Announcing my new role as a Partner at a rad startup studio.

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TL;DR: I’m joining Make Studios as a Partner and awesome founders should apply. 👋

The Gap

“You’re too early.”

Heard that one before? It’s the frustration-inducing investor response that early-stage founders hear on repeat as they seek to raise funding pre-traction. The rise of no-code/low-code tools and the decrease in infrastructure costs combined with the trendiness of startups means that there are just more deals for investors to look at, and more founders working on similar ideas. As a result, more and more traction is required to gain pre-seed, angel, or even accelerator funding, creating a growing gap in early-stage venture.

For startups, the amount of capital required to break through this barrier is surprisingly small if you build wisely. Maybe some paid ads to test customer demand. A few hours of your time spent interviewing customers. A small budget to cobble together some SaaS APIs and code scripts to simulate a customer experience. But it’s a bad fit for VCs, who need to invest significant enough check sizes to capture the equity stake they need to hit unicorn gold. It’s also a bad fit for debt- or revenue-based financing that requires purchase orders or other assets. …

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Photo by Julian Hochgesang. Unsplash.

I worked on the frontlines of DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) in tech at Backstage Capital for over 4 years. I was the only White man on the full-time, core team during that time. Working closely with women of color, and more specifically, Black women, has been a life-changing experience.

I came into the work thinking I had strong empathy skills honed by years of practicing human-centered design. What I came to learn, however, was that there is no way that I can know or share the experience of women of color as a White man in America. The world simply behaves differently for me. I am not monitored for shoplifting every time I enter a store. I am not handed car keys at events and assumed to be a valet. …

Validate Your Ideas Before You Build

You’ve got an idea for a product, service, app, or startup. Time to build it right? Nope! Wrong. It can be a counterintuitive experience, but you can test the demand for your idea before spending tons of time and money on it.

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I’ve been enjoying a YouTube series from no-code pioneer and Founder of Apps Without Code Tara Reed. She got over 200 emails from interested customers for a new app idea after a single post on a Facebook group. …


Bryan Landers

Venture Partner at Backstage Capital. Banjoist. http://bryanlanders.com

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