Last week on November 6th, 2019, with the founder Ana Briard, we presented our project, Avoteca, during the Web Summit Alpha program. It was a day full of emotions, feedback, and amazing meetings with actual and future customers.
The Web Summit is actually a three days event. During the other days, we have been listening to some valuable advice and testimonies. Here are the key takeaways.
To “Succeed” there is not one specific true way, but there are some recurrent patterns out there.
You have to make your own definition of what “Success” is. For some people, it can be winning a lot of money, being famous, helping people, or simply achieving your targets.
But if we see success from the point of view of a company, which is usually defined by profitability, brand recognition, and impact, I would say it is essential for the core team to keep true to themselves. It will help make and strengthen bonds with people that think the same way, and it will be helpful while trying to make the brand values constant and wildly recognizable.
Copying is an option, and even though it is not recommended. Mimicking is better, innovating and improving are the best (ex. MP3 vs. iPod).
Raising money from Angels or VCs is what a lot of start-up founders have in mind, especially when they run out of money. This becomes time to time one of the goals of companies.
Raising money with those actors has to be seen as a tool to grow faster, not a goal. Plus, it is not the only way.
As an alternative way, I could propose, family money. It can give you a small runway and usually will not cost you parts of the company. Another option would be to ask your actual customers to advance money for future features or a tiny part of the company (crowdfunding).
I would add as an alternative to cut costs, which might allow you to wait a bit also.
If you still think raising money from Angels and VCs is the only way, you have to find good reasons.
Not for pride. It always looks publicly cool to raise. And neither for fakely growing the value of the company. But think every time about the reasons that would make your company more profitable. If not, you might lose more than expected; when you know how much this money will impact your profit, it is easier to negotiate.
Take it like it is your money and this money will bring more. That’s how the company will become more valuable.
The team is essential; surround yourself with people that can help you, mentors, colleagues, collaborators, or employees.
There are places where you might find a pool of talented people, but don’t forget that excellent and clever people who happened to be anywhere from any background on this planet.
Not sure if you will agree on everything, but I just wanted to put down some of the recurrent pieces of advice I have heard, and that talk partially or totally to me.
I hope this article will help someone to see a bit clearer, where they need and want to go.