The most important thing you can do as a founder of an early-stage startup

I had the pleasure to attend a great panel discussion put on by Strawberry Creek Ventures and Castor Ventures, firms that invest in Berkeley and MIT alumni respectively. The two panelists were both fantastic entrepreneurs working on genuinely world-changing solutions, and over the course of the evening, they recounted their entrepreneurial journey. After the moderator finished asking her questions, the discussion was opened up to audience questions.

I asked the two entrepreneurs how they got their ideas off the ground at the earliest stages of their enterprise. This is a topic that I’m obsessed with given that it’s my job to help entrepreneurs launch and grow their startups. Both answers were great, but one truly resonated with me.

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Getting VC funding without a huge network or diploma from Stanford

The other day I met a very charismatic, intelligent, and driven young man at a venture capital summit in Silicon Valley. He had a compelling vision for an app that both solved a pressing social problem and had great commercial promise. He floated around the room striking up conversations with one person after another, and out of the hundreds of people that were there, he out-hustled all of them, by a long-shot. I had a chance to catch up with him briefly at the end of the summit asking him how meeting investors was going. He looked up at me, exhausted and simply replied, “It’s been better.”

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$20K to Accelerate Your Tech Startup this Summer

Beta Boom works with very early-stage tech and life sciences enterprises to develop their solution, get traction, and solidify their business in order to win significant follow-on funding. Program highlights include: Intensive 10-week program (June 11 through August 18) near beautiful Salt Lake City in Utah $20K in funding Personalized program to fit your specific … more

Should you look for a co-founder or raise capital?

I recently read a question on Reddit by an individual who was having difficulty finding a co-founder and asked whether she should first try to get funding, which would allow her to hire the team member that she needs. If you’re in a similar situation, my answer might offer a helpful perspective:

Investors look for the four ‘Ts’: total addressable market, tech, timing, and team. (I’d add a fourth T, which is traction.) Of those factors, my experience is that investors pay the closest attention to the team. Not having a single co-founder would put you at a tremendous disadvantage in that category.

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