The Startup Ecosystem Canvas How to Make Your Startup Community More Transparent
Fragmentation Kills Startup Ecosystems In Startup Communities, Brad Feld (Co-Founder of TechStars and Foundry Group) describes the dangers of fragmentation. According to Feld, "fragmentation kills local entrepreneurship", and a “philosophy of inclusiveness” is a key pillar of a vibrant startup ecosystem. Fragmentation can’t be fixed overnight, but if you map out your local ecosystem, then you can immediately make it more transparent and inviting for newcomers. Hence, we developed the Startup Ecosystem Canvas to help startup leaders map their local ecosystem in a framework that makes it more transparent and inviting for new entrepreneurs.
The Canvas Template/ Infographic 1. Startup Ecosystem Canvas Template Access the free template 2. Startup Ecosystem Infographic See a sample infographic
Main Components of the Canvas ** It is important to note that Canvas is not meant to provide a rigid roadmap for entrepreneurs to build a company - rather, it is designed to provide a logically organized map of local resources to help entrepreneurs on their journey.
STAGE 1: The Idea Stage The idea stage is where new and early-stage entrepreneurs get inspired, learn the basics and best practices of building technology companies, develop their skills, validate their ideas with experts, and begin to build their team and product.
1. Startup Media: Startup media typically provide centralized local startup information, listings, and news. For the purposes of the Canvas, these can range from things like local startup blogs and event listing services (ex. Startup Digest and F6S), to local mailing lists, newsletters, Facebook groups, or LinkedIn Groups. 2. Inspirational Events: These are the events that welcome people into the startup community, and inspire those with ideas to think about launching a company. In most markets, this includes events like Startup Weekend, university event series’, idea fairs, and inspirational Meetups. Idea-Stage: Inspire
1. Best Practices: These events are less about inspiration, and more about knowledge-sharing and learning the startup best practices. In other words, these events serve to educate rather than inspirate. Common examples include 1 Million Cups, Startup Founder 101 Meetups, Startup Grind, and more. 2. Training & Feedback: With idea in hand, bootcamps and training programs that provide feedback can help aspiring entrepreneurs build and validate their ideas. Examples include programs like the Founder Institute, General Assembly, Lean Startup Machine, and more. Idea-Stage: Educate
1. Team Formation: Obviously, team formation for startups is key. While you can argue that all startup events facilitate networking and team formation, this section should only include resources that specifically facilitate networking and early-stage team-building; like CoFoundersLab, FounderDating, and more. 2. Build First Product: Budding entrepreneurs can get help building (or start building) their MVP and first versions of their product through many resources, and the most common ones include hackathons, builder-focused events and workshops, and more. Idea-Stage: Validate
In this stage, entrepreneurs establish and formalize the company, develop their product, get feedback from customers, and prepare for the next step. STAGE 2: The Launch Stage
1. Establish: This includes resources to help entrepreneurs set up the legal and financial frameworks for their companies, like local law firms and banks that specialize in addressing the unique challenges of startups. 2. Workspace: Co-working and flexible workspaces can provide a good breeding ground for new companies. As we are still in the "Launch-Stage", permanent office space is not included at this juncture. Launch-Stage: Start
1. Formalize: As a company and team begin to grow, they often need resources to help them more formally set up their infrastructure (accounting, HR, recruitment, product, etc). This section can include accountants, headhunters, software development houses, and more. 2. Prepare for Seed: Seed funding is a big milestone for most startup teams, and many ecosystems have advanced events and mentorship programs to help teams prepare for seed. This includes Startup Weekend Next and other pre-accelerator events and workshops. Launch-Stage: Develop
1. Seed Accelerators: The next step in the equation for most ecosystems is a local seed accelerator, like TechStars, Seedcamp, or any accelerator built upon the Y Combinator model. 2. Pitch & Demo: Whether a company goes through an accelerator or not, they often need a way to present their company to a large number of angel investors in order to garner a large seed investment. Pitch events and demo days can provide this opportunity. Launch-Stage: Launch
Here, a startup proves their utility, receives recognition, and scales up. This usually requires funding and other resources to drive growth. STAGE 3: The Growth Stage
1. Investor Networking: Many ecosystems have ways to connect professional investors with founders, like events, groups, and associations. Examples could include things like Keiretsu Forum, or local venture capital associations. 2. Major Media: The major media can play a role in the startup ecosystem as well, by providing exposure for companies to mainstream audiences. In this section, you should list any major local media channel that champions local companies. Growth-Stage: Recognition
1. Angels / Micro-VCs: These investors focus on the seed-stage, and can include "Micro-VCs" (AKA "Super Angels"), Angel Syndicates, and individual angel investors. 2. Venture Capitalists: These investors typically participate in the Series A stage and beyond, such as institutional venture funds. Growth-Stage: Funding
1. Infrastructure: With capital in hand (whether via funding or revenue), a company will often need to invest in infrastructure to grow. This includes expenditures like office space, HR, business insurance, and more. 2. Expansion: In many cases, capital-rich companies will also look for new areas of growth, such as new product lines or international markets. Consultants, corporate accelerators, and growth accelerators/ consultants typically can help provide assistance in local markets. Growth-Stage: Growth
To facilitate the startup stages, every ecosystem needs strong supporters like (1) Evangelists, (2) Government, and (3) Talent. The Supporters
Evangelists are people that have taken a leadership position in a community by frequently speaking at startup events, leading or mentoring various startup programs, and generally "paying-it-forward". In Startup Communities, Feld says “the startup community must be led by entrepreneurs”. We could not agree more, so the more evangelists you have that are successful entrepreneurs, the better. The Supporters: Evangelists
Public organizations that facilitate local economic development should not drive a startup community, but they can play an important support role via policy, funding, events, and more. This can include Chambers of Commerce, Economic Ministries, Public Innovation and Economic Development organizations, etc. In Startup Communities, Feld classifies supporting organizations like these as the "feeders" to a startup ecosystem - but not the "leaders". The Supporters: Government
Local universities and employers can have a large impact on a local startup ecosystem by attracting, developing, and retaining a high quality pool of local talent. 1. Local Universities include any colleges or universities with prominent technical or business programs. 2. Local Employers include any major companies that employ a large local workforce. The Supporters: Talent
When you add up all the Startup Stages and the Supporters, hopefully the output is successful homegrown companies. "Successful" is obviously a relative term, so depending on the maturity of a given ecosystem this could include homegrown companies that have achieved significant milestones like raising institutional funding, generating significant revenue, employing a large workforce, or achieving liquidity. The Output: Success Stories
Tips to Use the Startup Ecosystem Canvas
Want an Infographic like this for your city?
In order to promote transparency in startup ecosystems across the globe, the Founder Institute will create these local infographics for you, for free. If you would like a Startup Ecosystem Infographic created for your community, simply follow the guidelines and send us your completed canvas, and then we will devote the design resources to create the infographic for you ASAP. Contact us here or learn more about the Startup Ecosystem Canvas at http://fi.co/canvas. Our Offer