Do your homework before you pursue these options

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Finding investors for your first raise is tough. Especially if you’re a first-time founder and especially since this is your first raise. Some sources of capital seem almost too good to be true. In reality, though, you should avoid them or at least approach them with healthy skepticism.

Culture doesn’t always eat strategy for breakfast

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A recent article by NFX, a Bay Area-based VC firm, titled “Where to Build Your Startup” got many things right about where to build your startup, but still fell short on a key issue.

Now that the world is increasingly going remote, we believe that one big opportunity is to find people that share these cultural protocols and this same mindset, independently of location. …

The Option 1, Option 2 Framework

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When you’re building a new product, you constantly have to decide which features to build, when to build them and how to build them. However, when it comes to making these decisions, teams often fall into two failure modes — The Never-Ending Debate mode or The “Yes Team” mode. To make matters worse, remote work only exacerbates both failure modes.

Failure Mode 1: The Never-Ending Debate

First, you should be proud that your team has an open atmosphere where team members are comfortable sharing their opinions. However, you and your team will quickly find yourselves exhausted.

Minimizing your accomplishments is a morale killer

When I first started my startup, I often used the word just when talking about what we’d accomplished.

We just had five customers.

We just raised a pre-seed round.

It‘s just me and the CTO.

When I meet other founders, I often hear them using the “j word” too.

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Along with discounts to save yourself some time and money

Updated October 2020

Products w/Discounts

6 questions to ask before applying to an incubator

Source: HBO

You have an idea and want to make it a reality.

How do I form a company?

How do I meet a co-founder?

How do I build and sell a product?

How do I raise funding?

If the incubator is well run, incubators can be a great thing for founders. However, they rarely are. We went…

By optimizing for short term price, you often miss out on long term value.

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One of the things I emphasize with founders the most about but understand the least is over-indexing on price. When it comes to making decisions, I often hear things like:

“It was the cheapest”

“We found a way to get x for free”

“I only had to give up x equity”

“We got x contractor for only x dollars per hour”

I empathize with these statements because when you’re starting a startup you’re strapped for cash. You need to figure out how to make the most happen with the least amount of money. …


7 months and over $500k raised later

Fundraising is one of the most difficult things you’ll do as a founder, especially if you’re a first-time founder and especially for your first raise.

1. Build something worth investing in

It seems obvious, but it’s so often ignored. This is step one. You need to build something worth investing in and believe that…


YC Videos, Tools, Paul Graham’s essays and more

For any challenging endeavor, you need to have the right tools, resources, and be able to speak the lingo. Here are some of the tools and resources I found to be most helpful.

Resources for Fundraising Tactics

  • Paul Graham’s essays on fundraising. There are a lot of good ones, but How to Convince Investors is especially good.
  • The Pitch podcast to listen to other founders pitch.
  • Look at decks of companies currently raising on Republic or Seed Invest (scroll to the data room at the bottom of the deal). …


Tips to fill and oversubscribe your first round

Once you get over the feedback hump with your deck and you’ve closed your first check, it’s time to step on the gas and find more investors. You should pursue as many investors simultaneously as possible. This creates interest in the round and pushes investors over Wait-and-See Hill.

On Starting Up

Notes from a founder trying to make an idea a reality.

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