Saturday, March 24, 2012

Entrepreneurs Unpluggd – The Founding Team Edition

This week I attended the Entrepreneurs Unpluggd event in person and found it to be a really great experience with a good crowd. If you haven’t heard of Entrepreneurs Unpluggd, check them out here.

They post all the videos of the entrepreneurs that speak at their events on the website so if you ever miss an event you still have the opportunity to hear the advice and stories from the speakers afterwards. Each of the speakers at this month’s event brought a different perspective on whether to start your company as a single founder or co-founder. The key takeaways that I learned from the event were:

1)      If you’re going to start your business as a single founder, you almost have to be very personable because you should realize that people will really only buy from you if they like you. You also have to do just about everything yourself from selling, hiring, firing, operations, etc. until you build out the rest of your team, which can take a while if you’re looking for high-quality employees. So overall, going at it alone takes the most discipline, but, of course, the upside is that you don’t have to worry about giving up any of your equity to another co-founder.

2)      The benefits of having a co-founder include increased chance of upside through an exit (you both can brainstorm and find different/creative ways to grow and expand the business), decreased risk (you can both spot each other’s blind spots), and differentiated responsibilities (you each can focus on specific aspects of the business).

3)      Why take venture funding vs. creating a lifestyle business? Take a look at your unit model and if you think you can take outside funding and see explosive growth by scaling that unit model very quickly then it just might make sense to take a smaller piece of a larger pie vs. bootstrapping all the way which can slow down the growth potential.

4)      Good entrepreneurs make mistakes and learn from them quickly. They’re able to figure out how to have more of a growth mindset vs. fixed mindset (check out book “Mindset” for more on this concept).

5)      The last speaker was a VC and he was asked what makes a good investment for him during the Q&A. His answer was hands down it’s always going to be the team. They have to be humble enough to listen and learn, have determination/desire, and strong relationships that can help them persevere through tough times. This seems to be a reoccurring theme, since Y Combinator also recently announced that they are accepting applications from teams even if they don’t have an idea. Investing in people/the team is usually the smarter investment strategy. I’ve only been on the PE investing side for less than a year now, but it’s very clear how important management and leadership is for a successful investment.

Keep a look out for the next Entrepreneurs Unpluggd event - The Startup Law Summit on April 14th at the new 1871 working space.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for coming Irem, and thanks for the great recap!