Products and Companies…Two Different Things

There is a lot of discussion in the VC blogosphere about whether we are in an early stage boom or headed for ‘storm clouds’ with everyone hopping in the angel pool. To me it is all about valuations as an angel and for the most part, prices have moved out of my comfort zone. I am happy so many startups are getting funded, but know that more companies will fail now just on the law of large numbers.

I believe in the next few years we will continue to see record amount of start-ups get funded but also more of a new thing, companies that have a product, a little bit of traction but little ability to fully attack their market. The second phase of running a business, even a web business, is marketing and selling. Furthermore, the startups that have raised money and have bodied up will face organizational challenges they never planned for in the fun early days.

One of the most profound start-up lines I have read in a while comes from Dennis Crowley of Foursquare who said:

Building a product is easy. But building the company that builds the product is hard

Stocktwits is in the middle of this ourselves and I promise to post our experiences over the next few months.

It is not the same amount of fun when you can’t go fast with product releases and hiring. I am glad to have some old age and a rolodex to call on mentors, my board and advisors to continue to move fast. In the coming weeks I will share some of our experiences of growing revenue fast and on the people front going from 2-20 plus people.

I am in new territory myself and making mistakes so I believe you will find them interesting.


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  2. Jess Bachman says:

    Certainly looking forward to your observations and experiences. I think that all these new startups will achieve success as long as we bring the bar for success down to our ankles.

  3. greenskeptic says:

    Excellent post, Howard. And I look forward to keeping track of progress! I think one of the biggest challenges I see among companies going into that next phase is finding management talent. In the cleantech space, in particular, there aren’t a lot of “old-timers” with a depth of management experience AND domain knowledge. There just haven’t been a lot of successful companies yet to spin-off talent. That will change with time, but cross-training management types, giving them a crash-course on what they need to know is starting to happen.

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