I don’t know what will happen. But one thing is sure, I will make it work.

I have been thinking about writing my startup story for sometime by now. I open notepad on my laptop when I’m emotionally low, but suddenly something pops up which takes me back to a high energy level. I close the window and resume my work. This has been the usual stuff for the last couple of months, but today for a change, I’m completely down for a long period and I thought I should write down what’s in my mind and vent out my frustrations.

Don’t expect a structure to this story. No one vents out in a structured way. I’m just typing as it comes in my mind. 

I’ve been working on my startup for the last 6 months. Validated and the market feedback says that this is going to be very big. Have done enough customer development and have really enjoyed the positive feedback. They are loving it and excited for it to go live.

You must be now thinking why am I low then? What you know is just the cherry on top of the ice cream I’m building. It’s sweet, looks awesome, and tasty. But trust me, building the ice cream has become really tough now. That’s what sells right?

I have a co-founder. Amazingly talented. Great at articulating. But, what lacks in him today is motivation. He is not a product/tech geek. He doesn’t understand much about the nature of online business. But without him, the business I’m building will not flourish because we both have complementary skills. I understand product and marketing for online businesses, but weak at articulating/selling the product at a high level. He is just the opposite. Get him a few people to meet and at the end of the meeting, they leave amazed about what we are building and so pumped to start using the product.

So his lack of attention to what we are building is taking a toll on me. You have no clue. I have to build the product by working with an outsourced tech team, write blog posts and keep engaging with those who’ve already signed up for the beta, manage social media interactions (we have a good number of followers already), work with an outsourced agency who’s building videos for us, writing content which will go up the site when we launch, networking with people and ask for feedback, connecting with VC’s so that we can pitch when we go live, build a media kit so that we are ready for press before we go live – and all of this after 8pm at night. Yes, both of us are not completely out from our respective companies yet and will be in the next couple of weeks. Currently serving notice period.

Besides all of this, it has reached a level where I have to remind my co-founder to check his emails and respond. Mostly he won’t do it and I end up doing it – I have access to his emails as well. Amidst all of this, I’ve already put in 60% of my savings into building the product and my co-founder has not fulfilled his promise (his share of investment) yet.

I’ve kept this for me to survive for the first 1 year assuming that we’ll not get funded. I’ve already invested 60% of that and I’m more worried about how I will be able to take this forward if my co-founder is not putting in his share. I’ve asked him many times, and he has reasons for “not doing it”. He has been testing my patience for a long time, but I’m taking it because I know I need him for his skills and it will be very hard for me to find someone else in his place. If I need to play his role, I’m sure I will not do well.

I’m prepared to slog my ass off for this product, but I can’t imagine if I don’t have money to put in for product development. I’m clear that I will not hire anyone for the next few months, but I should at least have some money so that my hopes are alive.

Meanwhile, I called my ex-manager whom I consider as a mentor and asked him to lend me $20,000. That’s all I need to survive for the next 8 months in business. I told him that If I manage to raise investment after showing traction to potential investors, he can decide whether he wants to stay invested or not. If not, I’ll pay him his money back. If I fail completely, I owe him that money and I shall repay within the next year. I’m confident that I can do it because I know that I can get a job which pays me nothing less than $90,000 per year. I’m good, I know it.

He didn’t refuse, but just ignored it.

[Me taking long breath……]

Hmm … I feel better now. I know I will make this work. I’m going after a $4 billion industry worldwide. I’m getting interest online. It’s huge and I have the first mover advantage. And, I’m proud of my product as everyone who sees it says, yes, this will work. Applied for YC latest batch (April 2014), let’s see what happens there.

I don’t know what will happen. But one thing for sure, I will make this work. If I have to sell everything that I have, I will do it.

The last laugh will be mine!


  • You’re throwing good money after bad with a poor partner who isn’t passionate about the product. You need to step back and assess the situation. “I will make this work” will only bring you disaster.

  • If you can articulate what your co-founder is doing wrong, what feelings it causes to you, and why you have those feelings (i.e. what are your violated needs) then you can just explain it to him and then politely ask him to do something in a different way. If he has his reasons, you should listen to him too.

    As for “I will make this work”, well yeah I admire your determination but there are lots to be said about burnt out founders. Work smart, not hard. And definitely don’t overspent, keep economical and always have a plan B.

    • I had numerous chats with him. When we started 6 months back, he was active (more than me I guess). But along the way, his interest went down. I discussed this with him multiple times and he kept saying “I’m in…”. He was taking his own sweet time in whatever he was supposed to do. He even delayed quitting for more than 1.5 months.

      Two weeks back we had an open chat. Told him that he should not proceed if this is not in priority. He has some family issues, but that we all have. If our startup is not in your top two in the priority, consider moving on. Don’t think that “I shouldn’t be doing this as I’ve committed to you.”. I told him “You will harm both us more if you stay put than you moving out if the priority is low”.

      But he stuck to what he has been telling me. I guess he is changing, let’s see. I’m still not happy with him prioritization.

  • I can relate to everything you wrote, My partner and I have been working together for 14 years, we are just a couple months away from launching something we think will totally kick ass. We both have CS degrees but we split the load like this: I design, I am the idea guy, he is the backend guy, the handset app guy, the front-end guy. I am the website, PR, social media guy, I talk to the customers, I do the finances, he keeps the servers humming, I write press releases, I even write support docs while he patches, bug fixes and upgrades. I could go on but you get the point. We have an even split. Right now both you and my partner are doing the building and that is about the heaviest single lift there is. He should be off selling the hell out of this while you throttle down after launch and stay out of the showroom. The things you listed that you are doing like the videos, social stuff, anything and everything not build related are his duty. This guy isn’t pulling his weight and isn’t being honest about why. A partnership is a marriage (a good one or a bad one). Right now you sound like you are regretting an engagement with a set wedding date and the invitations have already gone out. You need to have a “come to jesus meeting” with this guy and tell him if its marketing, outreach, window dressing, text or anything involving words its HIS job to deal with it. The problem is that he can’t do this stuff as you said. You are basically partnering with a salesmen who only sells and thats it. You say he is amazing and convincing etc. Thats because he is describing your great product, you can get a guy to work for commissions doing this from a complimentary field. Cut your losses with this guy, you are over-impressed by his sales ability only because you lack it, not because he is the greatest ever. Give him a money deadline and pile some work on him, then GET THE MONEY FROM HIM and put it into a company bank account if he can’t commit tell him its over. You don’t mention if you created a company yet with him? If you haven’t then don’t. If you still want to go forward offer him 20% equity maximum if you have to otherwise just go find a tech-savy marketing guy, not a sales guy, its too limited as you are discovering.

    • I know. As I mentioned in my previous comment, had a final chat with him. Ther are some signs of him changing and I’m sitting with my fingers crossed.

      Else, I will have to break this up for better.

  • “Meanwhile, I called my ex-manager whom I consider as a mentor and asked him to lend me $20,000. That’s all I need to survive for the next 8 months in business. I told him that If I manage to raise investment after showing traction to potential investors, he can decide whether he wants to stay invested or not. If not, I’ll pay him his money back. If I fail completely, I owe him that money and I shall repay within the next year. I’m confident that I can do it because I know that I can get a job which pays me nothing less than $90,000 per year. I’m good, I know it.”

    You sound clueless. Someone should slap you.

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