Erik Anderson is the CEO of SIQ Basketball and serial venture capitalist with a passion for startups. Erik started his career in venture capital with Vitosha Venture Partners where he was the U.S. access point for European accelerator programs and venture capital funds.
Following his work with European programs, Erik joined the Tera Ventures team to focus on Scandinavian investments, where he is credited with finding and then investing in SIQ. With a deep-rooted love for basketball and an avid recreational player today, Erik combined his pursuit for startups with his passion for basketball, joining the SIQ team first as a member of the board before stepping into the role of CEO in 2019.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Erik Anderson: I am the CEO of SIQ Basketball and a venture capitalist with a passion for startups. I started my career in venture capital with Vitosha Venture Partners where I was the U.S. access point for European accelerator programs and venture capital funds. Following my work with European programs, I joined the Tera Ventures team to focus on Scandinavian investments, where I found SIQ.
With my love for basketball and as an avid recreational player today, I decided to combine my pursuit for startups with my passion for basketball, joining the SIQ team first as a member of the board before stepping into the role of CEO in 2019.
SIQ Basketball is a smart basketball that tracks over 192 data points per shot and provides real time stats and expertise to players of all ages and levels. Incorporating seamless technology without sacrificing on shape, bounce or overall performance, the SIQ basketball brings advanced data and analytics to every player and court in the world.
By downloading the SIQ app via smartphone and purchasing a membership, players or coaches can activate the ball, connect via Bluetooth and track real time shooting data and analytics on their phones. SIQ’s data and analytics platform can track multiple player profiles per ball and data can be shared with other users in the platform or exported to coaches, parents or trainers, providing insights and metrics previously untraceable with standard stat tracking via pencil and paper.
The SIQ Basketball is FIBA-approved for use in games and available in men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor balls.
2020 and 2021 threw a lot of curve balls into business on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past couple years, how can businesses thrive in 2022? What lessons have you learned?
Erik Anderson: Be Proactive – Look for potential bottlenecks and solve any urgent problems the company could have in the future. For example, we recognized that our manufacturing and supply chain were two core areas that needed to be addressed.
Be Lean – This is easy for a small, almost entirely remote startup to say, but we don’t spend unnecessary money on dinners or entertainment.
Expect the worst and plan for the best. It’s important to be transparent about problems that might arise in the future; however, with the right planning and optimism almost anything can be overcome.
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy, what should businesses focus on in 2022? What advice would you share?
Erik Anderson: Hold your key partners close and plan ahead.
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
Erik Anderson: At many points over the last few years, every basketball gym in America was closed, and we were only selling the indoor version of the SIQ Basketball. Recognizing the need to quickly pivot, we shifted our focus to the following:
- We developed an outdoor ball so players and potential customers could still leverage our product and technology safely at outdoor courts.
- We developed a coaching app to monitor remote training, allowing coaches to keep track of player performance and improvements in real-time without having to meet in an indoor gym.
- As such an early-stage product, we focused on delivering value to our customers through every aspect of our brand. From high-quality packaging to app upgrades to ensure every touchpoint with our brand is valuable to our customer.
What advice do you wish you received when the pandemic started and what do you intend on improving in 2022?
Erik Anderson: The simulation is getting a little harder and volatility will increase. Every swing presents new opportunities, but they may only be temporary. Focus on your core business and don’t get lost in all the fear of missing out on something. Unfortunately, most companies are not doing as well as they want you to believe.
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?
Erik Anderson: We are seeing in real time more volatility and uncertainty in the economy.
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
Erik Anderson: Too many but much less than before. Our tech team is in Finland and our manufacturing is in Asia. Calls can begin at 5:00 am and end at 1:00 am.
To combat this, I try to find a 20-minute power nap/meditation every day, and I block out an hour in the afternoon for a workout.
The majority of executives use stories to persuade and communicate in the workplace. Can you share with our readers examples of how you implement that in your business to communicate effectively with your team?
Erik Anderson: As a first time CEO, I am always learning. My background is in Venture Capital, so I have many examples of good leadership in hard times. I like to relay anecdotes to the team but use data to back up ideas.
One thing I learned is that it’s important to clearly state when we are brainstorming versus making decisions. Having a space to creatively think is valuable across the organization, but ideas also must be executed.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
Erik Anderson: On a micro level, hardware is challenging. We are rapidly developing version 3 of the hardware which will let us scale faster and produce at higher volumes.
On a macro level, manufacturing and supply chains are facing unprecedented strains right now. As with many businesses, we need to consistently have products to meet demand.
In 2022, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
Erik Anderson: As we plan for the remainder of 2022 and then 2023, I’m most interested in learning about consumer behavior in a recession.
A record 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September in 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. 47% of people plan to leave their job during 2022. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. Do you think leaders see the data and think “that’s not me – I’m not that boss they don’t want to work for? What changes do you think need to happen?
Erik Anderson: The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the world we live in. I look forward to seeing more data on the four-day work week as well as the hybrid home/work productivity balance.
I think a lot of people have “given up” and companies should investigate what intrinsically motivates their employees.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Erik Anderson: Printing endless money would be the easy choice but that seems unfair.
I would like to never have to sleep but always be well rested. If that’s too greedy, I would always like to wake up fully refreshed. Time zones are tough, especially being based on the west coast. Jet lag is getting worse with age.
What does “success” in 2022 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Erik Anderson: As a business, we have a few value steps to complete before the end of our runway.
As a person, I think there’s a lot to accomplish. A lot of my time is going towards SIQ and that’s developing other aspects of my life positively.
For fun, I’d like to win the rec league (basketball) championship.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Erik Anderson for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Erik Anderson or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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