It’s hard to imagine today, but back in 2006 we started FoundersTable, Pitchlab, The Mixers and the 150+ Startup holiday events, plugging-in to Silicon Valley as a new entrepreneur was a challenge. We originally started to give founding teams a place to connect, find peers and mentors, get great advise, and offer a free alternative to high-priced demo/launch conferences. The response was overwhelming, took us by surprise, and we thank you.
Though we’ve decided to take a break, our advise back then is the same today:
- Never pay to pitch or pay a middleman to raise money
- Only work with investors you like and who understand your market
- Focus on real customer pain – avoid chasing trends
- Enterprise is never a dirty word
- When raising: ask for advise and give your potential investors part of the business challenge to work through. Don’t ask for money up front.
- Pick up the phone and sell
- Don’t get distracted by the tech blogs/tech press. Focus on acquisition channels where your customers are
- Avoid ego press that focuses on you instead of your company
- Avoid building a meta startup (a startup focused on other startups as customers). If your product happens to serve startups, that is a bonus. Meta startups are the first to collapse in a down economy.
- VCs have to balance the near-term perception of their partners and peers, and the longer-term results to their LPs as each fund matures. It’s a delicate balancing act and sometimes leads to irrational behavior from otherwise good people. Caveat Emptor.
- Play it forward by lending the next generation a hand
It has been great working with all of you and look forward to crossing paths in the valley and new startup ecosystems around the world. Please feel free to reach out if you have any startup, event, or community building questions. And we’ll be back in new ways, so keep an eye out for us in the future.
Steady as she goes,
–San, Dan, and Sean