The startup lifecycle consists of six stages – Discovery, Validation, Efficiency, Scale, Sustain & Conservation. This is viewed exclusively through the lens of customer acquisition, because when it comes to growing a business, that’s what everything else rests upon. Venture funding directly ties to those stages, but almost no one ever speaks in those terms.
My Take on Early-Stage Funding in 2023
If you previously raised a Pre-Seed or Seed round without much difficulty, you will likely raise a Seed or Seed extension without much difficulty. If you previously raised a Pre-Seed or Seed round and it was a difficult process, prepare for a world of hurt.
Is Your Pivot Based on Data?
It’s critical that when you get to the point when all your confidence and swagger is gone and you want to scrap everything, you or someone close to you HAS to ask the simple question of why. If it’s only because you’re not getting users, ask why again. WHY aren’t you getting users?
A Quick “No” Is Better Than Long “Maybe”
As a founder, your most precious resource is time. This is true whether you just raised a huge seed round and have enough runway for the next year, or if you’re starting to worry about how you’ll make payroll next week.
Don’t Automate What You Don’t Know
Without knowing how that process currently works, chances are high that whatever you build will suck. Not because it’s a process that doesn’t need some updating, but because you have idea of how it works or what success looks like.
Get Comfortable Nuking Your First Customers
What happens when, one day, you wake up and realize the cost of continuing to support those customers is more than they are truly worth? What if the things they’re asking for aren’t helping your larger market, or aren’t lining up with where your product is heading?