The following is a guest post from Eric Menke, Partner at The CEO’s Right Hand, Inc., former Private Equity Investor and attendee at StartUp Grind’s 2018 Global Conference
Startup Grind’s Global Conference was PHENOMENAL to say the least! Among 5,000 founders and investors, and access to more than 40 keynote and fireside sessions, I availed myself to 100 start-ups, of awesome stripes and colors, and spoke to their engaging founders and CEOs. Here’s just a snippet of my takeaways from the event.
Startup ecosystem is alive and well.
More than 10,000 companies applied for the conference and only a few hundred were accepted.
Solutions Looking for a Problem
More companies in attendance were solutions looking for a problem.
Cryptocurrency and Block Chain Trends
Not surprisingly, many companies were trying to leverage the current cryptocurrency and block chain trends. However, most doing so had no real compelling reason for utilizing these technologies.
The “App” Front and Center
Surprisingly, there were a number of companies still making their “app” the centerpiece of their value proposition. This was very “two years ago.”
Entrepreneurs & “Platform Plays”
Entrepreneurs have not given up on “platform plays.” There were numerous platform offerings ranging from recruiting, finance, medical and supply chains. The trend of connecting providers with constituents continues unabated.
Few New Social Media Ideas
Interestingly, there were very few new social media ideas being promoted
Virtual Reality Under Represented
…. but those that were there were quite impressive. Among the standouts was VRex, a VR company focused on bringing immersive experiences to the travel industry. Want to see a resort before deciding to go? Use VRex to go there and check it out. I had an opportunity to try the glasses and found the experience exhilarating.
Wearables Trend Diet a Quiet Death
There was only one company with a wearable device.
There were a surprising number of speech-to-text plays. The proliferation of Alexa has opened the door to a whole bevy of voice related, artificial intelligence backed, applications. I would be surprised if we will be able to tell if someone on the other line is human or not within just the next couple of years.
One of the speakers, in particular, stood out to me—“How to take your startup from inspiration to IPO”. Isaac Saldena, founder of Sendgrid. Very down to earth founder who talked about the key priorities in building a company—vision, mission, people, execution. Get these four variables in order and you are on your way.
Incubators Are Becoming Popular
Not just internationally, but in truly out-of-way places. I met an executive who had established an incubator in Pakistan and it was fully booked with entrepreneurs with innovative ideas.
Outsourcing is Still on the Rise
Outsourced CFOs, outsourced engineering, outsourced marketing, outsourced customer support, outsourced business development. It felt like almost all start-up functions are now outsourced.
StartUps have such a healthy presence in business today. It is encouraging to see and how the trends are ever-changing (blockchain and cryptocurrency) or not (app builders). Unique to see the value propositions that each company leveraged as it speaks of the ever-evolving market need and what is asserting a healthy presence (speech-to-text technology and outsourcing services) and what is quietly making its mark (virtual reality) or slowly fading out (wearables). One thing remains and that is impact of great speakers, advisors, and mentors in this space. They give rise to the entrepreneurial spirit, encourage these companies to carve out their place, establish their differentiating factor, raise the capital, and make a difference!
At The CEO’s Right Hand, Inc. we love to work with entrepreneurs, startups and early growth companies to not only highlight the talent evidenced above but to also provide strategic financial and accounting services that reflect your success to potential investors and Boards and position you for exponential growth.