Been a while since I blogged. Who am I kidding you didn’t even notice. Thought I would take this opportunity to share some thoughts related to the recent announcement that Springbot has raised an additional $6 Million in financing to accelerate growth after growing their customer base 500%.
Building Something from Nothing is hard, but everyone around the technology (startup) eco-system seems hell bent on finding the acronym or book or better yet the meet-up that will clear the skies and make the path forward seem possible. Maybe we will all find that, in the meantime, my personal experience is that it is possible but extremely hard.
(Fun Image: I found the restaurant napkin / table cloth from the first time I ever explained Springbot to someone).
Lessons Learned (First Three Years):
– IDEA: The addressable market is more important than the specifics of the business plan, pricing, and customer acquisition model when you first begin exploring an idea. I have written this before and I will say it again, I worry that Lean Startup means pivot to a feature and by the very nature it is small. I understand the concept, find Product/Market fit (I get it), but how do you do that and have a clear picture of the big opportunity where the initial product market fit is only step one.
– TEAM: Do you want to own 90% of nothing, or 5% of something big? I ask this question because recruiting the most talented team to build something from nothing requires sharing the opportunity. I can’t state enough how important the deeply experienced team at Springbot is to driving the current success and will be the reason the company is successful longer term. I applaud the management team for making every single team member a shareholder from day one.
– ALLOCATION: The market will change (it always does), but right now, there is seed, venture, and growth capital available. I am not saying it is a bubble, don’t read that. What I am saying is that the market is very good right now. With that said, raising money isn’t what makes a company successful or grow, it is the allocation (investing) of that money. Think about it for a second. I often use the home renovation example: you go take out a loan to renovate your house, you do the designs yourself, because you read a book, hire your family member, who just got into the biz, and completely mess up your house. It is worth less, I promise.
This post is not intended to be everything I have learned from Springbot, or the startup blueprint, just the things I will carry forward with me and really focus on. There are a 1,000 small things that they do right, and I am sure some they do wrong. What they did right was: think big from the beginning and paint a product roadmap that stepped them towards the big opportunity, the team is world-class (with experience), and sure they raised money, but they allocate as well as any team I have ever seen to drive growth.