Start-up Euphoria: the challenge of living by a ‘fast and agile’ culture in an ever-changing environment
By Steve Madincea | October 24, 2017
Ninety days ago, I outlined how excited I was to be creating a technology-led start-up working primarily in the sports sector. Now, after meeting with a wide-variety of professionals within the technology industry, I can tell you I am more excited than ever.
I have travelled to numerous places during this pre-seed due diligence period to meet with start-ups, mature tech companies, venture capitalists and investment funds, plus friends within the sports industry.
I wanted to get their perspective on the future as I have always felt if you are truly interested in succeeding then you can learn something from everyone.
My travels took me to Norway, Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Seattle, Detroit, Denver, Vail, Aspen, San Diego and the greater Los Angeles area. Despite each of these being very different locations, three things became evident for my future start-up:
It’s not just changing at the most rapid pace in history, the speed of change increases with every passing day. It is clearly apparent that every organisation going forward needs to live by a culture of ‘fast and agile’ – fast and agile with ideas, decisions and actions. This philosophy has led us to commit to meet with leading researchers, innovators and futurists on a weekly basis whether they are in Asia, Europe or North America.
I saw several great technology concepts that were struggling or near death because they did not have appropriate funding. Some of the VC’s joked that our new venture, despite being in the ‘pre-seed’ stage, was already better funded than many of the activities they are invested in. This underlines to me the need to continually secure funds for future years and projects.
Some ‘get it’ in the tech space and others merely talk about it. We will only succeed with people that have the right tech disruption attitude, plus a start-up mentality. That outlook is comprised of equal measures of a can-do attitude, a whole lot of personal drive and the ability to work intensely with a diverse team. Our team will be the first ever to bring together scientists, engineers, data analysts and coders as well as sports marketing and communications professionals.
The last 90-days have made me even more excited about our new venture. Despite new objectives being set for required funding levels and engaging with true game-changing technologies, I am confident in the team we are assembling.
But it hasn’t been all investigative work. We also made some core early decisions on our office location and branding.
For our NewCo name we have retained an award-winning London design agency to create a relevant and memorable company name. It will lead our brand identity and be applied across all of the digital platforms our design team are building. I am extremely pleased with the progress made which will allow us to launch on schedule in January 2018.
For our office location, we selected the Surrey Technology Centre incubator. More successful start-ups have begun here than in any other location across Europe. It was tough to secure a place as it is already a hotbed of engineers, scientists, coders and researchers.
Many refer to this locations as ‘e-Hollywood’ because so many game developers are based here. I really like the AR and VR companies I have met, while a few up-and-coming AI companies have shown me some amazing future work. Finally, it’s hard not to be impressed by the revolutionary and sizable 5G innovation centre.
It has been very inspiring meeting with so many tremendously smart tech companies, but it has been also somewhat daunting as many of these operations openly shared the challenges of their own start-up journey.
The next 90-days will see us break cover with our new company name and identity, new team members and a few new technology led sports products. I am certain it will continue to be an incredible journey.
Always onward and upward.