Last night at Singularity University we brought our current incubator to a close. After six weeks of hard work, our participants stood on stage and presented their projects for the first time to the public (you can watch the recorded live stream on FB here).
Our Managing Director SU Ventures, Monique Giggy, reminded the audience of the three key ingredients around which we build our startup programs: Capital, Customers, and Connections.
As obvious as these three things sound — I believe it is of great importance to stress how vital the second and third piece is. Everybody gets capital — and quite frankly I believe we face an over-reliance on the money part. Yes, money is the fuel for your rocket. However, without solid engineering and all the other things which go into making the rocket, all the fuel in the world will not help you get to lift off. Moreover, companies are built by communities, not individuals (or groups thereof).
Those communities, of course, consist of your immediate team and suppliers. They get hugely amplified by your mentors, advisors, thought & development partners. Moreover, without customers, all your best effort is for nothing.
Which is the reason why we spend so much time and energy in surrounding our startups with a huge community of truly outstanding mentors and advisors — plus expose our companies to potential customers nearly from day one?
That is not to say that you necessarily need to be part of an accelerator to do so — identify your weak spots, areas of importance and opportunities and aggressively seek out advisors and mentors in those areas. Make it easy for them to help you and treat them like the Messiah.
As the old saying goes: You are whom you know” — though I believe it is more like “You are what and who you know and how you can turn that into something that matters.”