The demands being placed on entrepreneurs are changing. Ten years ago, if you pitched an idea for a mobile application within the gaming or lifestyle space, you would likely attract investments nationally and internationally. You got far with a mockup and story. But while the bar for what constitutes a sound investment is and has evolved, expected returns and hockey-stick shape revenue growth have not.
Investors are seeking more for less. And everyone still believes in unicorns.
A founding team should have the competence and experience to pull off the startup venture, and there should be traction in sales and a clear path and strategy for the company to scale. Once these benchmarks are in place, then the investor(s) will seek a fairly large stake to add fuel to the momentum. There are, however, two major faults associated with these expectations.
The first expectation assumes that highly experienced and expert team members are cheap labour. The second is overlooking the gains that can be achieved by supporting sustainable entrepreneurship. There is an assumption that the next generation of founders wishes to make products and services that propel consumption.
Anti-consumerism is on the rise and a value that many seek. Yet few companies and startups can tap into that value effectively. And investors find them, well, less sexy. One only needs to open a mobile devices or walk the aisles showcasing the latest gadgets, tablets and computers to see a blend of plastic and metal products to buy. This year, though, TikTok and Insta influencers are wearing the new colour, or explaining a new feature the prior model lacked.
One needs to ask: what does it mean for a company to truly scale? Do you scale the construction and building of products and services we already have at home, or do you scale value?
Many consumers, parents, environmentalists and health professionals are reaching a tipping point - a point where investors and entrepreneurs with unsustainable mindsets be told to Buzz-Off.