September 28, 2016
PUBLISHED BY Wildcat Venture Partners
Wildcat Venture Partners Hosts Traction Gap Event with Key Technology Executives
Announces the Traction Gap Institute to Enable Entrepreneurs to Traverse the Traction Gap
SAN MATEO, CA – September 28, 2016 – Wildcat Venture Partners, a venture capital firm committed to enabling early-stage startups to build high-growth businesses, hosted the first in a series of Traction Gap events last night.
Wildcat introduced the Traction Gap at the firm’s inaugural launch event earlier this year. The Traction Gap is the time between a startup’s Initial Product Release (IPR) and when the product acquires Minimum Viable Traction (MVT). MVT can be a level of revenue growth, user engagement, number of downloads, usage or other variables that show the market considers the product viable and that signal a positive growth trajectory.
According to industry statistics, more than 75 percent of startups fail to return capital. In stark contrast, Wildcat’s team has more than a 70 percent success rate with its early-stage portfolio companies.
Wildcat uses the Traction Gap framework to work with entrepreneurs and help them manage the challenges of scaling.
Last night’s event drew a packed audience to Wildcat Venture Partners’ new San Mateo headquarters, and featured a panel of notable execs – Aaron Levie, CEO and co-founder of Box; Kathryn Petralia, COO and co-founder of Kabbage; and Jon Miller, CEO and co-founder of Engagio. Each CEO discussed what it took for them and their companies to successfully avoid the perils of the Traction Gap.
Steve Blank, author of The Startup Owner’s Manual noted, “The Lean Launchpad class was developed to help entrepreneurs go from an idea to a product that customers want. The Traction Gap is a much needed framework for the next step in that progression, taking a minimally viable product and growing it to sales repeatability and traction.”
The Traction Gap Institute
During the evening, Wildcat announced the formation of the Traction Gap Institute, which is located in San Mateo, Calif. The charter of the Traction Gap Institute (TGI) is to capture and publish the metrics and tactics startups need to successfully traverse the Traction Gap.
The TGI will host conferences, workshops and other events that enable entrepreneurs, limited partners and venture capital firms to share the best Traction Gap practices.
“When we announced the Traction Gap framework this June, we were overwhelmed with the positive response from the investor and entrepreneurial community,” said Bruce Cleveland, founding partner of Wildcat Venture Partners and executive director of the Traction Gap Institute. “We elected to form and sponsor the Traction Gap Institute to ensure this initiative would have the resources it needs to be widely adopted and make a significant impact upon the startup industry.”
Announcing Strategic Partnership Between the Traction Gap Institute and Velocity
Finally, Wildcat announced a strategic partnership between the Traction Gap Institute and Velocity, a top-tier executive coaching firm led by John Baird and Ben Tauber.
Baird is one of the premier executive coaches in Silicon Valley and specializes working with startup CEOs in the early stages of their funding cycles. He has worked with range of top executives, from major brands such as Apple, Nike and Twitter, as well as new venture founders at companies like Zesty, BloomThat and Townsquared. Baird’s early study of startup CEOs, “Survival in the Fast Lane,” provides a research-backed conceptual and practical framework for coaching startup CEOs around critical leadership issues at various stages of the company and product development cycle.
Tauber is focused on working with founders to help them eliminate their limitation beliefs and unlock their full potential. Tauber’s approach covers the full spectrum of performance development. He brings more than a decade of tech industry experience, where he co-founded and served as CEO of Scoopler (acquired by Google) and subsequently worked in product management for Google Chat and Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro.
Velocity will conduct primary research to validate key Traction Gap tactics and value inflection points that are critical to scaling a company. The Traction Gap Institute will use this research to develop a series of panels, blogs and workshops to provide entrepreneurs with the tools and playbooks they need to successfully traverse the Traction Gap.
“Financing rounds are a poor proxy for an early-stage company’s maturity status,” Baird noted. “The value inflection points defined in the Traction Gap framework are a far better measure of a company’s progress. We are excited to partner with Wildcat Venture Partners and the Traction Gap Institute, where we can develop far more accurate metrics of business and product success and change the way all investors and entrepreneurs evaluate and manage early-stage companies.”
Velocity brings top-tier executive coaching to early-stage founders. Velocity’s goal is to help founders navigate the transition from building a product to building a company. With Velocity, CEOs and founders tackle issues ranging from building/sustaining high performance teams, effective hiring, founder chemistry/communication, leadership style and creating a culture that delivers results. Velocity utilizes the latest research and a data-driven approach to give founders and teams practical strategies for scaling their organizations. Additionally, by using a flexible cash + equity model, we’re able start early without cash flow being a concern. For more information, visit http://gainvelocity.co/.
About Wildcat Venture Partners
Wildcat Venture Partners is a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm that invests in early-stage startups leveraging technologies such as: artificial intelligence, machine learning, the Internet of Things and robotics to address the following markets – consumer, digital health, EdTech, enterprise infrastructure/applications FinTech, marketplaces, and workforce and retail innovation. The Wildcat team brings decades of entrepreneurial and venture experience, combined with deep domain expertise to help companies traverse the Traction Gap. For more information, visit wildcat.vc.