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From Idea to Exit, the story of our startup

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Natalie launched the first version of Lanyrd.com with a co-founder and her husband Simon, while on honeymoon in Casablanca. As the site took off, they realized their side project was destined to become something much bigger.

This talk will tell the story of Lanyrd from a two-week proof of concept to a fully-fledged startup, the lessons learned along the way about building and launching a product, running a company, raising investment and the entrepreneurship journey. This is the talk she wished she heard before getting started!

Natalie Downe co-founded Lanyrd, a YCombinator backed startup (W11) that helps companies and individuals get more out of conferences and professional events. She is an experienced product designer, product manager and front-end web engineer. Lanyrd was acquired by Eventbrite in August 2013 and she is now the Director of Frontend Engineering at Eventbrite.

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From Idea to Exit, the story of our startup

  1. 1. FROM IDEA TO EXIT. Natalie Downe, 6th October 2015
  2. 2. Brighton, June 2010
  3. 3. Casablanca, Morocco, August 2010
  4. 4. If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late. ! Reid Hoffman
  5. 5. OH "if we fix all the bugs before launch, we won't have any fun left" @nataliedowne, 11:36 PM, 30th August 2010
  6. 6. "Why are there ants on the wall?" @nataliedowne, 6:24 PM, 2nd September 2010
  7. 7. "We launched lanyrd.com ! Go easy on it, the log files are going a bit nuts, who knew Twitter was viral?" @simonw, 10:52 AM, 31st August 2010
  8. 8. "and we have internet again! at a nearby hotel bar now, our internet here in Casablanca reboots every day but normally comes back in an hour" @natbat, 6:54 PM, 31st August 2010
  9. 9. "Internet at the 'Business Man Hotel' died, hot footed it in a taxi to Rick's Cafe again, waiters amused by us!" @nataliedowne, 3:43 PM, 4th September 2010
  10. 10. "Being kicked out of Ricks, have to take a taxi to our hotel down the coast in time to finish scaling before the USA east coast wakes up" @nataliedowne, 4:21 PM, 4th September 2010
  11. 11. "So there is no Internet in the room and they have turned all the restaurant lights off around us #sysadminingInTheDark" @nataliedowne, 12:01 AM, 5th September 2010
  12. 12. "Had no idea how much work there would be _after_ launch, naively thought would be able to relax a bit, this thing has gone through the roof!" @nataliedowne, 7:54 PM, 1st September 2010
  13. 13. Make your own luck.
  14. 14. Train from Cairo to Aswan, Egypt, October 2010
  15. 15. Egypt, November 2010
  16. 16. http://ycombinator.com/atyc.html
  17. 17. Luxor, Egypt, November 2010
  18. 18. What's new about what you're doing? What substitutes do people resort to because what you plan to make doesn't exist yet? What do you understand about your business that other companies in it just don't get? How will you make money? How will you get users? How do you know people need what you're making? http://ycombinator.com/apply.html
  19. 19. Learn how to take advice.
  20. 20. Always be pitching.
  21. 21. Rehearsal day.
  22. 22. Lanyrd Definitive database of Professional Events and Speakers Personalised, Social, Event Recommendation Engine
  23. 23. Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats. ! Howard H. Aiken
  24. 24. Surround yourself with a circle of trust.
  25. 25. Surround yourself with a circle of trust.
  26. 26. Raising money
  27. 27. Raise money to last for 18 months.
  28. 28. Raise money to last for 18 months.
  29. 29. Investor checklist ! Elevator pitch Executive summary Pitch deck Answers to common questions Introductions The phone number of a really good lawyer!
  30. 30. Investor checklist ! Elevator pitch Executive summary Pitch deck Answers to common questions Introductions The phone number of a really good lawyer!
  31. 31. Investor checklist ! Elevator pitch Executive summary Pitch deck Answers to common questions Introductions The phone number of a really good lawyer!
  32. 32. Investor checklist ! Elevator pitch Executive summary Pitch deck Answers to common questions Introductions The phone number of a really good lawyer!
  33. 33. Investor checklist ! Elevator pitch Executive summary Pitch deck Answers to common questions Introductions The phone number of a really good lawyer!
  34. 34. Investor checklist ! Elevator pitch Executive summary Pitch deck Answers to common questions Introductions The phone number of a really good lawyer!
  35. 35. Investor checklist ! Elevator pitch Executive summary Pitch deck Answers to common questions Introductions The phone number of a really good lawyer!
  36. 36. Get a good corporate lawyer.
  37. 37. The way to seem most formidable as an inexperienced founder is to stick to the truth. ! Paul Graham
  38. 38. Building a team, designing a company.
  39. 39. Hire from your network.
  40. 40. Build tools that help you punch above your weight.
  41. 41. Pattern Portfolio.
  42. 42. One-click deploys.
  43. 43. Feature flags.
  44. 44. mobile
  45. 45. lanyrd.com/mobile
  46. 46. Always take press screenshots yourself.
  47. 47. Press packs. ! Embargo time and timezone. Story summary and context. Numbers & Quotes for colour. Contact details. Selection of screenshots. Link to your primary press pack. Background product info. Logos Links and spelling of links.
  48. 48. Press packs. ! Embargo time and timezone. Story summary and context. Numbers & Quotes for colour Contact details. Selection of screenshots. Link to your primary press pack. Background product info. Logos Links and spelling of links.
  49. 49. Press packs. ! Embargo time and timezone. Story summary and context. Numbers & Quotes for colour. Contact details. Selection of screenshots. Link to your primary press pack. Background product info. Logos Links and spelling of links.
  50. 50. Press packs. ! Embargo time and timezone. Story summary and context. Numbers & Quotes for colour. Contact details. Selection of screenshots. Link to your primary press pack. Background product info. Logos Links and spelling of links.
  51. 51. Press packs. ! Embargo time and timezone. Story summary and context. Numbers & Quotes for colour. Contact details. Selection of screenshots. Link to your primary press pack. Background product info. Logos Links and spelling of links.
  52. 52. Press packs. ! Embargo time and timezone. Story summary and context. Numbers & Quotes for colour. Contact details. Selection of screenshots. Link to your primary press pack. Background product info. Logos Links and spelling of links.
  53. 53. Press packs. ! Embargo time and timezone. Story summary and context. Numbers & Quotes for colour. Contact details. Selection of screenshots. Link to your primary press pack. Background product info. Logos Links and spelling of links.
  54. 54. Press packs. ! Embargo time and timezone. Story summary and context. Numbers & Quotes for colour. Contact details. Selection of screenshots. Link to your primary press pack. Background product info. Logos Links and spelling of links.
  55. 55. Press packs. ! Embargo time and timezone. Story summary and context. Numbers & Quotes for colour. Contact details. Selection of screenshots. Link to your primary press pack. Background product info. Logos Links and spelling of links.
  56. 56. Press packs. ! Embargo time and timezone. Story summary and context. Numbers & Quotes for colour. Contact details. Selection of screenshots. Link to your primary press pack. Background product info. Logos Links and spelling of links.
  57. 57. Lanyrd integrates with LinkedIn For background information on Lanyrd, see our main press pack For embargo until Saturday 14th September 2013 at 4:00pm London (11:00am Eastern / 8:00am Pacific) Powered by WORLD TIME BUDDY 24AM/PM STARTS IN 4 days 7 hours, 23 minutes London United Kingdom, England 4:00 pm Sat, Sep 14 2013 - 4:00 pm Sat, Sep 14 2013 Your Time On this Computer / Device 5:00 pm Sat, Sep 14 2013 - 5:00 pm Sat, Sep 14 2013 +1+1 Lanyrd now helps LinkedIn users discover conferences and professional events based on their LinkedIn connections and profile information. This fills a gap left by the shutdown of LinkedIn's events application and allows event organizers to continue to take advantage of LinkedIn to promote their events. LinkedIn users can also use Lanyrd to build their own speaker profiles, get event information on their mobile phones and network more effectively with others at events. Lanyrd is launching the ability to sign in with your LinkedIn account and get event recommendations based on your LinkedIn contacts and profile information. LinkedIn users can now benefit from Lanyrd's directory of more than 25,000 events entered by our community in 100+ countries around the world. LinkedIn announced that they will be shutting down their events app on the 26th of November in a help page on their site. Speakers and attendees can build a profile of the events they have attended and the talks they have given. Where LinkedIn acts as your online resumé, Lanyrd can act as your online speaking portfolio. Users can subscribe to weekly emails recommending events based on their LinkedIn profile. As they grow their network on LinkedIn, these emails will get increasingly more relevant. Event organizers can use Lanyrd to promote their events, publish their event schedule both online and through our mobile apps, and gather together slides, notes and videos once the event has ended. This also marks the first time Lanyrd have made their service available to people who do not use Twitter. New Lanyrd users can also now create an account using an email address and password. Lanyrd helps people get more out of conferences and professional events, by discovering the right events to attend, meeting the right people while there and catching up on slides, notes and video afterwards. We have prepared a preview site for members of the press to try out the new functionality in advance of our public release on Monday at 4pm GMT. The preview is available here: http://preview.lanyrd.com/ Use username beta and password hamster to access the preview. You can then sign in with LinkedIn using the Sign Up link on the homepage. Lanyrd - http://lanyrd.com/ Lanyrd iPhone app - http://lanyrd.com/iphone/ Lanyrd's HTML5 Mobile web app (Compatible with Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, Kindle etc) - - http://lanyrd.com/mobile/ Summary Key points About Lanyrd Press preview site Useful links Screenshots
  58. 58. Lanyrd integrates with LinkedIn For background information on Lanyrd, see our main press pack For embargo until Saturday 14th September 2013 at 4:00pm London (11:00am Eastern / 8:00am Pacific) Powered by WORLD TIME BUDDY 24AM/PM STARTS IN 4 days 7 hours, 23 minutes London United Kingdom, England 4:00 pm Sat, Sep 14 2013 - 4:00 pm Sat, Sep 14 2013 Your Time On this Computer / Device 5:00 pm Sat, Sep 14 2013 - 5:00 pm Sat, Sep 14 2013 +1+1 Lanyrd now helps LinkedIn users discover conferences and professional events based on their LinkedIn connections and profile information. This fills a gap left by the shutdown of LinkedIn's events application and allows event organizers to continue to take advantage of LinkedIn to promote their events. LinkedIn users can also use Lanyrd to build their own speaker profiles, get event information on their mobile phones and network more effectively with others at events. Lanyrd is launching the ability to sign in with your LinkedIn account and get event recommendations based on your LinkedIn contacts and profile information. LinkedIn users can now benefit from Lanyrd's directory of more than 25,000 events entered by our community in 100+ countries around the world. LinkedIn announced that they will be shutting down their events app on the 26th of November in a help page on their site. Speakers and attendees can build a profile of the events they have attended and the talks they have given. Where LinkedIn acts as your online resumé, Lanyrd can act as your online speaking portfolio. Users can subscribe to weekly emails recommending events based on their LinkedIn profile. As they grow their network on LinkedIn, these emails will get increasingly more relevant. Event organizers can use Lanyrd to promote their events, publish their event schedule both online and through our mobile apps, and gather together slides, notes and videos once the event has ended. This also marks the first time Lanyrd have made their service available to people who do not use Twitter. New Lanyrd users can also now create an account using an email address and password. Lanyrd helps people get more out of conferences and professional events, by discovering the right events to attend, meeting the right people while there and catching up on slides, notes and video afterwards. We have prepared a preview site for members of the press to try out the new functionality in advance of our public release on Monday at 4pm GMT. The preview is available here: http://preview.lanyrd.com/ Use username beta and password hamster to access the preview. You can then sign in with LinkedIn using the Sign Up link on the homepage. Lanyrd - http://lanyrd.com/ Lanyrd iPhone app - http://lanyrd.com/iphone/ Lanyrd's HTML5 Mobile web app (Compatible with Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, Kindle etc) - - http://lanyrd.com/mobile/ Summary Key points About Lanyrd Press preview site Useful links Screenshots
  59. 59. Keep an eye on your out-of-money date.
  60. 60. Choose a theory. Prove or disprove the theory.
  61. 61. Lanyrd Pro, April 2013
  62. 62. Learn from people who used to be like you.
  63. 63. San Francisco, USA, March 2013
  64. 64. Balance your options.
  65. 65. Companies don't buy companies.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! People buy companies.
  66. 66. Look after yourself. Doing a start-up is a life choice not a get rich quick scheme
  67. 67. Thank you for listening

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