We had another great Startup Lean Coffee at Betaworks Studios; 16 of us enjoyed an amazing breakfast and an engaging conversation. This time, we selected topics as a group and then broke into two groups to discuss the same topics. We shared our and take-aways at the end of the hour and a half. The topics that we discussed included:
We had some incredible epiphanies covering culture, fundraising, having a co-founder, . Here are some of the highlights.
To build a meaningful culture, it’s critical for founders to spread the mission. Create learning opportunities for team members; make the company a bridge for employees to build their dreams. Have regular 1-on-1 meetings with each employee.
Raise money as late as you can (but not too late).
When fundraising, segment sources of capital and target the segments that make sense for your business. For instance, venture capital firms tend to focus on certain stages, vertical industries, or geographic regions. Do your research (I like using Crunchbase) to find those firms that match your desired stage, industry, check size, etc.
Also keep in mind that many great companies are not good candidates for venture capital financing. Consider non-equity-based financing, like grants or revenue-based financing.
Having an engaged co-founder helps you stay focused and motivated. Having a technical co-founder doesn’t matter to seed-stage investors if you have a product that works (but at later stages, you will be expected to have a technical team in place).
Tech teams love challenges, love to work with the latest technology, and love to see features that they’ve built in the product. This can lead to building Minimum Viable Products that are anything but “minimum.“ An MVP should allow you to validate the most critical leap-of-faith assumptions on which your business is based.
Define target metrics for your business that will indicate the degree to which your MVP has evolved to achieve product market fit. Use metrics to decide what to do, but also to show you what not to do (yet).
Last but not least, one of our founding Startup Lean Coffee participants, Marc Adler, suggested that we might want to continue conversations that were started at our meetings online, so we created a Startup Lean Coffee Slack workspace! Please treat our Slack space like our in-person meetings: ask questions, share interesting information, create channels.
Startup Lean Coffee is a monthly gathering of founders, early employees, advisors, investors, and anyone involved or interested in joining the startup world in any capacity. Our sole purpose is to help each other improve by sharing questions and experiences. All you need to bring is your attention, curiosity, and willingness to share.
We follow a Lean Coffee meeting format, a lightly facilitated meeting where participants democratically build an agenda and discuss each topic for a fixed time, voting to continue discussion or move on to the next topic after the time runs out.
Startup Lean Coffee is graciously hosted by Betaworks Studios. Participation is free; but space is limited. We usually meet on the 4th Friday of each month, except for this month. Sign up for the next Startup Lean Coffee, which will be on Friday, June 28th at 9am.