For over 5 years, my life revolved around growing my previous company, Binpress. In the months since we found a buyer for it, I've had some time to think about why it failed. Now that we've sold the company, I wanted to reflect on the journey my co-founder and I had with the company, from struggling to get users, getting to $30k in monthly revenue, raising a seed round and eventually selling the company on a down note.
Continue reading Binpress Postmortem
Silicon valley is generally considered by most as the best place to build a technology company, due to the large concentration of talent and capital, unmatched anywhere else in the world at that scale. But it's the valley's dirty little secret that it's really the network of people that make it all happen.
Every successful person in the SV tech scene is highly connected to talent and capital through their network. It is that network that makes seemingly random M&A deals, capital investments or recruiting top talent happen on a daily basis. And it's that network, more than anything else, that makes Silicon Valley so special for building high-growth companies.
Why a network is important
I've recently found myself quite often advising founders who are new to the valley or are thinking of moving there. The most common questions generally revolve around how to raise money. I've already collected my thoughts and experience on the topic of raising a seed round, so I have a few prepared answers, but in person I'm definitely putting much more emphasis on network building compared to everything else.
Continue reading Network
Another startup culture bash was making the rounds, this time about a common term in the startup world - "getting shit done", and what a terrible mentality it is to have. Disclaimer - I know the author personally, as him and I were at the same 500startups batch this summer, and I also consider him a good friend. But I think he's completely off on this one.
What does "getting shit done" mean?
Continue reading Getting Shit Done
In a previous post, I wrote about why and how you should join the 500startups accelerator (or any premier accelerator program, for that matter). I briefly mentioned that I've been given access to provide opinion on applications for the next batch (Fall 2013), as a 500startups program alumni.
To date, I've reviewed close to 300 startup applications, likely more than anyone else with review access on this batch, so far (to be clear - each application would be reviewed by multiple people before a decision, sometimes as many as 30). A running joke in the office is one of the 500startups staff walking near my desk and asking me "don't you have a company to run?" or "don't you get tired of reviewing those applications?". I'll have the last laugh though, because they will have to go through all of those applications eventually, where as I can just skip the ones that are not a clear yes or no.
Reviewing startups turns out to be somewhat addicting. I keep hoping the next application would blow me away, and it will be an easy upvote, but unfortunately most are not. From reviewing all those applications, I think that most people are not clear on what the top accelerators look for in companies. So in favor of openness and in the hopes of helping someone out there increase their chances of getting accepted, here are a few rules of thumb for being attractive to startup accelerator (or even VCs):
Continue reading After reviewing 300 startup applications, this is what I learned
A couple of months ago, I wrote about our first week in the 500startups accelerator program. With the program now officially (?) over, I wanted to share my experience with it and help interested founders understand whether it would be a good fit for them.
Why should you apply to 500startups?
When we first started the program, we weren't sure exactly what to expect out of it. How hands on will the program be? what value will they give us and how can we make the most out of it? I think Parker Thompson, one of the partners at 500s, summed it up very nicely here on Quora.
Continue reading Post mortem: Why and how you should apply to 500startups