Before I started WidgiLabs I attended a weekend seed bootcamp for entrepreneurs in Lisbon.
It went very well, we received good suggestions and it was very helpful. The projects that are going to receive funding are still not known but I can say that we are very enthusiastic about our project, more motivated than ever and we went from “we must believe this will work” phase to “now we know what to do and how it will be processed”. We have risks that we are running clear but we know what they are and this reduces the uncertainty of the whole process.
It lasted Friday and Saturday all day. On Friday we spoke about Strategy, Business Models, Financial Management, Accounting and Tax. Saturday was about Business and Marketing.
On Saturday afternoon the teams made their “elevator pitch” and also a presentation of about 30 minutes about their projects to the advisory board of investing fund, made up of people from the financial area, intellectual property, lawyers, etc.
Some things I came to realize:
When you start thinking about an idea for a project, which may eventually justify the creation of a company, you do not always know what it means. When making cash flows, even if in the form of forecasting, one realizes that in order to have a company it is necessary to achieve a certain volume of business to compensate the creation of the same one. Cash flows are also useful for understanding what initial investment is needed. It ceases to be a totally invented thing and you have a concrete plan in the paper that allows you to see month after month if we are going in the right direction or if something needs to be adjusted, e.g. the sales effort or the marketing effort.
Perhaps most important of all was the realisation once again of the importance of getting out of the comfort zone and going to talk to people about what is important to them and whether our idea will solve a real problem.
What seed investors are doing is reducing the entry barriers that exist in Portugal for the new technological entrepreneurs. Most of the initiatives of the genre (IAPMEI, banks, etc.) are extremely bureaucratic and treat everything in the same way, whether your business is a dog wagon or a technological thing. Usually a business plan is quickly demanded and there is no help in developing it.
Having an idea that at first seems to have potential, one learns what questions one needs to be able to answer in order to analyse their feasibility, as opposed to other initiatives where one has to answer the same (possibly more) questions, without being aware of their importance and how to get to the answers, and that is fundamental.
We applied with OpenTipi, a SaaS application for real estate websites.
We got an offer for investing in our idea but decided in the end not going for it.
Instead we started working on our idea and returned from Germany to Portugal.