Rr entrepreneurial journey


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Roy Rodenstein CMU Boston Entrepreneurs Group 3/3/11

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Rr entrepreneurial journey

  1. 1. An Entrepreneurial Journey:Flowers Smelled, Lessons Learned<br />Roy Rodenstein<br />CMU Alumni Association<br />3/3/2011<br />
  2. 2. About Me<br />@royrod how2startup.com<br />Companies<br />Mentor<br />Investor/Advisor<br />UX researcher<br />early employee<br />acquired by<br />co-founder<br />acquired by<br />
  3. 3. What’s An Entrepreneur?<br />Stomach of steel<br />quitting job, no pay, uncertainty/risk<br />massive ups and downs<br />Self-starter<br />Bounce back from rejection<br />Driven to realize a vision<br />Skills, ability & willingness to learn<br />No ego<br />menial, dirty work<br />Zen view on all feedback<br />Go for it!<br />
  4. 4. Going.com & BootstrappedLocal Marketing<br />
  5. 5. Going History in a Nutshell<br />$500k Seed<br />Additional Funding<br />Co-found Going.com<br />Acquired<br />Rejected by YC<br />$3M Series A<br />Quit Day Job<br />2005<br />2006<br />2007<br />2008<br />2009<br />
  6. 6. What’s So Hard About Local?<br />Product<br />“Cold start” problem, per geo<br />Need local relevance, e.g. content<br />Geo Branding<br />VillageVoice, SF Weekly<br />Good luck getting Voice.com<br />
  7. 7. What’s So Hard About Local?<br />Marketing<br />WoM is limited<br />“Is Going available in other cities?”<br />“Should I tell my friends in Chicago?”<br />Traditional methods<br />Can’t use cheap national/non-geotargeted!<br />Impacts SEM, banners, affiliate, PR, etc.<br />SEO<br />Geo subdomains etc., duplicate content<br />
  8. 8. 1. Prove It In 1 Geo, Then Scale<br />Started in Boston, Spring ‘05<br />Prototyping, customer development etc.<br />Added NY and SF after BOS reached 10k<br />Started with stringers/part-timers<br />
  9. 9. 2. Bootstrap Local Marketing<br />Grew marketing in concentric layers…<br />1st: 100 close friends + family<br />2nd: attended 4 house parties/night with my cofounder for 3 months<br />3rd: created our own events, traditions<br />4rd: cross-marketing w/local orgs<br />Young alumni club, salsa fans group, etc.<br />5th: hire local stringers for 5 hrs/wk<br />
  10. 10. 3. Scale Marketing w/Funding<br />6th: Launch event in Boston<br />Fenway Fest: TV, subway, partner promos<br />Red Sox said no-go afternoon before. Ouch.<br />7th: National launch at Demo ‘06<br />8th: Hired local full-/part-time staff<br />9th: SEM (geo-targeted)<br />10th: Launch events in NY, SF, Chicago<br />11th: Local PR<br />
  11. 11. Fenway Fest Subway Ad (Boston, Sept. 06)<br />
  12. 12. Early Stage Team-Building<br />
  13. 13. How I think about early stage teams<br />What are my strengths & weaknesses?<br />Skills: Hacking, Product, Marketing, Sales, Finance, Management<br />Qualities: detail oriented vs. macro view, people person, communication<br />Be brutally honest with yourself<br />What strengths does the company need<br />Now?<br />In 6 months?<br />In 2 years?<br />What are sporadic vs. sustainable roles?<br />
  14. 14. Sporadic needs<br />“We need a new logo, so I need to hire a full-time designer ASAP!!!”<br />Full-time hires are hard<br />1-3 calendar months, days of real effort on spec, interviews, negotiation<br />Firing is really hard<br />Hiring wrong person full-time is very costly<br />Layoffs take toll on the team and your credibility<br />When in doubt, start with low commitment<br />Temp-to-hire is very common<br />
  15. 15. Common staffing approaches<br />
  16. 16. Sustainable needs<br />“This area needs help now, and it still will in a year”<br />Someone will need to lead Hacking, Product, Marketing<br />These problems don’t “go away”<br />Could be a founder, a sr. hire, or a jr. hire that ‘scales’<br />Wearing multiple hats for a while is fine<br />Plan out hires at least 6-12 months in advance (e.g. Excel gantt)<br />
  17. 17. What makes a founder?<br />Believes in the vision<br />Committed to the company<br />Sustained fit and value<br />“My cofounder will help a bit with emailing bloggers and users,<br />taking a shot at drumming up some potential clients,<br />and later we’ll figure out what else they do”<br />
  18. 18. What a co-founder blowup looks like<br />Spooks your investors, your team, and your cap table<br />
  19. 19. Where to find full-time Hires<br /> Your friends<br /> Your network <br /> Craigslist<br /> Joel on Software<br /> Dice<br /> College career fairs<br /> Monster<br /> Careerbuilder<br /> Crunchboard<br /> Your friends’ networks<br /> Twitter<br /> Quora<br /> LinkedIn<br /> Facebook<br /> Blog comments<br /> Your user community<br /> Meetup groups<br /> Industry events<br /> Everywhere…<br />
  20. 20. Fundraising Debugged<br />
  21. 21. Fundraising Decoder Ring<br />
  22. 22. Boston, SF, NYC: How They Stack Up<br />Boston<br />Great for Mobile, B2B/SaaS, E-Commerce etc.<br />Pro: If you recruit a star, better chance to hold onto them<br />Con: Few superangels/MicroVCs, so seed round valuations lower<br />SF<br />#1 by far for Consumer, Web, Gaming, etc.<br />Pro: Can swing a dead cat and hit an angel investor; bubbl-y $$<br />Con: FB, Google steal all great hackers and drive prices up; no loyalty<br />NYC<br />Great for Ad Networks, Fashion, Cloud, ‘Hip’ Services<br />Pro: Growing angel and VC scene, though still smaller than Boston<br />Con: Expensive to operate other than deep Brooklyn or NJ<br />
  23. 23. Further Resources<br />Angel, Incubator, VC Lists<br />Xconomy: http://www.xconomy.com/boston/resources/<br />Jon Pierce Boston Angels List: http://twitter.com/jonpierce/boston-angels<br />Relevant Blogs<br />VentureHacks: http://www.venturehacks.com<br />Mark Suster: http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com<br />Brad Feld: http://www.feld.com<br />Chris Dixon: http://cdixon.org<br />Fred Wilson: http://www.avc.com<br />Paul Graham: http://www.paulgraham.com/articles.html<br />(me): http://how2startup.com<br />Documents<br />YC Series AA Funding Docs: http://ycombinator.com/seriesaa.html<br />AVC Seed Docs: http://avc.com/a_vc/2010/03/standardized-venture-funding-docs.html<br />Wilson Sonsini Term Sheet Generator: https://dealbuilder.wsgr.com<br />Boston<br />Dart Boston: http://dartboston.com<br />Greenhorn Connect: http://www.greenhornconnect.com<br />Web Innovators Group: http://www.webinnovatorsgroup.com<br />Techstars: http://techstars.org/boston<br />MassChallenge: http://www.masschallenge.org/<br />