How I got 40 paying customers after failing for one year!

Hi Elpha!

My name is Maddie (ex-Stanford)! I'm the founder of Founders Cafe - a co-working space for founders from Stanford, Harvard, YC, and more.

One year ago, I was building Sesame, a co-working space for students. When I started building Sesame, I was really optimistic, getting a YC interview after a successful launch! Then I lost my co-founder, my best friend.

I sat alone in my parent's basement the whole year, iterating on a failing Sesame. I bounced from co-founder to co-founder, hoping they would be the key to unlock my startup

At some point, I started co-working with a random Harvard founder named Robert. Each day, we’d grind together on call. We'd work all day, sharing our anxieties & problems during the breaks 😲  We became so close! And invited a few more founder friends from YC / Berkeley to co-work. This eventually evolved into Founders Cafe. They were my first customers, early supporters, and I wouldn't be there without them. We're at 40 members and ~$1k MRR.

What helped me most:

1. Founder support. Being stuck is the worst feeling, and my founder friends helped me gain the conviction to pivot away from my dead child Sesame and start something new. You need founders in the same boat as you, willing to support you every day, and tell you it straight up!

2. Rigorous learning. I took 1 month to study better ways to build a startup. I read The Startup Owner's Manual, The Mom Test, and Building Better Products. I developed my own framework on building startups, and executed. This allowed me to stop building stuff nobody wanted because I started doing things like interviewing 40 people first.

3. Trying it solo. I spent the year trying to find "The Savior Co-Founder." As a lonely technical person who lacked business skills, I didn't realize I could fill the void myself. I got business skills from books. I got support from my founder community. And ever since, I felt free! As a full time solo founder, I don't have to rely on anyone anymore :D

Let me know if you have any questions!

Let me know if you'd like an invite to Founders Cafe as well -- Happy to support any female/nonbinary founders 🎉

Sonam's profile thumbnail
@maddiewang I would absolutely love an invite. I was part of the inaugural Kapor Center's iLab accelerator and am thrilled about spaces for female founders to gain support!
maddiewang's profile thumbnail
YES!! I'll send you the invite. Dming you now
Hello my Name is Deborah and I’m a Career Coach and also an Account Manager, I Help intelligent and Innovative Women Bring out the best of their Potentials through Profitable Investment Schemes Where You can earn from as Low as $1500 Daily.........Send me a private message on WhatsApp β€ͺ+1Β (423)Β 825‑9654‬ Let me tell you more
Sonam's profile thumbnail
@teresaman Is this spam?
Ofcourse not
Send me a DM
fredericaboso's profile thumbnail
@maddiewang Thank you so much for sharing your journey! I would like an invite as well. I am in the very early stages of my project and would love to join a community of other founders.
Hello my Name is Deborah and I’m a Career Coach and also an Account Manager, I Help intelligent and Innovative Women Bring out the best of their Potentials through Profitable Investment Schemes Where You can earn from as Low as $1500 Daily.........Send me a private message on WhatsApp β€ͺ+1Β (423)Β 825‑9654‬ Let me tell you more
alinabutina's profile thumbnail
Amazing and congratulations! I’d love an invite!
Hello my Name is Deborah and I’m a Career Coach and also an Account Manager, I Help intelligent and Innovative Women Bring out the best of their Potentials through Profitable Investment Schemes Where You can earn from as Low as $1500 Daily.........Send me a private message on WhatsApp β€ͺ+1Β (423)Β 825‑9654‬ Let me tell you more
laurajuneclarke's profile thumbnail
Congratulations and many thanks for sharing these tips. I'd love an invite as well and be thrilled to connect :)
Hello my Name is Deborah and I’m a Career Coach and also an Account Manager, I Help intelligent and Innovative Women Bring out the best of their Potentials through Profitable Investment Schemes Where You can earn from as Low as $1500 Daily.........Send me a private message on WhatsApp β€ͺ+1Β (423)Β 825‑9654‬ Let me tell you more
carla1's profile thumbnail
I’d love an invite too! I’m a solo start up and want a community to help me figure out how to grow. Thanks!
Hello my Name is Deborah and I’m a Career Coach and also an Account Manager, I Help intelligent and Innovative Women Bring out the best of their Potentials through Profitable Investment Schemes Where You can earn from as Low as $1500 Daily.........Send me a private message on WhatsApp β€ͺ+1Β (423)Β 825‑9654‬ Let me tell you more
yuliaeskin's profile thumbnail
This is such a great idea. I became a founder last year and was kind of OK for a while but this year it really got to me- the lack of external structure, goals, deadlines...I applied to join this community. It sounds really amazing. I miss working along side other people :)
maddiewang's profile thumbnail
Having a hard time navigating all the DMS, and scared a few might slip through the cracks. Feel free to apply on the website https://founderscafe.io since i check it every day
theMashiaTate's profile thumbnail
Wow, this is amazing. I would love this kind of support. Yes, I would like an invite!
karyanayli's profile thumbnail
Congratulations @maddiewang! Yes, I'd like an invite!
Maddie it’s great that you are proud of your Stanford background and I am sure you deserved to be there but calling it out in the very first sentence as a personal identified is a bit too elitist and alienating.