Category Archives: Startups

Elon Musk – A Real Life Iron Man

Tesla Elon Musk

Talking about inspirational entrepreneurs, many come to mind, but one is literally flying a lot higher than the others. Elon Musk, who even the Iron Man movie makers used as a role model for Tony Stark, is one of the most inspirational entrepreneurs out there today. Within a short period of time he has become successful in four different industries. And not just any industries, but some of the most competitive ones there exist. Starting from PayPal, which revolutionized the way we handle money online, he has moved to new ventures in power industry with SolarCity, automobile with Tesla and space travel and exploration with SpaceX. Considered crazy by his friends at the time he decided to focus on electric car that would survive in the tough car market – something that the car giants had not been able to accomplish, he has risen in the media spotlight with total three successful businesses today.

I have been familiar with the name Elon Musk for a long time, but only recently started to study more the way he works and his ideology towards creating successful businesses. He is quite a fascinating character who apparently clocks in 80-100 hour workweeks, sometimes even more.

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Hong Kong Trip and a New Business Venture

We did a brief one-nighter in Hong Kong earlier this week to meet our partners in a new joint venture. I’m sure the official news release will come out shortly, and I don’t want to be a spoiler, so I will treat the subject discreetly here.

I was introduced to one of the partners earlier last year, and we met, again, in Hong Kong. He was keen to learn more about 3D printing and we spent hours just talking and brainstorming the business possibilities. That’s when the idea for the venture sparked, and he started to build it further. We then met in Bangkok in a larger get together and spent some time around the idea.

hong kong

It took quite a lot of email and call exchange, but it all went very smoothly, even though we were not sitting in the same city. Talking about the necessity for email and internet these days. This would have been impossible without them.

So this time we actually got face to face into the same room. We met at one of the partner’s office in Sheung Wan area and signed off the necessary founding documents. From there we headed out for a few to change to more casual environment, and then onwards to Shanghai Fraternity Association club for dinner.

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gamesGRABR sourcing funding at CrowdCube

gamesGRABR

What pinterest did for wider audience, gamesGRABR is doing for people who love games. It’s THE social network for gamers. The idea is based on curating games collections, discovering, engaging, playing, sharing them with other gamers, and following the trends of the favorite games and players – across all game platforms.

gamesGRABR recently launched an equity crowdfunding campaign that aims to raise £150,000 in return of 7% equity. Things are looking good: so far they have raised £116,000 with 46 days to go. What makes the set up even more interesting is that after they reach the £150,000 an additional £200,000 will be added from their existing investors. The company raised £250,000 seed funding round earlier this year and have successfully developed and launched the website. If you are new to how crowdfunding works I wrote an article about it earlier.

In the past months have been working closely with gamesGRABR to support their online marketing and analytics. I am excited about the concept, and it has proven to raise attraction: 35% of the visitors are returning. They are making the desired actions on the website; playing, downloading and buying games.

The team is very knowledgeable and professional and I think the future for the project is looking very bright.

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Hong Kong Trip

I just returned from Hong Kong today. It was a great trip and very positive in many ways. Maybe I should go there more often… There were two main reasons for the trip this time: to finalize the incorporation for a new start up company, and to speak at the Hong Kong University MBA Business Lab program. On top of that I managed to squeeze in some business meetings as well, just to make sure that there would not be any laziness involved. After all it’s Hong Kong – one of Asia’s most hectic business centres!

Hong_Kong_Skyline

Yesterday morning two of my business associates and I met with our trusted accounting partner, who handles Hong Kong company incorporations. I have to confess that I was expecting quite a signature marathon and was prepared defend my existence at the bank ‘interrogation’, same as last time. To my major surprise things just went incredibly smoothly. After less than 10 signatures, we were done with the accountant, and headed to HSBC’s business banking center. The previous time we had to go to a personal banking branch’s sleazy business service section, where a guy who looked like a high school sophomore, was asking questions like “what happens to your job in the company, when you find someone who knows your job better?” Not this time.

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How to choose the right business partner?

Find the right business partner

Working in multiple startup projects has put me encounters with various people, which has been an excellent learning experience. Some, actually most of them have been and still are just simply great people. Decisions are made easy and it’s just an absolutely pleasure to keep working with them. Usually these projects have successfully moved fast forward. The people and the team dynamism has been a major contributor.

However, then there is the counter part: the negative and difficult people. Everything starts with a “no”, new ideas have to be sold to them, like they were your worst nightmare VC investors. They are always going to different direction than others in the team. Communication is really painful. They think their ideas are great, but when not executable the response is usually hostile. They can really be the killers of a startup, because they drain the energy of others with pointless arguments, and drive the team to focus on wrong things.

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There are multiple reasons why we end up in a situation of having difficult business partners. Maybe they didn’t show their true colors at the beginning, or we didn’t and they built a different image of us. Or perhaps we didn’t see the signs soon enough.

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