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 🎉