It has been quite busy this week on the Web as loads of announcements leading up to SXSW have hit the newswires. This weekend's festivities in Austin look to top last year's Twitter invasion with a location-based show down between Foursquare and Gowalla. It was a busy week at ReadWriteStart as well, so here's a run down of the top stories in this edition of the Weekly Wrapup. This week we've got tips for not killing your startup, how little changes can make big impacts, the truth about VPs of sales and marketing, an early look at some data from TechStars, and an entrepreneur's take on coworking facilities.
Everywhere you look these days, people are attempting to start innovative businesses and nonprofits, working on putting team, product and financing together, and generally trying to change the world - or, at least, their world - through entrepreneurship.
Meanwhile, I strongly suspect that the mortality rate of tech startups is as high as ever (no rigorous scientific tracking there, just common sense and observation - please do share stats if you know of some). In any case, one failed startup is one too many.
a lot recently, highlighting the nuances of thoughtful placement and treatment of various elements of a web page. Today I stumbled onto an interesting blog post by Ryan Spoon of Polaris Venture Partners about how small changes or additions, specifically in design, can at times make a huge difference for a product on the Web. In the example Spoon references, Facebook added a post log-out message to their homepage which for some users will suggest they look into using Facebook mobile - a small change that is proving useful for the social media powerhouse.We've talked about design
Sales and marketing are not the same thing. It's true they both deal with relationship management and it's true that neither of these job descriptions require hardcore engineering, but just because they're both in the realm of words over code does not mean that they are the same. At the risk of muddling your mind with HR jargon, the core competencies of a marketer are very different from those of a sales person. Surprisingly, many startup CEOs insist on hiring for a VP of Sales and Marketing position.
TechStars is an early stage venture fund based in Boulder, Colorado. ReadWriteWeb was given an early peek at historical results data on TechStars companies, which the organization is about to release. The data shows acquisition and failure rates, as well as how many of the TechStar companies have gone on to receive angel or venture funding.
TechStars reports that nearly 6 of 10 of their companies have historically gone on to receive outside angel or venture funding (not including friends or family). Five other companies reported that they are now profitable without outside funding, so overall 27 of 39 (69.23%) TechStars companies have either raised outside funding after the program or bootstrapped to profitability.
We've all heard of the big company that started as two guys in their garage, but these days, with startup organizations and incubators, more and more success stories seem to feature companies that built their success from group collaboration. One excellent example of how startups can take advantage of collaboration is to work in a coworking environment with other companies and entrepreneurs.