Posts Tagged ‘startups’

Y Combinator has distilled its experiences and insights about how to start a startup into a series of lectures for Stanford University.  Most of the lectures are delivered by people with an impressive track record of hypergrowth in their companies and huge exits under their belt.

I’ve taken notes of the bits that resonated with me, and am sharing these in case they’re useful.  You can find a link to the lecture at the end of this post.


The previous lecture focussed on Idea and Product.  The second lecture is about having the right team and the importance of execution.


  • A startup should ideally have 2 or 3 cofounders – not more and not less.
  • Choose a co-founder as carefully as you would choose an employee.  In YC, the number 1 cause of early death in startups is co-founder conflict. Make sure that the person you choose is relentless resourceful, tough and calm.  That’s more important than them being an expert in a given domain.
  • Decide on an equity split quite early on – don’t let it drag on.  Also, have vesting on equity.


  • Avoid hiring in the early days.  Keep the team as small as possible, even if that means it’s just the co-founders. However, later on, when you’re scaling up, you should learn to hire very quickly.
  • Getting an early hire wrong can be very damaging to a startup.  Mediocre hires during the early phase can kill startups.
  • For early hires, experience may not matter as much as aptitude and belief in what you are doing.  Good communication skills tend to correlate with hires that work out. 


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Fancy going to Dublin but can’t justify a trip purely for pleasure?  Why not take the opportunity to demo your startup, FREE, to a new audience at a Dublin Beta startup demo event on 30th April?  Dublin Beta is a quarterly get-together of founders, developers, designers, students, investors and similar.

I haven’t been along to one of these events but John O’Rourke from the organising team has this to say:

“The event structure takes 12 early stage startups with a something to demo, puts them in the informal setting of a Dublin pub, and lets conversation flow over a few pints. Everyone who’s demoed with us so far has been blown away with the range of tough questions they’ve fielded on the night.  

So far we’ve had two events with over 400 people at each. We’re gearing up for our third on April 30th. Since then the direction has morphed somewhat; we have positioned ourselves as (more…)

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There is still a week left if you would like your web or mobile-based startup to apply to Springboard London, a start-up accelerator programme that offers seed capital, office space, a community of entrepreneurs as well as introductions to investors and mentors.

For 13 weeks you will be put through your paces whilst receiving intensive mentoring and business support.  The programme will culminate in an Investor Day where you’ll get to strut your stuff in front of venture capitalists and angel investors.

2011 saw Springboard support startups such as Tastebuds.fm, a music-taste based dating site, apiary.io which helps companies build web APIs quickly and (more…)

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StartupCafe is a fun and happy place to go to find out about other startups in the scene so that when you encounter folk at coffee mornings, tech meetups, networking evenings, presentations or even the local pub, you might recognise your fellow entrepreneurs (aspiring or otherwise) and feel a connection!

Yes we like to offer news and opinion and generally have a chat on the site but we like to give startups a place to shout their successes, share their lessons, discover what their peers are up to and feel like they belong to a welcoming, funny, supportive, quirky little community.

Are you an Edin based startup?  Let folk know who you are!  Let them know what you do!  Let them recognise you and support you with cheery words of wisdom or a free beer 🙂 (more…)

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Here at StartupCafe we know how difficult it is for startup founders to find love. We know the score. You work all day and all night getting your MVP ready; you have to spend time surveying and talking to potential users; you have to spend ages refining your pitch, and you have get land those big meetings with investors … when do you even find time to meet anyone? And then when you meet them, how will you explain that you’re a poor startup founder with great potential?

Well worry no more. The StartupCafe team is here to help!

Starting from today, we’re launching StartupDating!

StartupDating is a dating site for startup founders. As well as matching physical attributes, StartupDating allows you to find your perfect match by determining the usefulness and value they can bring to your career as an entrepreneur! In finding a perfect match, the site will take into account what skills they have, how much money they’ve raised before, how much local knowledge they have in a particular country, how many twitter followers they have and which well-known VCs they have a personal connection with. Gone are the days in which personality, hobbies and physical attributes are online dating’s limiting factors.

When asked about the StartupDating revolution, (more…)

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Launchpad is a startup incubation programme which culminated in an event last week hosted at Google’s London office where the three teams that survived the four month mentoring programme gave presentations to a roomful of mentors, startups, investors and other interested parties.

The programme was run by Launch48 who did not take a stake in the businesses. There were originally 4 teams but only 3 made it to the end.  The criteria for acceptance into the programme were: talented teams who were technically capable, would benefit from the program, had a product under development and who had an understanding of their market.

Several mentoring sessions were held over four months, each focussing on a particular area: mentoring, marketing, legal review, branding, sales, investment, and term sheet review.  These sessions were mentored by folk from the likes of Microsoft, Google and Dennis Publishing. (more…)

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Office SpaceAbout the author: Rob Clymo writes on behalf of www.officegenie.co.uk, the UK’s first proper online marketplace for desk space and shared office space.

Starting up a new business involves sorting out all manner of priorities, not least of which is finding office space where you can run the operation. Of course, many start-ups don’t require an awful lot of office space, and individuals are probably happy working from home initially. (more…)

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Planning to bring onboard investment for the first time? Want to be more confident with your approach? Alba Innovation Centre is running an event to help you learn the ropes of engaging investors so you can knock their socks off. Don’t forget “Pitch Doctor” Bill Joos is also presenting on 23rd February at E-Club (details here), so you can be an investor engagement ninja by the end of the month. Thanks very much to Ian Stevenson for sending this event our way!


Are you the Founder/MD/CEO of an early stage technology company planning to raise equity finance in the foreseeable future? If so, this seminar will provide you with valuable tips and guidance on crucial aspects of initial investor engagement: (more…)

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Hi folks

Remember how a few months ago Silicon Valley’s own Valley Girl came to town?

Well, now the results are back. You can watch Edinburgh’s own on the infamous Valley Girl show. At the moment, you can check out (links go straight to video):

There’s definitely more to come, so stay tuned!

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Andrew Scott from Rummble gave an amusing talk at a recent event aimed at entrepreneurial folk interested in mobile and tablet technologies.  He talked about the DIRTY DOZEN – the name he’s given to mistakes he has made – and offered some advice to those wanting to develop mobile apps.

Depending on your perspective, Rummble is Andrew’s 5th or 6th startup so he’s got plenty of experience to share!

Here is what he had to say:

  1. Don’t choose a cr*p name – Scott once chose Playtex, which seems ok but in the UK it’s known for bras and the USA it is known for sanitary products…!
  2. Build amazingly on one platform – then you can go to a VC and say ‘gimme £3million to do this awesome thing on everything else’ 🙂 (more…)

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