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February 26, 2010

Can a Normalized Scoring System Help Startups Find the Right Partners?




I recently had the opportunity to produce a series of videos for Chris Shipley and Mike Sigal of Guidewire Group, long time advocates of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Audience: Entrepreneurs worldwide and the organizations that support them - investors, large tech partners, service providers, even government economic development agencies.

Issue addressed: Not all innovation is in Silicon Valley or New York/Boston where there is generally a great density and exchange of information for startups. Information elsewhere is often fragmented. How do you carry some of this to innovation centers in other parts of the globe? Members of the global entrepreneurial ecosystem spend countless hours repetitively collecting information about startups to inform, benchmark or report on their investment decisions. But those efforts are fragmented and have been hampered by the lack of a widely accepted, normalized methodology. So how can you faciliate the pairing of entrepreneur and support organizations?   Is it possible to create a "normalized" score that can encapsulate the essence of the "gut feeling?"

Two parts to the video referenced here:

  • 00:00 - 05:30 focuses on the background of where their "standardized" scoring system for startups, the G/Score, came from, what it is, and just as importantly, what it is not (not a substitute for due diligence or chemistry).  Their approach is informed by 20 years of talking with more than 20,000 (yes that's thousands) of companies around the world.
  • 05:30 - 12:50 walks entrepreneurs through the 7 components of the G/Score - overall concept, market opportunity, competitive landscape, product and business execution, team, and business model.  They also use some interesting real world company examples to show how they would have been scored on each particular G/Score component in their early days.  Companies include : SalesForce.com, Netflix, Twitter, Like.com, Intuit, TellMe Networks, and Google.

Some nice feedback on Guidewire's G/Score to date from an entrepreneur and business partner:

"G/Score - Finally a successful attempt to give an "at-a-glance" assessment of a startup's strengths and weaknesses without needing to read a 30 page business plan" - Joe Drumgoole   CEO/Founder, CloudSplit

and

"The entrepreneur community is crying out for a way to describe a startup's "readiness."  Guidewire Group's G/Score is a credible, straightforward and meaningful way to meet those needs." - Cliff Reeves  GM, Emerging Business Team, Microsoft

After you watch the video, what do you think?  In a world where there are more startups than ever, and more potential partners seeking to work with them.  Where information overload is the order of the day, and there is no common language to talk about startups.  Where finding a way to filter is an essential question every day.  Can the G/Score facilitate that all important matchmaking process between startups around the world and those that can help them get to the next step?

(G/Score worksheet/definition set can be found here Download GScoreAssessDefs) Favicon

  

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Liz Gebhardt


  • © Amanda Jones
    Digital and traditional (live & broadcast) media/ marketing strategist and producer living at the intersection of Web meets (live) World. More than two decades of experience in building media and technology businesses, content programming and distribution, brand stories and integrated communications campaigns.

    Believes that strategy is all talk unless it can be executed in a way that delivers on both the creative and business promises. Embraces the role of navigator of the uncharted path vs. passenger along the known road.