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TechScale Berlin: Tips to plan your way out of a crisis

EXB resident techxpert Jewell Sparks on #FoundersAid for the next 120 days, a round up of the best advice out there for strategically planning the future and startup parent survival kit.

Image for TechScale Berlin: Tips to plan your way out of a crisis

Photo courtesy of Jewell Sparks. Don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly newsletter Exberliner Tech, your essential tech and startup briefing!

This week, Techscale Berlin wanted to offer a few solutions as to how to plan for the future during these WFN lifestyle changes while the polizei are out controlling our streets.  As inhabitants of Berlin, we have all been instructed to only leave our homes for food, work, health, family visits and assisting others in need, while keeping social distance of course. The Senate also has started to prohibit meetings with more than two people for the next two weeks according to our Corona Update section. Personally, my meeting times have been restricted to me, myself and I the following two weeks. However, I have been indulging in some virtual pleasures on the startup front quite heavily. 

Hacking Corona, 40,000+ strong

Over the weekend, the Federal Government alongside seven social initiatives (Tech4Germany, Code for Germany, Impact Hub Berlin, ProjectTogether, SEND e.V., Initiative D21, Prototype Fund) organised one of the largest digital hackathons that I have ever participated in. #WirVsVirus took place Friday, March 20, to Sunday, March 22. Ideas and solutions spanned the categories of retail, agriculture, health, fitness, caretaking, predictive analysis and more. The effort gathered participants from  across various sectors to work together to create a digital space in which to work on solutions to challenges posed by Covid-19. Results do matter, therefore I must mention the stats of the event (registrations: 43,000; mentors: 2900; active users: 27,000; projects submitted: 1,500; projects from ministries: 100). The outcome was great, and tonight approximately 600 experts will gather online evaluate the solutions, check their validity and help compile a shortlist of the best developments. I am looking forward to this.

Digital revolution, a demand for 50/50 to be allocated to SMEs

As a result of the downward swirl that a lot of SMEs are about to experience, the Digital SME Alliance just posted their press release regarding the open letter sent to President Charles Michel and the European Council. The letter asks for 50 percent of the digital innovation budget to go to small and medium business versus corporate conglomerates. Let’s wait for what happens here. I don’t see any wording regarding startups, although “Berlin as a leading global location for business startups with the world’s best growth potential,” according to Berlin Partner. We need to help our startups!

Startup parent survival kit

A lot of changes have impacted our WFH or work life within a short period of time. Founders are always reminded to try and have a well balanced life, and some of you do. Let’s keep it real, having our children occupied by trained professionals from 8am to 3pm has been a savior which we may have taken for granted until now. Parents now have to juggle their WFH schedules and keep their children safe, educated and happy. The CDC has compiled some great tips on how to multitask WFH and caring for your children while they have TAH (time at home) during the same time you do. 

The power of strategic planning

Image for TechScale Berlin: Tips to plan your way out of a crisis

Photo by Sequoia Capital.

There is no better time to plan for the future of your startup than NOW. There have been a lot of articles popping up over the past few weeks now that people have realised that the way we work, move and socialise has been totally disrupted. There are a lot of lists out there referring to governmental aid and other resources during these dynamic times, but there is very little information providing guidance on “how to do” things. 

Does your startup need a strategic plan?

Joshua Gans from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management talks discuss how to consider all of your strategic options before commercialising your new product or service.  Should you collaborate or compete? 

What is your value proposition? 

There are a lot of megatrends dominating the sound waves. Trends such as big data, AI, IoT and more, but regardless of these trends they have not knocked the importance of strategy out of the driver’s seat. Kevin J. Boudreau, a professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Northeastern University, believes that blue oceans, business model canvasses, and disruptive business models are all great, but only offer a snippet of what real strategic planning can do for your startup. His working paper on how to design your strategy can be found here.

Have you strategically planned out your startup financial resources?

How you are going to finance yourself when you are in control vs when unforseen disruptions take place in your business universe? Last week, Sequoia Capital published one of the most useful pieces of information that I have found. Matrix for COVID-19 helps you plan and prepare for the times when things get a little foggy in the universe. The group also pointed out that the act of planning is more useful than the plan itself. In the end, those who can both plan and execute will be the winners once this whole pandemic blows over. 

120 days of financial runway

As mentioned earlier, there is a lot of data dumping and information flooding the broadband to reach our inboxes, mental psychies and train of thought, therefore I tried not to regurgitate such info in this weeks’ Techscale Berlin. I do recommend that founders stay up to speed on global travel updates from the New York Times, financial developments for startups across Europe from Sifted, COVID19 startup projects from Norrsken’s Action Against Corona list and of course your local Startup and Invest in entities in your city and country.  BiTHOUSE Venture Group has created an initiative called #FoundersAid for startups to state their estimated financial needs during the next 120 days. The goal of the initiative is to try and identify tangible resources for founders who are at risk of losing major traction during the pandemic across the globe.

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