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Final startup grind

Mark Suster
Mark Suster
Mark SusterPartner, Upfront Ventures at Upfront Ventures

Final startup grind

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Startups – How to Build Out
        Your Early Team

Lessons from Both Sides
of the Table

 Mark Suster

 Startup Grind, February 2013

 @msuster
 Ex software developer
                            (‘91)

                           BuildOnline
                            (’99)

                           Koral /
Both Sides Of The Table
                            Salesforce.com (’05)

                           VC at GRP Partners
                            (‘07)
When You First Start

  “Co Founders”
My Priorities When Funding Early-Stage


           Product
  Market

                     Team
Why is the Team So Important?




                                 Departures
                                 Departures
                                   Staff
                                    Staff
   FF
En 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 Overplayed




http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2011/05/09/the-co-founder-mythology/
Ad

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The Changing Structure of the Venture Capital Industry
 

Final startup grind

  • 1. Startups – How to Build Out Your Early Team Lessons from Both Sides of the Table Mark Suster Startup Grind, February 2013 @msuster
  • 2.  Ex software developer (‘91)  BuildOnline (’99)  Koral / Both Sides Of The Table Salesforce.com (’05)  VC at GRP Partners (‘07)
  • 3. When You First Start “Co Founders”
  • 4. My Priorities When Funding Early-Stage Product Market Team
  • 5. Why is the Team So Important? Departures Departures Staff Staff FF En 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
  • 6. The Co-founder Mantra is a Sacred Cow in Silicon Valley – I Believe It’s Overplayed http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2011/05/09/the-co-founder-mythology/
  • 7. The Reality is That Over Time Many Founders Fight
  • 8. Huge Premium for Taking First Leap. Can Hire Cofounders with Large Equity & Keep Creative Control
  • 9. But I Know You’re Going to All Want Co-Founders So Just Make Sure You Understand Prenuptials http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2009/08/18/founders-ownership-and-stock-options/
  • 10. And Be Careful About Having Too Many Co-Founders: It’s the Largest Dilution You’ll Ever Face
  • 11. I Think VCs Care More About Not Having a Single- Point-of-Failure than Exact Cofounder Founding Situation or Economics
  • 12. Seed to A “Building the Early Team”
  • 13. 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 eng http://www.quora.com/Startups/What-would-the-ideal-web-technology-start-up-team-be-composed-of
  • 14. 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/
  • 15. Don’t Hire People All Like Yourself. Diversity in Startup Teams Matters
  • 16. 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
  • 17. Many Investors Will Tell You to Bring on Experienced Team Early. Don’t.
  • 18. Hire People Who Punch Above Their Weight Class http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2011/03/17/whom-should-you-hire-at-a-startup-attitude-over- aptitude/
  • 19. Your First Sales Reps Should Be Evangelical & Consultative (versus relationship managers) Not Not http://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/
  • 20. Engineering needs three distinct management skills: people, process, & technology leadership http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/want-to-know-difference-between-a-cto-and-a-vp-of-engineering/
  • 21. Many Startups Have Too Many C’s. They Are Usually a Fudge For Co-Founders to Feel Good About 1 Founder Becoming CEO http://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/
  • 22. Functional Responsibilities Help Better Divide Work & Make People Accountable. CEO CEO VP VP VP VP VP VP VP VP VP VP VP VP Engineering Engineering Product Product Sales Sales Marketing Marketing Finance Finance Biz Dev Biz Dev I am reluctant to see “president” or “COO”
  • 23. A to B Round (when you’re ready to scale)
  • 24. Most Founders Get Bogged Down in Minutiae. You Can Get Huge Benefit from an Office Manager who Doubles as an Admin http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2011/10/28/the-controversial-first-role-to-hire-after-your-a-round/
  • 25. Hire a VP of Finance – Look for Somebody Who Can Help with Ops, Legal, HR, Office Space, etc
  • 26. 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/
  • 27. </Good Luck> Mark Suster Startup Grind , February 2013 @msuster ; BothSidesoftheTable.com