Enterprise Ireland would certainly like to thank Rory O’Connor of Scurri.com for his comments about iGap. For more from Rory, please to Scurri’s blog.
22 June 2012
Today I looked back on some of my notes about the original ideas I had for Scurri.com and I realise how much I have learned and how the business idea has developed since then. What I have also come to realise is how much I have learned about starting an internet business and that Scurri.com would more than likely have failed by this stage only for a very important decision I made in the early stages of the company. That decision was to apply for the iGAP programme.
My first iGAP workshop set the bar extremely high and to be honest it was a pivotal moment for me. We had Eric Reis who talked about the lean startup, I had never heard of Eric or the lean startup. I knew about lean in manufacturing and I knew about agile but after a few minutes of Eric talking the whole concept seemed so logical. After the presentation Eric came around individually to each of the companies and discussed where we were at. At the time I was about 2 weeks from launching a prototype site and we a payment engine to sort out. Eric convinced me to launch as he bet that I would not have anyone through the site to payment before we had the payment process sorted. To cut a long story short I launched there and then and Eric was right. We had a lot of sorting to do before I got my first paying customer through the site.
The guys in EI and the Internet growth alliance pulled out all the stops and the contributors just got better and better, Paul O’Dea, Sean Ellis, Justin Kenecht, Scott Reafer, Oren Micheals and Brian Caulfield. Each of the contributors were world class and they really are cutting edge.
I noticed that iGAP4 has been launched and I thought that I could share with potential iGAP participants 10 reasons why they should consider the programme.
1. Contacts and Connections
Enterprise Ireland, the Internet Growth Alliance Members, Paul O’Dea, The contributors, your peers, the past participants and the mentors provide you with access to a pretty awesome bunch of contacts that will help your networking and connecting in the Irish Web and tech scene and beyond.
You will be exposed to the latest cutting edge practices and strategic thinking in the industry. The contributors to the programme have done it, know what they are talking about and are probably doing it again. This is not academic learning, this is real practical stuff that you can implement in your business today.
3. Your fellow iGAPers
You will be in with the brightest of the Irish internet, games and tech scene. There are fantastic opportunities to build up lasting relationships with teams at the same, earlier and later stages than you are at. Knowledge is freely shared and the collaboration is fantastic amongst your peers.
4. Time to Think
You are so caught up in developing your business and more than likely you do not feel you have the time to spend thinking about your business. The workshops give you the time, structure and support to do this.
5. The Contributors
To get access to the likes of Eric Reis and Sean Ellis alone these days is almost impossible even if you are in San Fran. An as a bonus you get access to a whole bunch of other contributors that may not be as famous but are equally as knowledgable in their own fields.
6. The Mentors
You get a great group of fellow participants together in a cohort and you get a Mentor who will help you get the most out of the programme. The mentors are amongst the most experienced industry experts.
7. The Kudos
iGAP is certainly seen as one of the premier accelerators in Ireland and with just cause. It certainly opens doors with VC’s and investors when you mention you have been on the iGAP programme.
8. Investor Ready
Of course the idea of iGAP is to ensure that at the end of the programme you should understand the key elements of a startup business and you will have all the elements necessary to build a killer deck. Whats more you will also have the chance to pitch and practice that pitch.
9. Enterprise Ireland
If you raising investment in Ireland you will probably be talking to EI. iGAP gets you into the EI radar and you will have developed a relationship with the agency that is going to help you realise your vision.
10. Increased ambitions
Simply hanging around with the right people and getting exposure to the opportunities that are out there will increase your ambitions and make you see the possibilities when you have access to a global market.
Finally I have to recommend iGAP as it really has been pivotal to Scurri.com and if your thinking of creating a startup business its a must.
This is a guest post from Mary Carty, a participant in IGAP 1. We in Enterprise Ireland are delighted to announce that they we are planning to run a further Internet Growth Acceleration Programme in Quarter 4 of 2012.
Participating in iGap 1 changed everything. From working with Sean Ellis, Oren Michels, Justin Knecht, Cathy Winston and Brian Caulfield many things become abundantly clear and you find yourself becoming an evangelist about lean startup, customer development and most of all, being passionate about your customers.
As well as applying what I have learned to my own company, I have been blogging about bringing this thinking to the arts and cultural sector. From this, I have been invited to mentor on Growing Pains, a business development programme for 12 Danish and Swedish female Transmedia producers. Held over six months, participants will engage in modules on developing new services, financing, media training, sales, presentation skills, business development and investment. In May, they will take part in Nordic Game, one of the largest game conferences in Europe.
Image (c) http://www.stranger.no with thanks
Growing pains came from a report investigating the barriers facing Transmedia producers when seeking government support in Scandinavia. The researchers looked at funding, management and financing among others. Research found that male and female producers site similar needs for support access to funding, mentorship, investment, networking etc. It showed that more women than men apply for government funding from this sector, yet very few of them are successful.
When looking at risk taking for example, it observed that on average, men take bigger risks with significantly larger losses, should the enterprise not work out. Men also look for larger revenue deals than women. Whereas, females are less risk averse, with often a more sustainable company over the lifetime of that enterprise. Many female producers felt they needed more knowledge and training before making the leap into business, while men on the other hand, threw themselves into the enterprise.
While these findings are not new; proportionately more men successfully accessing support and being more open to risk taking; it does point to a specific need when developing enterprise development programmes for women. Why such a large proportion of women do not succeed in accessing public supports is worth examining. Putting mechanisms in place to deal with specific skills gaps is crucial to the future success and development of these entrepreneurs.
It is also important to look at risk, how women view risk when starting a business and to challenge these perceptions. Motivation and perception are very necessary ingredients when starting out, as these motivations may differ significantly from person to person and between males and females. In understanding, supporting and challenging these issues, skills gaps and perceptions, programmes like Growing Pains will help build pathways to success for female entrepreneurs everywhere.
Why is a programme like this so necessary for Transmedia right now? Digital production and distribution has made old value chains, distribution and business models obsolete. This is a great challenge for the public support system. At the same time, this new disruptive technology is the keystone for Transmedia producers’ success; to strengthen their entrepreneurial skills, to thinking beyond public project financing, in developing and exploiting brands and being innovative in finding alternate sources of funding.
The measure of success for any new programme is the traction and buzz it gains. And Growing Pains is no different, as applications to this first programme were well over subscribed. This shows there is a definite need for programmes like this and I know that it will prove to be a valuable contribution to these entrepreneurs’ success.
I am extremely fortunate to be working with two visionary leaders in this field; Cecilie Stranger-Thorsen who devised the programme and Angeli Sjöström process and implementation coach. Both Cecilie and Angeli bring the best thinking and an in-depth knowledge of this field together and I’m looking forward to learning lots from them. The Growing Pains programme is funded under the EU Regional Development Fund in partnership with Nordic Game Resources.
Over the last 2 years 29 companies, 58 promoters have completed iGAP. We in Enterprise Ireland believe that IGAP is a brilliant and innovative internet start up programme. More importantly so do the participants…..
In an Internet based startup? You should apply for iGAP.
Ronan Skehill co-founder of Cauwill. www.cauwill.com
“I know many such management training and incubation programmes exist, we were on LEAP which was good for us at the time, but iGAP is different because it focuses specifically on the needs of internet businesses. Over a period of seven months, six modules were led by international lean start-up and customer development experts such as Eric Ries, Scott Rafer, Paul O’Dea , Justin Knecth, Sean Ellis and Oren Michels .Over the programme they addressed issues such as lean startup theory, product market fit, monetisation strategies, internet customer acquisition, business development using APIs, etc. Here is a quick synopsis of the content covered by the speakers………http://www.ronanskehill.com/2011/02/05/in-a-startup-you-should-apply-for-igap/#comments
In a Games based startup? You should apply for iGAP.
Steven Collins, Swrve, www.swrve.com
“The iGAP program is an excellent opportunity to both network with a peer group of companies all experiencing many of the same challenges as you, and to hear from some of the world’s leading speakers on building companies and products. The speaker lineup was second to none, with lots of opportunities for interaction and feedback and to build connections. The program itself is very well structured, with lectures, group sessions and mentors and a great curriculum. It presented me with the perfect opportunity to reflect on my own startup and to put the spotlight on our processes for customer discovery, product design and business strategy. I can’t recommend the IGAP program highly enough to anybody building an internet or games industry company and lucky enough to be offered a place.
In a Business 2 Business internet startup? You should apply for iGAP.
Connor Murphy, Datahug, www.datahug.com
“iGAP is one word…. ‘mandatory’. If you want to accelerate your web business and compete globally then you NEED to be on iGAP. If you want to learn from Silicon Valley insiders and world class thought leaders then you NEED to be on iGAP. If you want to collaborate and learn from a brilliant peer group then you NEED to be on iGAP.”
Ronan Perceval http: www.phorest.com
“The really great benefit for me has been the other companies taking part. We were a bit concerned because our company has been in business for longer, but actually the start-up companies on iGap has given us a new lease of life. We’ve started thinking more like a start up again and that’s given us a real focus. That alone has been great.
Hopefully we’ve been able to share some stuff back with other people on the programme as well.
One of the big benefits of iGap has shown in our marketing. I think it’s much more focused now. It’s the first year we have a proper marketing plan, and we’re analyzing the metrics so we’ll actually know for sure what’s working and what’s not.
All in all I think iGap is the best programme Enterprise Ireland has done. Why? Because it’s all practical. They seminar leaders are all guys who have done it.”
Brian Caulfield was the Programme Lead for the iGAP1/2.
“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.
Get your application in today! Online applications close on Friday 9th of September
This is a guest post from Caelen King, founder and CEO of WhatClinic.com, a seach engine for health clinics worldwide that has recently expanded into the UK Dentist & UK Plastic Surgery markets. Caelen recently completed Enterprise Ireland’s iGAP 2 Programme.
Recently I was listening to Dermot, one of our salespeople, while he was on the phone. He was slowly but clearly spelling out our key advantages, but it was obvious from his careful enunciation that he was talking to someone whose English was very poor. What I didn’t know was that he was talking to a dentist in Mexico who didn’t speak ANY English.
From my perspective everything looked pretty normal. Dermot waited for the dentist’s reply and nodded sympathetically. Unfortunately, however, Dermot speaks no Spanish, other than a poorly pronounced “Hola” or “Gracias”. Despite this, and in his best Limerick accent, he stated the price of our product in Euro and in Pesos several times and listened.
Somehow, even with the language barrier, he made himself understood, and he listened again to the dentists unintelligible reply. The conversation continued like this for another five minutes before I finally heard Dermot taking down the dentist’s credit card details and closing the sale.
Now, I’m sure hearing this story you’re thinking that it is slightly implausible, if (more…)
This is a guest post by Ronan Perceval, CEO of Phorest and one of the ten EI client iGAP 2 participant. Now in its second half, Ronan looks back over the programme so far. Previous posts on iGap.
Update: Alan from IGAP1 has the photo’s from the Internet Business Development Event on the Toddle blog.
What is iGap
iGap is a programme for the fastest growing internet businesses in Ireland. It’s a full day programme, once a month, for six months. Each month you do a session on a different area of the business, and then try to implement it into your business.
This is a guest post from the inimitable Ciara Crossan, CEO of WeddingDates.ie, and participant in iGAP 2.
I am one of the current participants of iGAP 2, and have been asked to write about my experiences on the program. iGAP is a 6 month program and is fairly intensive work-wise. One day per month, all the participants come together with their cohort leaders, EI and the presenters and have a full day session on one topic, hear war stories from other successful internet entrepreneurs and discuss in their groups the challenges faced by the previous sessions assignments.
I am the Founder and CEO of WeddingDates.ie an innovative website that generates leads (wedding couples) for hotels and wedding venues for dates they have available to sell.
In his previous blog post, iGAP leader Brian Caufield said 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.”
Thus far, we are finding the programme invaluable. In terms of the speakers and the assignments, iGAP really challenges your assumptions about your own business and forces you to work on developing a concrete strategy. We have found going through the exercises outside of the day-to-day operations a real benefit and we are already thinking about our company differently than before. I feel that iGAP is giving us a more mature long-range outlook on the business and has brought our own team together to develop the strategy as a single unit.
We have made concrete changes to our business on the back of the iGAP sessions. We have re-evaluated our pricing model, and have honed our communication of value to our customers. We understand better what exactly is the difference between us and our competitors and why our customers value us.
One of the main benefits of iGAP is that 2 people from the company do the programme together, and for us it has meant much closer collaboration between myself and my colleague Paul. Previously, Paul was much more operations focused and by him being involved in this programme, he has become completely engaged in the strategy of the company alongside me.
Another massive benefit is the learning from the other iGAP participants themselves. We have gained great inspiration from our peers in our cohort group and from our cohort leader and know that there is so much that we can all learn from each other, as well as the fantastic range of high profile speakers.
The iGAP programme packs a huge volume of material into 6/7 months and the assignments require a huge amount of focus and additional work outside of your day-to-day so there is significant time commitment involved. But in terms of the value that you get from going through the work that iGAP expects you to do, it is certainly time very well spent. I would highly recommend the iGAP programme to any internet entrepreneurs who are gearing up for growth.
The hugely successful Internet Growth Acceleration Programme (iGAP) has been nominated for a prestigious TechCrunch Europe ”Europa” Award under the “Best Ongoing Startup Programme 2010″. It’s fantastic to have the programme listed alongside other high-profile startup programmes such as DigitalMission and Seedcamp, and is a credit to the energy and enthusiasm of participants and organisers alike.
Nice and all as it is to be nominated, we can go one better and claim top spot: all you need to do is head over to the voting page (proudly powered by PollDaddy, yet another Irish tech success story!) and give us your support.
Hat-tip to @primaryposition for getting this rolling, much appreciated!
A client company I’ve been working with over the past few months, MicksGarage www.micksgarage.ie, is recruiting for a Head of Online Marketing. MicksGarage is a young, exciting, fast growing, iGAP company well known in Ireland and the UK.
The successful candidate will be someone who has strong online marketing skills with a specific focus on the UK market.
Key responsibilities include: (more…)