Running a startup with no chance of failure

Your might think that you have a great idea, but as statistics show, most startups fail. Great teams, with great ideas, great investors and good traction can fail, so don’t fool yourself and think your venture is a sure success.

As a founder, you need to be optimising personal success as well, and then run your company in a way that makes the chance of personal failure 0%. You do this by hedging your bets, so that no potential outcome is a failure.

You should:

  1. Try to run the company to be a success
  2. Gather as much transferable knowledge as possible while doing it
  3. Stay sane and healthy

If you do the above three things, then even if #1 and your company fails, then you have learned enough to make the process worthwhile. If you love starting companies, then make sure to learn things you can utilise in your next project.

Do not let investors fool you

Some people argue that investors are not interested in putting their money in a company where the founders are creating a safety net for themselves. They might think that this will lead to founders taking less chances, and not going in 100%. If people try to convince you of this, remember that startup investing is all about hedging your bets — that is why VC’s invest in a portfolio of companies! Try to get investors that understand that running a company should not be soul-crushing. Hedging your bets personally is not a sign of disbelief in your idea.

Do not burn any bridges

If you want to ensure success and hedge your bets, do not burn bridges or make enemies along the way. Be honest with your investors, nice to your colleagues, don’t forget your friends, ensure good relationships to other founders and even competitors. You never know who you might need help from in the future, and having great relationships is a great way to kickstart a new venture.

How I do this as CEO of Peergrade

My background is in applied machine learning and computer science. At Peergrade, I built the first version of our product then found a great CTO to take over development. I then took on the role as VP of sales and got the first 10 paying clients. We then hired a COO to take over sales, and at this point my work changed to primarily focus on managing, hiring, building culture and other (for me) very new skills.

Having no previous experience in sales, managing, hiring or raising capital, I have learned more during the last 1,5 year than I could imagine learning in any other role. While running Peergrade, I still teach the course Computational Tools for Big Data and work on my PhD in machine learning.

I love Peergrade, I think we are solving an important problem in a novel way and I truly believe we will be succesful. But I am not ignorant. There are many reasons while Peergrade might fail as a startup. But no matter what ends up being the fate of Peergrade, I will have learned enough and had enough fun that it will be the most meaningful use of my time anyways.

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