Why Start-Ups Need Stickiness


IMG_1705Bill Tai is in the house.  This is going to cause a stab of excitement, just like a date with someone you’re into, among Aussie start-ups seeking financing.

A legend in the world of start-ups, this investor and mad-keen kite surfer is now on the hunt for the next big idea Down Under.

Tai says that what draws him to back a start-up is his attraction to the idea and people involved.  No surprises that the bigger the idea or its game changing status, the better.  I’m also guessing engaging people have greater pulling power with Tai.

As his broadcast interview with ABC’s Whitney Fitzsimmons gets underway, Tai highlights what makes start-ups financeable:

  • Size of the start-up and having the right team onboard
  • Timing of the idea for its market
  • Ability of the idea to break through noise

Tai has already helped finance Aussie Birds of Prey.  To shoe lovers like me, brides-to-be or seekers of custom made kicks, this online business is the Holy Grail.

Women customers design their own shoes, choosing the shape, colour and height, which are then made in China and shipped anywhere.  Howzat for ingenious?

Then again, we Aussies are a clever bunch.  Hello Google Maps and Atlassian.  Or, there’s goCatch which local entrepreneur James Packer and other parties injected $3 million this week.

goCatch is a taxi booking service that connects passengers directly with taxi drivers via a free smartphone app.  The unique selling proposition is that it gives passengers greater certainty over their pick-up.  It sounds so simple, yet cuts through the noise.  At least Packer et al think so.

The one thing I wish Tai would back is the importance of words to drive great ideas.  There’s no point having a game changing idea, if it can’t be communicated clearly, simply and with sparkle.

At times I give communications counsel to Aussie start-ups, some in the ideation stage and others seeking to raise their public profile.  None are mentioned in this post, just so you know.

In many cases, while the ideas shared with me are gobsmacking, the start-ups I’ve been fortunate enough to work with have sold themselves short.  They lack sticky messages.  Actually, many lack any kind of messaging.

Photo credit: D Myles

Photo credit: D Myles

If you can make a message memorable or sticky, it’ll hang around.  The stickier ones cut through the clutter or noise.  What’s more, the stickiest can propel your idea, or start up, to superstardom.

Take Shoes of Prey.  They say they only make one thing – magic.  The simplicity of this message, and the words used, rings true for woman everywhere.  We all know the indescribable joy of finding the perfect right pair of shoes, after years of bad choices and foot pain.

Sadly we can’t all live the life of Carrie Bradshaw, er, Preston, whose feet only ever knew Manolo’s.

This story is proof that all things are interconnected.  Finding a great a shoe brand is surely like dating – the perfect right one comes after much searching.  And, many start-ups date with potential investors until they eventually land financing through their perfect right partner.  Don’t forget, Bill Tai could be your next date.

Of course, a hook-up between start-up and financier is like a marriage and hopefully a match made in heaven.  At least I hope so for the next wave of Aussie start-ups.

  • What business do you wish you could start up or innovate?
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