Things founders say to investors that are complete BS

I’m not an investor. I’ve never invested as much as a penny in any company other than my own. I have raised money from investors though, which I’ve spoken about in “What I’d Really Like to Say to Investors.” It only seemed fair that I balance out the negativity by sharing my thoughts on the stupid…

April 23, 2014

1 Comment

How do you figure out what truly drives you as an entrepreneur?

I've really been trying hard to figure out what it is that drives me, but I don't think I've arrived at the right answer yet. I don't think it's money, because when I think about the future, money isn't the first thing that comes to mind. The only thing I've been able to arrive at…

April 22, 2014

4 Answers

How important is a board after you raise your seed round?

We're are about to wrap up our first round of funding and I've been trying to figure out how critical formal board meetings are at this stage? There will only be a few investors involved and only one has offered to be a part of the board.  If this is something that isn't critical during…

April 22, 2014

3 Answers

What is the true impact of being covered by Techcrunch?

For the last month, I’ve been attempting to get someone to cover us from Techcrunch. We’re a new product that just recently launched in beta and I’m hoping the coverage will drive new users. I’ve heard mixed reactions on what it’s done for for traffic/sign-ups. If you’ve been covered by Techcrunch in the past, what…

April 21, 2014

7 Answers

How to deal with feeling like a fake while pitching an idea?

I’ve worked at many failed startups as a contract coder. They blow through millions of dollars and then fold. Now I’m pitching my idea that will be ‘the next big thing’ and I wonder if I’m just the next thief to steal investor money. I’ve seen so many others fail that I wonder if I’m…

April 20, 2014

7 Answers

Startup … I think we need to talk

It’s time to speak some truth … I’m in a committed relationship, but my heart is somewhere else. The problem is, the relationship I’m in is totally supportive and if I just gave it everything I have to offer, it would flourish. I give that relationship, the one that provides me with all that I…

April 18, 2014

3 Comments

Calculating basic startup finances – best resources?

I’m not a finance guy, I’m not good with numbers and have basic MS Excel knowledge. We’re looking to raise a seed round and I need to get the numbers together: sales, forecasts, balance sheet, etc.? Who has some great example sites that take you through this process? I’m literally referring to being guided through…

April 18, 2014

4 Answers

Advisor for hire. What’s your reaction?

An advisor reached out to me about helping me with my company for a rate (I see no issue here). In speaking to this Advisor I found out that they’re advising a lot of companies – to the point that it seemed like way too much (i.e 20). Is this standard? Additionally, I’ve spoken to…

April 18, 2014

7 Answers

We received a term sheet from an angel investor. Now what?

The two original founders own 20% each while two current investors own 60%. The two investors are interested in being bought out and moving on. The two founders want to stay with the business and grow it with the new investor. What kind of deal would allow us (founders) to RETAIN our equity or even…

April 18, 2014

7 Answers

Split Rock Ventures only VC that can not find deals to invest in?

http://finance.fortune.cnn.com/2014/04/08/vc-firm-split-rock-moves-away-from-healthcare-deals/ Note: this article must be edited as they have taken out a key piece of information, this is a 2009 fund. I’m quoting the Term Sheet email dated 4/8/2014, I’ve bolded the text. “Split Rock has always been a generalist shop, with its healthcare practice focusing more on medical devices than on pharma or…

April 17, 2014

6 Answers

Failing in Risk-Averse Europe.

The story was chosen to be cross-promoted as part of our weekly series with PandoDaily. We’ll be choosing one story from the submissions we receive each week.  My most expensive lesson ever was to start a startup in risk averse Europe. While I don’t like to name the country (the county has a rich history and…

April 16, 2014

9 Comments

Closing Shop – How to Do It?

I have a handful of clients here in MN and one out of state.  I’ve made the switch to the corporate world and I have to say it’s a lot less stressful than when I was trying to start my own biz.  I owned my web dev shop for around 8 years but over the…

April 15, 2014

6 Answers

Why are you full of it?

I don’t understand. No one is forcing these people to come out and say “hey I’m here for you. If you need anything just let me know. I read and respond to every email / tweet / etc.” If you’re not going to do it, then just keep your mouth shut. You’d look better sitting…

April 13, 2014

14 Answers

Suggestions On Getting Your Mojo Back?

Over the last few years I had my share of failures and personal family loss. I have always been someone that had goals and worked hard and most importantly been passionate about what I do. At the moment I feel a bit out in the wilderness as I am not sure what I want to…

April 13, 2014

3 Answers

What are your thoughts on the tech protesters in San Francisco?

Many service workers are outraged by the increase in the cost of living in San Francisco – which the tech industry is partly responsible for. It even went as far as people targeting notable tech entrepreneurs like Kevin Rose in this article. Personally I feel that everyone has the opportunity to be successful if you…

April 11, 2014

14 Answers

How do you create something when nearly everything is patented?

It seems like nearly every permutation of a technology idea or process is patented. How do you create anything these days without risking patent infringement? Do you assess the risk and just go for it anyway? Avoid infringing on claims? License the IP? Get a job and avoid creating anything?

April 10, 2014

9 Answers

What happened to Colingo?

It announced it had raised $2.4M in seed funding in Novemeber 2013. In January, it seems to be shut down but there are no official farewell message. It looks like the founders abandonned the boat.  

April 10, 2014

4 Answers

Has this happened to you or another founder? Someone invests in your company to gather information which they use to help a competitor launch a competing product?

I just read this excellent article on Pando.  The CEO of Postmates, a courier service, allowed one of the investors of Uber to invest in his company.  The CEO of Uber gave that investor the okay, and now Uber has launched a competing courier service. I think it’s obvious that the investor in question likely…

April 10, 2014

13 Answers

When do you approach VCs?

With plenty of VC holding office hours or welcoming  cold contact, at what stage do you get in touch? Traction only? Early stage concept? After seed round?

April 9, 2014

2 Answers

What is it like working with Yang Ventures as a founder?

Their site talks a good game (I know, don’t they all?), with mentions of seed stage focus, mentoring (including list of mentees and how they met), and says they are “Quick, concise, pragmatic. No B.S.” Wondering how much of the hype is real.  

April 8, 2014

1 Answer

7 ways I’ve almost killed FreshBooks

This story was submitted by Mike McDerment, cofounder/CEO of FreshBooks, and sponsor of StartupsAnonymous.com. From now until the end of April, you can ask Mike or FreshBooks anything.  I’ve often said, “were it not for my cofounders Joe and Levi, I would have run this company into the ground long ago”. The fact is, truer…

April 7, 2014

8 Comments

How do you find profitable problems to solve for businesses?

It seems kind of odd to ask as a question, but I’m tired of working on apps that don’t have a concrete audience, I want to make money solving real problems that real people immediately have. I’m thinking about going as far as emailing business owners in the area and asking about the toughest challenges…

April 6, 2014

16 Comments

WTF is really going on at Clinkle?

It keeps bleeding staff, most recently CSO (who was just hired in Dec), COO (joined Oct and left Mar), VP of design left (Mar) after just DAYS on the job, etc.  So mistakes were made earlier and the CEO is apparently an immature douche (according to his friends), but I thought that was all staightened…

April 5, 2014

7 Answers

What do you want to know about going through an accelerator?

I recently went through a very well-known accelerator (one of the top three) and frequently get asked questions about the experience, requirements, result, etc. Mostly, I provide watered-down answers. I’ve been inspired to change my ways and be more candid. Aside from naming names or throwing anyone under the bus, I’m willing to provide unfiltered answers…

April 4, 2014

15 Answers

Should I sell my business idea?

Until a couple of months back, I, along with two others, had a startup which was doing pretty good. But due to a pretty bad fall out between the founders, we split. I was literally ousted from the Company, forcibly. But they were unable to continue without me. So the Company was shut down. We…

April 4, 2014

3 Answers

Launching website while in H1B visa

I have been moonlighting on a web-based idea for the last several months and now in a stage to launch public beta. I am in H1B visa and my green card is at least 3 years away. My plan is to launch the site in stealth mode and once it generates substantial interest, raise capital…

April 3, 2014

5 Answers

Would you partner with a competitor?

So we are getting ready to launch our product and I have this crazy idea. I want to partner with a company that I’m trying to put out of business Assuming they agree, is that a good idea? To put it a bit more in perspective: It would be like if Henry Ford said, try…

April 2, 2014

7 Answers

The time has come – new app from Startups Anonymous

We’re sick and tired of getting overlooked, while those “other” anonymous apps steal all of the attention. We decided it was time to do something about it. Boys and girls, we’re excited to introduce you to our new app, Secretion — an app for anonymously sharing everything that your body secretes. Call it a companion…

April 1, 2014

5 Comments

Trying to get this product off the ground, should I call it quits?

My product is a plugin for blogs/online newspapers that helps engage readers better. My target audience is local newspapers, and company blogs running wordpress/Drupal. However, I’m having trouble getting those first few beta partners on board. I wanted to develop the product with feedback from a select few than look into selling it as a…

April 1, 2014

5 Answers

When is it safe to share your idea?

I once heard “ideas are cheap – execution is the differentiator”.  That said, it’s a little scary going out there and sharing your startup idea with a friend of a friend.  When is it safe to do so?  Can you really keep an idea locked up until you get a patent?  That doesn’t seem realistic…

April 1, 2014

12 Answers

Want To Leave But Guilt Is Keeping Me Here

I’m employed at a B2B web startup in London for the past 7 months. Recently, we were told that the company was running out of money and costs had to be cut in order to give the company a few more months to live, so a few of the staff were let go. While this…

March 31, 2014

5 Comments

Borrowing another sites TOS & Privacy Policy – is it illegal?

We’re tight on money & I’d like to use the TOS & Privacy Policy from another similar type of site for our needs to keep costs down. Is this illegal? There are elements that we’d need to revise for our needs but it’s a perfect base to get started with. I’m aware that we’re subjecting…

March 31, 2014

6 Answers

What I’d Really Like to Say to Investors

I tend to find the whole fundraising process to be quite annoying. If I never had to raise money again, I’d be one happy entrepreneur. From start to finish, it seems to be a game of who can bullshit who better. If I were playing the game straight-up, this is what I’d really like to…

March 28, 2014

24 Comments

Tell me about your first profitable startup

How did you find your initial customers and get them to convert?  What was it like beta testing?  How did you get them to pay? How many customers did you eventually acquire and roughly, how much were you making doing it?  What did the startup do?  What was it like?  Any tips on becoming profitable?

March 28, 2014

4 Answers

Ever have unrealistic standards?

My startup is doing great. We just launched and it’s running fabulously and were about to make some real money… But I’m already 22 years old and I’m about to graduate and start a full time job. I keep comparing myself to the successes of the greats like Vanderbilt and Carnegie. It makes me sad…

March 28, 2014

9 Answers

Are we tired of the VC blogspam yet?

Every half baked angel/VC is now blogging and newlettering, which is leading to an overload in my newsfeed!  Even without subscribing to an individual site, you still get bombarded because you subscribe to news aggregators that are now also picking up those sites.  They’ve suddenly realized they have competition and founders have more choice.  So…

March 27, 2014

6 Answers

How do you feel about the “Ask an Expert” series on SA?

We've received feedback that posting all the expert Q&A's in the main feed felt spammy, so we restricted them to a separate feed. But, this is still a work in progress. Our #1 goal is to bring you more value, to give you access to people you may otherwise not have access to. More importantly,…

March 27, 2014

9 Answers

How do you afford tools for your startup?

I’m at school right now and really want to use tools like Hubspot, Salesforce and Hootsuite, but can’t afford it. I want to grab a one month trial but don’t know if my startup will be profitable by then. What do I do? It’s so difficult to bootstrap when the tech tools themselves can be…

March 27, 2014

10 Answers

For every founder that feels ignored…

My name is Dana Severson, cofounder of Startups Anonymous, and I have a bone to pick. For an anonymous site owner, posting on an anonymous series, you may wonder why I’m starting off by identifying myself. This simple answer is, anonymity is just a tool for speaking honestly. In this particular instance, I don’t need…

March 26, 2014

21 Comments

Anyone worked with Wasabi Ventures Academy?

Seems weirdly structured – as an incubator/accelerator and also a VC firm?  What are the partners like?  Does their staff actually do operational work with your startup to implement goals as their site says?  Curious to know if founders got tangible benefit/value add.  Seems odd that for an organization with 3-4 offices, I don’t hear…

March 25, 2014

2 Answers

Anyone been founded by Kima15?

Wondering how their (kima15.com) whole premise of funding selected startups $150k for 15% equity in 15 days has worked out for founders.  2 weeks turnaround time is nice but taking 15% seems a ripoff.  Plus, no word on any value add – would like to know if/how the partners have helped new portfolio companies in…

March 25, 2014

8 Answers

Prelaunch and already panicked

I didn’t know where else to put this brain dump, so I figured SA was a good place to start getting it all out. I had an idea for a startup almost a year ago, and spoke to a co-founder about it who was really enthusiastic. We are both non-technical (mistake #1), so we were…

March 24, 2014

15 Comments

What are the pitfalls to paying in equity early on?

Because we’re cash starved, but well-connected, we’re paying some early developers in equity, without vesting. We prorated a standard equity allocation for time served. We are only doing this with 3 people that we see as future employees and leaders of the company vs. contract work.  Most folks can’t afford to go full-time so this…

March 24, 2014

5 Answers

Do We Take Investment from Outside the US?

This is our third year in business. We were small but profitable in Year 2, and now that we’ve figured out how to make money, we are ready to accelerate and grow.  I have been told directly and indirectly that our business, despite its recurring revenue stream and customer growth, lacks the sex appeal to interest VCs. We…

March 24, 2014

3 Answers

What is the equivalent of HackerNews for marketers?

HackerNews is a mixed audience (aspiring and current startup people, corporate workers, angels/vcs, etc) with an entrepreneurial hacker slant.  I’ve been wondering if there is an equivalent site/forum with a marketing/branding/operations slant.

March 24, 2014

3 Answers

Is hiring remote interns a good idea?

What about security around access to the company site, work given, etc. Although it seems the same issues prevail even with interns in your office, especially if they use their own laptops anyway. Is it a good idea? If it is, how should one approach it?

March 24, 2014

2 Answers

Scared Sh**less. How do you deal?

This is my second startup, the first made a little bit of profit but my co-founder and I are going after something much bigger and I am honestly scared shitless of failing. How do you guys deal with this kind of feeling while bootstrapping a startup?

March 23, 2014

7 Answers

I’m leaving my Startup, should I take some money?

I’ve been working on a Startup for a few years with 2 co-founders. We did somewhat well, and by paying ourselves extremely low salaries, we have amassed some savings (for the company) of about $100,000. I have decided I want out. I don’t feel we are on the right track, and quite honestly I think…

March 23, 2014

8 Answers

How do we nurture a new contact?

We reached out to a potential advisor, after a productive Skype chat it was clear he understood the product, the team and how he could help us. He suggested two connections that he would make for us that would be very useful. The following week he announced a new consultancy role on LinkedIn, asked us…

March 22, 2014

1 Answer

Which VC’s would care?

Have profitable business, my second time around. Millennial market, scalable, long experience in business, developed and sold similar business 2000-2007, space blew up to billions right after sale. Have another slam dunk plan in business where a billion dollar biz JUST went out, spent years there w/ contacts to reproduce. Which VC’s would care? any…

March 22, 2014

6 Answers

Why does YC practice age discrimination via its application form?

It is an accepted norm in professional life not to ask people their age, especially during times like interview process. Govt EEOC also states that age discrimination is illegal. Yet YC asks for your age on its application form? Heard of it from some people who said they viewed that question like oh, ‘is this…

March 22, 2014

10 Answers

I’m scared of taking money…

I have a team, we build stuff people pay us for, there are more people to pay us if we call/meet more of them. I need capital to stop calling these people and start focusing on a product that can significantly change peoples lives while meeting payroll, but I am SCARED TO NO END of…

March 20, 2014

11 Comments

It’s Lonely Out There

Growing up I always admired the polished corporate executive and set my dreams to climb up the corporate ladder.  It wan’t until I got my MBA did I finally wake up to the miserable nightmare I was in as part of corporate America. Life was ok, pay was excellent and I had started to become…

March 20, 2014

11 Comments

Drop deadweight founder and start again on our own?

Other technical cofounder and I feel that third guy, non-technical, is not pulling his weight at all, doing bare minimum, not expanding his limited domain knowledge or current skill sets, etc. He’s just coasting on the fact that he spent last two years building a social media based “brand” (account) related to our project. We’ve…

March 20, 2014

8 Answers

The startup life of an OG

The story was chosen to be cross-promoted as part of our weekly series with PandoDaily. We’ll be choosing one story from the submissions we receive each week.  Lately I’ve been struggling with my age. I’m 37, soon to be 38. I expected to be much further along professionally at this point in my life. Looking back, I…

March 20, 2014

12 Comments

Startup Initial Equity Split Agreement

So I have been looking for a sample startup equity split agreement and I can’t find one. I know that the best way would be to have one drafted by an attorney but at this stage of the game the money is best spent elsewhere. There are all sorts of sample legal documents available online…

March 19, 2014

6 Answers

Tell the story of my startup failures, or just keep going?

Im thinking about opening up and discussing my failures as a nonprofit/social business startup founder. Ive been in Asia for about 10 years, and hammering away on my social biz stuff for about 6 years. I have tons of time, sweat equity and real money invested in the whole thing. I tend to get really wound…

March 19, 2014

6 Answers

What is a good equity split for the initial startup team?

I came up with the idea and validated it. Now I am building the inital team to develop and launch. It includes: 1) Me (non-technical founder – business development, marketing & finance) 2) Developer (technical co-founder – app development) 3) Designer (website, UI & marketing materials) 4) Product manager (testing, launching & QA) 5) Advisor…

March 18, 2014

11 Answers

Stuck on my MVP

I’m working on my first startup solo. I’m building something in the travel industry (I know it’s bloated but I’m passionate about traveling and I don’t feel any website does what I want it to when I’m thinking of going on a trip). I’m working on my MVP and it’s fucking horrible. It doesn’t do…

March 18, 2014

10 Answers

Is it possible to start a company alone?

I’ve been working on startups for a few years, and have co-founded one of my own about two years ago with two guys I really respect. However, over the past couple of months, our different visions on a few topics started drifting us apart, and I think its time for me to leave. I have…

March 17, 2014

18 Answers

Which startup service providers should we avoid?

We’re at the beginning stages of setting up professional services for our company – payroll, accounting, PR, crm, project tracking, etc. I’ve received a lot of recommendations from others about who we should use, but I’m more interested to hear who we should avoid. I find that there tends to be bias in recommendations, so…

March 16, 2014

6 Answers

Would firing a CTO in the middle of fundraising be disastrous?

Before I start, I know I should have done this earlier… (Mark Suster’s “hire fast fire fast” is ringing in my ears – trust me!) but my CTO needs to go. He’s incapable of leading, coaching, innovating and staying on top of all of the issues and features we need to fix and ship. He’s…

March 16, 2014

8 Answers

Any tips for reducing my risk from an equity cliff when joining a startup?

I’m considering becoming the first technical hire at a funded startup. The offer includes significant equity, but it comes with a typical one year cliff. While this cliff may make sense from the founder/investor point of view, I’ve actually been burned once now at another startup because of it. In that situation, I also joined…

March 15, 2014

7 Answers

Non-tech cofounder transitioning to tech

What’s the easiest /most retainable resource to build your own MVP from scratch? I’m contemplating using Django or Ruby and was wondering which would be more suitable for someone who has sharp analytical skills but barely any coding programming skills? I’m looking to learn and would appreciate any help.

March 15, 2014

10 Answers

Farewell to my Friend in Tech

My friend, I know that you’ll read this somehow and you’ll know who it’s from. Don’t worry though, I don’t expect a response. I just heard the news today and I am devastated. I’m crushed really and I just need to say some things.  We just saw each other a few weeks ago and you…

March 14, 2014

2 Comments

My cofounder is starting a business on the side

My cofounder and I have been working together for about 2 months. She is a close friend and prior to me bringing her on as a partner, she never expressed interest in starting a business but I think seeing me make progress woke up her entrepreneurial spirit. So we’ve been working together but I found…

March 14, 2014

8 Answers

Cofounder can’t pull their own weight.

We have our roles clearly defined for the development of our startup. We just launched our pilot but my partner’s products are not working. Mine is flawless. He is being defensive. We don’t have a contract in place yet. We should have them signed this week or next. He is being defensive about his work…

March 13, 2014

4 Answers

Startup chicken & egg #843 – the Partner/Investor one.

We raised a seed round last year and built out the product, got early b2c revenues but with slower than expected consumer growth. We have a LOT of optimization to do to nail the b2c play and need a lot more funding and time to keep doing this. Would love to keep at this but…

March 12, 2014

6 Answers

Does remote work really work for a Startup?

We are 4 co-founders, a rather large team. We’ve known each other for a long time, and get along great. We created a good product, that is getting good traction, making some revenue and growing slow but steady. However, a couple of months ago, two in my team decided they wanted to leave the country…

March 12, 2014

9 Answers

How to get coders for non-technical founders?

We are two entrepreneurs developing a new web service. We are having trouble finding a techincal founder for equity to build out the service and manage our programming division in the future. How can we vet any possible candidates when it’s beyond our technical knowledge, and what’s the best way to go about finding reputable…

March 12, 2014

10 Answers

How can I get around the Jewish insider circles?

I am not a racist, but I noticed (and I think it would be hard for anyone not to) that the vast majority of SV players are Jewish AND prefer making most deals among themselves (and with a few willing Indian guys).  Zuckerberg, Moskovits, Horowitz, Kleiner, Meyer, Brin, etc etc.  They are also dominate the…

March 10, 2014

18 Answers

Should I get a technical or non-technical co-founder?

I’m about to get pulled into a startup by a non-technical co-founder who is young with very little experience in the field (how do I make a website kind of inexperience) but has managed to get an incubator position with just the idea. I’m a bit concerned about how much value a non-technical co-founder can…

March 10, 2014

13 Answers

Take a new, more visible role with a struggling concern?

I’m not sure I’m even asking the right question here, but… I’ve been working on a product as a senior dev for a couple years which has just started producing revenue. However the company just cut payroll along wth a wave of layoffs because of some top line reversals. Now, they want me to shift…

March 7, 2014

4 Answers

Is it worth trying to advance as a late hire in a faltering startup?

I joined a small tech-based startup in a junior technical role a year ago, thinking it was a foot-in-the-door. It’s turned out that the organization is very flat–close to half the people have been there over five years, and close to half the employees have management titles–with minimal income (< 50,00USD) and measley investor backing…

March 7, 2014

4 Answers

The Greatest Lesson I Never Learned

For as long as I can remember, my father has been an entrepreneur. The entrepreneurial gene, to me, is the single greatest gift I was ever given. It feels like it was a part of my DNA, but in reality, I’m an entrepreneur because of observation and desire. It’s the only life I knew growing…

March 6, 2014

4 Comments

Financing: the next step question?

You have a great coffee meeting with an investor but it isn’t quite a pitch.  How do you phrase the ask? Or will they ask if they are interested? How do you frame this so as not to sound desperate, but strongly enough to show you’re pushy enough to sell?  Silicon Valley insider stuff here,…

March 6, 2014

5 Answers

Founder’s equity vs ownership vs salary

I’m a bit confused on the topic of founder’s equity and how this translates into ownership and eventual salary. There are two founders. Founder 1 = 20% equity Founder 2 = 80% equity There are cliffs & vesting schedules built in. Question 1: Does each founder own their respective equity % on day one without…

March 5, 2014

2 Answers

What if I don’t have an exit strategy?

My startup will eventually need funding. Whether it’s being funded by angels or vc’s — they’re funding with the goal of getting a return on their investment right? What if I don’t want to ever have an exit strategy or form of liquidty event ? (sell or go public?)  

March 5, 2014

12 Answers

A friends & family round …

Any tips for a Friends & Family round? I’m working on figuring out my valuation and have been bootstrapped up until now, but I know I’m going to need to get some additional funding in place soon. As F&F normally don’t get how startup funding works, how much information should I give them to not…

March 4, 2014

4 Answers

Should I get a cofounder for my startup?

I am working on building a web-based project management software application. I am really bootstrapping to start off with, and really want to try and take on a partner as a cofounder.  The hard part is, I am a bit of a control freak. But, I want to break away from this, and try and…

March 4, 2014

5 Answers

Startup founder must find a day job

Hey all. I’m a non-tech founder of a physical tech startup. I’ve been building the business for about a year. We’ve got traction in a whole bunch of areas (team, product, customers, partners, etc.) but have not been able to bring on a significant funding round. Much of the issue of the fundraising is due…

March 3, 2014

4 Answers

What have you done to drive traffic?

We have no money to spend on advertising. We’ve gotten some press and been featured on other sites. Aside from that, we’ve been relying on social sharing and SEO to capture new visitors. I’m curious if anyone has any unique inexpensive, or free, tactics they’ve used to drive traffic?

March 3, 2014

5 Answers

Are acqui-hires really making failed team members rich?

Everytime I read about an aqui-hire on Techcrunch or Pando, there’s an implication that Yahoo! or Google bought the failed startup at a valuation of 1M+ per engineer. That sounds crazy. The company has already failed, why bother paying a premium? I’ll admit it makes me bitter that the tech eco-system is rewarding failure just…

February 28, 2014

14 Answers

How do you deal with paranoia about competition?

I’m working on a company that’s the first of its kind.  It’s a great idea and has the potential to become a multi-billion dollar idea.  However, I’m still building out the website so I haven’t launched it yet. Every day, I check TechCrunch and other tech and business-related websites to make sure that no other…

February 28, 2014

23 Answers

Should I provide equity to my content developer?

I am a single founder and my startup is having a good traction. Currently planning to have an content developer for my product, who will be take care of all the content part of the product. Should I consider giving equity to him? If I should give him equity, what should the percentage be? If…

February 27, 2014

13 Answers

Enterprise or Consumer?

We’ve built an enterprise platform and API to serve data that helps carriers, OEMs etc. to add a layer of security to their devices. To demonstrate how they can make use of our data we built a bunch of consumer apps. We haven’t seen huge downloads (about 35K weekly active users) but we’re confident that…

February 27, 2014

4 Answers

How do I know if I need funding?

I previously co-founded a startup that failed mostly due to an unfit market. We were in college with relatively low costs of living. We always assumed we’d need funding later on but were doing fine in the meantime with the few customers we had and the freelance work I was doing on the side. Now…

February 27, 2014

3 Answers

CEO Salary = Zero?

I’ve been invited to be the CEO of a startup. They’ve been around for a while and still have zero funding. So, their proposal is zero salary and a majority equity position. And only after funding will I get a salary, but who knows if this is even possible.  

February 26, 2014

7 Answers

Founder equity vs first employees

I started working on my startup product 5 months ago solo and just found a cofounder. We may bring on a programmer and also want to reward / incentivize our attorney who’s been helpful. Ive done most of the work so far and had the idea/concept/research/design/MVP / sales leads. How does this sound ? -…

February 23, 2014

8 Answers

How do you get a services business to the point of hiring people to scale?

I own a project services business meaning we provide project services on a “one off” basis to our clients. We are slowly getting more business, but my challenge is having enough cash on hand to HIRE team members? Our income is erratic throughout the year due to 60/90 day pay cycles and having additional cash…

February 23, 2014

2 Answers

I Did It. I’m a Founder.

I’ve always held startup entrepreneurs close to my heart. And I always watched videos of them, explain their trade, the challenges, everything. I always Googled them, they were my mentors (the online way). They were my guys, I loved them, I dug their challenges, their joys, their ups, their downs. I was that silent co-founder, never contributing anything…

February 23, 2014

7 Comments

When the 500-Year Flood Arrived

In my world of real estate lending, uncertainty and economic turmoil are the norm.  When evaluating the best way to mitigate or hedge risk from loss, as part of the due diligence process, a prudent investor runs at least 3 different potential outcomes: (a) the “base case” scenario where results are more in line with…

February 22, 2014

10 Comments

What To Do When Your Launch Gets Zero Traction

This post originally appeared as a response to the question, What do you do when your launch gets no traction?  OK, so you have little money left and short on time. So you need to get the whole team on this and start as fast as possible. I know nothing about what you do; so…

February 20, 2014

2 Comments

WhatsApp Sells for 19 Billion and All I Got Was Jealous

I’ve got to be honest. It’s only been a few hours since I saw the first Facebook/WhatsApp acquisition headline and I’m already sick of it. The truth is, I haven’t even read any of the articles yet, just the headlines. I don’t need to read them, I get it … WhatsApp started from nothing, has…

February 20, 2014

14 Comments

Startup Failure: Life, Career, and Other Lessons

TL;DR: bonus cash, inspiration, implementation, loss of partner, trying to do business and failing, meeting great people, loosing friends, and a seemingly still impossible career recovery. I’ve been working in the programming/finance industry for 10 years, before finally getting a chance to try doing a startup, after accumulating some extra cash from bonuses (instead of…

February 18, 2014

12 Comments

What is the significance of being publicly traded like what recently happened to Twitter? Yes, I know there are ads and investors, but where does it go from there?

I’m an undergrad who recently became in interested in entrepreneurship and the startup world. I’m participating in a business competition to help me learn about this kind of stuff because I have no experience in business at all. If anyone could explain this or point me towards some resources, I would really appreciate it. Thanks!  

February 18, 2014

2 Answers

How do I protect my idea while finding potential investors/partners?

Have read enough about patent protection, public disclosure, provisional patents, investor dislike of NDA’s/necessity of an NDA, to be wholly dead-ended about how to have appropriate parties assess the viability of my home made exercise device. While there is similar prior art, there is also NO product on the market, or in gyms, like it…

February 18, 2014

2 Answers

Raising money from the “rich uncle”

I’m trying to raise a friends and family round to support a pre-revenue startup that is showing significant traffic in several areas, including development, pre-orders and partnerships. We’ve done a lot of work and we do see a clear path to success, but we’re ready to expand the team and kick into high gear. Everyone…

February 16, 2014

8 Comments

What it Feels Like When Your Startup Has Massive Traction

When what you’re doing is validated by new signups, social endorsement, enthusiasm, press and massive interest, it’s incredible. You begin to truly believe what you’ve been telling yourself — that this is going to be a wild success. It’s almost surreal when it’s happening. You feel unstoppable to some degree. You get unsolicited emails from…

February 14, 2014

3 Comments

We don’t have any clients and time is running out. Help!

My cofounder and I have a B2B startup product for businesses. I’ve spent around 4 months working on it, have a full demo / MVP have met with tons of clients, have delivered 5 proposals and offered free trials, etc., but no one has signed up yet. I’m doing this full-time, I don’t have any…

February 13, 2014

19 Comments

Good Intentions: How Not To Run a Business

In 2009, I decided to rebrand my web writing agency, Brain Traffic, as a content strategy firm. I hired people I respected enormously to develop the practice and run the business. I networked like a crazy person, started speaking at conferences, and struggled through writing Content Strategy for the Web. Soon the leads were coming…

February 13, 2014

2 Comments

We’re Shutting Down and I’m Scared — The Aftermath

Last week I submitted a story here called, “We’re Shutting Down and I’m Scared“. All I can say is, WOW! I never expected such an incredible response. Between here and Hacker News, it took me two days just to go through all of the awesome words of wisdom and support. I read everything — three…

February 7, 2014

16 Comments

Single Mom Bootstrapping with back against the wall

I am a single mother with a teenage daughter heading to college. I live from paycheck to paycheck and I am bootstrapping a start up with any spare money that I may have. I am in credit card debt, my time is at a premium and I work full time in the construction industry in…

February 6, 2014

6 Comments

Am I crazy to stay on this boat?

I’m a minority partner in a large scale food business that I helped start several years ago. We had significant traction in our initial offerings, and have pivoted multiple times to adjust to more scalable opportunities that became available to us. We’ve done what we needed to survive, but due to the shifts, our partnership…

February 5, 2014

5 Comments

Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

I’ve been working in a startup in London for the past few months, and last week we learned that the company is scaling back on staff dramatically. Unfortunately, our product hasn’t been quite the hit that the management expected and costs need to be cut, as funding is running out quite rapidly. Taking the cuts into…

February 4, 2014

7 Comments

Launching a Startup With Panic Disorder

I have anxiety. Not the general kind either. The kind where you’re convinced that you’re dying and, at times, even call the ambulance. The kind that’s triggered by absolutely nothing, but consumes absolutely everything. The kind that kisses productivity and concentration goodbye in the middle of the day. The kind that prevents you from traveling…

February 4, 2014

4 Comments

Trying to Run a Startup When Your Spouse is an Addict

I often hear startup-related horror stories about founders who choose the wrong co-founder. But I rarely hear startup-related horror stories about what is arguably an even more important partner when it comes to startup success – your spouse. I’ve been in the software industry for almost 20 years now. For the past decade, I’ve run…

January 31, 2014

13 Comments

Trust, but verify

I made an amateur mistake. I joined a project that was doomed from the start. My partner was the slick guy from college. You know the type; the salesman who could sell ice to Eskimos and make it look good. He told me that he had clients on board, and the idea needed a little…

January 31, 2014

7 Comments

Balancing family and the Drive to Succeed?

So I started my company at 23. I was full of energy and worked harder rather than smarter. Flash forward to today. I’m now 33, happily married with two kids. I’m more focused on what our services are and how we are delivering them. My life is more comfortable and I’m now working smarter but…

January 30, 2014

11 Comments

Out of my control(?)

I was one of the first hires, within the first few months of the company’s existence and just after the seed round. I worked along side the first few guys for nearly a year straight, no additional hires were made. We fought through the down times (literally) and enjoyed the good times and I felt…

January 29, 2014

8 Comments

Your Job or Your Family

My parents retired and were spending a year abroad. My mother was having a brutal time of it since she uprooted her life of 20+ years living in a small town. She and my father had left close friends and family, so they were very lonely. I was at a brand-name start-up for about a…

January 29, 2014

5 Comments

I failed. Again (and again). What the heck am I supposed to do now?

Two years ago I left my entry-level Wall Street job and drove cross-country to Silicon Valley to launch a startup. To save money, I lived in my car for nine months while hacking away to get the product built. It didn’t matter, it would be worth it once the company was successful. But the business…

January 28, 2014

16 Comments

We’re Shutting Down and I’m Scared

After over two years, backing from a well-known accelerator, nearly one million in funding and a decent amount of traction, we’re shutting down. I’m scared. I’m also sad, disappointed, ashamed, embarrassed & deflated. But mostly just scared. Nobody but my cofounder and I are aware we’re shutting down yet. It’s been a few days since…

January 28, 2014

168 Comments