NUMA New York Startup Program Info Session

NUMA New York Startup Program Info Session

Is your startup the right fit for NUMA New York? Watch our NUMA New York Startup Program webinar to learn all about our 10 week program to help non-U.S. startups enter and scale in the U.S. Market. 

The hour long webinar covered: 

  • The 10 week program's structure and three tracks (B2B Sales, B2C User Acquisition, Raising Investment) 

  • Selection criteria and minimum requirements 

  • Contract and payment (Flat fee Vs. Warrant options) 

  • Our network of mentors, experts, and alumni 

Our 10 Week Program is for startups that:

  • Were founded outside the U.S. 

  • Have minimum $500K in seed funding or cash

  • Can operate with minimum 1 co-founder in New York during the program

Our application deadline is July 1st. To learn more and apply go to https://newyork.numa.co/startups/

Event Recap - Data and Technology's Impact on Water Management: The Corporate Innovation Take

Event Recap - Data and Technology's Impact on Water Management: The Corporate Innovation Take

Water scarcity is one of the biggest issues mankind will face. Climate change and population increases are making it even tougher to provide clean water to all. For this reason, cities all over the world are starting to change the way they think about water management and infrastructure. On May 11, NUMA hosted a panel with key players in startups, corporates, and government to discuss the issue of water management and the future of water tech.

 

Technology and Water

Ed Hackney of SUEZ, a french based utility company, described the connection between tech and water. “Water and utilities was data before data became cool!”- says Hackney. Data can be used in so many ways. Companies can gather data on anything from water pressure to usage and act on it. However, the number of companies taking advantage of this data could be bigger.

In addition to big data, Hackney also sees potential for cyber security and artificial intelligence in the water industry. There are 150+ water related servers out there and it’s important that technicians understand how to protect them from cyber attacks. Artificial Intelligence has risen in the last 5 years and it is almost inevitable that AI will find its way into the water space as well.

One innovative company that has combined tech and water is Rentricity. Rentricity built a unique energy recovery solution that uses the excess pressure in water pipes to produce clean usable energy. This is a revolutionary technology considering nearly 80% of water pipes use gravity based valves. Rentricity has the potential to save a city more than 600 million in energy costs and almost a trillion dollars in deferred maintenance. In addition to monetary savings, Rentricity’s technology also cuts down a significant amount of energy waste.

 

Challenges and Moving Forward

Innovative companies such as Rentricity are rapidly gaining the interest of corporates and government entities. Unfortunately there are many challenges in bringing these technologies to market, and the main issue is infrastructure. The current infrastructure is centralized and implementing small innovations is difficult. Furthermore, investing in large central innovations is a lengthy process and governments are hesitant to invest in startups.

In order to overcome to these challenges, startups and the public sector must come together. Kristin Bell,Project Manager at the New York City Economic Development Corporation, states that creating ecosystems of knowledge and access to funding is a great way to start. In a recent development, the New York City Environmental Protection Agency signed a grant program to program to promote new water systems. The NYCEPA grant is a signal that things are moving in the direction of Smart Water. New York is ready for change, and we may see a rise in water tech coming to NYC in the imminent future.

 

What can we do?

As citizens an important step we can take to support this issue is limiting our own water consumption. The average person in NYC uses a lot of water, almost 100 gallons of water a day. In comparison, the average person in Europe uses 50 gallons a day and in Africa the average person uses only 5 gallons a day. Reducing consumption doesn’t necessarily mean putting an end to personal hygiene. On the contrary, personal hygiene is very important, but the amount of time spent in the shower can be limited. Did you know the average bath requires 37 gallons of water? Long baths feel great, but preserving clean water for the next generation will feel even better. Shutting off faucets when you’re not using them is another great way to reduce your daily water usage.

Old water is out and smart water is in! Water, chemistry, energy, and software companies are coming together to help attack the challenges facing water consumption. The trend of innovation is here to stay and we are witnessing an exciting time for people, cities, and technology.

 

For information on NUMA New York's upcoming events, please see our events page.

Cities, corporations, startups : unite to fight against climate change !

Donald Trump announced that he will withdraw the United States of America from the Paris agreement. Actually, he will withdraw the Federal State. Not the people, not the cities, not the corporations, not the startups. They will do their best to respect the agreement’s goals, because they know it will MAKE OUR PLANET GREAT AGAIN and create millions of new jobs.

1-j6xKN-9g9AS4jxyt_bd9yw.png

The most striking reactions to Donald Trump’s decision, are the ones of the non-state actors in the United States. Cities, corporations, citizens raise their voice to affirm their commitment to respect the Paris Agreement.

Cities in particular committed to playing their part. This should not come as a surprise as cities are :

  • a major cause of climate change (cities are responsible for 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions)
  • the biggest victims of climate change (climate change could make cities 8°C hotter by 2100).

They are also our best hope to fight climate change because they are home to a diverse, well-educated, entrepreneurial population. But cities can’t win this fight against climate change alone.

At NUMA, we believe that mission-driven tech entrepreneurs are the most efficient players to tackle global challenges. They have a unique ability to execute fast and to create scalable solutions that have a global impact. Their limited resources force them to be pragmatic and go beyond existing solutions.

If we gave them experimentation fields, high quality datasets and human resources, we are convinced they would find innovative and impactful solutions to tackle climate change. Actually we proved they do, through DataCity.

DataCity is a program launched by NUMA, to fulfill our mission to empower mission-driven tech entrepreneurs to solve the global challenges of 2030. DataCity relies on a central conviction : collaboration is the only way to tackle the challenges of the world, especially the battle against climate change. And it works !

In Paris, like in many other cities, street lights stay on at night even when no one is around. During the DataCity program, two startups (Dataiku and Quantmetry) used anonymised data from a telecommunication company to develop a solution to dim the light when no one is in the street. This solution has been implemented with an operator of street lighting in Paris leading to a 10% reduction in the energy consumption of public lighting, without the need for any new infrastructure and without affecting the wellbeing of citizens.

Reducing public lighting energy consumption by 10% in 9 months wouldn’t have been possible without a framework for radical collaboration between cities, corporations and startups.

Is this 10% reduction in public lighting energy consumption enough ? No. But applied to 100 cities worldwide, it would be a good step forward, right ? We believe so too. That is why Anne Hidalgo’s and C40’s endorsement will be helpful to implement this solution worldwide.

And this is only one example from over twenty solutions which have already been developed thanks to DataCity. Their impact could be game changing in the fight against climate change. They are data-driven, scalable and will lead to the hiring of thousands of people in the startups and corporations that created them.

To conclude, let’s be clear : I am appalled by Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. Yet, voicing our anger and making our voices heard will not make up for the disastrous consequences of this decision. We need to act.

NUMA’s contribution to the fight against climate change will be based on three core beliefs :

  • Creating solutions to fight climate-change will be one of the main drivers of our global economic development.
  • Radical collaboration is the key to have an impact in a context where time is the most critical resource.
  • Mission-driven tech entrepreneurs are the best actors to develop the user-centric, scalable solutions we need.

I strongly believe that with cities, corporations and mission-driven tech entrepreneurs, we can make our planet great again and create millions of new jobs.

Want to join us in this exciting venture ? Drop us a line !

Marie-Vorgan Le Barzic, CEO of NUMA

How To Keep Brand Consistency While Adapting to the U.S. Market: A Conversation with Kickstarter, LiveLike VR, and Spring Design Partners

Becoming a global brand has it’s challenges. Companies need to create a strong brand identity, but when entering a new market, your communication and messaging may not target the right customers. How do you maintain consistency as you expand, while resonating within your local markets? You need a local execution strategy to attract the right customers.

Julio Terra, Director of Technology and Design at Kickstarter says ”A lot of companies are looking to launch in the U.S. through Kickstarter. They keep certain aspects of the visual identity very consistent, but have some flexibility in their communication to connect with the customers in the US.” One challenge he often sees is having the right person understand what the needs are of the market and how to communicate in the U.S.

Two common errors startups encounter when they enter the US market:

Authenticity — People, especially millennials, connect with emotion. A lot of brands on Kickstarter, as Julio points out, come off as fake. This comes across in all of the aspects of communicating the brand, such as the format of the video, the picture of the products, how the updates are communicated. How you are presenting your startup is what makes you feel real. Stay away from fake voiceovers and non personalized videos, remember emotional connection is key!

Understanding your audience — Many campaigns on Kickstarter are overly complicated, there are many things the product does, but it’s unclear what they do really well. This makes it hard to connect and resonate with their audience. Knowing who your audience and target customer is, allows you to better understand how to get them excited about your product. The most successful campaigns have a deep understanding of who they are communicating with.

Daniel Andersson from Spring Design Partners outlines the critical components to avoiding these mistakes “Be clear on what emotion you want to create, don’t step away from who you are, never let go of the core idea, but be flexible on execution, and keep your message defined to one single target.”

What should you be focusing on?

  • Take a pause, define your solution and how you want to communicate it. The more you can be specific before you are executing, the best it is.
  • Set the communication on what the vision is, define the value, pay attention to how you are positioned on all the public things that you do.
  • Adrian Curiel, from LiveLike VR says “Commit and own it!” Once you have made your decisions commit to it and own it through everything you do. Consistency is key, and keeping with your choices strengthens your voice and positioning.

How do you test the market to optimize your communication?

Listen to your customers. Understand who they are and their experiences, it’ll help you readjust your branding to them. Julio from Kickstarter suggests sending A/B messaging tests or using a sample of panelists. It’s hard to track and measure scientifically, but can help you identify a resonating emotion.

“It’s always a challenge though,” says Daniel Andersson, “We help you on getting more efficient, quicker. When it comes to product development you can try to make it perfect, but by the time it’s done, the customer has already an other solution”

If you want to see the whole event, watch the Facebook Live!

Hiring Your First Salesperson

On March 30th, 2017, we hosted a panel of experts at Alley in Chelsea NYC who spoke on the subject of hiring your first salesperson(s). The panelists were experts from Skaled (sales team management), CloserIQ (recruitment), Streamroot (Paris-born startup) and Digital.NYC (ecosystem mapping).

Prefer to watch the whole panel? Check it out on Facebook Live

Here are 5 key takeaways that we got from the panel…

1 - Let’s start with the essentials. What positions are you hiring for -- and when?

Arguably, the most difficult part of the process is defining the key positions your company needs to hire for. There is so much to do! This is, however, the most important step in the recruitment process. Take time to analyze the activities essential to the development of your startup; then define your priorities and identify the appropriate position.

“And while you are doing this exercise, think about your own bandwidth”, explains Matt Lopez, Partner at Skaled, “what are you ready to delegate?” This fundamental question will determine the way you recruit your first hire and your daily activities for doing so. After all, you will be bringing on a new person that is dedicated to this one side of your business. That sounds exciting, doesn’t it?!

However, hiring for the wrong role can be very costly. Jordan Wan, CEO of CloserIQ said that, “the calibration of the ideal candidate profile is like a medical subscription: Where are your pain points? What are the main areas you are looking to address? Once you have answered this question, you can subscribe the right medication” - unless of course your doctor is a mad scientist from another realm, then that’s another story, but you get the point!

In terms of timing, hiring can be a long and time consuming process. NUMA NY’s advice would be to start your research as soon as you know what you need and are ready to afford hiring someone, even if financials are tight at first. You will grow!


2 - But they offer free food and nice offices, all I can offer agility and adventure!

The word “entrepreneur” is very trendy in the job market today, and can make anyone dream; but the reality is the wages are often lower than market the value. You will need to position yourself in the best light that is appropriate for you. In other words, be very clear and upfront about expectations, compensation and career development options. While you will be competing with large corporations and bigger startups who offer attractive perks such as free food and everyday massages, keep in mind that while your strength might not be your perks, it will be your ability to offer agility & adventure.

Remember - you can hire too slow, at the risk of missing great candidates, but you can also hire too fast. Make sure you find the right balance for you and your team; keeping in mind that it takes time to understand a candidate's’ expectations, cultural fit, and to check references.

“If you are hiring top talent, don’t hesitate to organize interviews with yours and their investors or mentors”, explained Pierre-Louis Theron, CEO at Streamroot, you may find something out from them that you didn’t get to yourself!

 

3- Hire the young ‘hustler’ or the person with 20+ years experience in my industry?

What are the key qualities you should be looking for?  “Someone who values process, and repeatability, and not get burnt out”, explained Jordan Wan CEO of CloserIQ. “Here is your database, there are 100 people to reach every day, are you ready for it?”

You are also looking for someone that can visualise the deal, think  two steps ahead. They come prepared to any meeting, which means they don’t just react to problems or objections, they are proactive. They have done their homework and know each participant’s background and position, they have a sense of the expectations and probable questions or objections. They the industry well enough and are ready to react on the latest news and trends. They have great social skills and can “feel” the people they are interacting with.

If you have  hesitation deciding between the young hustler, or the experienced and seasoned business person….

Ideally, you need a combination of both. But if you have the choice, our panelists would recommend choosing the smart, quick learning, and eccentric one. Candidates with those characteristics will  quickly gain experience within your team.


4 - Where do I find the best candidates?

Ideally, you are looking for speed, budget and quality. There is nothing cheaper than doing it yourself! Here are some tips for how you can do that:

  • Generate quality referrals through your personal and professional network. Offering small incentives to your network is common when generating referrals.
  • You can attend relevant events to network with potential candidates
  • There are free resources you can use such as Angel List, Linkedin, TaskRabbit, Craigslist, etc. to source relevant talent

On the other hand, if you are looking for specific expertise and experience, you might want to think about a solution that accelerates the hiring process, like paid job boards and recruiters. If you are looking for potential candidates in the tech field specifically, be careful of platforms like Indeed or Monster, which may lead to “adverse selection”, as Jordan Wan, CEO of CloserIQ explains. They may bring you a lot of leads but they may not necessarily be the right selection of candidates. Try using platforms like the above or sites like The Muse, Digital.NYC, etc. to target relevant tech/startup candidates.


5 - Things you wish your new hire would do, but they actually don’t.

  • They sell from day one. That would be great, but unfortunately that rarely happens. You need to build a process. Ask yourself, what exactly will be the scope of your salesperson? What will be their objectives and targets? Which categories of customers will they prospect, and in which geographical perimeter? How will their work be organized?

  • They will open their entire network to my company. That would be wonderful! In reality, a good salesperson bases their network off of trusted relationships; they need to gain confidence about your product, learn from your company and buy in to your product 100% before they can sell to others.

  • They will accept a low salary, they knows we are a startup! Again, if only this were true! The reality is that compensation should be tied to the expectations you have of them. If they agree to start with a lower salary base, you need to offer a sufficient amount of incentives to keep your new hire motivated.

 

And of course we saved the best for last - legal! Scott Smedresman, from McCarter & English has a few tips on how to craft your early employee agreements:

  • The job description and context: Define the location where the employee will work, hours, etc.

  • IP agreement: This is not required but recommended. Spell out your legal agreements including who owns the intellectual property developed while the employee is working with you, what information should be given back once the employee leaves, etc.

  • Side ‘hustles”: On the other hand, allowing your new hire to dedicate some time to their own personal projects, as long as it’s unrelated and non-interfering with company’s activities, can help incentivize a good employee.

  • Non-compete: Make sure you know the laws of your state! For example, non-competes are enforceable is New York if they are narrow and reasonable, but they are not enforced in California!

Cassandra Anderson, from TriNet, expresses the same sentiment - make sure you are ready in accordance with your local laws before hiring your first employees!

 

Well, that’s quite a bit of information for now. We hope that this helps you on your journey to building your startup and come visit us in NY when you have a moment!

You can learn more about NUMA New York and our startup / corporate programs at nyc.numa.co or email us at [email protected]