Meeting Start-ups, Signing Them Up
Our initial goal in The IZE Innovation Group is to get 300 start-ups to say, "Yes" to being represented by us. What constitute a "yes"? At the moment, we do not require a start-up to sign or commit in any way. All we need is a verbal affirmation, and a follow-up confirmation of that affirmation. When you meet a founder and the person says, "yes" to being helped by you, you should get his or her contact information. You will then upload that information to the IZE Group's google doc page and then follow up with a phone contact within the next 24 to 72 hours. There, you will get a second confirmation of the start-up's desire to use our services.
Introducing your self
Experience has shown that start-ups all are happy to have such a service, especially since there's no up-front cost to them. As such, your task of getting to "yes" should not be difficult with start-ups. In order to succeed, you do need to talk to the decision-maker, which is one of the co-founders.
So here is the standard conversation I use when I meet with someone at a networking event.
Eric: Hi, I'm Eric. What brings you here?
Founder: Oh, <blah blah>
Eric: So you're doing a start-up. What does this start-up do?
Founder: <explains the start-up>
Eric: Very cool. So, I'm a partner at IZE Innovation Group, and we help start-ups like you. We have over 150 people all around the world working with start-ups and companies to match start-ups to companies. What we do is help you get acquired. Would you like to be acquired as an exit in the future?
Founder: That sounds good.
Eric. If you like more information, please give me your contact information and I'll be happy to put your company in our database for review.
And that's it.
But what if...
Ok, some start-ups may not be conducive to being bought out by an established company. Not all start-ups are B2B. Also, some may sound so sketchy to you that you don't think there's a chance in hell that they will make it. It doesn't matter. First off, you're not obligated to help them out. After your conversation with them, and you've collected their business card, you can just throw it away on your way home.
Otherwise, this is where your entrepreneurial skills are applied. You need to show them that it might not be exactly what they're doing that may be purchased. Explain to them that pivoting is a central part of entrepreneurship. Go where the money will be, and if an established company has its eyes on you and they would like you to make some minor changes, it would be folly to decide otherwise.
Explain to the start-up founder that it may not be the business model that an established company might want to acquire. It could be the technology, and if so, it helps to make that technology even better by making some changes to it so that it can be easily adapted by the established company.
At the end
Your end goal is just to collect the contact information and receive a verbal yes. Generally, if they don't give you contact information, you're also not going to get a yes. Our immediate goal as a group is to get to 300 start-ups on the list. Once there, we begin phase two of our plan, which is to connect with established companies.