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  A recipe for startup success 

Leading Australian innovation hub, the Centre for Entrepreneurial Research and Innovation (CERI), which focuses on deep tech industries, has revealed the key ingredients for a successful startup.

The not-for-profit centre based in Perth has seen more than 1000 startup founders undertake their education programs, coming up with a comprehensive list of what it takes to succeed in the startup world.

“We know that establishing and running a startup is hard work, but through our programs and our successful graduates we’ve been able to identify what sets certain companies apart and gives them a competitive edge,” says CERI CEO Toby Swingler.

It’s a tough time for startups, with Australian venture capital investment falling to $3.5bill last year with just 413 deals taking place, whilst globally it also saw a 38% decline.

“It’s a really competitive funding market out there with everybody hoping to be that next unicorn, so anything startups can do to position themselves in front is vital,” says Mr Swingler.

CERI’s Recipe for a Successful Startup –

Teams vs Solo Founders : It’s a lot more difficult to operate on your own because having a diverse team on board brings a wider skillset. Ideally you’d have somebody with a strong technical background alongside another team member who can focus on business growth and marketing.

Appetite for Risk : Everybody has a different appetite for risk but the most successful startup founders have set the bar pretty high. Startup founders need to ask themselves how far they are willing to go for this idea as investors want to see that they have skin in the game. 

Problem Focused : A good startup has a deep understanding of the problem they’re trying to solve, so if their solution isn’t perfect or can be improved they’re laser focused on fixing it. Don’t be so in love with your solution and have such a narrow focus that you can’t pivot or see potential in something else.

Startup Name : Startups should think carefully about their name as they want it to be memorable for investors who often hear hundreds of pitches every month. Keep it short, clear and catchy. Research from the MIT Innovation Initiative shows startups with a short name had a 248% increase in growth within the first 12 months compared to those with longer names.

Adaptability : Startups need to be willing to take feedback on board and make changes to their product based on that. You’re never too experienced to learn something new and we see the best results from startup founders who are willing to adapt and change.

Resilience : Part of the winning formula for a startup is having a team that is resilient and prepared to ride the highs and lows that come with the journey. It’s not uncommon to receive 50 rejections from investors and for some people it can be hard to bounce back from that. 

“In the current funding climate it’s important startup founders don’t lose hope. Some of the biggest global companies didn’t exist 20 years ago. They were just like them, innovators with an idea they thought could be something big and they had the resilience, skills and perseverance to turn it into a reality,” said Mr Swingler. 

“Think really carefully about the team you’re putting together before you launch your startup. We see a huge difference between the success of startups with sole founders and those that operate as part of a diverse team,” says Mr Swingler.

Research shows startups founded or cofounded by women generate 78 cents for every dollar of funding compared to just 31 cents, less than half that for men.* 

CERI’s next Concept to Creation Course for budding startups will begin in March. For more information visit https://www.ceri.org.au/programs/concept-to-creation

About the Centre for Entrepreneurial Research and Innovation

CERI is a social enterprise supporting the next generation of Australian entrepreneurs. It was founded in 2015 by the Bass Family Foundation and 2024 WA Senior Australian of the Year Charlie Bass, who wanted to ensure a more sustainable future for business.

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Yajush Gupta

Yajush Gupta

Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.

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