fbpx
Connect with us

Startup Central

Is Launching a Start-up Worth it? A Tech Expert Weighs In

Published

on

tablet black cup and lens on a table

If you’re a young, savvy entrepreneur who may be pondering, “Is launching a start-up worth it?” Then, Ben Lamm, a tech startup expert, has some things to confess. 

Most of us like to dream about the allure of a start-up. The big ideas, creative collaborations, and ending mindset draw many fans into the promise of success. And who can blame us? The most successful companies today were built on the backs of entrepreneurs who dreamed big but started small. Apple, Uber, and Twitter were all start-ups once. And if they can make it, then maybe so can we – right?

But behind the curtains, most of us don’t know how hard it is to start a start-up. For one, there are a lot of hidden pros and cons of working in a start-up. Even Lamm, a start-up unicorn who has made building start-ups his full-time career, says there’s a lot more to the industry than meets the eye. 

Five start-ups and counting 

So, exactly how hard is it to start a startup? 

In an interview with CNBC Make It, Lamm says he thinks he cries more than the average person. Like many others hustling in the  industry, his success relies on his ability to work long hours. It’s a testament to how he has had the time to launch six start-ups over the last few years. 

Over the last twenty years, the 40-year-old Lamm has built and sold several tech startups. His portfolio includes the AI-powered Hypergiant, the e-learning company Simply Interactive, the online gaming company Team Chaos, and a conversational intelligence company named Conversable. He is currently working on Colossal Biosciences, a company aiming to disrupt the biotech scene with its gene-editing techniques. 

But Lamm says that his job is often glorified by the media, which isn’t entirely false. 

On long hours and lack of sleep

For starters, there’s a lot of pressure for start-ups to succeed. Is launching a start-up worth it? Maybe not if you value your sanity. Most start-ups fail, whether from lack of funding or because of reckless business decisions; not everyone succeeds. Because of this, there’s a lot of pressure to grind and grind to get the business going. 

Lamm says that building a start-up often requires entrepreneurs to work and travel over 200 days a year. There are moments of pure exhaustion and endless anxiety. It also involves a lot of personal sacrifices. Unlike a regular 9 to 5, start-up builders don’t have the leisure to spend a lot of time with family. 

It can also be incredibly hard to disconnect work from daily life. In fact, Lamm says to be a successful start-up builder is to be blessed with the “right mix of dysfunctional traits.” It’s also a psychologically exhausting journey. You’ll work extremely hard on an idea and get rejected by investors, partners, and even close people in your life.  

Lamm says the pandemic has forced him to take a step back from his usual routine. Because of his decreased travel schedule, he has forced himself to take more vacations. Apart from this, he has also made serious commitments to disconnect by limiting his time to check on emails and messages.

De-glamorizing start-ups

Lamm has been an outspoken critic of the prevalence of burnout in the start-up industry. Despite his extensive work portfolio, Lamm is not shy to open up about the serious psychological setbacks of having to compete in the rat race. 

Given Lamm’s confessions, the question remains – is launching a start-up worth it? In the end, it’s up to the person in question if they will make it worth it or not. And to hit the sweet spot, it’s all about setting your priorities and knowing from the get-go what your non-negotiables are and what aspects are open for compromise.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Startup Central

Why Having an Advisory Board Could Make or Break Your Startup

Published

on

people talking

Facing severe challenges when establishing your startup could be an inevitable route. You won’t have any way to go past the challenge without going through it. And new entrepreneurs could rack their brains thinking of the best solution but will end up futile. This is why every venture would need a startup advisory board to help fill the gaps in knowledge and experience.

Here’s why a startup advisory board is vital and how to choose the right people. 

What is an advisory board?

In a nutshell, an advisory board acts as your business mentor. These people are highly experienced and knowledgeable in business, which will immensely enhance how you operate the business. 

By giving you business advice, you will have guidance in the following aspects:

  • Inviting more investors
  • Creating a compelling company culture
  • Establishing growth techniques
  • Attracting the right talents
  • Retaining the right employees
  • Planning and executing your exit strategy when all else fails

An entrepreneur’s relationship with the advisory board representatives is often informal and personal. This means communication is done via video chat, email, or text.

Why an advisory board is vital

Some entrepreneurs take an advisory board lightly due to the costs. But is it worth paying these individuals? Here are the benefits of having an advisory board:

  • They can fill knowledge gaps that will enhance your performance as the CEO of your startup
  • They will add credibility to your startup and boost trust among customers and investors
  • They give you business advice that you might never think of due to a lack of experience 
  • You’ll become trustworthy in the eyes of external and internal stakeholders

How to choose the right members for your advisory board

Selecting the right members for your advisory board is crucial as you need people to add value to your business. Here’s how:

1. Assess your knowledge and neds

It’s crucial to determine why you’re choosing an advisory board in the first place. That said, look within yourself to find the right people. Assess your experience, knowledge, and needs. For instance, if you need someone knowledgeable about finding funding, choose someone with connections with investors. 

2. Take advantage of personal relationships

The purpose of a business mentor is to have someone you can turn to when you need them the most. They act as your confidant and trusted ally. If you already have someone in your circle whom you think can add value to your business, see if you can leverage that relationship. 

3. Do your due diligence

As responsible entrepreneurs, it’s your job to screen candidates thoroughly. Do your due diligence and perform background checks on each candidate. Do they have a proven track record? Have they garnered some positive testimonials from previous clients? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Do they have advocacies or different principles that might cloud their judgment? By aligning your values and beliefs, ensure that the candidate is the right fit. 

4. Attend entrepreneurial events

Another way to find like-minded individuals is to attend business events and conferences. These are some occasions when business-minded people come together to share ideas and experiences. It’s also an excellent way to meet others who can potentially be your business mentor. 

Conclusion

A startup advisory board is essential to your business, especially if you’re still learning the ropes. They add value to your company and improve the overall performance and operation, provided that you nurture these relationships. 

Continue Reading

Startup Central

How the Shift in Startup Valuation Can Pose Financing Problems

Published

on

person looking stressed out

If you’ve been reading up on startup valuation, you might have heard the line, “valuation is an art, not a science.” After all, investors consider how the business faired in the past and how it’s projected to perform. Not to mention, factors like market position, team, tech, and so many others also come into play.

However, with a new emphasis on growth valuation, businesses have been valued based on their growth potential instead of their financials or brand recognition. And this has caused major problems for startups and VCs alike.

What’s the problem with startup funding?

Startups are at their best when scaling quickly and generating large amounts of revenue. They can only do this for so long before they need to start thinking about expansion.

This is where growth capital comes into play. Growth investors are committed to helping a company grow its business and scale quickly if they are involved in financing a startup. In return, they are looking for high returns on their investments. This allows startups to hire employees, pay rent, buy materials, and buy new equipment while growing their businesses.

They may be unable to do this with their funds because they have limited experience or budget. They may not have the option to go public or sell equity to investors to raise capital either.

Jacked up startup valuation in 2021

As the economy recovered from the onset of the coronavirus disease pandemic in 2020, 2021 was a breath of fresh air for players in the economy.

For the first time, many were ready to move on and fuel up various industries that stood still in 2020. According to TechCrunch, this resulted in free-flowing funding and a rise in startup valuation.

For instance, VC funding almost doubled from $335 billion in 2020 to $643 billion in 2021. In addition, there were 586 new unicorns in 2021 compared to 167 in 2020. Though the funding seems awesome for founders, it could spell disaster in the long run.

For instance, the once-inflated startup valuation can be a big problem with 2022’s geopolitical issues, inflation rates, and normalizing tech conditions.

How VCs can help solve the problem

Venture capitalists are adapting to the changing landscape of funding for startups. They are now looking for earlier-stage investments that are more focused on a company’s growth potential. The new standard for valuing companies is based on their ability to generate revenue and grow their business.

VCs are now looking for companies with proven growth models, strong customer traction, and strong sales teams. This is a change in the investment approach. They used to only look for the best possible financial return on their investments. Now they are looking for promising growth companies that can generate revenue and achieve massive growth. This new standard for valuing companies is based on the ability of the company to grow.

Evolving investor expectations and the future of funding for startups

VCs now expect startups to be more liquid. This means they will need to be able to raise large amounts of capital from the public markets at any time. This is a significant shift in the investment approach. VCs used to only look for the best possible financial return on their investments. Now they are looking for promising growth companies that can generate revenue and achieve massive growth.

The public markets may not be able to provide the liquidity these companies need. This means venture capitalists must step in to provide liquidity for their portfolio companies.

In the end, it’s all about investors now looking to fund startups that can withstand the test of time. After all, it’s not about the art of seeing the startup’s potential anymore; it’s more on the science of what it has actually done before.

And for other stories, read more here at Owner’s Mag!

Continue Reading

Startup Central

The Youngest Billionaire On The Forbes List Creates Scale AI Platform Used By Big Companies Worldwide

Published

on

alexandr wang

A 25-year-old Asian-American MIT dropout gives Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos a run for their money through his Scale AI platform. This platform aims to accelerate the advancement of AI applications and is used by PayPal, Toyota, General Motors, and other big American companies. And his name is Alexandr Wang.

Wang founded the software with fellow tech geek Lucy Guo. He is a 25-year-old self-made billionaire making waves in the tech industry. So what exactly is Scale AI, and how did this young entrepreneur and founder make it to the Forbes list of billionaires? Let’s dig deeper. 

Who is Alexandr Wang?

Alexandr Wang is a college dropout that started tinkering with tech and coding at a young age. The young tech genius claims that he got it from his parents, both physicists by profession. Hailing from New Mexico, his parents worked on American military projects, as per Prestige magazine. 

Having acquired some innate intellect, Wang would join math and coding competitions while still in school. The tech whizz nourished his love for coding by gaining new opportunities in his early years after high school. While most high school students think about which university to go to after graduation and their plans for college, Wang worked for Quora full time by the age of 17.

A summer project that turned Wang’s life around

Alexandr Wang started Scale AI with fellow tech whizz Lucy Guo during the summer. He told his mom that it would only be a summer project. However, Wang never went back to school and ventured on to change the world of AI. 

Wang studied Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Computer Science at MIT (Massachusetts Institute for Technology). He dropped out of MIT at the age of 19 and completed his first year at New England University. During that summer, he met up with another tech genius Lucy Guo whom he met while both were working at a category in Quora, the question and answer channel. 

The tandem then invested in the company with the help of Y Combinator, an American startup accelerator. 

Getting funding

In 2021, Wang received millions of funding. Scale AI received the financial backing of around $350 million last year. The platform was already enjoying a revenue of $100 million on top of that funding, which values the company at $7.3 billion. 

Forbes estimates the young entrepreneur’s net worth at $1 billion since the young CEO has a one-percent stake in the company. The esteemed digital magazine also listed Wang as the 2,534th world billionaire on the Forbes list. He also got into Forbes’ 30 under 30 list in 2018, which exhibits the top up-and-coming entrepreneurs, intellects, and thought leaders in different industries. Wang and Guo bagged the spot in the Enterprise Technology category. 

Trusted by big companies worldwide

Scale AI is a platform that helps in the development of AI applications. With so much data that can be aggregated online, Scale AI leverages this data to make the most out of its AI systems. The platform is even helping analyze satellite images of the impact that Russian forces made on Ukraine. 

Since launching, over 300 companies have seen the potential of the platform. The biggest companies using the platform are Lyft, Toyota, PayPal, General Motors, SAP, and the American Military. 

Continue Reading

Trending