Our goal is to help non-technical entrepreneurs build a successful technical start-up, thereby allowing the start-ups founders to focus on other key areas, such as refining their products/services, focusing on business development, sales and other important non-technical aspects. NextStep Systems aims to play an important role in the build-out of an entrepreneurial eco-system – NextStep Systems will provide mentorship, inspiration, investment, opportunity to find new co-founders and technical/back end help for our start-up classes. In selecting our start-ups classes, we apply three main principles to our incubation approach:
- Accept all principle: Our doors are open for everyone and we will consider anyone who has a bright idea from any corner of the world as long as our start-ups candidates have a clear business plan and they are able to demonstrate a clear monetization strategy, then they are in.
- No-Cash Principle: Our incubator/investment company will not give entrepreneurs full cash funding. Instead, we will co-fund and co-develop tech and internet start-ups. For instance, if a start-up requires an initial funding of $100K, we will expect half of the investment ($50K from our start-up and we will match it with $50K). We believe that if an entrepreneur has a ground-breaking idea and they are extremely passionate about their idea, then they should invest a certain level of cash funding as this will demonstrate their true commitment towards their business idea. Rest assured, we will do everything for whatever amount of time it will take for us to get the ideas off the ground and co-develop it until we can convert an idea into a MVP/sales ready and will help our start-ups find early customers.
- Quick-To-Fail Formula: During our work, we will set various benchmarks for our start-ups to meet during the co-development stage. If an entrepreneur fails to meet our benchmarks during co-development stage or if our start-ups discover that they are not right fit for us or vice versa, then our start-ups can quit our incubation programme at any time. We will allow our start-ups to take away the work we will have done together and let them build the remaining start-up on their own. However, we will still keep our equity in the start-up company. Since our selection process is extremely rigorous, therefore we will try our utmost to help our start-ups succeed. We are, however, realistic in our approach and will celebrate failure as we strongly believe that embracing failure is not a taboo. As long as our start-ups candidates and we as an incubator can learn from it, then we will celebrate failure whole heartedly and courageously.
Innovators/Start-ups apply with an idea/prototype.
Candidates To Go Through NextStep Systems's Rigorous & Multi-Select Selection Process.
Final Evaluation And Selection Of Ideas By Our Team.
NextStep Systems To Assemble A Team Of World-Class Network Of Mentors, Technical & Non-Technical Staff & Consultants
NextStep Systems To Help Our Start-Ups Find Co-Founders & Businesss Strategists
Planning & Development Of Products & Services
NextStep Systems Is To Help Start-Ups To Move to Beta Or Production
Help Raise Capital Via Investor Demo Days, VCs & Angels
At NextStep Systems, we are passionate about building next generation and emerging technological start-ups. We are driven by a strong set of values, our ability to create value in our portfolio companies and our ability to form winning entrepreneurial collaborations with the start-ups we have already built, have invested in and will be investing in. This vision unites us as an investment company and as a team every day and is the hallmark of our entrepreneurially-driven culture. Our portfolio focuses on advanced technological start-ups. We aim to solve pressing modern day issues through next generation technology start-ups.
Our incubation programme offers the following start-up services to our start-up classes mainly on equity or co-founding basis.
- Technical Development: we can help in the development of your tech start-up. We will start from requirement gathering stage up to the development stage. We can develop the web service, website and mobile application. We can invest the equivalence of 50-100 man per month.
- Mentorship: Each project will have one mentor. Each project will also have several "stealth-mentors" appointed by NextStep Systems to check the on going performance of our start-ups and suggest innovative ideas to the mentor. Stealth mentors are called stealth because they are advisors to the direct mentors, but they do not offer any direct advice to the entrepreneurs. Instead, the stealth mentor will offer its advice and ideas to the direct mentor and will work from behind the scene.
- Access to Business Resources: If your team lacks access to people with knowledge of accounting, finance, marketing, HR or business development, which are integral in developing a successful start-up, then we can provide seasoned mentors and advisors who can take care of your accounting, HR, marketing, legal, business development and PR needs. Having experts in all the key areas of the business will surely help during the incubation period and it will help offload some of the time consuming responsibilities from the entrepreneur’s shoulder and it will allow them to focus mostly on the development of the product.
In order to join our incubation program, an entrepreneur should have a concise executive summary, a clear business plan and should be able to pitch their business idea to us in a 10 minutes presentation. We usually accept lots of applications and we are usually reluctant to refuse people based on the first screening unless their ideas are not clear. As long as an idea is clear, then we will welcome applications from anyone from any part of the world and will work with our start-up candidate classes to refine and nurture their ideas into a scalable business.
Launching an internet start-up is and has always been a challenge. It has become more challenging recently with the introduction of mobile platforms that should be covered. The criteria to launch a tech start-up has become very competitive as end-users expect easier and more intuitive interface.
When an entrepreneur approaches us, usually we go through these phases:
- Introduction: (couple of days to two weeks) In this short phase, we would like to get to know about the entrepreneurs themselves and their backgrounds. We would be keen to find out about our entrepreneurs motivations, what inspires them in life, why are they applying to join NextStep Systems's incubation programme, how do they perceive failure and how would they cope with failure, what parts of the worlds they have been to, what industries they have covered and more about their previous experiences. We will also aim to get a clear idea about their start-up with an executive summary and a business plan if possible. This will help us assess the idea and how viable the idea is and whether the market is already crowded or the idea needs more refining to be able to make it an attractive idea.
- Planning: (one week to three weeks) If we find the start-up idea worth pursuing, we will then discuss the idea with founder(s) and will try to make a MVP out of it. Our definition of a MVP is based on the Lean Start-up by Eric Reis, but it slightly differs from Reise’s definition. A MVP is NOT a prototype. It is not something we are going to push to investors. Instead, it should be a real product that users can start paying for. Most start-ups end up with just a proof-of-concept. This is not sufficient in today’s market where competition is fierce and investors want to see something more advanced and something that has more potential to succeed.
- Mentor Selection: A good start-up needs a seasoned mentor and an advisor in various areas of the start-up ecosystem. We assign one mentor for each start-up. Our mentors are seasoned veterans, they are some of the best, highly innovative and brightest entrepreneurial minds of the world. All of our mentors have been there and done that, therefore they provide an unrivalled support to help our start-ups succeed. Our mentors have an undying passion to help our start-ups succeed by providing one-on-one mentoring, by giving talks at our start-ups focused events and by holding office hours. Throughout our incubation program, our mentors are a vital source to help our start-ups realize their dreams and are an integral part of the start-up team.
At NextStep Systems, we have introduced the idea of "Stealth Mentor". A Stealth Mentor is a mentor who is not visible to the startup team, acts invisibly and in conjunction with NextStep Systems team and the mentor. We believe that having more than one mentor for the startup is not productive and might cause problems rather than offering a directly relevant solution. We strongly believe that if there is one direct mentor and several hidden Stealth Mentors, then the start-up will get the benefits of having more than one mentor backing it up without confusing the team with new ideas/suggestions from more than one mentor during the start-up incubation stage. Every startup will have a board of mentor with one president, which is the direct mentor.
- Execution: (three months to nine months) After the plan has been devised, both teams (start-up team and NextStep Systems) should work together towards achieving their mutual goal of booting the startup. During this phase, our goal will be to build early versions like Alpha or Beta versions that can be used to demonstrate the startup and try to get feedback from customers or get early buyers.
During this time, entrepreneurs should be working on finalizing their business plan, contact potential customers and refine the product development. Entrepreneur(s) can also start preparing the marketing plan and interviewing potential customers. During this phase, the team will develop the CORE functionalities of the MVP. We believe that most of the start-up investment will happen in this phase.
- Improvment: (as long as the start-up is running) During this phase, we will continuously work on the start-up to refine and improve it. Once the product is launched, entrepreneur(s) can get feedback from the market and more ideas to improve the product. Our technical team will continuously modify the product to add those changes.