A website is developing fast that can help the many thousands of people in the UK who want to start their own business. These aspiring entrepreneurs would benefit from the guidance that incubators and accelerators provide, but they do not have the means to get it. The website uses a collection of information to provide an assessment of the maturity of the enterprise – as a venture, and to help raise that profile. It will become increasingly widely useful.
You first have to register on Dreamstake (some 9,000 people have done so), and provide a substantial amount of information (some of which can be imported automatically from your entries on LinkedIn and TechCruch), and when you have provided the essentials, the site uses an algorythm which its founders have developed – based on the ‘Startup Genome’ (using such things as team composition, number of pivots, extent of funding to date etc) to provide you with a rating about your business’s maturity. And it helps you to determine what to do to enhance that rating.
The site also guides you to:
* seminars on specific topics – at Google Campus in London
* a skill search and swap function (just added) that circulates your
requirements for expert help on eg Facebook and Twitter
* certain sources of potential funding, such as Start-up loans
(16 achieved in the last three months).
* selected firms providing advice.
The site enables early-stage ventures (of which there are now some 400 on the site) to assess their progress and look for help and advice – all free of charge.
It does not as yet make any distinction between sectors, types of product/service, or degree of innovation; nor does it yet provide a route to appropriate mentors (eg a general adviser plus links to an ever-changing array of needs for specific help); nor to financing opportunities (eg that specialise in your sector, your type of product, your business’s maturity); but it is likely to do so as soon as its algorythms succeed in linking emerging needs (for example in product development eg seeking an expert in cardio-diagnostics) with management’s progress in tackling them (for example in marketing, such as actually obtaining a customer). While the network does collect much of this data already, it does not necessarily include it in the rating.
Already of use to universities (with their booming Entrepreneurship Clubs, to Incubators (as a source of self-help for incubatees), to the Department of Work and Pensions (to help with youth unemployment), and to schools (always weak on career advice), the site is likely soon to become valuable to Angel organisations and venture capital companies.