Both my co-founder Zoheb ("Z") and myself have spent about 10 years working with future founders and running communities in the tech entrepreneurship ecosystem and this is why we are really excited to introduce Katalist to the World. Katalist is a new community-powered entrepreneurial development platform aimed at accelerating future founders journeys to become founders of high impact and high growth startups. Our ambition is to leverage technology to remove the barriers to entry to entrepreneurship and increase the chances of success for a new wave of diverse tech founders by building a full ecosystem of support (like-minded peers, mentors, investors, resources, partner tools, etc) in service of future founders. Now let's dive deeper into why we started Katalist.
Entrepreneurship and Technology could be much greater catalysts for positive social impact and economic change than they are today. Indeed, if we look at the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals, it's hard to argue that each of them are tackled by one of today's top high growth tech startups.
In order to change that, the world needs more founders who try and succeed in solving the world's biggest problems. Given the current status quo in the tech entrepreneurship world (ie. lack of access and diversity, legacy acceptance than only 1 in 10 startup will succeed, etc), this changes are extremely hard to make at the "founder level" this is why we we need to go one level down.
We find ourselves in a talent pipeline issue situation where the talent is being underserved.
Indeed the future founders (we'll dedicate our next 3 articles going deeper on understanding who future founders are) are really hard to identify. And this is why even a lot of actors of the tech entrepreneurship world don't even know that there is a distinction between "future founders" and "early stage founders".
As the number of future founders increases, we will start to see more of a definition of what being a future founder means. This will in return increase the development of more resources for them. More resources for future founders means people who are better prepared when they become founders which will hopefully increase the success rates of startups.
By addressing the talent pipeline issue, we also put ourselves in a unique position to:
This is a unique opportunity to shape a new generation of diverse founders who will solve today's biggest problems. The more future founders there are, the more we will be able to do it.
Both Z and myself have run large communities in the tech ecosystem all around the world in the last 10 years. We've relied a lot on physical events, one-on-one interactions and manual introductions to provide value to our end users and realised the limits of it.
We now want to use technology to scale and automate a lot of the support and services we've already provided to future founders and that we know bring them value. Our aim is to reach millions of aspiring founders instead of thousands.
For instance, throughout our careers we realised that it requires heavy data collection and a lot of time spent analysing those data to make the appropriate connections or recommendations to just a few hundreds of people if you do that manually. Data science can dramatically accelerate that process. This will enable us to massively scale the value provided to the future founders while not only keeping the same quality but improving it thanks to the increased speed and accuracy of the feedback loops we will create.
We also want to facilitate access to guidance and resources. We will do that by automatically giving people the right resources at the right time and we will scale mentorship by bringing the collective knowledge of the tech ecosystem into one platform.
The pandemic has accelerated the maturity of online communities as people behaviours were forced to change and dedicated technologies (like zoom, hopin, circle to name just a few) saw massive adoption and dramatically improved.
The return to real life events is still not happening in every location at the same pace. This is a tremendous opportunity to create smart hybrid experiences mixing the human touch of physical events that many people love and miss and the scale of online events technologies to bring value to more people.
Last but not least, an ecosystem of really mature companies is emerging in the spaces of "services to future founders", "cohort-based learning" & "online communities". Companies like On Deck, Reforge, Maven, LeWagon and Makerpad which raised dozens of millions dollar rounds, have been acquired and/or transformed the lives of dozens of thousands of individuals in the past 24 months are cases in point. We believe this to be only the tip of the Iceberg for what's to come and we can't be more excited about it.
I want to conclude this article by providing some context about our brand name Katalist. Indeed, Katalist is 3 words (Catalyst, Kata and List) wrapped into one which perfectly articulates our vision in a compelling way and sums up some of the points mentioned above.
Indeed, as an entrepreneurial development platform which accelerate (catalyst) the entrepreneurial journey of future founders, we are building our foundation around the three key pillars of conscious learning (kata), support network (list) and simplicity (list).
Catalyst [kæt.əl.ɪst] can be defined as 1) "a person or thing that precipitates an event or change" or 2) an agent that provokes or speeds significant change or action
We want to speed:
We want future founders we serve in our community to be themselves catalysts and provoke significant positive change in the world.
"Kata originally were teaching and training methods by which successful combat techniques were preserved and passed on. Practising kata allowed a company of persons to engage in a struggle using a systematic approaches, rather by practising in a repetitive manner the learner develops the ability to execute those techniques and movements in a natural, reflex-like manner. Systematic practice does not mean permanently rigid. The goal is to internalize the movements and techniques of a kata so they can be executed and adapted under different circumstances, without thought or hesitation." - Michael Rosenbaum - Kata and the Transmission of Knowledge in Traditional Martial Arts.
We will boil down the entrepreneurial journey of future founders into a set of different teaching and training methods so that entrepreneurship is a less daunting world to enter.
We will provide future founders with the right tools at the right time. This way, when the time comes, they will be able to run a tech startup as well as execute and adapt under different circumstances, without thought or hesitation which will increase their chances of success.
We will develop a systematic approach which does not mean permanently rigid. We are ourselves a learning organism and we will strive to continuously improve our approach as we get feedback.
We will make the process of building a network easy by constantly suggesting bespoke selections of like-minded peers, relevant mentors and investors which are based on each individuals needs.
We will place future founders in specified categories in order for them to understand where they stand on their entrepreneurial journey, progress faster and better identify their tribes.
We will provide future founders with simple series of resources which are easy to access when needed.
If you are a future founders, mentor or investor and want to join us in our journey to provoke significant change, you can join our free beta here (using invitation code kblog11121) and/or send this article to someone you think can benefit.