TechWeave is an early-stage start-up and one of the eight selected in the YouStartIT#3 cohort, an intense four-month programme run by the MITA Innovation Hub (MIH). The founders created TechWeave with the vision to see a better connected Maltese e-Society, where the stakeholders including the Government, its agencies and departments, citizens, the private sector (businesses) and smart machines, securely share official data to eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy, raise transparency and accountability and significantly improve efficiency of service. Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) is the enabler technology to implement this vision. Malta is supporting DLT technologies, giving organisations in this field (established companies and start-ups) the right environment to explore and grow their ideas. For disruptive start-ups embracing DLT, the MITA Innovation Hub is the ideal environment to test their business ideas while minimising risk.
How did YouStartIT#3 minimise our risk?
It’s not just the money. It’s true that the cash grant significantly minimised our financial risk, but there is another dangerous risk that this programme helped us overcome. In our opinion the worst threat that can happen to any early-stage start-up is ‘cloistered innovation’ where the founders are scared to reveal their business idea and many times end up developing a solution that does not solve the real market problem or is too expensive for the target market. The result is frustration and de-motivation which are dangerous emotions in the start-up ecosystem.
From the first day of the MIH pre-acceleration bootcamp start-ups had to pitch in front of a jury, experts and the competing start-ups. Start-ups had no choice but to expose their ideas and business strategies. We took away three important lessons from this experience:
- The pitch is what makes you or breaks you. Investors and customers will build an opinion on your company, your product/service and decide to work with you from the very first minutes of your pitch. Many times you only have a few minutes to capture the attention and impress your audience. Therefore the pitch must be clear, understandable and concise. Excellence is achieved by continually practicing and improving the pitch.
- Be open to constructive feedback and use it to improve your value proposition.
- Be disciplined to achieve clarity and be smart how to separate what is confidential and what is non-confidential.
Being part of an incubator has its benefits. At the YouStartIT#3 programme, the start-ups learned about the experiences (good and bad) from the participating start-ups. MIH brought on board local and international coaches and experts, many of which are experts in DLT from the legal, technology and market perspectives. Accessing information and coaching from people who have done it before is facilitated at the MIH incubator. MIH exposed us to experts who gave us constructive feedback which allowed us to pivot our business proposition very early. Furthermore, lean product development, continually challenging the business model and frequent customer development activities are essential to achieve market acceptance with low risk.
These are some of the lessons the founders of TechWeave took away from this amazing journey. Thank you MITA Innovation Hub.
Nicholas Borg and Adrian Duca
Founders of TechWeave