This post first appeared on Project A’s Insights blog
Part 1: How to turn great ideas into successful businesses
Our New Business Analyst Benjamin looks for and evaluates new business ideas, technologies and trends for Project A Ventures. He assesses the market situation for new businesses and coordinates our internal idea generation process. In this three-part series, he will explain what he loves about his job, give insights into our internal idea evaluation framework and show some concrete examples from our portfolio.
On my first day here at Project A, my predecessor welcomed me with the words “this is one of the greatest jobs in Berlin.” It turned out he was right and I’d like to tell you why.
As part of the New Business team I have the opportunity to come into contact with many ideas and a variety of founder teams and business models. This is what makes the job probably one of the most diverse and interesting jobs in Berlin – maybe even in the whole world. In contrast to a “pure” venture capital firm, we get to use our expertise for idea generation, evaluation and due diligence processes. This enables us to better understand both the potential payoffs and pitfalls of a business model and provides us with very broad insights into areas such as performance marketing metrics, product management and development processes, scalable technologies, and business intelligence. On the other hand, all of this also represents one of the job’s main challenges, as you always have to stay on top of new trends, quickly understand complex business models and technologies, prioritize your tasks and strive to treat every idea equally while still remaining open to the unconventional.
A lot of people ask us where our ideas come from and how we evaluate them. Our team has several key tasks, such as managing our internal idea generation process and screening external ideas in pitches and at conferences and startup events. Being part of a digital-focused incubator, we concentrate these efforts on our investment themes, namely marketplaces and e-commerce, Software as a Service (SaaS), and digital infrastructure solutions. Whereas external ideas are generally received directly from startups or come to us through business partners or other investors, internal ideas are mainly the result of intensive initial research on current trends, technologies and markets on our part.
When an idea is deemed suitable for potential development, we start to interact with the company more intensively, getting to know the team and product as deeply as possible. If we are still confident about the entire project after this initial phase, we initiate a due diligence process. Where necessary, we consult with our in-house experts in IT, Performance Marketing, Business Intelligence, Mobile and HR as well in preparing our final decision.
To evaluate ideas and business models, we developed a universal evaluation framework. It is meant to serve as a tool to help us quickly analyze cases, so that we could run every opportunity through, compare them and then decide on next steps.
In the second part, I will give you some insights on this framework and explain, on which factors are crucial for our investment decision.