I worked for 3 years on a startup product worth $500 million only to watch it die a slow and painful death

My startup journey

The beginning of Elisebot

Prototype and the first accelerator

Early hustle

Hustling is hard

The second accelerator

The 8-month long first date

First commercial breakthrough: TC Disrupt

The Conglomerate Reloaded

Contracts are not sales

The last accelerator

Time has run out

WE WERE WORKING ON A $500MM IDEA AND WERE UNABLE RAISE $100K.

The truth about “we invest in teams”

  • If you never had a successful startup exit;
  • If your company doesn’t have more revenue than you need for funding;
  • If you have not been a high ranking executive in a Fortune 500 company;
  • If you haven’t worked for Google, Facebook, Apple, or Amazon;
  • If you don’t have an MBA from Harvard;
  • If you didn’t graduate from a CS class at Stanford;
  • Even if you graduated from MIT, but didn’t make any good connections
  • And if it’s been more than 2 years since you left college and you haven’t done something amazing yet

Next steps

Thanks

  • Carol Santello, my wife, for accepting the challenge of building this with me and going together through the emotional roller coaster that is starting a startup;
  • George Antoniadis for doing way more than I could ever have asked of him. You coming to Berlin with me was surreal man, coding together was a blast too. I have no words for how thankful I am for all your help and encouragement with this;
  • Bert Baeck / Bert Baeck for believing in me at Trendminer and bringing me to Belgium; for helping me in getting started within the Belgian startup ecosystem; for agreeing to be an advisor on Elisebot once we got funding; for helping me think the business through, and helping me every time I got stuck;
  • Aziz Ajaji, Alastair Woolcock, and Anthony Meulen at Gartner for the mentorship through trying to raise capital during the pandemic and lifting this ship off the ground;
  • Jeff Haynie for willing to mentor me through the difficulties of balancing hustling and hacking as a first time CEO, and for taking the time to hear me out even if we’ve never even met in person. Jeff sold Appcelerator not too long ago, and Vocalocity before that, and next to being an inspiration to me as an entrepreneur, is also an awesome human being;
  • Peter Rutte for believing in Elisebot, helping me write my VLAIO project, and introducing me to people who would’ve been crucial for the project’s success at the University of Ghent;
  • Frank Poncelet for helping me navigate the Cronos labyrinth, following up on the project when we joined forces and trying to help me get the investment deal there through;
  • Ine Meeusen for introducing me to Jef, and for starting what could have been the springboard Elisebot needed to reach success. You did everything you could and I truly appreciate it;
  • Aagje Reynders for her willingness to understand the maze that was the Elisebot prototype code, and making our joint project a success;
  • Ruta Stasiunaite and the Salesforce team at Quandoo for putting in the effort to gather the requirements we needed to make a convincing demo to their sales team, and collaborating with us in the best way;
  • François Xavier Fanard for believing in Elisebot even in its embryonal stage, and pushing through barriers inside his organization to enable them to help Elisebot, even if we don’t fit the profile of companies they work with;
  • alexandre mobrige for believing in Elisebot and willing to have OpenText use it internally, even if it never came to fruition;
  • Last but not least, Jim Myhrberg and the romdo collective for the support, the listening and the encouragement. For celebrating the high highs with me, and pushing me through the low lows, and reviewing this ridiculously long post.

--

--

--

Co-Founder & CEO of elisebot.ai

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Colliding Herons on CERN signify an attempt to envisage something more than self-made entrepreneur.

How Would I Invest in QC?

Api for startups

Importance of business idea

A Recap of the Third Pitch Night Organized by AvesLair

WHAT WE’VE BEEN READING THIS WEEK! BY REAZ HOQUE [SYNERGY | WEB APPS LLC]

The Biggest Barriers Keeping Your Startup From Seeing Its Full Potential

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Alex Reis

Alex Reis

Co-Founder & CEO of elisebot.ai

More from Medium

Where Do You Draw the Line? The Story of Race, The Suburbs and Public Health

How To Create A Personal Knowledge Management System To Make You More Valuable In The Marketplace

8 ways to create a purpose-driven workplace

Introducing you to Huddle01