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Nobody told me: Practical Startup Advice
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Nobody told me: Practical Startup Advice


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Slides from a talk from CEO/Co-founder of Smarkets Jason Trost at GeeknRolla London April 2010.

Slides from a talk from CEO/Co-founder of Smarkets Jason Trost at GeeknRolla London April 2010.

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  • 1. Nobody told me: Practical Startup Advice GeeknRolla London - April 2010
  • 2. The experience • You marry your co-founders • Roller coaster • Little things take up the most time • You’re in it for the long haul “Think big, think positive, never show any sign of weakness. Always go for the throat.”
  • 3. Lawyers • Recommend Chris Grew (Orrick) and Barry and Danvers (Winston & Strawn) • Legal cost should be less than 5% of the round • Always ask for a flat rate • Be fair with their time • Ballpark £5-10k per round “I'd like to explain a little bit about the Peter Blunt system.”
  • 4. Meeting Investors • Introductions! • Key angels in London: Stefan Glaenzer, Saul and Robin Klein, Sherry Coutu, Brent Hoberman et al • Balderton, Index, PROFounders, Eden, Mangrove, Dawn et al • Seedcamp • Everybody wants to hear something di erent “I got a meeting with the Bobs in • “Interested” and “too a couple of minutes” early” mean “no”
  • 5. Raising Money • Raise from friends and family first • Figure out how much to raise -> burn * months • Equity: pick a pre-money (£500k - £1m) • Convertible Note: 1 year, 20-50% discount, 8-10% interest “We’re not just doing this for • Always set a close date money! We’re doing this for a • Maintain a deck shit load of money!”
  • 6. Hiring • Only hire closers • Get involved with local hacking groups • First hire is almost as important as co-founder • Trial your new employees • Interns good way to groom talent • Ballpark pay £20-50k • Equity options vary widely (0.01% - 10%) “Co ee is for closers”
  • 7. O ce Space • Your flat • White Bear Yard, TechHub, The Hub at Kings Cross, British Library, Moo, Songkick, TalkTalk • £100-400 per desk “We’re looking down on Wayne’s basement. Only that’s not Wayne’s basement.”
  • 8. Networking • Seedcamp, Barcamp, MiniBar, Open Co ee, DrinkTank, founder/VC poker, conferences, Digital Mission, Web Mission, launch parties, Open Soho, sponsored days, et al • Have business cards (they matter) “Raised lettering. • Somebody from your Pale Nimbus. White.” startup should always be networking
  • 9. Marketing • Think about this early • Biz dev partnerships • Newspapers • SEO • Facebook/Adwords Advertising • Viral loop “You think the pet rock was a really great idea?”
  • 10. Accounting & Insurance • Pain in the butt • Peter Rogol (Goodman Jones) or Complete Accounting Solutions • Online: Xero or Free Agent Central • £5k / year • Insurance: E&O, Key Man, Liability, Property, Business Continuity “That’s as good as money sir. Those are IOUs.”
  • 11. General Tips • Be able to explain your business in a sentence • Hang out with other founders • Be ready for the hard knocks • Don’t listen to anything I just said “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing”
  • 12. Thanks! GeeknRolla London - April 2010