Updated 12 February 20
We’ve created the Nova startup model using the insights gained from our combined experience in the startup space. The team we’ve built at Nova have first-hand experience of what characteristics startups, and their founders, require to succeed. We also have a thorough understanding of what causes over 90% of them to fail, something that we feel is an unacceptably high amount.
The motivation to reduce this failure rate has spurred us to create something completely unique. Something that’s been designed to specifically address and nullify the biggest reasons for startup failure. An unexpected challenge in creating a unique startup model, however, is that it can sometimes be difficult to articulate to potential partners (Co-Founders).
“Are you an incubator?”....erm not really, “Ah ok, so you’re an Accelerator”.....again, not quite no, “An investment fund? Mentorship programme!?” Well, sort of yes, but not exactly.
Whilst all of the previously mentioned programmes are widely used and understood by those in the tech startup space, we believe that those alone do not negate the risks for startup founders. So, not wanting to totally align ourselves with any of these terms, we created what we’re calling a ‘Cofoundery’ startup model. Something that combines elements of all of those, in a manner that reduces the risk for both founder and investor.
The key differences that we’ve built into our cofoundery model to reduce startup risk are as follows:
We specifically look to partner with startups at an early stage, often when founders have not much more than a good idea and a strong understanding of the problem their startup is trying to solve. This is because startups at this stage offer us the opportunity to mentor, and build relationships with founders from their inception. Here we can impart Nova’s proven processes and methodologies early enough in their formation to avoid the common mistakes that lead to failure.
Our process always starts with mentorship from our experienced startup mentor team. This is completely free, and is specifically geared toward developing startups by clarifying their business model, their unique value proposition, gaining a deeper understanding of the problem they’re attempting to solve, making sure they have a problem - user fit and preparing founders to pitch for their first investment.
Typical investors don’t like to invest in startups early as it’s too risky. They want to know that you have a product, that you have a team and that you have customers. This can prove a catch 22 as founders don’t have any money to achieve these things. Traditionally, most then resort to loans, personal savings, bootstrapping and generally incurring a lot of personal risk (and the associated stress) themselves.
If you are ‘lucky enough’ to get investment early from a traditional source (i.e. Angels), they’ll be wanting you to put some of your own cash in and work full time on it to ensure they’re getting a return as quickly as possible. In the early stages of a startup’s life, this adds unnecessary pressure that negatively affects key decision making.
This is why we ask for zero financial input from founders. We believe that if founders have the motivation to start a startup to change their life and display the qualities and traits of a successful founder, this is enough. Furthermore, our previous investments prove this motivation is enough to make it work.
Two of the most common reasons for startup failure are hiring poorly and choosing the wrong cofounder. The Nova process negates these by providing a proven and experienced startup team and co-founder from day one, without founders having to find or employ anyone.
Nova’s startup teams are built specific to the startup, from Nova’s 150+ employees covering marketing, sales, finance, designers, developers, consultants and so much more. They bring with them a vast depth of experience working on tech startups ready to be deployed on yours.
Additional benefits of having a team that works on tech startups day in day out are:
We are not an agency for hire, there are tons of tech and software development businesses who will work on your startup, build the product and as long as they’re getting paid they’re not particularly vested in whether what they’re building fails or succeeds.
At Nova we’re set up differently, we don’t just want to build the idea and walk away. Instead, we partner with and are co-founders of our startups (hence the name Cofoundery). We take equity rather than a standard rate per day for our services, this means that we’re as motivated as the founders for the startup to succeed, this is our startup too.
So, do all of Nova’s unique ‘cofoundery’ characteristics make our process more effective? Our startup success rate is showing that working with Nova, your startup is over 5x more likely to succeed.
If you think the Nova Cofoundery startup model could be right for you, apply for our startup programme here.