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Tips for Startups

Startup competitions and funding opportunities



startup competitions

Along with the rise of a startup culture, a question has emerged, which is also relevant for all other areas of human activities: where to get money from? This question is almost as monumental as the search for the meaning of life, and therefore it always remain on the top of the agenda. Unlike the latter one thought the answer to the former question is still possible to find.

All startups should have already learnt by heart a classic formula of three F’s (family-friends-fools), but the next stage of finding sources is much more difficult. There are already tones of articles and books written on the ways to attract investments. A short list includes the following items: grants, business angels, business incubators (or business accelerators), venture capital funds, strategic investors and crowdfunding.

One of the most effective mechanisms for attracting the attention of several investors at one time is to participate in start-up projects competitions. Held in different formats and under the auspices of various organizations such competitions serve as platforms that brings together startups, investors and experts.

The ones who most actively seek and encourage the start-up projects in various spheres are innovation centers. In the United States the most prominent innovation center is MIT, in Finland it’s SLUSH, Russia it’s Skolkovo Foundation.

There are also “specialized” platforms for startups. The most widely represented competitions for new innovative companies are in the digital area. Tech Crunch Disrupt competition annually attract digital startups from around the world. Another large competition in the field of Internet technologies LeWeb Conference, an annual gathering of about 4,000 entrepreneurs, investors, bloggers and journalists.

However other science-based startups have much less options. The petrochemicals startups for the first got an opportunity to present their projects to investors and industry leaders in November 2016. In order to support the most promising projects in the field of petrochemicals and gas processing the world leading companies in that field created a platform for startups on the basis of IQ-CHem contest. A main distinctive feature of the competition is that participants have a unique opportunity to present their projects not only to one but to several companies, which greatly improves the chances of finding support for their ideas. In turn, companies, including SIBUR, The Dow Chemical Company, DuPont, Solvay, 3M, AkzoNobel, BASF, LG Chem, Henkel, Linde, Skolkovo, Technip and Honeywell UOP, get an opportunity to strengthen their innovative capacity through open innovations.

A competition organized by large businesses are more profitable than the other formats as apart from finding a funding source for their project participants can also find a partner for cooperation. This aspect is particularly important for science-based start-ups for whom it’s extremely difficult to independently enter the market and, therefore, to convince investors in the financial prospects of their ideas. Participants to IQ-CHem contest will have the opportunity to present their projects to 10 companies developing their businesses worldwide at one time.

It should be noted that participation in startups competitions has other benefits, in addition to finding an investor and a business-partner:

Self Evaluation opportunities:

First of all, participation in a competition is an additional incentive for startups to structure their work at the stage of submission of application. The need to comply with strict rules and deadlines allows to analyze the work already done and to reveal strong and weak points of the project. Furthermore, most competitions involve mentoring sessions, meetings with experts and experienced entrepreneurs, during which the startups can be advised on how to improve their business models. In the course of a competition startup teams also meet and share experiences with colleagues working in the same field.

Public Relations:

Another important point is the PR-component of the contest. It makes possible to forget for some time about the painful hours before the monitor waiting for the feedback from Mike Butcher on your press-release. If you manage to win the competition Mike Butcher himself will plead you to give him an interview (well… may be). At least, media partners and the organizers of the contest themselves will write about your project. And what is the most important you’ll bring yourselves to the investors’ sight who make up the jury of any competition.

Team-Building opportunities:

Participation in the competition will be an additional incentive for team-building, while the victory will strengthen your self-confidence, which is important in the early stages of the project, when the prospects are still vague and the risks great.

Pinterest, one of largest social networks, whose market value is estimated at more than 11 billion US dollars, began its route to success at the NYU business projects’ contest.

Akamai Technologies, provider of services for the acceleration of Web sites with a market value of 11.46 billion US dollars, found its investors through MIT competition. Other alumni of this competition include such successful companies as Harmonix, Silicon Spice, and others.

In August 2016 the winner of startups TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2016, Beam Company which provides support for video games broadcast was acquired by Microsoft and is continuing its activities in the part of the corporation.

Image : © Raimond Spekking

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Tips for Startups

Why Your Startup Needs Digital Media



Startup Needs Digital Media

In today’s rapidly evolving, technology-driven business landscape, digital media has become indispensible for startups striving to carve out a robust online footprint, engage with their intended audience, and stimulate growth. Whether it’s via social media, websites, blogs, or online advertising, digital media bestows upon startups a multitude of advantages capable of profoundly influencing their achievements. In this blog post, we’ll explore the reasons why digital media is imperative for your startup in the current competitive environment.

1. Wider Reach and Visibility:

Digital media allows startups to reach a global audience like never before. With the internet as your platform, your business can be accessible to potential customers from around the world 24/7. This extensive reach can help you expand your customer base and increase brand visibility.

2. Cost-Effective Marketing:

Conventional advertising approaches, like print ads or TV commercials, often pose budgetary challenges for startups with constrained financial resources. Digital media provides affordable marketing alternatives, such as email campaigns and social media marketing. These avenues enable precise targeting of specific demographics, optimizing the effectiveness of your marketing investments.

3. Audience Targeting:

One of the foremost benefits of digital media lies in its capacity for precise audience targeting. By harnessing data-driven analytics and tools, companies like Join the Dots can tailor your messaging and content to align with distinct demographics, interests, and behaviors. This guarantees that your startup’s message reaches precisely the individuals it intends to at the opportune moment.

4. Instant Feedback and Engagement:

Digital media facilitates real-time engagement with your audience. You can interact with customers quickly through social media comments, respond to inquiries via email or live chat, and receive immediate feedback on your products or services. This direct interaction builds customer trust and helps you refine your offerings based on customer input.

5. Brand Building and Credibility:

Having a strong online presence through a well-designed website, active social media profiles, and informative blog content enhances your startup’s credibility and trustworthiness. A professional online presence demonstrates that you are a serious player in your industry, which can attract customers and potential investors.

6. Data-Driven Decision-Making:

Digital media offers invaluable data and analytics tools for monitoring the efficacy of your marketing endeavors. You can gauge metrics like website traffic, click-through rates, conversion rates, and beyond. This approach empowers you to make well-informed decisions, fine-tune your strategies, and allocate resources efficiently.

7. Content Marketing and Thought Leadership:

Through digital media, startups can establish themselves as thought leaders in their industry by creating and sharing informative and valuable content. Blog posts, whitepapers, webinars, and podcasts allow you to showcase your expertise, educate your audience, and build trust over time.

8. Scalability and Flexibility:

Digital media strategies are highly scalable and adaptable. As your startup grows, you can expand your online presence and marketing efforts accordingly. Whether you’re a small team or a rapidly expanding enterprise, digital media allows you to adjust your strategies to meet your evolving needs.


Digital media stands as a fundamental element of success for startups in the contemporary business landscape. Its capacity to reach a broad audience, cost-effectiveness, precision in targeting, and data-driven insights render it an indispensable asset for growth. By embracing digital media and harnessing its benefits, startups can establish a solid foundation for enduring success and confidently navigate the competitive terrain. Whether you belong to the tech startup realm or a traditional brick-and-mortar business, the integration of digital media into your strategy is imperative in today’s digitally-driven world.

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Tips for Startups

Best Product Packaging Strategies For Startups



Product Packaging Strategies

Hey entrepreneurs, launching a startup can be a lot of work! You stress about funds, operations, and team building. And while you prioritize product development, packaging may take a back seat, right? But did you know that it drives the buying decision for 72% of Americans? That’s surprising, but true.

And it also means that product packaging is one of the ways to stand out and grab customers’ attention in a cutthroat world. That’s a good reason to go the extra mile to nail a strategy. So, if you’re wondering how to make your package pop without breaking the bank, we’ve got some killer tips for your startup.

Here is what you need to know to win an incredible unboxing experience for your customers.

Know your target audience

You’ve got to know your target audience to create a successful product. And the same applies to packaging. Who are you trying to reach and sell? What are their preferences? What would they want in the product package?

By understanding your target customers, you can pick an option that speaks directly to them. For example, if your target audience is health-conscious millennials, choose a minimalist and eco-friendly one that emphasizes your product’s sustainable ingredients.

Focus on customer experience

Your product packaging is more than a pretty face. It’s also about enhancing the customer experience. Think about how you may create a memorable unboxing process.

Consider adding unique features, such as easy-open lids, tear strips, or resealable packages. By making the components easy to access, you get the benefits of brand loyalty and positive word-of-mouth.

Consider what’s inside

That’s a no-brainer because your product determines the packaging material. Things are easy if you sell a single offering, but CBD entrepreneurs may struggle to choose different materials for different products.

For example, you will need a tincture bottle, boxes, mylar bags, cartridges, and tin containers for different items in your portfolio. Additionally, you’ll have to ensure that they are child-resistant and preserve the flavor and aroma of the components.

Be sustainable

As a startup brand, you can gain a lot by joining the sustainability bandwagon, and packaging is a good place to start. Buyers care more than ever about the environmental impact of products and brands.

So eco-friendly packaging options are surely ideal. Prioritize biodegradable materials and minimize excess packaging. It’s the best way to make your offerings pop in a market saturated with competition.

Branding is key

Remember that your packaging is a crucial part of your brand identity. So ensure that it aligns with your company’s values and messaging. It should replicate your brand’s color schemes, fonts, and imagery.

The text labels should also match your brand’s personality and tone. The idea is to remind buyers of your brand every time they see the product on the shelves.

Is packaging a big deal? Yes, it actually is when it comes to the product packaging for your startup. You’ve got to ensure it makes a great first impression and drives a buying decision. Well, there are no shortcuts to winning the packaging game. But you can try these tips to ace it!

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Tips for Startups

What Startups can learn from the Special Forces of Armies around the world



What Startups can learn from the Special Forces

Startups and special forces of armies may seem to have very little in common. However, upon closer examination, there are several key lessons that startups can learn from these elite military units. Special forces teams are highly trained, flexible, and able to operate in rapidly changing environments. Startups, too, must be able to pivot quickly in response to market changes and evolving customer needs. In this article, we will explore several key lessons that startups can learn from special forces teams.

Lesson 1: Build a strong team

Special forces teams are composed of highly skilled and specialized individuals who work together to achieve a common goal. Similarly, startups must build a strong team of individuals with diverse skills and backgrounds who can work together to bring their products or services to market. A successful startup team should have a mix of technical, business, and creative skills to ensure that all aspects of the business are covered.

Special forces teams also place a strong emphasis on teamwork and communication. They must be able to work together seamlessly, and each member must understand their role and responsibilities within the team. Startups can learn from this by fostering a culture of collaboration and open communication within their team.

Lesson 2: Adapt quickly to changing environments

Special forces teams are often deployed in rapidly changing environments, where they must adapt quickly to new situations and changing conditions. Similarly, startups must be able to pivot quickly in response to market changes and evolving customer needs. This requires a high degree of flexibility and agility, as well as the ability to quickly assess and respond to new information.

Startups can learn from special forces teams by adopting a mindset of constant adaptation and improvement. They should be willing to experiment and iterate on their product or service, and be open to feedback from customers and other stakeholders.

Lesson 3: Embrace risk and uncertainty

Special forces teams operate in high-risk and uncertain environments, where the stakes are often very high. They must be willing to take calculated risks and make difficult decisions under pressure. Startups, too, must be willing to embrace risk and uncertainty in order to succeed. They must be willing to take chances and make bold moves, even in the face of uncertainty.

Startups can learn from special forces teams by adopting a mindset of calculated risk-taking. They should be willing to experiment and try new things, while also being mindful of potential risks and taking steps to mitigate them.

Lesson 4: Focus on the mission

Special forces teams are highly focused on achieving their mission, which is often critical to national security. Similarly, startups must be highly focused on their mission and vision, which should guide all of their decisions and actions. This requires a clear understanding of the company’s purpose and goals, as well as a strong sense of commitment to achieving them.

Startups can learn from special forces teams by adopting a mission-driven approach to their business. They should be clear about their purpose and goals, and ensure that all of their decisions and actions are aligned with these objectives.

Lesson 5: Train and prepare rigorously

Special forces teams undergo rigorous training and preparation in order to be able to perform their duties at the highest level. Similarly, startups must invest in training and preparation in order to build a strong and capable team, and to ensure that they are able to execute on their mission effectively.

Startups can learn from special forces teams by investing in training and development programs for their team members. This includes technical training, as well as leadership and management development. By investing in their team members’ skills and abilities, startups can ensure that they are well-prepared to succeed in a competitive and rapidly changing business environment.

In conclusion, startups can learn a great deal from special forces teams of armies around the world. By building a strong team, adapting quickly to changing environments, embracing risk and uncertainty, focusing on the mission, and training, Startups can achieve goals that may seem impossible at first.

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