Advice for First Time Founders via Y Combinator

by Scott Edward Walker on March 26th, 2018

A few years back I posted a series of solid quotes for founders from highly-successful investors from the book Venture Capitalists at Work.  In case you missed them, you can check out the posts here: Venture Capitalists at Work – Part 1, Venture Capitalists at Work – Part 2 and Venture Capitalists At Work – Part 3.

I now would like to share some quotes from Y Combinator founders that I think will also be helpful, which came from the January 2018 post entitled “Advice for First Time Founders.”

  • “Define your customer/who you are selling to as early/precisely as you can. We ran into product-market-fit issues during YC and allowed anyone to sign-up + were unclear as to who was in our target market.” –Daniel Ahmadizadeh
  • “I should have known not to hire expensive contractors, consultants and advisors. As a startup you get bombarded by industry expert contractors and consultants who make big promises. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement.” –Nate Matherson
  • “Delegate and automate day-to-day operations as much as possible.  As founders, we usually have a tendency to be hands-on with everything, and it’s easier to congratulate yourself on fixing some random bug than to spend three days deciding how to tackle the current elephant in the room.” –João de Paula
  • “Doing a startup is brutally hard, and it’s even harder if your co-founders are not aligned, committed or fond of each other.” –Gabriel Lim
  • “Don’t fall in love with your technology. Fall in love with your customer…  Like most startups at the early stage, we underestimated how much we needed to spend time with customers and slightly overestimated how much we needed to talk to everyone else (e.g. investors, advisors, other founders, etc.).” –Ian Burgess
  • “The #1 requirement to be successful in your startup is to never stop. Just being sufficiently determined by itself is almost enough to make any decent idea work.” –Nathan Wenzel
  • “Do research on the investors before accepting the meeting. Sometimes investors are trying to hide things from you.” –Jim Gibbs

I hope the foregoing nuggets are helpful.  Cheers, Scott

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