As the world continues to grapple with the economic uncertainty brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the cryptocurrency industry has not been spared. However, amidst the volatility, there are still opportunities for startups to thrive. To shed some light on this, we reached out to members of the Cointelegraph Innovation Circle, a group of industry veterans and market watchers who are also startup founders themselves. Here are 18 tested tips they shared for crypto companies starting out during these uncertain times.
1. Have a clear value proposition
According to Alex Mashinsky, CEO of Celsius Network, startups need to have a clear value proposition that differentiates them from the competition. This will help them stand out in a crowded market and attract investors and customers. He advises startups to focus on solving a real problem for their target audience.
2. Build a strong team
A strong team is crucial for the success of any startup, and the crypto industry is no exception. As Efi Pylarinou, a fintech and blockchain advisor, notes, “talent is key.” Startups should focus on building a team with diverse skills and experience, and ensure that everyone is aligned with the company’s vision and values.
3. Stay focused
In the fast-paced world of crypto, it can be tempting to chase after every opportunity that comes your way. However, as Mike Belshe, CEO of BitGo, advises, “stay focused on your core mission.” Startups should prioritize their goals and avoid getting distracted by shiny objects.
4. Be adaptable
The crypto industry is constantly evolving, and startups need to be able to adapt to change quickly. As Joseph Lubin, co-founder of Ethereum and founder of ConsenSys, notes, “be prepared to pivot.” Startups should be flexible and open to new ideas and opportunities.
5. Build a community
Building a community around your product or service is essential for long-term success. As Miko Matsumura, co-founder of Evercoin, advises, “focus on building a community, not just a customer base.” Startups should engage with their users and listen to their feedback, and use that feedback to improve their product.
6. Have a strong legal and regulatory strategy
The regulatory landscape for crypto is still evolving, and startups need to be prepared. As Kathryn Haun, a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, advises, “have a strong legal and regulatory strategy.” Startups should work with experienced lawyers and stay up-to-date on regulatory developments.
7. Embrace transparency
Transparency is key in the crypto industry, and startups should embrace it. As Meltem Demirors, chief strategy officer at CoinShares, notes, “be transparent about what you’re building, why you’re building it, and how you’re building it.” Startups should be open about their goals and processes, and be willing to engage with the community.
8. Focus on user experience
User experience is a crucial factor in the success of any product, and crypto is no exception. As Eric Benz, CEO of Changelly, advises, “focus on the user experience and make it as simple as possible.” Startups should prioritize ease of use and accessibility.
9. Have a clear marketing strategy
Marketing is essential for getting your product or service in front of potential customers. As Jill Carlson, co-founder of Open Money Initiative, advises, “have a clear marketing strategy.” Startups should identify their target audience and tailor their messaging accordingly.
10. Be patient
Success in the crypto industry takes time, and startups need to be patient. As Elizabeth Stark, CEO of Lightning Labs, notes, “be patient and stay focused on the long-term vision.” Startups should not get discouraged by short-term setbacks, and should stay committed to their goals.
11. Build for the long-term
The crypto industry is still in its early stages, and startups should be thinking about the long-term. As Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of FTX, advises, “build for the long-term, not for short-term hype.” Startups should prioritize building a strong foundation for their product or service.
12. Be prepared for volatility
The crypto industry is known for its volatility, and startups need to be prepared for the ups and downs. As Charlie Shrem, co-founder of Crypto.IQ, advises, “expect volatility and plan for it.” Startups should have a solid risk management strategy in place.
13. Prioritize security
Security is a top priority in the crypto industry, and startups should prioritize it from the beginning. As Jesse Powell, CEO of Kraken, advises, “prioritize security from day one.” Startups should work with experienced security professionals and implement best practices.
14. Have a clear revenue model
Startups need to have a clear revenue model in order to be successful. As Muneeb Ali, co-founder of Blockstack, advises, “have a clear revenue model and don’t rely on speculation.” Startups should identify their sources of revenue and ensure that they are sustainable.
15. Build partnerships
Partnerships can be a powerful tool for startups looking to grow their business. As Joe Lallouz, CEO of Bison Trails, advises, “build partnerships with other companies in the space.” Startups should identify potential partners and work to build mutually beneficial relationships.
16. Be patient with regulation
Regulation can be a challenging issue for startups in the crypto industry, but startups need to be patient. As Marco Santori, president and chief legal officer at Blockchain.com, advises, “be patient with regulation and work with regulators.” Startups should be proactive in engaging with regulators and working to shape the regulatory landscape.
17. Have a strong product
At the end of the day, success in the crypto industry comes down to having a strong product. As Dan Held, director of business development at Kraken, advises, “have a strong product that solves a real problem.” Startups should focus on building a product that users love.
18. Stay true to your values
Finally, startups need to stay true to their values and vision. As Ryan Selkis, CEO of Messari, advises, “stay true to your values and don’t compromise on your vision.” Startups should prioritize their values and ensure that they are reflected in everything they do.
In conclusion, startups in the crypto industry face unique challenges, but there are also many opportunities for growth and success. By following these tested tips from industry veterans and startup founders, startups can set themselves up for success in these uncertain times.