This is a guest post from Brian Caulfield, the Programme Lead for the iGAP2 Programme. For more updates from Brian, you can find him at @BrianCVC on Twitter.
I have spent the last eight years as a venture capital and angel investor in technology companies. Prior to that, I was a technology entrepreneur for ten years. In those 18 years working in and with start-up companies I have become convinced that many entrepreneurs fail simply because they don’t have a clear vision of what their business really is…who their customers are; what their proposition for those customers is; how they are going to reach those customers; how they will make money from those customers. In a nutshell, they don’t have a clear strategy.
Getting to that clarity is essential for every business. That clarity enables you to prioritise tasks amidst the chaos of a start-up. It enables you to focus the team on what’s important. It enables you to articulate a clear and, hopefully, compelling investment opportunity to potential funders of the business.
iGAP is a programme that is designed specifically to help early-stage internet companies to develop that clarity and to give them tools to help them to execute on the strategy they have defined. Many such management training and incubation programmes exist but iGAP is different because it focuses specifically on the needs of internet businesses. Over a period of seven months, six modules led by international lean start-up and customer development experts such as Sean Ellis and Oren Michels address issues such as monetisation strategies, internet customer acquisition, business development using APIs, etc.
The need for a programme like iGAP was first recognised by the members of the Internet Growth Alliance (IGA), led by Colm Lyon of Realex Payments. The expertise of our international facilitators is supplemented by input from Colm, Irish success stories such as Ray Nolan of HostelWorld, Breon Corcoran of PaddyPower and others too numerous to mention here.
Finally, as Programme Lead my role is to bring those diverse inputs together into a cohesive programme that will take participants on a journey that will greatly increase their chances of success. I believe the programme is a great opportunity for emerging internet businesses but don’t take my word for it, ask participants on iGAP 1 what they thought.
Enterprise Ireland are now accepting applications for iGAP 2 – any interested online businesses can apply via the website at www.enterprise-ireland.com/igap. The programme will commence in October 2010.