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Startup Activator Launch Session: From Idea to Early Traction - The Roundup

Adam Mitcheson, Founder, my2be

Manchester Digital hosted the launch session for their Startup Activator programme on Thursday 25th January, 2024, a new programme designed to equip early stage startups in Greater Manchester with the tools, resources, and knowledge to accelerate success.

The session focused on how to take an idea to early traction, as we were joined by experienced founder Adam Mitcheson (my2be, APMI), followed by the do’s and don’ts that startups should consider as the start to grow, with Nicola Searle, Partner at TLT, sharing her insights.

The Startup Activator programme is delivered in partnership with TLT LLP, Kao Data, Zendesk, Praetura Ventures, UK Tech Cluster Group and Bruntwood SciTech.

Adam Mitcheson shares his tips for startup success at the Startup Activator Launch Session

Adam Mitcheson kicked off the event by sharing some of his insights on how to take your idea to early traction, based on his experiences as founder of my2be. The session covered everything from idea validation to building your MVP and tips around investments.

Some of the key highlights from Adam:

  • The first thing to ask yourself is “why?” - why the problem, why your solution, why now and why you?
  • Go to where your customers are at, even if you haven’t got any yet, to validate demand for your solution. 
  • When it comes to building your MVP, strip it back to the most basic working version of what you’re trying to achieve.
  • Launch it, get feedback, use that data and then launch again.
  • Having a co-founder is much easier than launching on your own, in the early days you’ll both be wearing lots of different hats.
  • When it comes to investment, the first thing to consider is do you need to fundraise? A lot of investors want to see that this is going to happen with or without them, and their investment will simply accelerate it.
  • Investors will want to see that you have proven there is sufficient demand for your solution.

Nina Searle, Partner at TLT, at the Startup Activator Launch Session

The second part of the session featured Nicola Searle, Partner at TLT, sharing her do’s and don’ts for startups to consider as they grow. This included tips such as:

  • Do start with the end in mind - if you know what you’re shooting for you can work back and work out what your strategy is and put milestones in place.
  • Do have a business plan - make sure it’s credible, has financial models, product roadmap, route to market, headcount needs and key recruits.
  • Don’t rush to recruit - bringing the wrong person in at the wrong time can derail your business, but if it does happy act swiftly to deal with it.
  • Don’t rush to issue shares or options - this can lead to former employees owning an unproportional amount of shares given their contribution. If you are going to go down this route seek legal advice.
  • Do build your network - meet people, get advice, plug into your local ecosystem. Look for people who have been there and done it and can offer an impartial critical view.
  • Do build a board - it’s important to have good governance, increasingly so for investors!
  • Do spent time with professional advisers - it’s very often the case that if you’d spoken to a lawyer for an hour then you wouldn’t be in a position where you need to speak to one for 20! Exploit all opportunities to get free advice.
  • Don’t get distracted - there will be so many things you want to do with your idea but get your MVP and work out your core customers.
  • Do your homework - if you’re looking to take on investors then do your homework, protect your IP, get your contracts in place and make sure your books are in order.
  • Do look after your mental health and wellbeing - this is even more true for sole founders, who could in a single day find themselves CEO, CTO, CFO, Sales, HR and more! Make sure you take the time to look after yourself.

Manchester Digital’s next Startup Activator session will take place on Tuesday 22nd February, 2024. More details to be announced shortly. You can sign up for the Startup Activator here.

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