Dashfire co-sponsored a 3 Day Startup event in Anchorage, Alaska this past weekend. 3DS (http://3daystartup.org/) travels the world promoting entrepreneurial learning by doing. They assemble students and innovators who have engineering, business and design backgrounds and mix them with a group of mentors for a weekend. The outcome is at least one new start-up. My partner, Nick, attended the event as a mentor. Check out his thoughts below.
You can accomplish a lot in 3 days. Last weekend, a group of 12 entrepreneurs, a few mentors and10 trips to Kaladi Brothers Coffee resulted in a new startup called GearSpoke, a peer-to-peer equipment rental company. The weekend further validated that entrepreneurship has no geographic boundaries and that Anchorage has the potential to support the development of a start-up eco-system. 3DS succeeded because it called on engineers, business professionals, designers, mentors, and investors from our community. However, the most valuable takeaway from 3DS was the way in which GearSpoke was established – the team focused on business fundamentals. After evaluating 12 different ideas, the entrepreneurs moved forward with the GearSpoke because it offers a solution to problem, represents a large market opportunity, and can be quickly prototyped and validated.
A commonly debated topic debated in the internet startup community is the onset of another “bubble.” Investors’ appetite has increased and new ventures are receiving early-stage capital, while maturing startups, with or without proven financial performance, have been receiving impressive valuations. Even so, companies which have thoughtful service offerings adhering to business and product fundamentals will exist beyond a bubble because their users demand the product, and are willing to pay for it in some economically viable form.