What is a lean startup exit

Lean startup inventor Steve Blank: "A startup is an act of aggression"

Those who work according to the “Lean Startup” principle today have one man to thank for that: Steve Blank. The Silicon Valley veteran, who co-founded several startups and later taught at the renowned Stanford University, coined the term that his student Eric Ries later spread commercially. “Lean Startup” means viewing a business idea as a scientific hypothesis that needs to be verified or falsified as quickly as possible. This check should be carried out as cheaply as possible - i.e. with a lean team.

This week Blank, who has worked at Pixar, ESL and Rocket Science Games, among others, as well as at the University of California and Columbia University, attended the Pioneers Community Event in Vienna. He gave the audience an insight into his thinking.

Let yourself be bought

According to Blank, founders in Silicon Valley are now much less likely to go public than they used to be. Today the primary goal is to be swallowed up by a larger company. "Most of the startups in the Valley today are being bought up," says Blank. “Especially in verticals such as medical devices or diagnostics, nobody thinks about an IPO anymore. As a founder, you have to think about who could buy you and why. "

As a result, Blank gave some tips on how to prepare such an exit. To begin with, you have to make a list of 20 to 50 companies that could be considered buyers. The next step is to identify their employees who are responsible for scouting and acquisitions - and also which events they go to or which magazines they read. "Then it's time to get into the press or appear at these events," says Blank.

Less risk

Blank also had some wisdom ready about the disadvantages of the founder's focus on an exit. "If the exit dominates your thinking, then you tend to take less risk and go to work with less passion," says the US entrepreneur. An exit strategy would also have an impact on your own workforce. "If you tell everyone in the startup that you want to sell, that kills motivation."

Anyone who wants to start a startup should always focus specifically on their goal and ignore everything else as much as possible. “They have to get everything out of the way between you and your goal - with force if necessary,” says Blank. “A startup is an act of aggression. It's not a polite activity. "