Una startup es como un bebé. Los ‘padres’ reciben innumerables consejos y hasta formación académica. Y a pesar de que abundan las fórmulas para tener éxito, cada experiencia es única. Sin embargo, y al igual que ocurre con la crianza de un hijo, hay parámetros a considerar para evaluar si las cosas marchan bien.
A todos les parece genial lo que estás haciendo, pero muy pocos compran
Para saber si una idea es realmente buena hay que sacarla del ordenador y llevarla al mundo real. La interacción con la gente y los clientes es necesaria para saber dónde se está parado. En un principio resultan estimulantes los comentarios positivos que respalden tu iniciativa. Pero si todo se queda en palabras y muy pocos (o nadie) parece dispuesto a adquirir eso que ofreces, es obvio que algo no funciona como debería.
En estos casos toca volver a las preguntas iniciales que todo emprendedor debe hacerse. ¿Qué necesidad voy a resolver? ¿Cuál es mi propuesta para solucionar determinado problema? ¿Hay un problema? Una buena manera de despejar estas incógnitas es indagar entre todos aquellos que califican tu iniciativa como “interesante” y al final del día no invierten ni un centavo.
También toca revisar las estrategias de marketing. Quizá el problema sea que estás enviando un mensaje equivocado o inexacto sobre su producto. O que ni siquiera está llegando al público correcto.
Se agota el dinero
Una consecuencia directa del problema inicial. Si no hay ventas, el dinero con el que cuentas en algún momento se va a terminar. Lo que llevará a tu negocio a los temibles números rojos.
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¿Qué hacer? Además de todo lo necesario para multiplicar los ingresos, probablemente también habrá que reducir los costos operativos para equilibrar la balanza. Otro plan es salir a buscar nuevos fondos. Aunque mientras el primer punto no esté resuelto, la inyección de capital solo servirá para postergar la llegada del momento crítico.
Ya no te gusta lo que haces
Al empezar, todo es emoción. Pero conforme avanzan los días, el entusiasmo inicial puede diluirse. Sobretodo si luego de revisar los dos primeros puntos te sentiste identificado. Si no eres capaz de recuperar el amor que en un principio tenías hacia tu idea, entonces sí que estás en graves problemas.
Con información de INC
Voi hires former Bird UK chief to bring e-scooters to British streets
With the U.K. government set to accelerate trials of e-scooter rentals in a bid to reduce crowding on public transport and support social distancing during the coronavirus crisis, Europe’s e-scooter companies are gearing up to be ready.
The latest move sees Sweden-headquartered Voi Technology recruit Richard Corbett to head up its U.K., Ireland and Benelux operations. Corbett joins from rival Bird, where he spent two years as the U.S. company’s U.K. and Ireland chief, as well as helping to launch e-scooter rentals in Netherlands.
This side of the pond, Corbett was best known for launching e-scooters on private land at Queen Elizabeth Park in East London, which was a major site for the London 2012 Summer Olympics. It has since become home to a ‘tech hub’, housing a number of tech and media-focused businesses and related organisations, along with co-working spaces, a large conference space, and various Olympic-standard sports facilities.
“Richard Corbett joins Voi immediately as head of the Swedish company’s UK, Ireland and Benelux operations, as the UK government prepares to change the law to finally allow e-scooters to be ridden on roads and cyclepaths,” explains Voi, adding that he’ll be responsible for leading Voi’s push into the UK, where it expects to see at least 50,000 rides per day by the end of 2020 in London.
Explains Fredrik Hjelm, CEO and co-founder of Voi Technology, in a statement: “Out of this terrible pandemic, there is an opportunity to reinvent the way that we travel around cities so that we can cut congestion and pollution for good. Now more than ever a collaborative approach to mobility is needed and we need to make sure that there are good non-polluting options available, that suit all abilities and pockets. There is a huge unmet demand for e-scooters in U.K. towns and cities and Voi will work closely with local authorities and other transport operators to provide new mobility choices”.
Out of genuine curiosity, I asked Corbett what he has been doing over the last two years, considering how limited Bird’s U.K. launch was.
“The Olympic Park was the UK’s very first ‘e-scooter showroom’, where stakeholders across no. 10, DfT, DEFRA, DHSC, cities, transport authorities and transport groups could test ride an e-scooter and develop an informed opinion about this new mode of transport,” he told me. “This trial was essential to get us to where we are today”.
To that end, one of Corbett’s first tasks is to continue building out the U.K. team, and working closely with U.K. local authorities and transport operators to bring e-scooter rentals to the U.K. cities that could benefit most.
“I’m really proud to have been part of the team who led the conversations to make e-scooters a priority and I firmly believe that they will be a solution to the U.K.’s pollution and transport issues, not just a fun way to get around,” he says. “I’m also really excited to be getting back to this campaign and in particular with Voi, which is a European company which really understands how people move around older cities like London. We share the same values and are passionate about creating better cities for people to live in.”
Meanwhile, it has been a challenging time for Voi, along with other e-scooter rental companies, including Lime, Bird, Tier and others, as many countries entered lockdown and demand for scooter rides plummeted. This forced Voi to pause operations in the majority of cities it operates in, with only a handful of its largest cities being serviced.
Since then, lockdowns across Europe have started to lift, and Voi says it has been putting more e-scooters back on the streets of various European cities, including in France and Germany. Throughout the pandemic, it also maintained service in key cities in Sweden, Norway and Denmark, in part to help key workers get around and to assist charities supporting people during the on-going crisis.
ChatableApps launches its hearing assistance app
ChatableApps is launching its hearing assistance app on iOS today, with a wider Android release to follow shortly. Backed by Mark Cuban, and based on the work of auditory neural signal processing researcher Dr. Andy Simpson, the app removes background noise in near real-time so that one-to-one conversations can be heard more clearly.
And, unlike other solutions on the market, its makers say it works with any modern smartphone and standard earbuds. Early “pre-clinical” trials of the Chatable app claim to demonstrate that it matches or even surpasses the performance of some traditional hearing aids, with 86% of participants reporting that the ChatableApps’ “universal hearing aid” was better for conversation than their existing hearing aid.
When I covered the startup’s recent funding round, ChatableApps co-founder Brendan O’Driscoll told me the company’s technology and approach is “completely unique” because it doesn’t use noise filtering or other DSP techniques. “It’s actually a deep learning neural net approach to speech and noise separation that doesn’t apply filters to the original audio but rather it listens and re-prints a brand new audio stream in near real-time which is a mimic of just the vocal components of the original audio,” he said.
Or, put simply, unlike traditional approaches to background noise removal — which attempt to label and remove unwanted sounds — ChatableApps’ AI, dubbed “VOXimity”, identifies the voice we want to hear, and creates a new, identical voice track which sounds (more or less) the same as the original but without any other background sounds. The technique is called end-to-end neural speech synthesis.
Meanwhile, ChatableApps CEO Giles Tongue, tells me the team has been racing to get the app released as quickly as possible, after realising it could help plug a gap for people unable to access a hearing clinic during the coronavirus crisis or unable to lipread due to the prevalence of face masks.
“Following successful pre-clinical trials, we have decided to launch immediately due to urgent demand from audiologists to help people struggling because of coronavirus,” he says. “With many unable to lipread due to face masks or unable to visit a hearing clinic in an emergency, our app provides a lifeline that will help people communicate”.
The app may also help manage social distancing. “You can place the phone next to the person talking, put in your Bluetooth buds, walk ten feet away and still be able to hear someone with perfect clarity,” adds Tongue.
Since we last covered the company, the team has also re-visited the ChatableApps pricing model. Previously the startup planned to offer a paid subscription version only, but now has a free, albeit somewhat limited, tier.
“The app is free to access, with the option to subscribe to unlock maximum voice amplification and reduction of background noise,” says the company. The full version is available for £9.99 ($12.99) per month, or £59.99 ($79.99) per year when paid annually.
Aircall raises $65 million for its cloud-based phone system
Aircall has raised a $65 million Series C round (€60.2 million) with DTCP leading the round, Adam Street participating and existing investors eFounders, Draper Esprit, Balderton and NextWorld injecting more money in the company. Overall, Aircall has raised $106 million.
Aircall is building a software-as-a-service company around phone calls. You could use it to operate a call center and handle support requests or to improve the workflow of your sales team, for instance.
“We raised two years ago and we’ve done exactly what we wanted to do over the past two years by creating an executive team and a strong leadership,” co-founder and COO Jonathan Anguelov told me.
When it comes to product, Aircall wants to differentiate itself from traditional call center solutions thanks to integrations with third-party services. For instance, you could see your call information in your CRM to see if somebody on your team has already followed up on a lead. Or you could initiate a phone call from Zendesk if there’s an urgent support request.
More recently, the company has launched integrations with Chorus.ai and Gong for demanding customers operating call center. With those integrations, you can get transcriptions and analyze the sentiment of the conversation.
Over the past two years, Aircall has quadrupled its revenue and doubled the number of employees. While the company originally started in France, most of its revenue comes from the U.S. now. Aircall targets small and medium companies, from 10 to 1,000 people.
While the startup didn’t want to share information on its annual recurring revenue (ARR), Aircall says that its ARR is currently above the total cash burn of the past couple of years. Given that they raised $29 million and didn’t use all the money, that gives you an idea.
The company started reaching out to investors in January and ended up closing the round during the coronavirus outbreak. “We have done more than 3x on the valuation compared to the previous round,” Anguelov said
There are around 320 persons working for the company now. With today’s funding round, the company plans to expand with more developers, a bigger sales team and a new office in Australia.
Google Play Store tests showing popular gameplay videos within game listings
EMUI 10.1 stable rolling out globally for Huawei P30 and P30 Pro
Chrome for Android appears to have severe freezing issues on OnePlus devices
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