[This is a repost but I wanted to share my experience with the many more amazing women who have joined the community since!] There such a strong selection bias that occurs often, especially in the world of tech and entrepreneurial success. Given that the majority of startups fail, I wish more people shared their experience of working very hard and then failing.I spent the last year pouring my heart and soul into building my fintech startup. Dissolving the company was not an easy decision to make, but it was right choice for us. This has been a tremendously enlightening experience, and I wanted to share some of the lessons I've learned through the process.My article is linked above. And while I'm working as a PM now, I do hope to return to the startup world again. I would LOVE to connect & chat with anyone who is currently in the entrepreneurial space to share ideas, share book recommendations, or anything else! :)
Rishraic's profile thumbnail
Lets chat! I just messaged you through elpha!
kristenfang's profile thumbnail
Just responded!
mjoshi's profile thumbnail
Loved the article! I am currently co-founding a startup and would love to chat! Will message you :)
kristenfang's profile thumbnail
just replied!
stephaniecn's profile thumbnail
“Fake traction isn’t real....As you build a company, the only metrics that matter are derived from the actual customers“ Facts. Wish more small businesses and consultants realized this also. Thanks for sharing!
Andreani's profile thumbnail
Thank you Kristen for writing this.
DianePrince's profile thumbnail
Thanks for the article, Kristen. I love the part about Fake Traction -- So true! And loving the startup life is so true but it made me wonder -- since everyone's got to start somewhere, how do you know that they're going to love the life if they're a first-time co-founder?
kristenfang's profile thumbnail
The experience is different for everyone, but one question I would definitely consider for yourself & any co-founders is what is your short term & long term goal? If someone's short term goal is to make a lot of $$$, start a family, get prestige, etc., then the startup life is probably not for them. And then there are all the fun ups and downs you get to experience as a founder that help you better understand whether you like it or not. Like with any job, no matter how much research you do, nothing gives you a better idea of what it's like than trying it out. This is also why the 4 year vesting schedule with the 1 year cliff is so important.
lolaojabowale's profile thumbnail
Thanks for sharing your story, Kristen! I agree, we absolutely need more real stories about what failing in startups is like because most ultimately successful founders have faced failure at some point. Congrats to you on your next journey!
kristenfang's profile thumbnail
Thank you!
Rache's profile thumbnail
@kristenfang Thank you for writing this and sharing! I've had to shut down companies and never got the courage to write something about the experience publicly. Glad you landed on your feet and want to jump back into the startup world again.One of your points I'd love to discuss w/ other elpha entrepreneurs:"The best way to determine if you are building a viable business is to ask, “Will my customers actually pay for this?” If there is an economic crisis, will people still pay for your product?"I think this is great advice everyone should keep in mind whether they're founders or product managers, but I also want to caution young (especially female) entrepreneurs from thinking too hard about this one too early because it can create a lot of doubt and stop you from building something great. Clubhouse, Producthunt, Robinhood, Twitter... just a handful of successful startups founded by young white dudes who didn't have recession-proof business models from day 1. The Twitter team famously walked into early pitches saying they didn't have a business model. When is the right time to be seriously asking this question about your startup? How do you weight it against other indicators that you're building something great and that people want?
kristenfang's profile thumbnail
You bring up a great point. My advice from my experience is to ask that question if you haven't been able to make an meaningful improvement sales in a significant amount of time (let's say a year). Then, it would be important to ask that question and evaluate whether the team should pivot, dissolve, or do something else. This question does depend on the business model--Twitter for instance makes most of its revenue through advertisements rather than directly from its users' wallets. Every startup is different, so a "meaningful improvement in sales" and "significant amount of time" varies accordingly. The one thing I will say that should be at the forefront of any founder's mind is "is there any way I can better solve the problem my users/customers are experiencing?" Excited to hear anyone else's thoughts on this!
Natalya's profile thumbnail
Thank you so much for sharing! Sharing about failures takes vulnerability and is brave and clearly you are very accomplished person already so it’s inspiring to see the journey! And the book recommendations are great thank you!I am working on a start up and wanted to reach out for advice, i would much appreciate.
TanyaMedukha's profile thumbnail
I worked for a start up last year that went from seed to series A before they shut down. We were let go and largely left in the dark. This clarifies some things. I'm curious, from a legal standpoint, what happens to the investor funds that have already been used?
al587's profile thumbnail
I agree - I've always been curious! Nobody talks about...what happens on the money side when things fail...?
kristenfang's profile thumbnail
My startup didn't have employees , so I'm afraid I can't answer the question. I will say, however, that we returned all remaining funds back to our investors. Best practice is to keep your investors updated monthly on your startup so that should any changes happen like this, it won't be a surprise to them.
JRShraybman's profile thumbnail
Hey Tanya - as a startup attorney, I'm happy to answer this question.Depending on the investment structure (eg debt vs equity), oftentimes investors simply lose out on the money. This is part of the risk they take on, which is why, as a founder or someone raising funds, it's important to make sure your investors understand the risk and have all relevant information they need to assess that risk to make their decisions. If it's a debt instrument, like a Convertible Note, there may be ways to recoup (much like other debtors), but in reality it's difficult to collect.
TanyaMedukha's profile thumbnail
Thank you jumping in. This is a clear and detailed explanation.
NatalieRiso's profile thumbnail
"It took time for me to realize that people became fans of the concept but were not early adopters of the product. As you build a company, the only metrics that matter are derived from the actual customers, whether it be monthly active users, revenue, or something else." I wish more first-time founders knew this!!! Such a good article. Thanks for sharing your story!
Khullani's profile thumbnail
Fantastic article, thank you for sharing your insights!
alyssa's profile thumbnail
I love this.I've been apart of 2 failing/ed startups - 1 dissolved, 1 land of the walking dead. I've left another that is still finding it's footing, and am onto my 4th which I'm really hoping becomes my forever company. Yes - its exhausting, but I love it. Anyways, I just wanted to say there is no shame in a failed start-up. You learn so much in these companies. People are always worried about the shame of failure, but the fact is you are more valuable to industry after the experience than before it.
corinneriley's profile thumbnail
Thanks for reposting @kristenfang - wish there were more articles like this that actually give honest advice to founders :)
marierokerjones's profile thumbnail
Thank you for your wisdom and truth! I admire your courage to be transparent. This is so helpful to startup founders.
Norah's profile thumbnail
Thanks for sharing your story :). Any advice about finding Co-founders for New immigrants who don't have a lot of connections? :) I am currently in the process of finding a Technical co-founder within California for a Meal service I'm starting ( Still at the idea phase) . Thanks :)
Pinaman's profile thumbnail
Wished more people wrote about their experiences openly. I would love to chat to you as I am on the entrepreneurial journey as a first time founder.