My Priorities When Funding Early-Stage Product Market Team
Why is the Team So Important? Departures Departures Staff Staff FFEn undin En undin r vvrr i i oo gg nm meer toom n nmeen nt t Cusstctioon Cu a cti Reea R Shit happens. Shit happens. Great teams Great teams handle handle adversity better adversity better AA M bblil M ii onn Disasters Disasters tiitio oo tiy nn ty ti ee too PR eet titi t PR pp zeze m oom CC
The Co-founder Mantra is a Sacred Cow in Silicon Valley – I Believe It’s Overplayedhttp://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2011/05/09/the-co-founder-mythology/
The Reality is That Over Time Many Founders Fight
Huge Premium for Taking First Leap. Can HireCofounders with Large Equity & Keep Creative Control
But I Know You’re Going to All Want Co-Founders So Just Make Sure You Understand Prenuptialshttp://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2009/08/18/founders-ownership-and-stock-options/
And Be Careful About Having Too Many Co-Founders: It’s the Largest Dilution You’ll Ever Face
I Think VCs Care More About Not Having a Single- Point-of-Failure than Exact Cofounder Founding Situation or Economics
Configuration of My Ideal Founding Team: CEO Plus 4-5 Engineers Financially numerate CEO CEO Product management Ability to lead / hire CTO // CTO Senior Senior Architect Architect eng eng eng eng eng enghttp://www.quora.com/Startups/What-would-the-ideal-web-technology-start-up-team-be-composed-of
Pet Peeves for Me Don’t outsource your tech development Don’t have a consulting firm build your core product Don’t have tons of business people before you have product completed Don’t overplay your advisory board. (I just care about your investors & management)http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2009/10/12/should-your-startup-have-an-advisory-board/
Don’t Hire People All Like Yourself. Diversity in Startup Teams Matters
Product Management: One of Most Underrated but Important Skills in a Startup design // design PM PM customer customer eng eng Solve functional problems Capture requirements Architecture Test value / determine whether customer will pay Performance Competitor reviews Which tech stack to use? Prioritizing roadmap Usability / process flows
Many Investors Will Tell You to Bring on Experienced Team Early. Don’t.
Hire People Who Punch Above Their Weight Classhttp://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2011/03/17/whom-should-you-hire-at-a-startup-attitude-over-aptitude/
Your First Sales Reps Should Be Evangelical & Consultative (versus relationship managers) Not Nothttp://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2010/10/12/startup-sales-why-hiring-seasoned-reps-may-not-work/http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2010/04/08/journeymen-mavericks-superstars-understanding-salespeople-at-startups/
Many Startups Have Too Many C’s. They Are Usually aFudge For Co-Founders to Feel Good About 1 Founder Becoming CEOhttp://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2011/09/12/why-your-startup-doesnt-need-a-coo/http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2011/09/17/further-thoughts-on-startup-operations/
Functional Responsibilities Help Better Divide Work & Make People Accountable. CEO CEO VP VP VP VP VP VP VP VP VP VP VP VPEngineering Engineering Product Product Sales Sales Marketing Marketing Finance Finance Biz Dev Biz Dev I am reluctant to see “president” or “COO”
Most Founders Get Bogged Down in Minutiae. You Can Get Huge Benefit from an Office Manager who Doubles as an Adminhttp://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2011/10/28/the-controversial-first-role-to-hire-after-your-a-round/
Hire a VP of Finance – Look for Somebody Who Can Help with Ops, Legal, HR, Office Space, etc
Board Construction Limit number of VCs on the board Be very careful about board observers. They are the equivalent of board members. Limit management officially on the board – makes changes over time too difficult. You can assign your founder seats to startup ceos if you’re worried about control (you control seat) Strong industry independents on board – but make them write small checks to be committed.http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2009/10/14/when-the-board-of-a-startup-votes-theres-a-problem/http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2012/08/16/rethinking-board-observers-the-role-of-the-silent-observer/http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2012/08/15/should-you-really-sit-on-other-boards-when-youre-a-startup-founder/
</Good Luck>Mark SusterStartup Grind , February 2013@msuster ; BothSidesoftheTable.com
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