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Monday, September 17, 2012

Crowdfunding a new form of potential funding for young "Social" ventures


I have been  researching  in to this subject, I am not sure how successful it would be for larger ventures, I am watching one very closely at present, but it looks like it is helping to get small "social" ventures off the ground.   

With the emergence in recent years of a range of new funding sources we asked Professor Jonathan Levie, Director of Knowledge Exchange at the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, University of Strathclyde, for a brief guide to one of the most talked about platforms – crowdfunding.

“Crowdfunding is a new and very exciting form of potential funding for young ventures. If you have an idea or a product or service which would appeal to a consumer market, you might be able to get the 'crowd', i.e. anyone with internet access, to fund your startup costs. For more established ventures, peer-to-peer business lending is also a possibility. Here is a brief introduction to crowdfunding.

“There are four basic types of crowdfunding: those based on donations, rewards, debt and equity. If your venture is not a charity, you may have to do more than ask for donations! If you want to avoid, or cannot get, debt or equity funding from professional lenders or investors, then reward-based crowdfunding may be an attractive alternative, particularly for ventures with consumer products or services.

“Say you are a film entrepreneur. You might offer to include a stranger in the credits if you pledge £100, or send them free passes to a premiere, or send them a ‘free’ or ‘reduced price’ copy of the finished film. Really, the only limit to these rewards is your imagination.

“Trawl through kickstarter.com or our own Scottish-born crowdfunding site Bloomvc.com and you will quickly get the idea. Crowdfunding can also be a way of raising funds from family and friends without the embarrassment of having to ask in person. Typically, the crowdfunding site keeps a small percentage of the money raised and you don’t get anything unless your target funding is met or exceeded.

“Peer-to-peer lending is a different kettle of fish. Here, you have an obligation to repay the funds you raise plus interest. Examples of peer-to-peer business lending platforms in the UK are Funding Circle and ThinCats. You have to be trading for several years before being able to request a loan from individual lenders via these platforms.

“Equity-based crowdfunding is more controversial, because offering shares for sale to the general public is a 'financial promotion' activity that is regulated by the Financial Services Authority. You can’t just stick an offer to subscribe on your website: that’s illegal. But offering shares for sale to the general public can be done legally, if you are careful and thorough. Check out how BrewDog, a Scottish pioneer of equity-based crowdfunding, did it independently, with help from professional advisers. Or investigate regulated platforms like Crowdcube.com.

“A final thought: crowdfunding is no silver bullet and can take a lot of hard work to pull off, so do your research on it and on other funding options before throwing yourself on the mercy of the crowd.”

Base article in Business Gateway Scotland

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Blog Update

Blog update

I have not  posted for a while , life has been hectic and work is not as fun as it used to be...not working for a start up at present...It is interesting, in that it allows me to try out some new and old techniques , 5S and some lean manufacturing also I have been trying to develop a resource modeling / planning system for the organisation not the easiest challenge but it has again kept the brain active and the stress level high. I will be lecturing again in the near future running a series on Morals and Modern business, and the entrepreneurship 101 series.     

I will from time to time drop in some interesting articles and I am always open to answering your questions.

Keep the Faith

Gordon Whyte

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Validate your new business proposition

Interesting case study on validating your Start up business proposition.

Ben Fisher + Anna Curran
Like yoga, Lean Startup Methodology is more than just a skill set you acquire–it’s a practice that you must apply in order to get any value from it.
In a nutshell, lean offers you a validated way to learn about your startup—-Is there a market for your business? How can you gather key information about the features and functionality of a business concept? Lean will help you practice how to identify your market and develop product-market fit.
So, how do you get started?
Step One: Pick an Idea
One word practitioners of lean rely on heavily is “validate.” The workshops we teach are designed to help people understand what it means to validate an idea or product.
The last time we taught this workshop, we provided our class with an app idea to validate or invalidate. It was called Cut the Line, and the concept was a mobile app that helps you to skip the line at restaurants and other popular attractions. The idea drew inspiration from Disney’s FastPass and applied it to all of New York City. Imagine being able to skip any line anywhere…for a price.
“Yes, that would be awesome,” was the response we got from most people when asked whether they liked the idea.
Step 2: Define the Assumptions
Before committing to the business idea as we had originally conceived of it and investing precious resources to build the “perfect” product, we challenged the class to identify whether there was a market for Cut the Line, and if so, the bare minimum feature set people would actually pay for. Our class mapped out the idea’s riskiest business assumptions to reveal the bare minimum facets of the business (consumer behavior, pain) that must truly exist for this business to work.
Assumption #1 – Patrons would pay to skip lines.
Assumption #2 – Restaurants would accept payment for allowing some customers to skip the line.
Assumption #3 – There is a large enough market for this product to build a sustainable business.
Step 3: Validate Your Assumptions
After mapping the riskiest assumptions, we took to the streets to meet real, live potential customers and observe their behavior. Our learning exercises started with offering strangers money for their spot in line in efforts to define if we could pay to create a spot online. We experimented with a range of price-points; if they refused a small sum, we countered with a higher offer.
Step 4: Analyze Lessons Learned
Our experiments highlighted one key fact about consumer behavior: while you can gain some valuable qualitative information about your customer through conversation, people are generally terrible judges of hypothetical behavior. The only reliable way to test whether someone will pay for something is to actually charge them for a product.
#1 Lesson Learned - Patrons felt paying to skip the line was unfair to the others in the line
Many patrons refused the offer to pay us to Cut the Line. When we asked why, we got an interesting array of responses that included: Parents with children said that waiting in the line was a part of the “sight seeing experience.” Tourists enjoyed waiting in line because the longer the line, the better the restaurant. It was how they judged if a restaurant was good. One surprising exception: a man on a date paid to skip the line.
#2 Lesson Learned – Restaurants did NOT want to let some clients to skip the line
Restaurants did not want to seem unfair giving certain customers special treatment. They were afraid that any additional revenue generated by the FastPass would be offset by losing the business of irritated potential customers.
#3 Lesson Learned – Our target market significantly narrowed as we spoke with potential customers.
The class expected the average patron waiting in a long line would be willing to pay to skip to the front. And with the refusal of venues to allow some patrons to skip the line, we were left wondering was there an opportunity for this product at all?
Step 5: Identify Flaws in the Experiment and Consider Next Steps
There are some natural limitations to any experiment. Some potential issues that may have influenced our learning and warrant further exploration: (1) We looked very “unofficial;” approaching patrons at restaurants in line wearing street clothes. (2) Our small data-set that was geographically limited to Times Square. (3) Our pool of potential customers we were predominantly limited to restaurants, so a person’s level of hunger may have forced a different behavior. (4) Lastly, a digital solution such as a mobile app would have increased anonymity; in the in-person setting, we expect some would-be customers felt peer pressure to not cut the line. Had our class extended beyond three days, our next step would have been to explore those learnings further and to address some of those limitations.
Step 6: Decide Whether or Not to Proceed with the Idea
After three nights of validated learning inquiry into Cut the Line, we didn’t feel confident that there’s a market for the product; at least not with the implementation that we had envisioned. Our student who did make a sale had a brilliant customer development hack: he put his name to get a table for dinner at the Hard Rock Hotel, waited 30 minutes until his buzzer would be called next and then sold his spot in the line to a patron who had only been waiting 5 minutes (the gentleman on a date).
Key Takeaway
There are a number of other factors to consider as well, but social factors like “perceived fairness” and peer pressure are clear barriers to successfully monetizing the business idea. The biggest lessons we hope our students took away, though, is that just because people say, “Oh yes, I would pay for your product” doesn’t actually mean they will or that there’s even a market for it. Uncovering insights and understanding the nuances of a potential customer’s behavior is key to learning whether there’s a market for your business idea.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

My Friend Willem Boom is actively seeking Partners in the Learning Technology, Learning Solutions, Open Source Solutions, and IT Space to sell and provide services for his Commercial Open Source LMS, Totara.  I would appreciate any suggestions or referrals you might have to assist us in this effort.

Some background & information about Totara LMS:

Founded by Kineo eLearning and Catalyst IT, Totara Learning Solutions is a global alliance dedicated to fundamentally changing the nature of the LMS software market.  Totara is a commercial distribution of the open source platform, Moodle, and is available on a subscription basis which provides ongoing support and enhancements. Totara can reduce a corporate enterprise's learning management costs significantly whilst providing some of the most advanced learning management functionality.

From a simple concept; that open source software, developed with an active community, can deliver real benefits in learning and development for corporate organizations, comes a big vision; to transform corporate learning. Totara is delivering this vision though:

•             Driving down costs with zero license fees
•             Delivering peace of mind with commercial support
•             Collaborative model of innovation
•             Making customization easy
•             Having a different way of innovating

Over 150 organizations have already selected Totara LMS. These include large corporations such as Vodafone, Kohl’s Department Stores, Tesco, Safeway, and many more to small enterprises. Totara LMS clients come from a variety of sectors, including finance, retail, energy, health, government and the not-for-profit sector.  Totara LMS is exclusively sold and supported by our worldwide partner network.  In addition to selling subscriptions to our service, our partners provide services for Totara such as customization, integration, learning services, consulting, training, and content.  Our partners realize solid profits from the Totara relationship and find the solution easy to integrate into their existing mix of offerings.  We also provide solid support with our partner program.  These support efforts include Training, Marketing, and Technical Support.

Please follow him on Twitter:       @TotaraLMS
Join them on LinkedIn at:                   http://www.linkedin.com/groups?about=&gid=4076852


Willem Boom
Vice President – Partner Solutions
Totara Learning Solutions Limited
Description: Description: Description: Description: totara_logo_small

E: willem.boom@totaralms.com
T: 1.541.647.2633 (USA)
M: 1.541.373.0622 (USA)
Skype: willem_boom

Friday, March 09, 2012

KM3835 Supplier Quality Assurance Engineer

Salary: £30k - £35k (Dependent on Experience)
Position: Permanent
Location: Nottingham
A Supplier Quality Assurance Engineer is required by this dynamic, progressive organisation to take the lead in developing Supplier Quality Assurance metrics and establish a cohesive and high quality standards programme.
The Supplier Quality Assurance Engineer should have Tier 1 manufacturing experience and demonstrable activity in developing and managing supplier quality audits within an engineering manufacturing environment
This is a superb opportunity to join a pro-active, ambitious and fast expanding organisation where the Supplier Quality Assurance Engineer’s talents will be applied and developed within an exciting environment.
Key responsibilities include: -
•Analysing supplier capabilities
•Developing and maintaining auditable supplier metrics
•Driving supplier improvement through detailed improvement plans based on thorough analysis of returns
•Conducting supplier quality audits based on supplier performance and critical business impact
•Providing technical training to employees when required
Essential Qualities include: -
· HND or equivalent in Mechanical or Electrical Engineering
· Lead auditor qualification and experience for AS9100 or ISO9001
· Experience working within a Tier 1 manufacturing environment
· Experience of supplier development and supplier account management
· Experience of leading customer and supplier audits
· Experience of developing and maintaining Quality Management Systems and processes
· PC literate, including Microsoft Office packages
· Ability to read and interrupt engineering drawings
· Practical problem solving skills
· Self motivated, with high levels of numeracy and literacy
· Good communication skills
· Team player
Desirable Qualities include: -
· Mechanical or Electrical engineering qualification at degree level
· Purchasing experience
· Six sigma and lean manufacturing knowledge
· Experience of MRP

Interested applicants will be expected to complete and return by email a simple application form to which CVs must be paste

Salary: £30k - £35k (Dependent on Experience)

Tel/Fax: 01233 501503

Email: cmacgregor@forcesrecruitment.co.uk

Web: http://www.forcesrecruitment.co.uk

Thursday, March 01, 2012

The company I work for www.optocap.com has a vacancyy for a senior micro-electronics packing engineer if any interest please get in touch. Have a look at our webpage above for details on the company.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Gordon Whyte


I am an entrepreneurial senior operations executive with broad experience in General, Operational and Change Management of which more than 20 years at senior international level. I have managed multi-disciplined teams delivering complex projects worldwide in high technology based businesses, including multinational and start up businesses

Business experience includes:

• Hands on experience off managing six company start ups / SME’S with P&L responsibility

• Strategic business development, with hands on face to face customer experience

• Extensive senior operations experience, setting up new manufacturing operations, or developing outsourced manufacturing operations

• Developing business plans and financial modelling

• Leading fund raising both in Europe, North America and Middle East.

• Leading technology transfer and IP / Patent development

• Establishing and expanding businesses ensuring high profitability.

• Developing outsourced manufacturing resources in low cost countries.

• Main business focus has been Semiconductor, Electronics, Photonics, Solar / Cleantech and Display technology

Main achievements include:

• Led manufacturing division to be profitable after two years from start up doubled revenue year on year prior to successful IPO in ’96 and subsequent sale to SDLI (USA)

• Introduced four new products to the market including the worlds first 10 GHz integrated driver modulator in 2001

• Launched world’s first optical ASIC platform for complex optical integrated circuits.

• Set up LCD micro-display manufacturing operation

• Co-Founder off a silicon CPV company

• Lean manufacturing introduction SME

“Doing whatever is required to achieve the Objectives”

To conclude: broad international experience, sound knowledge of value-added

mechanisms in different industries, understanding of all stakeholders

requirements, customised solution provider, profitability, sales and result orientated.

Email: gordonw63at yahoo.com 

Linkedin Profile: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/gordonwhyte