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Archive for the ‘Innovation & Investments’ Category

Social networks are not only time-killers, but useful working tools as well. For example, clones of western projects regarding electronic government actively developnowadays in Russia, and social network for government officials and experts is a freestanding niche. I’ve got in touch with managers of two the most outstanding projects — Steve Ressler, CEO of GovLoop andSergey Holkin,  CEO of GosBook.

 

Russians and Americans: differences and similarities.

Both platforms have been launched based on similar purposes. GovLoop.com and GosBook are both the sites, where officials and experts can exchange opinions and share the best practices. All that will let them learn from each other and be more effective in their performance.

GovLoop assists officials who work on similar projects to join their efforts, whereas GosBook initially aimed to exchange information among members of Expert advisory group of Information society development council under the President of Russian Federation. However, today GosBook  not only informs, but also creates intelligent data base with expert recommendations and successful cases; creates databases of experts in the fields, participates actively in expertise of developing projects.

As a result, initial Web-sites start bringing ‘offline profit’. For example, current issues are solved due to GovLoop prompter and more effective. They learn daily about innovations of other similar agencies, get responses for their highly specialized questions and build cooperative and interactive relationships. One of the GovLoop.com groups– Procurement 2.0 (Purchase 2.0; Initiation 2.0) – was so active that they started to organize personal events, launched a new thought provoking  Better Buy Project site, and, interestingly, started to use WIKI and new technologies.

The words of Lincoln Chafee, the Governor of Rhode Island, became a compliment to this new web platform: “Using GovLoop, social network for officials, will help Rhode Island to learn from the experience of others in resolving similar issues and share the best practices of problem solving both intra- and extra- departments”.

Russian GosBook has also succeeded: for example, they initiated a discussion on “Plan of high-priority measures for resolving of transport issues of Moscow city” proposed by Moscow government. All the opinions were filed and the final analysis was sent to Moscow government.

Under realization of “Concept of creating of informational system in public health service for the period until 2020”  GosBook together with ECG and ADMIT (Association of Development of Medical Info Technologies) gathers recommendations for realization of regional programs  of  health service modernization in terms of IT implementation. The best practices of solutions implementation in medical institutions of different regions,which may be useful for representatives of the executive authorities of the Russian Federation are gathered here. Solutions and work in progress are being announced on the pages of “Public healthcare and medical service development”  network.

Thinking forward

Do such projects have future? Creators of GovLoop assert that they do. This platform managed to join more than 38 000 participants all over the world, and has strong chances to expand.  The global purpose of the project is conjoining the Government to improve its performance. GosBook is more moderate in its results, nevertheless, creators of the platform believe that it is necessary to develop this project with the experience of real cases and with tangible usefulness for solving of government management issues.  However, electronic government will become more effective only when officials realize the necessity of such dialogue with the public.

GovLoop and GosBook  are similar in their ideology and practice, but exposure audience of English-speaking project is wider. Thus, solutions concept became international, i.e. it considers positive experience and fails of the experts of many countries.

The question is: Is that enough for our project to have only Russian experience?

 My GovLoop profile

My GosBook profile

 

It’s not a surprise for anyone that a number of female users on Web are growing day by day: women are considered to be the most important audience online across the world. They make many if not most household purchase decisions and are generally more responsible for word of mouth and social network sharing than men. There is no doubt in the fact that women are more integrated in social media life than men as they’re more interested in sharing and exchanging the information with each other concerning its feelings, occasions, news, products, brands and etc. Comscore says women are the majority of users of social networking sites and spend 30% more time on these sites than men. Aileen Lee shares her vision and latest figures on presence and female users’ activities they undertake in Web.

Russian female audience is also taking over web-spaces and already exceeds male audience. According to the latest marketing research conducted by RUmetrika, a number of female users has doubled for the last two years, while the female audience of glossy-online sites has increased up to 85% for the last year, and up 11% — for the last half-year. Besides it’s also well-researched that female’s online purchasing behavior has its significant differences from male’s intentions as we use Internet in our own way and can afford to make spontaneous purchases or simply perceive online-shopping is a kind of entertainment and the most interesting online-activity.  According to the same research women are keen on buying online books, cosmetics, apparel and kid’s clothes.

A fresh version of StarLook is an updated service of online shopping community that accumulates all latest glamorous fashion trends, brands and responds to emerged women requirements and needs that they might have faced during a usual online-shopping process. As mostly women are interested in online-activities due to the possibilities it offers for communication we offer them to feel free and to be integrated into a variety of activities: starting from searching what other users or experts say about a particular apparel brand or other item to creating the content about this brand, including fashion looks for various occasions (that we call sets, video content and blog posts). Thus, such communication is an efficient tool for fashion and beauty brands to trace what was written, what kind of brand image and associations do consumers have in mind about these brands. It’s the easiest and effective approach for brands to work directly with female consumers and respond to emerging challenges or requests.

Such new approach underlies that we’ve very timely decided to transform and alter the concept and business model of Starlook.ru in order to improve the service and overcome the challenges. If earlier this project was mainly user-oriented and intended to establish a connection between professional models, photographers, stylists and brands as the last thing, a updated service represents profoundly distinctive approach – now Starlook.ru has become a brand-oriented project and that’s why we’re keep on going while other online-imitators are left behind. We can proudly say that we are first on the Russian market in the niche of social shopping, at the same time we could admit that StarLook has similar things with the largest Western shopping communities that are designed by Kaboodle and Polyvore. continue reading

How to present your startup to VC

03/09/2011

Anna Chebotareva (A.Ch.) My name is Anna Chebotareva and this is a program “Have an idea”. Today we are going to speak on how to present your startup to VC. My guest is Alena Popova. It’s difficult to count the amount of areas she is operating in, so it would be better for Alena to introduce herself.

Alena Popova (A.P.) My main project now is StartupAfisha – a single project to unite all of the startup-community. Starlook.ru project – a social shopping-platform – leader in that niche. We are going to update it soon and I’m really glad about it. Charityfair project – a charity project for children and positive news in that area. Gov2project.ru – a single entry point for eGov startups. And a list of other services. Now I’m positioning myself as an entrepreneur (doing my business by myself) but I’m not a CEO of that services. I  travel a lot looking for startups, doing public announcments and developing Gov2Project, eGovernment and eDiplomacy and eOfficial areas.

A.Ch.: I believe that none of our audience will not have doubts that with such a large amount of projects Alena is a perfect candidate to answer the “How to present your startup to VC’s” question. You are saying that you are not in charge of managing your projects…

A.P. I’m managing financial and law objects but I’m not in charge of personnel and tactical tasks.

A.Ch. I’m sure that successful entrepreneur who “has grown” to a VC or an Angel had his own list of mistakes that could be avoided by young entrepreneurs.

A.P. I’m presenting a lot of projects to investors (as an entrepreneur) and most of mistakes are always the same. You shouldn’t say that your project is the best because it’s not true. You need to talk more general– that your project addresses specific problem. That your project responds to marketing challenges. You should know the market capital capacity and opportunities. When you are asked on the market you’d like to occupy you should answer in values but not in the market percentage. For example you know that cosmetics market worth $6mln and you should say that you want to occupy the share of 10% which is $600000. So the investors would understand that you are serious about your startup. continue reading

I’ve been always interested in an interaction  of theory and practice especially in terms of innovations, technologies. As I guess that everyone has experienced that theory at times suggests those solutions that we couldn’t be put into practice. But today’s application is out of questions and criticism.

Startup Genome Compass has been launched today and it’s good news as this service aimed to increase the success rate of startups and accelerate the pace of innovation globally. This fresh idea has been implemented due to a great teamwork of Silicon Valley developers: Max Marmer , Ertan Dogrultan, Ron Berman, Bjoern Lasse Herrmann as well as contributions from Steve Blank, Chuck Eesley, Neil Jacobstein and blackbox crew.

«When we started the company in December we believed the answer to finding a scalable way to accelerate startups would be in finding a way to make startup accelerators more scalable. But by February our strategy had changed from a scientific approach to
entrepreneurship powered by people to an approach powered by software. Today we are excited to announce the release of such IT-solution» — developers report.

The Startup Compass is a benchmarking tool for founders to get regular feedback on the progress their making. The app automatically classifies startups by type and stage and compares them against startups in the same type and stage across more than 25 key performance indicators. In addition, the app also diagnoses startups for what our research team has found is the dominant cause of failure: premature scaling and generates a personalized startup genome report with information about how to improve.

Due to researchers findingsthe , more than90% of all startups fail, primarily due to self-destruction rather than competition. Many startups have trouble figuring out the right priorities to set and measuring  their effectiveness once they do, almost always landing in the proverbial grey zone. Developers offered a simple benchmarking tool to reduce this grey zone by assessing a startup’s type and stage of development, and then comparing them to startups that are in the same type and stage on 25 key performance indicators.

Innovators also believe that The Startup Compass would be able to cope with long-term objectives and enable the establishment of open dialog between entrepreneurs, investors and startups team. «In the future we will be able to assess what type and stage a startup is in with increasing precision and provide entrepreneurs with more and more information, resources, and tools they can use to move to the next stage of development.»

You could find the official report here.

More information about Startup Genome and its projects you could find here.

Venture Business News published an article with my thoughts and ideas to entrepreneurs and market.

Most of my friends are convinced that the investor is a person who is not able to create the project. I do not agree with them. Startups offer a non-working ideas to the market, running within a narrow range of investors. Obviously they are denied be VCs without any advice.

You can read the full article there I also placed a google-translated link for you there

 

I have recently published an open letter of our Startupafisha to the whole startup-community. I’m offering to discuss the problem of start-up market in Russia and seek for possible solutions. We’ve created a set of new tools and services that resolves some important issues faced by Russian startup-community. Therefore, I’m offering to solve problems together, when you know the opinion of market professionals and it’s active players you can do and create much more.

The «StartupAfisha» has been launched in December 2010. It was a public calendar of all events for entrepreneurs, investors and members of Russian Startup Community. Thouh the idea was good, the project was not really a win-win for some reason, most of people began to copy calendars, but not sharing the audience, and stuck in its own traffic. The new version of StartupAfisha — is a set of services and tools that help members of the IT market to solve many important problems.

Here is the link to my open letter to the community. For my foreign friends I suggest to use the google-translated link

 

It is now more than six month passed since the launch of Startupafisha. And now I’m pleased to announce you it’s brand-new design and a bunch of new services.

Startupafisha is now more than just an all-Russian calendar of startup-events it has become something more – I call it Russian entrepreneurs hub where entrepreneurs and investors are able to solve existing market problems.

Startupafisha’ new services:

First of all we have updated calendar of events. It is now more social, you can now “Like” the pages of events on Facebook and export any event into your iCal. Moreover we’ve moved all the industry competitions into separate feed. Startupafisha events section implies that very soon Startupafisha is going to hold its own events.

Read more on StartupAfisha new services

I’ve recently discovered at Mashable a great great article on World Population Day initiative from the World Food Program

I would like to hear your thoughts and comments on that problem. Let’s feed the «hungry billion together»

To celebrate World Population Day, the World Food Program has launched a campaign to pair a billion Internet users with the billion-plus hungry people in the world.

Read more on Billion for a Billion program

A couple of month ago мy friends from Blackbox Sasha Markova and Bjoern Lasse Hermann told me about their new research. Now they hit the first page on TechCrunch.

The Startup Genome Project team came together 3 months ago to attempt to crack the «innovation code» of Silicon Valley and share it with the rest of the world. Now they are releasing the first Startup Genome Report— a 67 page in depth analysis on what makes Silicon Valley startups successful based on profiling over 650 startups.

 

Pressrelease and more next

We are now starting a series of publication of successful people from Russian and all over the world. All of them are going to attend an upcoming Saint-Petersburg youth forum. So, together with i-russia we are going to present you most of the forum participants.

Alexander Debelov

  • Top 5 College Entrepreneur by Entrepreneur Magazine 2010
  • Co-Founder, The Kairos Society, world’s largest student entrepreneurship organization.
  • Founder, Crelligence Media, social media marketing company
  • Founder, Virool, leading video content distribution network with a reach of 50 million people through its network of 80,000 blogs, 100 social games and top 25 iPhone games
  • Featured in New York Times, Entrepreneur Magazine, Inc Magazine and ABC
  • Recipient of The Most Outstanding Entrepreneurship Student by the Entrepreneurship Division of Babson College (ranked as #1in Entrepreneurship College in the world by U.S. News and World Report)

 

Jon Manzi

  • Youngest documented business millionaire (age 16)
  • Founder/CEO of functional beverage company eVolv
  • Chair of Entrepreneurship at Stanford University (preside over all entrepreneurship initiatives / undertakings across all seven graduate/undergraduate schools)
  • Founder, Chair, CEO of Entrepreneurial Manor – living community for entrepreneurs at Stanford