To what extent can startups influence the culture of the corporations they work with? How much can a corporation benefit from the entrepreneurial and startup culture? And vice-versa, what can a startup learn from a corporate culture?
To find out we sat with Teodor Ceausu, one of the early Romanian tech entrepreneurs who started his company, G3 Nova, in the early ‘90, acquired by IXIA in 2004. He stayed on within the company and became the local branch’s General Manager in May 2012.
How to Web: What are the key lessons that you have learnt from interacting with startups at IXIA?
It is always a great experience to see the energy and passion behind each idea. Seeing these we were inspired to encourage the teams within the company to focus on innovation and not be afraid of making mistakes.
How can startup founders get their teams to understand what is important for the company’s growth?
They may want to make sure there is a common goal for their teams. This goal should be explained as many times this is necessary so that everyone is connected to it. Everyone should understand what their role is and what’s the key contribution of their role.
How can a startup make sure that they’re building the right thing? How did you manage to do this as an entrepreneur?
I would say they need to “proof of concept everything”. Also, a few beta customers can make a huge difference. Think always as a customer.
How can startups convince their prospective customers that what they’re doing is important?
They should position their product as one that will save the customer’s time. With our products we are all selling time, actually.
What are some tactics that you use at IXIA that startups could use as well to enhance their product management?
Put engineers in front of customers. Facilitate a direct communication between engineering and customers, and that will help engineers understand the problem and see everything through customer’s eyes.
Most startup founders fear getting into or doing sales. What would you advise founders on this matter?
Why fear? They don’t know if they are good at it, unless they try.
How can founders find a support system that can help them get over the rough patches in the course of building a startup, which are not few?
They should learn from others’ experiences. They should ask for help. Build a network of professionals in different areas.
Where should startups look for help and who should they turn to for help?
Get to know as many investors and business angels as possible, become part of the entrepreneurial community.
What were you looking to find in the participants at this year’s Startup Spotlight competition and orientation program?
We are keen to see more products in the area IXIA is a player especially in the network virtualization area.
PS: You can find out more details about the Startup Spotlight competition finalists and winners in this article.