— By Danny Holtschke
I am super excited to lead the Startup Ecosystem Report once again helping entrepreneurs worldwide to gain a bigger voice and influence on policy makers. The updated Startup Ecosystem Report will push policy makers to improve startup ecosystems and support entrepreneurs to ultimately increase today’s low startup success rate.
Danny Holtschke (@dannyholtschke)
My story: How I joined Compass
While working on my Master Thesis in 2011, I met Bjoern Lasse Herrmann (CEO of Compass) in Maastricht, Netherlands, where he introduced Startup Genome’s findings to a group of students and I was blown away by the power of aggregated data to solve real-world entrepreneurial problems.
But I was young and naive thought the best path to becoming an entrepreneur was to be a consultant, since they seemed to know everything. (#illusion) I found myself so disappointed in my career choice, I quit after three months, flew from Berlin to San Francisco (at my own cost, taking all my own risks) and joined Bjoern, Max and Ertan in Silicon Valley to work on the Startup Ecosystem Report 2012. I wanted to learn from the very best and be immersed in their thinking every day — and I wasn’t disappointed. I met and absorbed the thinking of tons of entrepreneurs, policy makers, investors and service providers in startup hubs around the globe.
After successfully launching the report in October 2012, I went back to Berlin, proposed to my now wife and started Spotistic. If my days are not filled with guiding the Berlin accelerator Startupbootcamp teams in their journey to market and customer discovery or the Startup Ecosystem Report 2015, I work on StartupGeist – Learn HOW to Start & Better Build a Startup.
And I’ve watched as the last two years have brought major changes, even in my home town of Berlin. Many new accelerators (Hubraum, Google, Microsoft) and incubators have popped up, governmental initiatives for funding have been introduced and successful startups have been launched and exited. The very same holds true for London, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Warsaw, Prague, Vienna, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and many many more cities around the globe. Startups are not the ‘new’ kids on the block anymore.
Several factors have lead to an explosion of startups. The Economist (2014) describes this trend as a Cambrian explosion of digital startups, resulting in an amazing variety of services and products that penetrate and change every corner of the economy. Some speak of the “reinvention of capitalism” (Porter & Kramer, 2011). One of the reasons is that the costs for starting a business have dropped enormously. Platforms such as Amazon cloud computing help entrepreneurs host applications for less than a tenth of the original cost. Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play store allow entrepreneurs to make use of the Internet’s benefits over traditional channels to offer their products and services worldwide. The knowledge to build businesses and products is more democratized than ever and available to anyone who has access to the Internet. That alone increases the number of startups tremendously.
In addition, traditional innovation processes are replaced by new ones (eg slow, linear waterfall methodology by faster, more flexible iterative product development). The Lean Startup movement (Eric Ries, 2011) and Customer Development (Steve Blank, 2010) have played an important role in successfully bringing ideas to market. These new innovation processes and modern tools for business model design (Alexander Osterwalder, 2011) help entrepreneurs to validate potential markets, quickly create prototypes and win paying customers. Today, innovation happens because of startup hubs, networks, clusters and governments have a better understanding of how key stakeholders should work together. For instance, policy makers have come to understand that startups are innovation enabler and job creators in our economies (Kauffman study, 2010).
We are experiencing the Entrepreneurial Enlightenment.
Startup hubs will only mature and increase their economic importance. But to ensure the greatest possible societal benefits from this economic boom, we need the energy, ideas and data of the world’s entrepreneurs to help drive us in the right direction. We invite you to participate in this movement and once we begin collecting data, you can help out in two critical ways.
Contribute your own knowledge and experience to the report
Help spread the word with startups around the globe
You will be helping your fellow entrepreneurs around the globe, and on their behalf, we thank you.
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PS: In the spirit of this transition, please help for the 2015 Startup Ecosystem Report by filling out our survey here.
PPS: If you’re interested in sponsoring the report, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.