Richard Branson is known for his personal passion about innovation and also for helping young entrepreneurs with creative ideas. The main point of interest here, is that innovation is offering valuable options for opening new creative paths and economic growth in today’s global economy. Richard Branson‘s Clinkle investment is his latest practical proof of his personal belief in innovation:
Richard Branson Invests in a Startup That No One Understands Yet …
No one knows exactly what Clinkle does, but that isn’t stopping Richard Branson from ponying up cash for the stealth-mode startup. ”We’re thrilled to have Richard on board,” said Clinkle CEO Lucas Duplan in a statement. “We’re united by many shared values, including a passion for innovation, dedication to quality, and commitment to our people.” While any startup with Branson tied to it will feel some media love, the serial entrepreneur doesn’t really stand out from the already long list of Silicon Valley heavyweights who have faith that Clinkle is going to be the next big thing. As we reported in June, the startup raised a reported $25 million (it was later determined through SEC filings the round was actually $27 million) from investors like Peter Thiel, Andreessen Horowitz, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Index Ventures and Jim Breyer, among others. Clinkle’s seed round was supposedly the largest in Silicon Valley history, and the funding was secured without an actual prototype. Also, during that time Clinkle announced it was opening up its waiting list to college students across the U.S. The colleges with the highest percentage of their students joining Clinkle would get access first. Apparently, the Clinkle hype caught on, as more than 100,000 students have signed up, with Stanford University, Duke University, University of Alabama, University of Michigan and Southern Methodist University leading the pack. Still, these students still aren’t sure what they are exactly signing up for or what all the buzz is about, except that there is a virtual wallet component to it.
More importantly, Richard Branson is always ready to pay attention to new businessmen by offering his valuable advice on business start ups. The main idea here is that you have to start something and then, to succeed or fail on it:
Making mistakes is part of the process of building a company; quickly recovering from them is what’s most important. It’s all part of the adventure of entrepreneurship, which will require all of your stamina, drive and determination.
Step 1: Stay on Target
A mistake often associated with the first step is signaled by an entrepreneur‘s inability to clearly and concisely convey his idea. You have to be able to generate buy-in from investors, partners and potential employees, so nail down your “elevator speech” — what you would say if you ran into an important potential investor in an elevator. Try using a Twitter-like template to refine the essence of your concept into just 140 characters. Once you’ve done that, expand your message to a maximum of 500 characters. Remember, the shorter your pitch is, the clearer it will be.
Step 2: Be Realistic About Costs
Don’t shortchange your start-up when estimating the funds you will require — you’ll just diminish your chances of success. Keeping your expenses under control is vital, but don’t confuse capitalization with costs. The playing field is littered with undercapitalized start-ups that were doomed from the outset.
Step 3: Hire the People You Need, Not the People You Like
As tempting as it may be to staff your new business with friends and relatives, this is likely to be a serious mistake. If they don’t work out, asking them to leave will be very tough.
Step 4: Know When to Say Goodbye
A great entrepreneur knows when the time has come to leave the CEO role. It’s seldom easy, but it has to be done: few entrepreneurs make great managers. In my own case, managing the daily operations of a business simply isn’t in my DNA. (Or, as I’ve said to friends, “It’s not bloody likely.”)
Additionally, “Dr YES” always redefines failure as a crucial step to success:
Richard Branson and Elon Musk on fear, failure, and reinventing the future
Both Branson and Musk had plenty to say on this topic, given that their business ventures almost fell to pieces in the early years. Musk’s most traumatic years were around 2008-2009; he desperately needed financing for electric car venture Tesla during the global economic recession. “It was the last hour of the last day that financing needed to be closed, or the company would go bankrupt,” he said. The stock market had gone into a free fall, and investors kept changing the terms. Musk took over the reins as CEO and funneled millions of his own money into Tesla. Musk’s advice is to assume that a company could fall apart any minute. He shares some advice from a friend that founding a startup is like “eating glass and staring into the abyss” as you’re constantly worried about it dying. The optimize the chances of success, Musk recommends working around the clock and laser focusing on building a delightful product in those early years. “I’m surprised his hair is black, and not gray,” Branson joked. Branson’s own locks started turning gray in the early days of Virgin. “A bank manager [was] sitting on our doorstep saying on the Friday that he would foreclose the Virgin Group on the Monday,” Branson said. “We had to scramble over the weekend to get our overdraft facility down.” The company was able to get its finances in shape by sheer luck and continue to attempt to disrupt the traditional airline industry. Branson agrees that entrepreneurs need to “fight to survive, [which] goes without saying.” However, he does stress that founders shouldn’t take it too personally if the business doesn’t succeed, as “most will fail.”
Finally, the investment of business capital on new innovative approaches is practically opening the road to economic growth, in times of sharp economic recession (e.g. Euro Zone). Richard Branson is here by decision & practice!