What are some notable pet startups

"Startups fight against failure"

Speaking of Silicon Valley and Silicon Wadi: In 2015, 2.15 billion euros in venture capital investments were made in Berlin alone. Will this make Berlin the next silicon metropolis?
The Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking 2015 shows the emerging importance of Berlin. Of course, the USA continues to lead in this regard, and New York and Los Angeles have also made enormous leaps in the ranking. The Silicon Wadi has even lost ranks, not because there is a downward trend there, but because an incredible amount is happening in other metropolises. Cities like London are also of great importance in Europe. But the development of Berlin is indeed particularly remarkable. Berlin is the fastest growing startup ecosystem in the world. I am sure that Berlin will be at the forefront of this ranking over the next few years.

Is the probability of success for startups in these silicones or mini-silicones significantly higher?
The criteria used for the evaluation are based on the reach of the market, the number of investors, the number of potential mentors, opportunities for talent acquisition, infrastructure and opportunities to exchange ideas with fellow campaigners. So it's about the aforementioned sociocultural environment, which is so fertile in these silicones that the conditions for success for startups increase there too. However, I would not recommend relocating there in the early stages. The old nursery or garage is enough to get started, which saves resources. In the early stages, support and opinions from local people are very important emotionally as well as psychologically. You can usually get your first money from the immediate area. After a year, for example, when you have a solid concept or maybe even a product design, you can consider choosing the best location within the country - it doesn't have to be a new country there either.

These and other tips are given to entrepreneurs time and again. Is there such a thing as "curriculum vitae"? What are the most important success factors for startups - and why is the failure rate still so high?
There is certainly no recipe for the right reason. Luck and chance play a big role. Even if everything is done right, the market or competition can change, and with that everything changes. At the beginning of the enterprise, 99 percent of the time you are faced with failure. That failure rate drops the further you go, but even if you get money from VCs - which is hard enough - it's still 75 percent. So it is not a struggle for success, but rather a struggle against failure. The same essence emerges from almost all guides that set up to-dos and rules for the right reasons:

  1. Start with a team! You don't have any resources at the beginning, but there is a lot that needs to be done. When you approach investors, you have to convince them that you have a force and that you are a leader, that you can run a group, and that you have infected them with your vision.
  2. You need passion and commitment! It can be a passion for the added value of your solution or a general passion for entrepreneurship. What is important is the enthusiasm to create something of your own and to set it up. It's like being an artist. A musician, for example, cannot imagine anything other than being on stage. With the appropriate devotion, he then also practices his music. It is the same with real entrepreneurs with passion and dedication. If this passion is not there, the number of hurdles to come will quickly lead to the point of giving up.
  3. Find a mentor! There are a lot of volunteer mentors out there these days who even offer their help for free. Some, in turn, take company shares in return. But first of all, I advise working with mentors who offer their help free of charge, because they have an intrinsic motivation to help. If you can consult a mentor on a regular basis, it helps to save an enormous amount of time and resources.
  4. Create a sensible business model! The lean startup method and the design thinking approach are good bullet points here - you have to be aware that you don't own a startup with an idea. When creating a business model, proximity to the potential customer is essential. You should constantly ask yourself what contribution the discussion with potential customers can make in order to create a meaningful canvas.

More and more startups seem to be successfully implementing these recommendations, because established companies and corporations are increasingly buying up startups in order to let them act as independent business units. Who will benefit most from this constellation? Are competencies being bought up here or competitors being eliminated?
Corporations would have an unbelievable amount of resources to keep up with the innovative strength of startups. The processes in corporations are so complex that communication between different entities is not as dynamic as in startups. An analogy from the animal world illustrates this: Large animals are graceful and successful and have adapted perfectly to their environment. But their morphological superiority is offset by disadvantages. They are sluggish, they lack agility and dynamism. This is also the case with corporations: hierarchies prevent short communication channels and agile decision-making. Adjustments cannot be made quickly. The logical consequence is that you simply buy processes or work that you cannot accomplish in time.

However, the focus of the corporations is not exclusively on the innovative products and services of the startups. What is more interesting are the talents who successfully started these ventures: the concentrated load of enthusiastic employees from the various internal departments. Acquiring this amount and quality of staff would cost established companies months or years and millions of euros. Corporations are certainly also thinking of the danger of emerging competition - but not in the conventional sense: It is not about the worry of one day being ousted by a startup. Rather, the danger comes from the existing major competitors in the market. It's about which company will be the first to notice the potential of the next star in the startup sky. For example, when Facebook bought Whatsapp, it certainly played a role that Google also had an eye on Whatsapp.

Aren't these the key features of open innovation?
Correct. The concept of Open Innovation arose from this drive: You consciously bring innovative strength into the company from outside. Corporations with this understanding of innovation have realized that they have to use external resources in order to remain competitive in the long term. Market competition is viewed differently here: startups that operate in the same market are observed with cautious eyes. One tries to deal constructively with the potential danger in an open approach. If the development of a startup is threatening or even lucrative, you can still decide: invest or buy. This saves expenses for your own R&D. It may even be enough to analyze the market continuously and in depth and look out for suitable opportunities.

The interview was conducted by Kamran Zerafat.

Dr. Yossi Maaravi is primarily responsible for entrepreneurial management at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC). He is the academic director of the CO-OP Startup Experience course as well as the head of the LEUMI Center for Innovation, IDC IMPACT and the B.A. program in Entrepreneurship. Maaravi has extensive experience as an entrepreneur and management consultant.