Food For Founders #48
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|Stephen Alred Jr.||Sep 20, 2019|
This section is meant to help you grow as a leader, manager, or entrepreneur.
One thing we are always on the lookout before funding a founder at KnowCap is whether or not the company should be backed. Not because the idea is bad, or the founder may not be successful (both of which are valid reasons), sometimes it’s because we just don’t see it.
I read a long time ago that a rejection from a VC ONLY means that they don’t see the future the same way you do. Largely that’s it! Think about how many bad investments a VC may make because the believe the founder can do what they said they were going to do (*waves to Theranos investors*).
This piece is a great primer on learning how VCs may evaluate your company before they even take the initial meeting. Here are a few things you need to exhibit in spades:
Be borderline obsessive about the problem you are solving
The market has to be large enough (not sure if I agree with this…Carta anyone?)
Ability to execute - can you get traction and grow it rapidly?
This section is designed to help you improve your skills as a strategist and tactician.
A week ago Ro’s founder released a pretty amazing blog post on Medium. Someone on their team had noticed that Hims had taken Austin Kleon’s steal like an artists approach literally.
Hims had taken not only their layout, but their UX/Ui designs (absent a branding shift), and their direct marketing copy on the website. Now a lot of people complained and said that’s how the big boys play, but I’m 80% sure someone got fired for copying a competitor’s website verbatim.
That’s not why it is getting included in this newsletter…it’s Ro’s founder response. Yes they called them out, but they also embraced and Kobe’d them with an assassin mentality. It all starts with the words, "So, Hims, while you’re at it, if you want to truly be patient-centric it would be awesome if you could copy five more Ro features…”
This section was created to introduce ideas that may not related to starting a company, yet is important to your success as a founder.
I really like this article because it speaks to the effect that your countenance and actions have on your team. You may not even realize it, but every time you say or do anything it has an effect. It may be positive or it may be negative, but it will happen.
One thing I try to cognizant with our team is to make sure that I’m not always in reaction mode. If I place a project on someone, I empower them to make decisions and begin adjusting my expectations so that I’m not killing their creativity if they opt for a different path than I would have. My first time as a manager I definitely placed too much of my ideas onto my team members. If they asked me a question, I would answer it. Now I know better.
I now realize that just by inserting my opinion, or thoughts, I can muddy the waters of their creative process. Wish I would have known that two years ago. Now we have a team of 18 and it’s a constant question of whether I need to respond or not respond depending on the decision that needs to be made. Sometimes that means sitting by and letting someone make a mistake. But, most of the time it’s sitting back and realizing that they are much better at their job than I am (and they should be…that’s why I hired them).
"External self-awareness involves understanding how our words and actions impact others. Most of the leaders and teammates we work with have no idea how their behaviors are impacting their colleagues."
Around The Startup Ecosystem
This section was built to update you on important events, opinions, or pieces happening in the world of startups.
Had to include this story. Delane is in his late 20s and has now raised over $90M in less than three years. It’s unprecedented and he’s killing it.
It is showing a lot of people that when you build an amazing platform with an incredible vision, you can raise funding with the other major players. While it is still incredibly biased (black founders receive less than 2% of all VC funding), it does give a lot of people in the startup ecosystem hope that it will not always be so tilted.
What I like about Delane is that he always focuses on the mission and the vision of PlayVS. He doesn’t really celebrate the wins or the mourn the losses, he just builds his team and motivates them to execute.
As far as the funding goes…that’s a byproduct of luck, timing, charisma, and skill. Exactly what you need to take an entire niche industry (eSports) and place them in every high school in America.