Mediekuben — for consumer focused startups

We’ve launched a new two year program for startups in Media City Bergen. In this blog, written by Kelly Moulton, you can read about the new program. Moulton is a Business Development Consultant at BTO, working with Mediekuben.

Mediekuben is a collaboration between the BTO team (Anders Haugland, Hilde Reneè Indresøvde, Tor Arne Fanghol, Kjetil Myhren-Berge, Hans Hag) and the NCE Media team (Anne Jacobsen, Rune Smistad, Petter Omdal), with generous support from Ingrid Guddal at Innovation Norway.

The first three months will be an accelerated program culminating in a first high stakes Investor Pitch Day.

The goal is to raise the seed funding — 2m kr.

What types of companies are we looking for?

  • Startups focused on delighting consumers
  • Startups enabling companies to delight consumers
  • Startups with Creative at the Core.
  • Founders seeking to solve their own problems and/or build things they would love to use

We are delighted to announce our initial cohort of 7 Founders who are already at work:

  1. Espen Morild is launching a podcast studio with original content.
  2. Kristin Grostad is launching a marketplace for trading second hand clothes — Swancy.
  3. Jan Terje Espeland has in fact already launched Bergensia.com, The Sustainable Gazette.
  4. Gudmundur Ebenezer, Angel Challenge Winner, has launched Lifekeys.no, an online psychological counselling service.
  5. Melanie Burford has launched Silvereye Pictures, a video storytelling agency that is helping Nordic companies tell their stories to the world.
  6. Gianni Chiarparini is in stealth mode with a musictech offering.
  7. I and Dennis Lien will also be working on a small seed fund. We are raising money to invest in the stars.

And there are a number of new applications we are currently sifting through now. It´s a rolling admissions process here.

We shall focus first on doing things that don’t scale. That’s right — do not scale.

Cliched phrases you will not be hearing from us:

“You need to get big fast or die” or

“Yeah great, but does it scale?” or

“Be prepared to give everything else up your first few years in order to succeed”

etc.

We are focused instead on acquiring customers “manually.” One by one. And we’re going to be focused on making those first few 100 customers insanely happy with us.

We focus on the consumer experience rather than the product “spec.”

We focus on taking consumer delight, service and satisfaction to the extreme.

As Paul Graham of Y Combinator writes:

“Airbnb is a classic example of this technique. Marketplaces are so hard to get rolling that you should expect to take heroic measures at first. In Airbnb’s case, these consisted of going door to door in New York, recruiting new users and helping existing ones improve their listings. Airbnb now seems like an unstoppable juggernaut, but early on it was so fragile that about 30 days of going out and engaging in person with users made the difference between success and failure.”

And we do all this while helping each other maintain a healthy outlook on life. We find our stride rather than sprint until we run out of air.

Mediekuben Tracks of Study:

  1. Communicating with energy, passion and clarity. Often people do not pay attention to what you are saying, but how you are saying it. You can infect and inspire people with your own energy and enthusiasm. Period. This, by the way, is what´s classically referred to as Sales.
  2. Giving Branding the respect, focus and investment it deserves. Unfortunately too often the entrepreneurs I meet think a brand means a logo hack since they are “just a start up.” We are in fact often significantly impacted by brand without consciously acknowledging it. You just like the way a company looks, feels, communicates, and it influences you on a subliminal level and alters your choice making — without you literally even realizing it half the time. You will stay illogically loyal to a brand that resonates. And here we must turn to experts who have real training, research and insight in this regard (I am thinking of my friend Tom Morgan of Anti.as). “The experience is the brand” as he tells us.
  3. Growing intelligently. After focusing first on doing things that don´t scale, we need to develop, try and test (and test again) a digital marketing strategy to acquire new customers on a regular basis. Like Paul Graham (again) we will encourage every startup to measure their progress by a weekly growth rate. He explains: “If you have 100 users, you need to get 10 more next week to grow 10% a week. And while 110 may not seem much better than 100, if you keep growing at 10% a week you’ll be surprised how big the numbers get. After a year you’ll have 14,000 users, and after 2 years you’ll have 2 million. A young company will live or die according to its Cost Per Acquisition number, and often its first money raised will be used to try to figure out and prove that number (or at least, I hope that´s what most of the first real investment money is applied towards).
  4. Research and Publishing. Analytics over emotion. We will publish pieces regularly on consumer technology and media consumption patterns. We will arrange for regular guest speakers with deep knowledge to challenge our thinking about the market. I find I often reach a conclusion, and I think that conclusion is smart and then I rely on that conclusion well past its sell by date. I need to be regularly jolted into new perspectives.
  5. The Fundamentals. Accounting, running the books for your company. Legal, setting up your shareholder agreement. Recruiting, building and inspiring your team. Fundraising.

Underpinning all of the above is Mentorship. People who are close to us who have committed meaningful time to helping our entrepreneurs succeed, offering to coach both onsite and virtually — as well as to help orchestrate sales trips where they live, i.e. London, Stockholm, Oslo, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, etc.

This blog post was published at Medium.

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