Business success "isn't rocket science," says Paul Singh, a partner with Silicon Valley tech incubator 500 Startups. "It's about being relentlessly effective."
Singh was in Toronto recently to attend a "Demo Day" event featuring pitches from five startup companies graduating from an incubator program run by Toronto "accelerator" Extreme Startups. A new partner at 500 Startups, which provides seed funding and mentoring as well as an accelerator program, Singh has started his own companies, built his own apps, and now helps startups using his own experience managing business growth, metrics and processes.
Typically brash and outspoken, Singh had a lot of messages for Canada's startup community. Fortunately, Rob Lewis, president of Techvibes Media Inc. and editor-in-Chief of Techvibes.com, was in the sold-out crowd, and took some notes for an article he called, "Five Things Toronto Learned from Paul Singh of 500 Startups."
Here are those five things.
1. "Money follows founders now." Through Skype, texting, email and video-conferencing, not to mention specialized investor tools such as Angel List, the Internet is connecting hot entrepreneurs with VCs and angel investors in depth that was unthinkable just a few years ago. "Founders no longer have to chase money the way they did 10 years ago," noted Lewis.
As Singh said in a recent blogpost, "These days… capital is following the talent, regardless of location. In the case of 500 Startups, we're deploying everywhere—domestic and international—and you're going to see even more investors like us over the next three to five years." In fact, there are 10 Canadian companies in 500 Startups' portfolio.
2. "It's everyone's job to be an API to Venture Capital." (Umm, this may take some explaining. An application programming interface [API] is an interface that allows software components to communicate with each other.)
Since venture capital is so mobile now, Singh said, founders, investors and anyone in business or government focused on economic development or job creation must become an API (or bridge) to investment capital. "Your job is to make it easy for big funds to invest where you are."
3. "Traction is the new Intellectual Property." Technology is so dispersed now that virtually anyone can build the next high-growth tech product. It's not intentions that count, but traction: actual success in the marketplace.
Read: Protect Your Intellectual Property for more on why IP is so critical to your business.