women in Mathematics. She is internationally recognized for her work in increasing the participation of girls and women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. Lenore Blum was awarded the 2004 U.S. Presidential Medal for STEM Mentoring. Lenore’s research, from her early work in model theory and differential fields (logic and algebra) to her more recent work in developing a theory of computation and complexity over the real numbers (mathematics and computer science), has focused on merging seemingly unrelated areas. With Project Olympus, Blum founded a proof-of-concept innovation center in 2007 that works with faculty and students to bridge the gap between cutting-edge university research/innovation and economy-promoting commercialization for the benefit of our communities. Since 2007, more than half the Carnegie Mellon start-ups have come through Project Olympus.
This talk is organized together with the Faculty of Informatics. Free entry but registration is necessary!
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