“I received some unfortunate news that my new startup would not be part of the latest i/o ventures class. We made it to the very last round but did not get over the hump. Given over 350 companies applied, making it to the last round is something to be proud of.” @geoffclapp
Like @Geoffclapp quoted above, I also received the unfortunate news this week that even though AppCRAFT had made it to the final round of the i.o ventures VC program, we would not be part of the final 5 companies who would travel to San Francisco to be mentored by i/o ventures.
You can imagine my disappointment at getting the news. My heart sank into my shoe’s as questions raced through my mind. What happened? How could we make it so far and then fail during the final round of in depth due diligence?
“Due diligence” is a term used for a number of concepts involving either an investigation of a business or person prior to signing a contract, or an act with a certain standard of care. It can be a legal obligation, but the term will more commonly apply to voluntary investigations. A common example of due diligence in various industries is the process through which a potential acquirer evaluates a target company or its assets for acquisition.” Wikipedia
Little did I know but AppCRAFT was not the only firm under “investigation”.
To quell my thought’s I dropped one of the i/o venture partners an email to find out where we had gone wrong. His responce… ”You came across strong technically and with solid and relevant experience.” … “The biggest thing is that my partners weren’t super excited about the Nokia platform.”… “even though Nokia is the largest platform it is dying on the vine and its marketplace is know to be weak.”
So in other words, Nokia failed the last round of in depth due diligence and I failed because AppCRAFT develops apps for the Nokia platform. Did I miss something?
Nokia is the largest mobile platform on earth: 955 Million handsets in 190 countries, currently clocking over 4 million downloads a day and growing daily. “Weak marketplace” and dying on the vine”? wow ok, Obviously we do not have the same view of Nokia! What am I missing?
Here’s what makes this news so disappointing.
AppCRAFT is an award winning mobile development startup based in South Africa. In less than 18 months we have risen from the African soil, taking top development awards both locally and internationally. We have proven that we have what it takes to deliver world class award winning content, within tight deadlines. With an early investment of only R2000 we successfully brought our applications to market during a serious global economic recession and managed to keep our heads above water for 18months.
Given the correct mentoring and finances, we could easily port these and other award winning idea’s to many other platforms and this is exactly why we were looking to secure VC and mentoring.
The fact that we were dropped from a VC round because “my partners weren’t super excited about the Nokia platform”, is hard to swallow to say the least. Either we, being AppCRAFT are “strong technically” or we are not, either we have “solid and relevant experience” or we do not.
No matter how hard it is to accept this disappointing news though, we fully respect the decision i/o ventures made, I mean hey it’s their time and money, they need to make sure they get the best ROI. I also need to echo the words of @geoffclapp “I honestly can’t say a bad thing about the i/o venture process or Paul Bragiel” and now we move on to new pastures.
So moving forward, how can we learn from this? What lessons did we pick up and how can we improve?
1. Proving that you have what it takes by winning multiple awards means nothing. You can’t win them all!
2. Developing for only one platform is a dying game, go big or go home.
3. No matter how large you are, there will always be people who view you as dying and weak.
4. If you are a small time startup, don’t waste time looking for VC, focus on what you do best.
5. Share your experiences so others can learn from your mistakes.
Remember that no matter how hard you try, there will always be reasons to fail. All you need to remember is that no matter how many times you fail, once you have fallen get back up, dust yourself off and try again.
HOW CAN WE IMPROVE?
AppCRAFT will in future continue to develop award winning mobile applications. We will focus on what we do best and will continue to find innovative ways to stay ahead of the crowd.
A huge thank you goes out to i/o ventures for the chance we were given to take part in this VC round and for opening our eye’s in many ways.