Are you just starting out in startups? Or maybe you’re onto a subsequent venture and want to avoid some of your previous mistakes. In this package of blog posts, Gabriel Weinberg, angel investor and founder of multiple startups, writes about common mistakes founders make (and how to avoid them) and shares other wisdom he’s gathered along the way.
This channel includes:
Surround yourself with success. It's common advice but it is really good advice. One of the reasons I started Open Angel Forum Philly is to interact more with local people more successful than myself so I could learn from them. This applies vertically and horizontally.
Sometimes peoples' first startups are successful. More power to them. I've been pretty lucky, but not that lucky. In a startup career path, failure becomes experience for the next startup, which unfortunately will probably also fail. Repeat until success. And then repeat some more.
I was once a wannabe entrepreneur. Fresh out of college and a summer internship at a VC firm, I thought I knew what I was doing. Though this was 2000, and all startup & VC blogs we've grown to love didn't exist yet, I did have mentors available.
Previously I wrote about wannabe entrepreneur symptoms and cures. I was once a wannabe entrepreneur, and then I was a first-timer. First-timers are not wannabes--they're actually out there doing stuff. And they can be successful their first time around. I've funded some myself. But it's not the norm.
Recently I wrote about wannabe and first-timer entrepreneur symptoms. I did include cures, but the reality is it is often hard to self-medicate. A longer lasting cure is to get a couple of good mentors. The mentors are there to call you on all your bullshit.
Forming a couple of good mentor relationships can help bridge the gap between startup failure and success, especially for first-time entrepreneurs. But how do you actually get the right people to be your mentors? I previously explained that it usually requires some equity, but here is some more step by step practical advice.
I see a lot of single founder discouragement on the startup interwebs. I'd like to start offering an alternative viewpoint, and I'd appreciate it if other single founders would join me. Single founders are indeed rare, but we're out there. The perception is that we are rare because we never succeed, but that isn't the case.
Most entrepreneurs don't do it for the financial reward alone, but it's generally a primary goal in the life cycle. And yet I think many entrepreneurs, especially first-timers, don't pay close enough attention to the impact various decisions have on their personal financial outcomes. Everyone obsesses with dilution from investors.
Startups usually take many years to exit. So it is important to figure out up front whether what you're working on is a fad or a real market. You don't want everything to fall apart two years in because a fad passes.
I don't know what Chris was referring to exactly, but as an angel investor this statement resonates with me right now. I've been seeing some really high valuations floating around. Don't get me wrong -- there is nothing inherently wrong with high valuations if everyone is aligned in exit expectations.
I believe that ambitious startup ideas have similar success probabilities to their less ambitious counterparts, if not higher success rates. No, I don't have any real evidence. Call it a highly educated guess. Note I'm not talking about expected value -- they definitely have higher expected values.