You have to put everything you have into playing sport at a high level. A challenging training plan, a dream for your next competition, a coach to direct you but you also need a quality sparring partner that matches your conviction and passion. Someone who pushes you to the next level. That’s what I’ve found here at Station F, home of the adidas startup accelerator program, Platform A.
Being aligned with a company that understands you makes things so much easier. The startup I co-founded – Radius8 – blends location context into the buying journey of the consumer. When we pitched this concept to adidas I could see that they know what it takes to make a customer happy and are willing to push themselves to learn more about them. There has been a lot of doom and gloom from traditional retail, but what we are working on is getting back in stores, getting people talking and interacting again but using our mobile devices to initiate that.
Trust me, I run a startup
Just because we’ve got into a good warm-up phase and the rallies are going well, you also have to prove to your sparring partner that you can deliver.
In the case of startups and backers, it doesn’t matter how much passion you have, you need to bring a business element to a brand in order for them to support you. Everyone has great ideas, but not all those ideas can bring capital to an established business. After working with some big-name partners, I know how important it is to have your homework done when it comes to understanding the way a brand or company works, their philosophy and the basic outlook of their goals. It may seem like common sense, but you would be surprised at how many startups miss this in the pitch phase. ‘Trust me, I run a startup’ is clearly not enough to convince a partner to support you on the journey.
Taking the hard knocks
I co-founded a successful startup before working with the Platform A program so I know how many knocks it can take to get it right. Just like training for a game, you pick yourself up and you keep going. You show your sparring partner that failing fast is a good thing – it’s actually one more thing you can eliminate from the process.
Then it’s time to move on to the next plan knowing you can go to your partner for advice, for a new point of view and some motivational words to help you successfully hit that next milestone.