Filling the Void for Support & Empathy in the Startup Community

How We’re Changing the Founder-VC Paradigm with Guidance

Photo by Jamie Templeton on Unsplash

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night because you had an idea? Maybe a great idea, maybe a bad idea, but an idea nonetheless. Often that happens to me, I roll back to sleep and sadly forget about it by the morning. However, this time I jotted down some notes, fell back to sleep and woke up the next morning with the idea of Stories Summit.

The Void

As an entrepreneur and founder myself, I’ve had my fair share of success and wins, but also been laid out on my back, roughed up, experienced anxiety and a few times felt depressed. Part of my journey was published in INC.

Starting a business looks easy from the outside, but in reality, it can be painful, exhausting, and rife with potential failure. Those challenges can range from forcing product-market fit, not managing cash properly, wrong hires, or taking bad money (leaving you with a terrible board member).

All of that may sound obvious to some but what was not obvious was how to potentially avoid them.

What I realized I was lacking was people around me with experience to help guide me during tough times and a trusted forum to speak with other founders going through the same experiences.

The fact of the matter is 75% of startups fail within the first two years. Although this is a statistic, it doesn’t need to be an inevitability. Offering support and guidance can go a long way in improving this statistic.

The Solution

Being a founder is lonely, and as I reflected, I felt other founders must be in the same camp. So, as I wrote those notes down the idea was to help solve this problem and create a trusted community for other founders.

Fortunately, I already possessed the inspiration and blueprint that I needed. In particular, one man and his conference provided just the spark I needed to realize my idea.

I’ve been lucky enough to attend an incredible conference over the past 10 years called The Lobby hosted by David Hornik from August Capital. The people who attend are incredible.

The bean-bag discussions at the conference are designed to be breakouts on real-life topics — you know, real adult shit — led by people who are honest and vulnerable about their experiences, who help you open up to shape a healthy conversation. The feeling I had sitting on that bean-bag chair became my vision for Stories Summit.

The goal of Stories Summit is to share the untold, real-life tales of building companies to inspire conversation, debate, and most importantly, share lessons learned along the way so other leaders and entrepreneurs can avoid the same mistakes.

There needs to be so much more of this in our ecosystem, so I’ve made it my mission to create an open and honest forum for like-minded entrepreneurs to come together and share their stories.

The journey of a founder is long and exhausting, filled with constant ups and downs. If we can rally around one another and create a support system, we can go a long way toward improving our own lives (in all facets not just professionally) as well as the lives of others.

I started Stories Summit to bring together all levels of founders in the startup community to candidly share their “blood, sweat, and tears” experiences in a way that will help all entrepreneurs avoid mistakes and pitfalls in the future while supplying a strong emotional and professional backing to get through the grind.

If I’ve struck a chord with you and this message resonates, I’d love to have you consider joining the discussion and getting involved.




Startup and funding commentary and advice from the perspective of founders, CEOs, and VCs on the frontlines.

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
Chris Cunningham

Chris Cunningham

Managing Partner C2 Ventures. Co-Host SuperPowers Podcast

More from Medium

Building a Sustainable Home and Business

YC Startup School Notes #1

A Startup founder’s 2021 in review

Startup story of Esperanto Technologies with the founder Dave Ditzel