team | validation | funding
Make wise choices, including your co-founders
Committed & a fire in their belly.
Ideal Number? Well: 1 < n ≥ 3
Never settle for anything less than A+
Hire for culture fit & functional skills
Be slow to hire & quick to fire
Subject matter expertise
Available when needed
You will wake up in a puddle of
your own sweat realizing you
are completely *****
Your idea solves a problem
customers are willing to pay
Ensures you’re not heading
down the wrong path.
If you don’t do it, you’re
burning cash by guessing
The art of bootstrapping
retain control | no dilution
Art of Bootstrapping
Get lean – personally & professionally
Explore work for equity options with core team
What’s your Obama-O strategy?
Leverage every dollar you have, or can get
Lots of non-dilutive loan and grant programs to
support research & development, hiring, and
export market development.
Angel / Seed
Once you have a
validation, prototype, and
ideally paying customers
Failure is from a lack of paying
customers, not funding
process | planning | advisors
Important, but balance that ‘startup’
Above all else, ensure you have a
culture of employee accountability
When starting, doing is more
important than planning.
At some point you will need
some ‘planning’ for growth
Important to you as a founder, and to your company
Are you an entrepreneur, or empire builder?
Lean Startup + Early Exit
a winning combination
Which path is better?
reducing time to exit = reducing risk + enhances IRR
IPO / Exit
$150M at 10%
2 to 3 years
5 to 7 years
Source: “Exit Strategy for Startups”, VentureArchetypes, LLC
skate to where the puck is going to be
wrap yourself around acquirer’s axle
Credit: Sporting News Archive
Have your “end game” exit
strategy on Day #1
Tell a good story, with passion
Specifics on potential of “together”
Vision of “what could be” in the future
Hire A+ finance & legal advisors
Clean house before diligence
Starting a company from
There Are None!
Stop making excuses: regardless of location, it isn’t easy
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