IT start-ups reveal why it's often 'survive, not thrive'

Clients; cash, co-builders, and contractors (or the likes of) are the biggest barriers -- ranked in order, to getting an IT start-up off the ground in 2018, a survey shows.

Commissioned by a digital consultancy, the findings are the result of more than 100 founders of London tech businesses sharing their pressures and obstacles they faced and overcame.

For most of them, the whole launch process was more arduous than they had pegged, with 52% admitting it took much longer to get their IT business live, found the consultancy Studio Graphene.

Expectations were further confounded by reality for the 15% who said it was more expensive than calculated; and the 22% who found it more “emotionally draining” than expected.

Once their tech product or service was eventually up and running, acquiring customers was the biggest obstacle, according to 33% of the founders – the largest chunk in the category.

A fifth said a bigger problem hit them even earlier on – obtaining enough funds to develop an initial proof of concept. And assuming cash came, access to talent is the next biggest barrier.

But it is split into two. Almost a fifth said they struggled to find the support to “build the technology”, further to the more than one in 10 who failed to get the required skills or expertise.

“The research shows just how difficult it is to convert an idea into a successful business,” said Studio Graphene founder Ritam Gandhi.

“From our experience, it’s vital tech start-ups remain focused on their core proposition and ensure the product functions as well as possible.”

As well as this focus on User Experience and USP, the advice for nascent IT start-ups was to remember “the need to stand out,” especially in crowded markets like London.

Carried out in April and May 2018, the research coincides with figures showing 188,000 tech start-ups in the capital employ 1.9million people and have a combined turnover of £285billion.

But with 47% of start-ups failing within their first three years, Mr Gandhi said too little focus was still being placed on the “challenges and pains” of the entrepreneurs behind early-stage companies.

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