Don’t make the same mistakes

Little mistakes add up when founding a SaaS startup. I co-founded Campus Bubble with college roommates. We were funded by Emory University; also several Atlanta and New York angel investors. Despite growing to more than a dozen colleges, Campus Bubble did not turn out to be the billion-dollar (“with a B”) success we envisioned it could be. I left and our CEO subsequently negotiated an exit to Longstreet Solutions and StudentBridge.

Starting a business is very risky. Here are red flags I now know to look out for:

  • Confusion around “product market fit”. Product market fit is an opportunity to deliver the right promise to the right person in order to capture profit. There was not an effective long term strategy in selling to university administrators for Campus Bubble.
  • It is not possible to satisfy differing stakeholders at the same time.
  • Over-promise and under-deliver starts with being aware of unknowns and refusing to allow for them. It wasn’t smart to present our app to 150+ student orientation leaders before we verified we satisfied all requirements.
  • An effective team demonstrates intense focus on results with great urgency. Without prior professional experience in software development, consumer marketing, and sales we struggled for too long before realizing the process was right but the application was wrong.
  • Closing an investment round means collecting enough money to execute and never need money again. Raise too little money and revenue goals cannot be missed. Campus Bubble earned profit from design and development work —inconsistent with the opportunity we initially set for.

Questions? Thoughts? It’s a drafted effort to get into regular blogging.