4 Lessons Learned From Failed Tech Startups March 4, 2013 RICCentre By: Leah Jones The highly competitive and fast-paced technology industry is known for the typically short lifespan of its startups; some claim the majority of startups will not make it through the first six months, while other experts cite only an eight percent chance of success. Even technology mogul Bill Gates suffered the failure of his first company Traf-O-Data before his success with Microsoft. How can entrepreneurs succeed in a sector with such a high rate of failure? The Next Web asked similar questions of tech entrepreneurs experienced in failed startups. These interviews reveal lessons for startups from four technology entrepreneurs: Don’t Let Ego Get in the Way Flexibility is a crucial trait for entrepreneurs; founders must be able to find lessons in criticism and failures, and change the business plan or product accordingly instead of holding on to something that does not work. “The right person won’t be disappointed… because there’s going to be a lot of roadblocks” (Alain Paquin, whatsnexx). Choose Your Co-Founders Well Leadership is essential to get an idea to market and keep it there. Seek out a partner who shares your entrepreneurial school of thought to create a unified core team. “People need to be really passionate about building a company with you, not just building a product” (Alisha Outridge, TapTank Inc.). A Business Plan is Essential A comprehensive business plan is your first impression when it comes to securing necessary funding and contacts; potential investors need something substantial to hold on to. A good plan will also keep you focused on the big picture. “If you don’t have a business plan, you have nothing” (Grant Cardone, Cardone Training Technologies). Culture Beats Speed Rather than rushing to create the most experienced team possible, find someone with the attitude and talent that fits your company vision and develop them. “In the long run, you have to focus on building that long-term perspective and a unique team who can execute something” (Trevor Owens, Lean Startup Machine). If you are an entrepreneur looking to take on the technology market, the RIC Centre can help you construct a business plan and provide access to sector-specific mentoring services to bring your business to success. Leah is completing her final year of the Visual Culture and Communications specialist program at the University of Toronto Mississauga and Sheridan College. She is interning at the RIC centre, bringing her experience in digital, print and website design. Leah is eager to begin a career in corporate communications after her graduation in June. The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal & professional experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.