5 myths about startups1. Startups
cost nothing to build2. The average tech startup founder is a 25 year old male ivy league dropout3. Startups get funded on a napkin sketch and passion4. A good idea wins every time5. Location doesn’t matter*
stuff that costs $$ as
if you didn’t already know this• hiring amazing people - and you need A level amazing people in startups (they like to be paid even if they believe in you)• infrastructure - yes. It’s cheaper than it was, but those EC2 bills are still a bitch.• marketing - you can do a LOT for free in the beginning, but there is a bunch of noise to cut through today.
fact:4 out 5 people who
use the phrase “it’s cheap to build a startup” have never built a startup (and probably neverwill)...the remainder are independently wealthy.
Average founder: 40 yrs old
Married With Children6-10 yrs work experience Male = yes(4% of tech startups funded have femalefounders - while 40% of small businesses are owned by women) White = yes (6% of tech startups funded have non- white founders)Ivy League? Meh. Dropout? Not at all.Educated - bachelors or higher - but not necessarily Stanford, Harvard, etc.
fact: startup founders look a
LOT like themselves (and can come from ANY background). looking for patterns isthe antithesis of innovative thinking.
fact: you will wake up
in a puddle of your own sweat several nights a weekbecause you realize you are completely fucked.
how to deal:1. know that
you will be rejected.2. understand that you will underestimate the number of times you will be rejected and how long it will take you to raise $$. (insert completely fucked night sweats here)3. ask rejectors for feedback (REAL feedback)4. ignore most of said feedback*5. seek mentors and allies (note: this is the most important point I make this entire presentation) * knowing what to ignore is not easy
the worst advice EVAR: ppl
that tell you to do this are idiots.1. when you are rejected, ask for a referral dude! IF they do this, they will explain to their contact why they passed...BAD intro.2. when you are rejected, don’t take no for an answer this is just awkward. move on.3. when you are rejected too often, rethink your business (i.e. pivot) it’s not you, it’s them (mostly)
common vc rejections aka. “we’re
just not that into you.”• “we think you are too early for us.”• “we have too many deals in our pipeline.”• “we don’t understand the market.”• “we’d like to see some local investment.”• “we’d like to see some interest from a US firm.”• “you are raising too much.”• “you are raising too little.”• “if only you did a + b, we’d be a better fit...”
really freakin awesomecreative ways to
not go broke• take the bus (Greyhound has wifi!)• use microfunding (Indiegogo/ Kickstarter) creatively• use AirBnB - AND - rent your place out on it while you travel• speaking of AirBnB...
“Paul Graham only invested in
us, when he heard about the Obama Osstory. And he figured, well these guys are like really creative,smart entrepreneurs; theyll probably change their idea.”AirBnB Founder, Brian Chesky
Hey CEO’s! Your ONLY job
is to keep the company going until you find product/market fit. ONLY job.* Your* Okay, that AND 10 gabillion other things. But this is the most important.
more funding ideas• Friends &
Family - your network is stronger than you know (we raised $192,000)• Go lean - how can you pare down your operations and personal lifestyle? Do it early. Lower the burn.• Hold a fundraiser - make it awesome. What are your Obama-O’s?• Sell your stuff on eBay - It’s a short term sacrifice.• Make $$ in your free time - Pixazza, TaskRabbit, TaskHire, deliver pizza (Alfred from Zappos did this), etc. (make it simple, mindless tasks)• Million Dollar Homepage? What else could you do that is simple but could bring in good $$.• Hire a Grant Application specialist - they often work off of commission and there are small biz grants.
why Canada sux4 startuping1. barrier
for valley funds (especially at seed stage)2. local funds are miniscule compared to valley funds3. most of the ‘successful’ startups move to the valley, so aren’t seen as shining Canadian examples4. most of the amazing A level talent we want to hire move to the valley (or US in general) + we compete for those few left5. Canadians are more risk averse in general6. Population density is an issue for markets
why Canada is PERFECT for
startuping1. there is nothing to do here during our long winter but work2. we have a high tolerance to pain3. it is cost-effective to develop here4. free health care, small biz benefits, etc make for lower burn rates5. our dollar is strong + economy solid (yes, I know it’s because we aren’t reckless cowboys like those yanks)
what we need to change1.
encourage/educate more investment firms to invest in web startups2. support one another better. Share intros. Work together. CROSS country (not just city)3. invest REAL money into Canadian startups. Where is the series A?4. recruit the talent up HERE. KEEP the talent that we have by appreciating them BEFORE they freakin leave!5. create entrepreneurial programs for our universities + catch boys and girls at a young age to encourage6. host more events in Canada, showcasing our startup scene - attract investors from the US to see what we have locally7. get the press doing more pieces on Canadians state side and Canadian startups8. reward for risk more. celebrate entrepreneurship in general.