First Steps for Founders

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Since the acquisition of her first startup, Mint.com, Poornima Vijayashanker has transitioned from the role of founding engineer to founder for two startups: BizeeBee and Femgineer.  In this talk, Poornima will shed light into the first steps founders need to take when it comes to bringing an idea to life, building a product, and a creating company.

First Steps for Founders

  1. First Steps for Startup Founders Poornima Vijayashanker poornima@femgineer.com @poornima 1
  2. Background • R&D Engineer @ Synopsys • Founding Engineer @ Mint.com • Founder & CEO @ BizeeBee • Founder of Femgineer.com • Instructor @ Duke University 2
  3. Agenda • First 3 Steps • Financing • Time • Success 3
  4. Got ideas? 4
  5. Idea Money Team Product 5
  6. Overwhelmed. 6
  7. Stuck. 7
  8. 8
  9. Business vs. Technical? 9
  10. Step 1? 10
  11. Idea Market 11
  12. Idea Outside Help Customers Domain Expertise 12
  13. Step 2? 13
  14. starting small vs. BIG VISION 14
  15. 15
  16. Step 3? 16
  17. Know what you know. 17
  18. Take stock of your skills and expertise. 18
  19. Recruit for the rest. 19
  20. Alone vs. Team 20
  21. MONEY INTELLIGENCE vs. mint 21
  22. • Identify your skills and look for complementary skills. • Don’t do a sales pitch. Instead get people involved in the process e.g. brainstorming. • Be wary of those who come after you! Co-Founders Supplemental Reading: Conversations Potential Co-Founders Should Have 22
  23. Co-Founder Conversations • Conversation topics to cover: • Bad experiences you both might have had in the past. • Setup a clear standard for communicating both the positive and negative. • Make sure there is alignment when it comes to values and the direction of the company and product. 23
  24. Co-Founder Conversations • Gauge the following: • Level of interest • Quality of contributions • Chemistry and camaraderie 24
  25. Advisors • Areas of Expertise • Setup expectations • Make contribution clear • Fluid relationship 25
  26. Right time to recruit. Supplemental Reading: How to Keep Your Startup Engineer Sane, Recruiting for a Startup? First Figure Out Who & What You Want. 26
  27. Vision vs. Implementation 27
  28. Communicate your vision clearly. 28
  29. 29
  30. People follow those who show passion. 30
  31. • Abilities vs. Capabilities • What skill set do you absolutely need? • Allocation time to train and understand direction • Micromanaging vs. Delegating • Polling vs. check-ins • Test: can focus on just your role and contributions? Team Building 31
  32. • Outsourced or Part-Time Team • Set a budget • Set clear deliverables • Hire those that demonstrate self-leadership • Start with sample projects Part Time or Outsourced Team Supplemental Reading: How to Make Progress with Part Timers, Optimizing Outsourcing 32
  33. Dissolve a Partnership • What is the stake they leave with? • Who controls the assets? • Bringing someone new in. 33
  34. Keep going! 34
  35. Time to build... 35
  36. Product Customers Financing Company 36
  37. £ OR € 37
  38. Financing • Bootstrapping: savings, full time job, or pre-sales • Crowdfunding: friends & family, campaigns • Private Capital: angels, VCS 38
  39. Timing. 39
  40. Timing Employees Understanding Credibility with Customers Mistakes 40
  41. Tough. 41
  42. Temptations to quit. 42
  43. Success vs. FAILURE 43
  44. Many ingredients. 44
  45. Your definition. 45
  46. What’s your goal? 46
  47. Review • First 3 Steps • Financing • Time • Success 47
  48. Additional Resources • Office Hours • Online Mentoring • Courses 48
  49. Q&A 49

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