Woes of Non-technical Founders – Shark Tank: EmergenSee App
November 11, 2014
Catching up on some Shark Tank tonight I caught the episode regarding EmergenSee App company. First the problem is solid, second the solution they’re proposing is ok and daunting. I recall doing work years ago and talking to these huge companies that do all the 911 calls/service centers etc. Motorola had a huge portion of this market. They should of innovated themselves out of legacy gear about 15 years ago but have not. Now the app idea proposed in EmergenSee while initially appealing has some gaps.
First these founders are non-technical founders and the whole paying 3 MILLION bucks to get going is hugely insane for this kind of tech. At Big Kitty we see this often really, non-technical founder startups in heavy tech concepts on first stab at the venture get taken for a ride on multiple fronts: the idea itself, the platform they think to build on, the stage of that tech and the perceived competitive edge, and of course the design and code aspects in building it. Maybe they can salvage it but man, 3 million in the hole with 68k left in the bank, ouch. Plus defending that tech strategy will be hard as much if not all of it can be done without them- so Motorola or any current player selling to the 911 call/center market can sneeze out tech and cut these guys in half.
Geofencing, capturing audio, capturing video, gps, connect to a network, share location, tie in notifications, etc etc all of this is not secret sauce, so their advantage is the idea and first to market, but they can’t sustain it without cash and the competition can eat them at any turn without a moat around their tech.
So what can non-technical folks do to prevent the massive BURN that awaits them as they see the idea in their head they want to realize.
First have conversations, they matter. Meet the people dishing what they say.
Second, frame the approach of what you need to make, starting out what are you trying to prove- most people would say, every aspect of the biz, but thats where you lose cash, cause you parallel process everything but learning about what you think you may have.
Third SPEED, its that simple, the faster you launch, the faster you learn, the faster you get a dollar and double down. Perfection will destroy your startup because it fuels the blindness in the ego.
So talk, think, and go FAST. Thats really the magic. We wish EmergenSee App folks well and encourage them to find that moat around the product. It can be market lead but in this crazy app/tech scene, unless you tackle the logistics inside the call centers with some nifty tools/process power and optimization, you’re cattle with a frying pan on board, anyone get too close and they can fry ya.