Today marks 3 months since Funderful walked into 500 Startups Mission Street office to kick off the Seed program for Batch 20. It has been a 24/7 routine thereof – following the intense program, fundraising, looking after our customers and all of that in both the US and European time zones.
Among the very many benefits of the 500-Startups accelerator program meeting the most amazing founders and angels in the world is my favourite.
Here are a few highlights from personalities that have inspired me in these 3 months the most:
- Dave McClure – the co-founder and managing partner of 500 Startups a global venture capital firm with ~$300M under management. What struck me most was how on point he was about Silicon Valley and how start-ups feel here. He said going to Bay is like joining the big leagues – you feel like an idiot among real talents, but that makes you a better athlete. There is this other speed of life here – never ending back-to-back meetings and opportunities and when you go out of the Bay area you just feel like time slows down;
- Named by Business Insider one of the most powerful people in Business Technology meeting SaaStr’s Jason M.Lemkin was a blast. He is a celebrity in the SaaS world for a good reason. He shared his insights on how start-up founders feel in their first years of operation. From year 0 to year 5 the medicine for not burning out is adding senior talent to the team as early on as possible. And in case you fail that still is better than being stuck somewhere in the middle, so we just have to keep pushing to remain at the top J
- And finally Chandini Ammineni gave one of the most valuable pieces of advice when she opened the Marketing Hell Week – you will fail at 80% of what you will try to grow. So it is easy to blame yourself for failing. The secret is in creating a process and culture of experimentation with growth – designing growth experiments and trying them out quickly. Then when an experiment fails you blame the experiment not yourself, and you have the chance to quickly identify what’s working – and then double down on that.
However the biggest take away has been – there are so many opportunities in the Bay area and Silicon Valley – so many amazing founders to meet, so much advice to seek, so many investors to pitch, so many war stories to learn from, and that is the biggest risk for any startup – try to do too many things at the same time in a ridiculously expensive city. Choosing what to do is not the challenge. Instead – choosing what NOT to do is the biggest task. Focus.