Twitter, Uber, Snapchat, Airbnb, Stripe, Dropbox, Instagram, Slack, and WhatsApp are billion-dollar companies that dominate their industry. They generate billions of dollars, have billions of users, are every Founder’s dream, and most surprisingly, they were all founded during the years surrounding the 2008 recession. As crazy as it sounds, recessions are incredible times to build startups. Yes, they breed chaos, and hardship, but they also breed innovation and are the perfect time to start a company.
As we find ourselves in unparalleled times, I get dozens of founders reaching out and seeking help with their startups on a weekly basis. The innovative spirit of society right now is inspiring. I’ve seen dating apps with crazy twists, AI to help officiate sports, ed tech to revolutionize at home learning, microloan apps for developing countries, and so many more cool startups.
Unfortunately, I don’t have as much time as I used to. I’m trying to get my own company off the ground, and I can’t meet with everyone so I decided to make a few posts that I hope can help a few.
Whenever I get intro’d to a founder, the person making the intro always says things like “Matthew taught himself to code so he can help you with your app”, “Michael and Matthew have raised a bunch of money from investors”, “The twins built a top 100 app out of their dorm”, and my favorite — “Lula got members on 500+ campuses in a year so he’s a good resource”. Although these are all true (and they up my swag), they’re not reasons to follow my advice because the truth is, there are so many people who have accomplished way more. If you ask Michael and I, we haven’t really done much. Yeah, we experienced some “success”, but we’ve experienced the result of a million more mistakes (not failure though, because failure to us is making a mistake and not learning from it).
The reasons Michael and I are worth listening to is because we’ve been rejected by 800+ investors. We’ve faced bankruptcy, we’ve over hired, made bad hires, overpaid for services due to not knowing better, and fucked up on so many other occasions. We know exactly what to do if you want investors to pass on you, if you want to make bad hires, if you want to build a crappy feature, and if you want your company to struggle.
For those of you who want to limit your hard times, I suggest you read, and for those who want a good laugh, I also recommend you read. I’m going to share stories and tips for fundraising, building a cheap MVP, marketing deep vs wide, getting free press, how to avoid getting publicly humbled, and waaaaaay more.
If you have any questions, hmu up on twitter @mattvanzz or Instagram @mateovegasanz