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Oxford Inspires - 50 folds - Dumb ways to die


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Presentation on reasons for failure ("Dumb ways to die") in startups for the students of Oxford University at Oxford Inspires event in March 2016.

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Oxford Inspires - 50 folds - Dumb ways to die

  1. 1. Dumb Ways to Die
  2. 2. “I’ve survived being stabbed in the back by cofounders, investment rounds falling through, massive technology fuckups that brought sales to a halt, visa problems, lack of money, lack of traction, lack of a team, hiring the wrong people, firing people I didn’t want to fire, lack of product-market fit, and everything else in between.”
  3. 3. “Within 3 years, 92% of startups failed”
  4. 4. I’m the Exception, right?
  5. 5. “Over 90% of tech startups fail, but I never thought my baby, 99dresses, would be one of them.”
  6. 6. Failure is your default option
  7. 7. The 5 Dumb Ways to Die
  8. 8. Team 1
  9. 9. Founder Blowups are REAL
  10. 10. “Solo founders take 3.6x longer to reach scale stage compared to a founding team of 2” Solo Founders Suck
  11. 11. Dumb Death Spiral of Hiring A->A B->C C->D
  12. 12. Can you Convince A Team to Quit?
  13. 13. Burn 2
  14. 14. “Of those who failed 74%, failed due to premature scaling” Premature Scaling
  15. 15. Manage Cashflow “the numbers were just completely f***ed… ‘burn’ is what happened to Zirtual.”
  16. 16. Timing is Everything “You could do everything perfectly. You could have a few paying customers to validate your work. But if the market is not ready it doesn’t matter. PoliMobile was ahead of the curve. ”
  17. 17. Market 3
  18. 18. Rachleff's Law of Startup Success: Size Matters • When a great team meets a lousy market, market wins. • When a lousy team meets a great market, market wins. • When a great team meets a great market, something special happens.
  19. 19. Broken Thumbs- Painful Problem
  20. 20. Negative Net Revenue? – Do Unit Economics Work?
  21. 21. Execution 4
  22. 22. Don’t do Dumb S$!& “For starters,’s failure is not an example of why B2C E-commerce will fail, it’s an example of why Boo failed itself”
  23. 23. You are NOT Steve Jobs, Don’t Ignore Customers “Truth be told, we were probably afraid of customers at this point because we didn’t want to disappoint them or look bad. Oh, we’d build something they’d love. We just wouldn’t show it to them until it was done. Ugh. Just so stupid.”
  24. 24. Focus- Do LESS BETTER
  25. 25. Don’t Read Tech Crunch 5
  26. 26. Fundraising is a Bitch =
  27. 27. Startup is a Mental Game
  28. 28. Terms and Broken Cap Table can Kill. Get Over Valuation Ego
  29. 29. Read