Startup Membership AMA


Three calls with directors and the subsequent notes and responses:

Summary of next steps from all 3 calls**:

  1. Membership overview
    1. Click here to read through it
  2. Marketing collateral
    1. Startups -
      1. Summary slides & social templates can be found here
        1. Director referral discount program for your local startups will be shared in the June Directors' Newsletter
      2. Testimonials & list of example Medium promotion our startups have received will be shared in the June Directors' Newsletter
      3. Example NPS Scores from recent Conferences that you can share with startups if they ask:
        1. Global 2019 Accelerate = 45
        2. Europe 2019 Accelerate = 47
        3. Global 2020 Accelerate = 52
      4. Startup Member Success Stories will come a few months into the membership
    2. Investors - 
      1. Email & social templates, testimonials, NPS Scores will be shared when we roll out the Investor Referral Program during summer
  3. What Directors can help with & what the benefit are for Directors of getting involved
    1. HQ are working on a clear benefits structure for the below areas Directors will be involved and this will be shared kicked off as part of phase 1 of the Community Growth Curve and will evolve as part of phases 2, 3 and beyond
    2. There will be different levels of support you can give (see below). The processes for getting involved in each or registering to do so will be shared as part of phases 2, 3 and beyond of the Community Growth Curve :-)
      1. Encouraging your local startups to apply (either individually or as part of delegations)
      2. Encouraging your local investors to become part of the Investor Program
      3. Becoming part of the Startup Membership Private Groups in MightyNetworks and supporting in terms of moderation and community management
      4. Offering to be listed as a nominated Director on the Startup Membership Program, who is willing to support & coach startups (you will be able to tell us how much time you can commit to this)
      5. Becoming a Director Champion on the Startup Membership Program who supports with & even runs localised content delivery for the startups in their region
  4. Ongoing development of the Startup Membership Program
    1. Startup Team are working on creating a transparent roadmap for program developments that can be shared with and tracked by Directors with a cadence of check-in AMAs organised
      1. This will be shared in the June Directors' Newsletter

**If you would like to read through the Q&A in full from each call, you can find these below.

Americas Call:

Date: May 13, 2020

Directors present: Alex Lobodiak, Chris Haug, Christian Mtapie, Gladys Sánchez, Jason Kraus, Jens Wernborg, Jonny Seaman

Questions + Answers: 

  1. Can you speak to the differences partners would get out of the membership program vs. being a local Chapter partner/sponsor?
    1. The partner memberships biggest differentiation is the scale we offer. Anyone on the partnership team is happy to hop on a call with you and see what we could add from a global level and see what we at HQ can offer. However, the best partners we can help with and collaborate with is when they are looking for that global scalability. 
  2. Are memberships tied to local Chapters or just at a global level? Will we know all of the startups in our local area who are accepted to the platform/membership?
  3. Is there a feature within the platform where VCs can choose by industry to find startups they want to work with instead of just a giant list of startups?
    1. Yes, we do this now. We offer VCs short lists of startups they should connect with. If you have more ideas on how to help VCs within your region please reach out to Imogen. 
  4. Can Alex create a slide about the membership that we can use on our event calls to discuss with our members?
  5. Can you put together mini pitches and templates we can use to send to startups within our region and the value they would get out of it as well as one for our VCs and how/why they can get involved?
  6. What are next steps and what do you need from us Directors?

Alex rough notes

  • Definitely need some sort of centralised, simple, comprehensible director benefits program (points system with big benefits EOY as per my notes?)
  • They need to be sent the investor criteria form so they can intro investors to us. Same for startups (also need template on how to pitch it)
  • Need to re-send the membership overview that was in the NL
  • Transparency on investors, startups, partners, Directors etc. involved in this community for directors?
  • Need to sell Directors more on the Program as an aggregation of value and impact over and above what local chapters can provide, so that they WANT to encourage startups to be a part of it
  • Need demographics for investors too...check some related ‘speaker’ database G referred to?
  • Formalise value for startups at global and local level (education, access and exposure) by working with Directors who opt in. Tie this together with overall clean Director Incentives program
  • Directors should want to submit to a centralised db every time they have a new speaker, partner, investor, startup, make a new intro etc. Better tracking & centralised db for us globally. THINK on this
  • Transparent roadmap for program developments to directors. social contract = accountability but also engagement
  • Think more on how we can also aggregate the data on experience, expertise & willingness of Directors who want to be official nodes of the network

EMEA Call:

Date: May 14, 2020

Directors present: About 14 including: David Butler, Shahar, Dan Woerhide, Kate Erina, Mo Salah, Sadeq Sehab, Laryx, [...]

Questions + Answers: 

  1. Is it for established companies? What about potential entrepreneurs?
    1. Thats what the solo membership will be for, then they can follow the journey and move through the next tiers of the membership as they develop a company. This was designed to help someone through out their entire startup journey. 
  2. All startup types? Or only for tech startups?
    1. Primarily tech, but will be assessed on a case by case basis and will accept others that are up to the standards of the program. The content will be catered toward tech startups the most, and they will likely receive the most benefit.
  3. How do chapters benefit from membership signups?
    1. Access to the global ecosystem
    2. putting all of the SG community into 1 place so you have more visibility as the director and are able to have somewhere to send the people who come to you for help as well. 
    3. Potential to put documentation together for this?
  4. How do African Startups compare with the rest of the world? Any additional hurdles they face?
    1. Outside of the US, the cost is one of the main challenges. We could look at local pricing, though that isn’t ideal. Other options include delegations, having some type of major company sponsor for a certain country/region, or hosting pitch competitions and the winners can receive a reduced rate for the membership. 
  5. When will we create campaigns that drive startups to engage locally and then funnel into HQ offerings?
    1. Follow up comments: most startups don’t know about the local opportunities that they have. But overall this is a great opportunity for startups to engage together during this time.
    2. Ideally we would love for there to be a 2 way exchange between HQ and local ecosystem to share companies and contacts back and forth. How do we know who wants to be involved in that from a chapter perspective and figuring out how we make that scalable because it would be quite a manual process to start. 
  6. How can we gat case studies on the success of the programs so far to get more people involved?
    1. We could share the NPS scores that we have as well as make testimonials available that directors can share without having to get additional permission for
    2. follow up - How do we build a success story for companies who have gone through all steps of the program?
      1. We could follow up with a single company and publish something on their success and how Startup Grind has helped them achieve their success
  7. What is the relevance for chapters/events/community? What can we expect from both an engagement and a financial perspective?
  8. What should startups expect to gain in value from being a member? Will they have to continue to hustle for the value or will it be directly available?
    1. A bit of both - it will be present but they also may have to look for it or do some work (a good startup would be willing to put in some effort). But we are taking the content that we already have and everything that we have access to and putting it all in one place that people can have direct access to when they are on the platform. We could work with MArcom to give a better visualization of the value for each of the different pillars of the program. 
  9. What level should local chapters be involved?
    1. Kind of up to the chapter - if they are willing to refer companies, investors, and be willing to be intro’d to local companies you may not have a connection with. We would love to have you all as involved as you want to be. that will help with the development of the network as a whole. 
  10. Bulk Memberships? Like delegations [Mo Question]
    1. Yes definitely, contact the team so we can collaborate on that together. By working together we can build a better relationship and come up with the best option for your startups
  11. Local/Partner perks? [Mo Question]
    1. the real potential is in the scale, localize and globalize are both important. How do we roll out something that is standard across the entire community? Great idea but something we would need to consider more to figure out how to make it work 
  12. Pricing [Mo Question]
    1. differences based on location could be managed through delegations
    2. do you know exactly what the specific discount would be?
      1. not yet. broadly speaking, the more startups you bring the greater the discount. Ukraine had 15 startups at Global and received a 25% discount as an example.
  13. Education [Mo Question]
    1. SG China is more involved and has already been working on ideas for this. Open minded about how we can deliver this content, right now we are planning five webinars a month one for each of the content topic areas. 
    2. We could do things that are based regionally if there is an interest in that.  We will have to rely on the chapters and directors to have some leverage on those and to help with introductions to the who’s who in their communities. 
  14. Is there an investor level or will this be off platform? [David Butler Question]
    1. Basic information on investor involvement:
    2. Yes, this is a multisided marketplace. Imogen is managing the investors and we are formalizing an investor program based on their feedback. We strive to treat investors really well as customers (because their job isn’t easy and they are often ignored in a lot of spaces), but by listening to them we have developed good relationships and have great feedback on what they are looking for. Now we are trying to formalize it
      1. Creating for them what investors need/want. For example double opt in intro’s
      2. encouraging VC-to-VC Networking
    3. Comment from Mo - pitch events have been super valuable, they have been able to build better relationships with investors and have gotten great feedback from the startups that were involved. Wants to see more chapters utilizing them
      1. from Daniel - yes we are working on that
  15. Can you make a pitch/message/letter that we can share with investors? [DB Question]
    1. Yes this is something we could put together to help you introduce the program
  16. Can you explain Mighty Networks? [DB Question]
    1. Similar to a basic version of facebook that allows for networking and various groups
    2. We will be adding directors to the platform in the near future and G can show you how it all works and such
  17. How do startups who have exhibited know about this?
    1. We have been sending them emails and are sending another round of follow ups soon
  18. What benefits do Directors get for referring startups to the program
    1. we want a good, consistent way for directors to be rewarded. Its something we are working on and hope to have a streamlined process for
      1. from G - benefit of seeing and knowing startups, you can actually connect people to this program when they come to you for help with things as well. There will also be solo memberships you can direct them to. Basically it’ll elevate your status in your community. If something with significant monetary value comes through, you will also get compensated in a way that we have standardized already. Local partners are a little tricky because they don’t have a presence globally but are something we can talk about on a case by case basis. 

APAC Call:

Date: May 15, 2020

Directors present: [20] Tony Rothaker, Jens Wernborg, Shyam Pyarauk, Sabrina Benioudren, Jane Huang, Kathy, Arkadii Papushkin, Maggie, Malcolm Wu, Daif Luhaiden, Patrick, Shahar, Grace Xiamoni, Ieona Chen, Dorin, Florian, adeleine, George Chobanyah, Jonas Wolf

Questions + Answers:

  1. How do we help get directors more engaged
    1. From Jens: our diversity is a huge asset
    2. Set operation in right way to work with chapters
  2. What is in it for directors
    1. We ask a lot of different things of directors for various opportunities and ways to get involved. We may look at a way to standardize how we recognize directors for the value that they help bring to us in a direct manner. It’s definitely a work in progress right now
    2. Need to have clear outline why to do things, team isaware of  this question and working on clear communication with directors
  3. We usually work with startup who have a budget, how do we help others that may not have one (from Jelte- might not be worded correctly)
    1. Yes we generally work with those who have some kind of budget (as we are a business and not a charity and have to be able to have revenue in some capacity). Delegations are a big way we work with larger groups of startups and can be a way we can lower cost or work with governments/organizations to subsidize part of it. 
    2. Follow up - Like the Australian VISA program, the government could help with getting the cost subsidized for Chinese chapters (Jens)
      1. We want to collaborate with you all together on opportunities like this. We can work together to get companies from your ecosystems into our program and have your local communities represented
    3. We have to target companies with budget, we are not charity program
    4. cooperate with local government, collaborate with other parties and bring together (Jens)
  4. What will the main benefit of this program be for startups?
    1. All of the pillars have different value, the education pillar fits directly into some of the tailored mentorship with how we are running those events. Additionally, the different tiers have different perks and opportunities that fall in line with those pillars. The more people we can get on the platform the more we can improve the access pillar, right now we are limited to our internal connections but they aren’t localized to the regions where our startups may be coming from. Building that out, and getting the directors help to introduce us to their network, will help improve that and help us create opportunities that will benefit companies. The primary benefit of the program will vary from company to company
    2. Main focus: education (next week fist private virtual event for startups), exclusive growth companies private Q&A with investor
    3. Access: broader network, relevant introductions
  5. We can build layers to the program and a background database of the directors to know their abilities and get them involved in the program and helping out more (Shahar)
    1. Thats a great point, building out that kind of database to match startups to directors who could help them directly. Scaling that may be a challenge but it is something that we can look into
      1. follow up - look at what Y Combinator is doing with their alumni companies and look at their success stories
    2. Shahar suggestion: 
      1. 3 layers of program: startup program team running this project (tasks, mission), directors (knowledge base, connections), chapter members 
      2. List of directors, join some activities, share with directors what resources they can add and receive 
      3. Give exposure to directors for success stories of startups-Bring in the local chapters alumni network (big value)
  6. Is there any data about what directors interests and connections are
    1. We have a little, but started out small
    2. From G - maybe we could do something for that on mighty networks and have people put specific responses onto their MN profile. But right now we don’t really have a database for that information, some of what we have is from when they applied to be directors and is likely very out of date. 
    3. Jens brought up the airtable form that was sent around to some select chapter directors as well (via slack to Alex + Jess) as a way to leverage what our community can do. 
    4. Can be done in MN, put info in profile  
      1. Capture more info about directors, and how much they want to commit
      2. Demographic data helps a lot with startups and partners, sell the membership better 
      3. Maybe link MN with LinkedIn for industry background
  7. Maybe building some type of interface to LinkedIn like another company has done
    1. Maybe
  8. How do startups get involved?
    1. There’s a link on the homepage for Startup Grind, they can’t miss it. 
    2. If you refer a startup to the program, then please make sure to let us know. Either ping the team on slack or on email and tell or have the startup put it on their application. We can keep an eye out for those applications better and we can be sure to keep track of who is actively referring startups to the program and hopefully compensate/recognize you in some way
    3. Application process is centralized, apply on the website
    4. Alex needs to know if startup is recommended by a director: write Alex an email or startup mentions director’s name in application (referral box)
  9. What Startups get to pitch? (Was asked for clarification, but didn’t quite get the whole question)
    1. We are trying to come up with creative ways to do this, maybe through some sort of online global pitch competition. But right now there isn’t a direct pitch opportunity as one of the benefits to being a part of the program. Currently the process is that they fill out an investor intro interest form, then we work with the investor for a double opt in and then make an introduction. They use a written bio and a submitted pitch deck. 
    2. Want to give startups exposure: Do one-minute quick-fire pitch as marketing and showcase for startups (same as at global) 
    3. Investor pitch: fill out investor intro request form to send to investor for introduction with short written bio, pitch deck
  10. General Intro:
    1. Why doing it?
      1. Startup program was only an exhibition of startups during the conference, but so much more potential to
      2. provide more value throughout the year using SG’s resources for startups
      3. Started by creating a virtual program and split in 3 pillars:
        1. Educating (e.g. transfer knowledge to startups)
        2. Access (e.g. mission of SG, investors, chapter directors)
        3. Exposure (e.g. SG channels)
    2. Bring value to local chapters and explain how it works, build a clear process, directors open up their network and mutually benefit to help startups in local chapters
      1. Launched this Tuesday in MN
      2. First year for free, and if like can continue to pay ( did not get free for who?)
      3. Get directors involved in the program, set up two-way engagement: mutual process and tie community together