A few days ago, Don Dodge reported on a panel he did at TiECon East with KP's Ajit Nazre, during which Ajit mentioned the 7 rules that enterprise software startups must meet in order to be considered for an investment:
- Instant Value to customers - solve a problem or create value with the first use
- Viral adoption - Pull, not push. No direct sales force required
- Minimum IT footprint, preferably none. Hosted SaaS is best.
- Simple, intuitive user experience - no training required.
- Personalized user experience - customizable
- Easy configuration based on application or usage templates
- Context aware - adjust to location, groups, preferences, devices, etc.
Friend Jeff Nolan reminded me that these rules were actually introduced by Ray Lane, a Kleiner Perkins Partner, during his keynote of MR Rangaswami's conference, Software 2006. I actually recommend listening to the podcast and reading through the presentation.
What is interesting is that these rules seemed to be focusing on enterprise software companies, and upon reading them they were really fitting consumer-facing services. Yet another data point showing that Consumer and Enterprise 2.0 are getting closer and closer in the way they are built and marketed. Ben Barren from down under had a similar thought.
During my keynote to the Web 2.0 Irish Conference, I talked about similar things - in the form of the key questions that I ask myself when meeting a prospective investment:
- Value ?
- Adoption ?
- Differentiation ?
- Distribution ?
- Business Model ?
- Technology ?
- Team ?
- Plan ?
What is interesting is that fundamental aspects like the the Team and the Plan are not covered by the 7 rules, so I would posit that there were other aspects being discussed.