Sean Seton-Rogers, PROfounders Capital
"I learned a new term called a 'minimum viable business,' which is what you can do to reduce your expenditure, your cost, everything down as much as possible to create as much time for the world to return to some sort of normalcy."
Quote from Sean Seton-Rogers, general partner at PROfounders Capital, during a session titled Executive Roundtable: The Investor View at Phocuswright Europe this week.
Each Friday, PhocusWire dissects and debates an industry trend or new development covered by PhocusWire that week.
Startups are lean by nature, with small teams giving them the agility they often boast about (especially in comparison to their larger counterparts in the established business realm).
At the beginning of the current crisis, there were many stories of travel newbies cutting fast and cutting deep.
They put staff on furlough, even senior employees, they renegotiated or let go of office leases and management teams gave up their pay.
No more nice-to-have perks, such as newspaper, magazine and online subscriptions or Friday afternoon beers in their brightly colored offices.
Many, of course, also went into hibernation.
The crucial point in all of those tactics is that they reduced themselves down to the idea of a "Minimum Viable Business," as referenced by Sean Seton-Rogers, general partner at PROfounders Capital.
Joining an Investors View panel during this week’s Phocuswright Europe event, Seton-Rogers says this has been about buying themselves as much time as possible to ride out the pandemic.
It has been a repeated theme from startups and investors in the past six months of the pandemic, with phrases such as “cash conservation” and “extending the runway” now part of the vernacular.
But it has not only been about buying time - other investors have pointed to the likelihood of creating better processes and structures as a result of having to cut back.
In short, all of this will put them in a better, and stronger, position going forward.
The pressure of re-examining business models and running skeleton organizations with near-zero transactions - alongside expectations of ongoing innovation - has made startups grow up faster than they ever could have anticipated when they began 2020.
Those that emerge will be worthy of their place in whatever shape the new travel ecosystem becomes.
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