I’m Anthony Rose, Founder and CEO at SeedLegals. In a previous role I led on BBC iPlayer and helped the BBC to transition live TV to on-demand services and change content distribution forever.
At SeedLegals, we help startups with all the legals they need to grow their team, raise investment and take their business to the next level. And, not surprisingly, right now we’re seeing founders trying to adapt their businesses and business model to Covid19.
If you are an artistic curator or involved in a creative space, you need to figure out how you might pivot and seize the opportunity of embracing the COVID19 opportunity, so to speak. And, how you can constrain your costs to make your business more appealing to investors.
Whether you are a gallery, an artist or musician, think about how you might you might pivot in the same way that BBC evolved with the iPlayer. How can you turn what you are doing into an online experience? How might you make it interactive?
Often I think people are scared to get out of their comfort zone, but this is not the case in the startup space. My favourite example of a company pivoting during the pandemic is a company called ChargedUp, who develop mobile phone charging units in public spaces. When you went into the tube station, you could plug your phone in one of their units and wait while it charges up. Now of course, no one’s taking the underground and public transport is reduced, people are no longer hanging around in lobbies so that business idea ended. They had to reinvent their technology by adapting their kiosks to be suitable for hand sanitiser distribution. So they pivoted into supplying those hand sanitiser kiosks you see everywhere, created CleanedUp and, well, they’re cleaning up.
I’m an investor in a new startup called QJAM, they leverage the fact that musicians want to meet their fans but can no longer do record signings in person. So, we’ve created a two-way video streaming app where artists can have online events and their fans join the virtual queue to meet them. The artists can also sign an album cover digitally and send it their fans on their phone.
So, if no one’s coming to your venue, what can you do now? Some things are expensive to digitise, but maybe you can start with something simple and create something interactive.
What I saw from startup founders at the beginning of the pandemic was that some were procrastinating what to do next. Given the advice was to stay at home for two weeks in March, we did not think it could go on for six weeks or more. Six months later we’re still all at home – and things are clearly going to be unchanged for the next year. We’re going to be doing what I call continuous partial lockdown.
You have a stark choice right now – you’re essentially out of business for the next year if you procrastinate.
Or you can pivot. You need to reinvent yourself, take advantage of online streaming, or whatever it might be with digital technology.
The thing to keep in mind is how you might reduce your costs to keep you in business for another 12 months. There are thousands of startup companies looking for investment. You need to jump out as being a viable investment for investors.
What do I look for in a founder?
I look for someone who is embracing the future. Someone who is not procrastinating but being proactive during these times – whether they’re good or bad.
In summary, think about what actions you can take now and how could you reinvent yourself. How can you reduce your costs and how are you going to generate a revenue stream without waiting for life to get back to normal during the pandemic?
Anthony Rose joined our Enterprise Tuesday guest panel on 3 November 2020. Please join us at the upcoming Enterprise Tuesday series exploring Creative Arts in November where you can hear from a range of experts and put forward your questions.