Startup Ecosystem building starts with talent and a conversation
I recently sat down with @Luca Arrigo from Negozju, a platform that informs about #startups and #digitalnomad life in #Malta
The goal was to share our combined experiences in Malta Startup Space, myself as moderator of the Facebook group, and Luca as an engaged user of the same
Topics discussed are:- Building an Audience- Working in Venture Capital- How to raise funds for startups from investors- Malta startup ecosystem building: 2nd Generation Operators- Exploring Virtual Worlds
Building and audience
In the internet based economy, attention is the currency and building an audience is the skill base required to thrive is this new reality.
This leads to the phenomenon of personal branding, because people want to read stories about other people and care about the opinions and behaviours of people they admire, whether this is fashion, sport, politics or business. If you want to build an audience you need to show up and find a medium that reflects your style and message. Make it interesting!
My personal brand is about helping businesses do better by creating “human connections that add value, and move the needle”
Working in Venture Capital
I see many blog posts on this topic. My personal story is very simple, I was curious, and very interested to get involved in the world of startups. So when an opportunity came to immerse myself in the world of technology and startups, I left my corporate job and made one of the best decisions I ever made.
The biggest re-learning journey I needed to go through is to learn the culture of “if it is not risky, I am not interested”. When it comes to startups, opportunity lies in uncertainty
How to raise funds for startups from investors
During the session we tried to demystify startup fundraising. I categorised the process into 3 buckets:
- Friends and family, who invest based on their personal relationship with you, the founder
- Business angels, who use personal funds to both earn a return, but critically to see a technology or idea come to market and learn from the experience
- Professional investors, such as Venture Capital, who effectively are money managers and are required to earn 2x or 3x the money entrusted to them as part of their business model
Founders will realise that receiving funding from each of these players entails different levels of scrutiny and expected returns.
Bottom up startup ecosystem building
I have been exploring what comparative advantages exist in Malta that could make it an attractive player for venture funding. The initial direction I was looking for were those sectors that are endemic to life in Malta; i.e. sea, sun, tourism and maritime related businesses. However apart from a few isolated stories, nothing has truly emerged.
Over a span of time, what has proven to be of interest are founders who are leaving their high ranking positions in finance and igaming companies to start a venture based on the core of the skill base they have developed over their years of service at these international firms. For those who may not know, Malta is the headquarters for large international business with billion dollar revenues. Unique legislative, fiscal and operational working environments attract these businesses to Malta, which create an exciting talent base that is either present on the island or closely connected to it.
Coupled with government based startup incentives offered by Malta Enterprise, this talent has been given healthy resources to build their early stage opportunity from Malta, and I have been witnessing this in various fields such as SEO, adtech, fintech and regtech amongst other fields.
These 2nd Generation Operators as I nicknamed them, are for me Malta’s best hope at building a relevant startup in the next 3–5 years. Further to this, emerging startups like Altaro and Hotjar, who have built internationally recognised businesses, are spawning what I can only expect to be, the hotbed of Malta connected founder talent.
Our mission is to help this talent emerge, with our collective best effort.
Exploring Virtual Worlds
The conclusive part of the interview was chit chat around the emergence of Virtual Worlds, or the #metaverse to use the trending topic. Luca is already an operator in this field, he provides services to virtual land owners in #Decentraland via his company https://decentralandarchitects.com
I am still educating myself. However I strongly believe that the same disruption that the internet brought to business in the last 25 years, will be replicated through video games and immersive worlds, powered by A.I, blockchain, crypto, AR/VR experiences.
#Play-to-earn is already an existing model, and the most simple business model for any startup is to provide a platform or infrastructure for others to make money. Games and virtual worlds are where the attention is, and whoever has attention , has business!
Our call to action was simple, “Get Interested!” and join us on Malta Startup Space