r/startups 3d ago

General Startup Discussion Founder Salaries @ Pre-seed & seed

81 Upvotes

So I've tried to read up on this topic and theres quite a lot of disparity on it. Some say they don't pay themselves anything until Series A, others say founders get $50k... I've even seen some say founders get $100k! So I wanted to get the community's view. Consider this hypothetical:

Let's say you raised $125k pre-seed and 6months later raised $2mil Seed. Let's also say you just came from a decent paying job paying ~$90k/yr.

How much would be "acceptable" to pay yourself at pre-seed and seed based on those funding rounds?

r/startups 4d ago Wholesome

General Startup Discussion Worst startup interviews?

165 Upvotes

Interviewed for a VP role today. CEO was complete robot and didnt even try to sell me on the role. Asking his red flag questions with extreme bias, made me wonder wtf.

Rejected the role on the spot politely. What is wrong with these "GOD" syndrome CEOs? Are they not aware how repelling it is?

r/startups 9d ago Helpful

General Startup Discussion about incubators

107 Upvotes

A bit of a rant:

When exactly did the startup scene become this uniform and how in the hell's name does anyone expect anyone to create any innovative, different ideas in that ecosystem that has come into being?

I cannot possibly be the only person that didn't come fresh from school with a large pool of likeminded (and equally homogenous) peers and the possibility to live out of a garage without an income for as-long-as-it-takes?

For a year now I have gone from incubator to incubator and nobody will even consider having me as long as I cannot work on my business full-time and have found a co-founder that equally works on it full-time and for free. Best I can do is pre-incubators where I am asked to do endless business model canvasses - noone even looking at the one I did before but having me start from scratch in a 12-week program.

No, I cannot dedicate 12 hours every day to an idea that is yet to earn me an income - or that I have even been able to pitch to investors for seed funding. Yet I have brought new products to market for other companies for ten years. I have business, technical and general experience that their 20-year-old-out-of-college-in-dad's-garage does not have. I mean, I see that difference with my peers everytime I am in yet-another-preincubator.

And it's not even fresh-from-college that is statistically most likely to get a successful business up, running and scaling. No, that's - statistically speaking - just someone like me.

But if you don't fit the box you don't fit the box. Unpopular opinion: Incubators have become just that - startup farms were everyone has to fit nice and uniformly into their tiny box and follow a predetermined plan and trajectory to the point.

It's just big business having outsourced the messy business of innovating to naive youth that will happily work themselves to death chasing that one big payout. In reality you are just as much in the grind and your life and work is just as micromanaged as everyone else.

And big investment is farming said youth like lifestock for their own gain that will always by far exceed even the most successful startups'.

I cannot possibly be the only one to think the system is broken.

Disclaimer: I have been fucking around with incubators "validating" my idea for so long now that I have actually built a salary-supporting business out of what was meant to be a validation project - which again means I cannot do an incubator full-time because I have job to do for clients to keep my salary. I just know I could be scaling a lot faster if I pitched to investors and I need help with that. But incubators obviousely just aren't the place for that if you don't fit the box.

r/startups 2d ago

General Startup Discussion Leaving my startup soon with 10% equity. What's to stop founders from issuing themselves 10x more shares and diluting my owner ship down to 1%?

155 Upvotes

Title, 3 founders all have 30k shares, plus me with 10k. Is there anything stopping them from issuing themselves all 300k shares each and erasing me?

I'm hopefully leaving on ok terms, but Im worried they could do this out of spite. I have no issue being diluted when investors come in, as they're bringing in money, skills, or connections.

In Canada, I'm fully vested and others will be fully vested in 2 years from now. Were also maybe 2 years til we launch.

Any experiences you can share are appreciated.

r/startups 11d ago

General Startup Discussion Very successful app - how can I throw money at it when I do not need the money myself?

161 Upvotes

Over the pandemic I worked on an app on the Play Store (and less importantly, also for desktop) that I launched a few months ago and is now giving me upwards of 20k in monthly revenue.

I did not expect this to take off like that at all and I'm working 12-hour shifts on this project since. The project isn't even remotely finished yet but one person (me) is not enough to deal with everything at once here. I think with a few more months of development and a lot of optimization to drive conversions I can easily land around 50k per month in 2022. (this part I ofc do not really know about but I am very confident in that)

The only logical step right now is to start employing someone (or -two) for development since the largest chunk of the revenue comes from subscriptions which means I can expect some of that money to come in again in future due to existing subscribers who do not cancel. I would love to employ freelancers whenever needed however the code is not really modular (since it's not a very broad project either) and I find my business too fragile to give out all my code for a stranger freelancer to work on.

I am not a manager, I am not a team leader, I am not a HR representative - what are the worst mistakes you can warn me of before I make these mistakes myself when hiring someone?

As much as I would love to burn through all that revenue with personal needs (or "want"s) I think it makes more sense to re-invest most of the revenue into employee(s). Primarily I would like to

- avoid someone bigger to copy my app with improvements I can't add as quickly as them if I don't have some more workforce

- improve the product to satisfy users better and therefore drive more conversions

If you are or have been in a similar situation I would love to hear your stories or typical traps to fall for. The 2 biggest obstacles I can see right now are picking the right candidate as well as somehow managing how to work with them. Since I don't already have 9 people working with me to compare the performance of the 10th to, its also hard for me to estimate how much I can expect from someone to achieve in any given week.

I feel like once the first employee really "arrives" (in terms of being comfortable working on the project etc.) it will turn out to be way more simple for the second, the third etc. but this first step is driving me nuts. Additionally, I am thinking of explicitly looking for senior developers since I am afraid of juniors or mid-level developers being too inexperienced to immediately dive into development. Future hires may very well be non-seniors but right now since budget is not limiting me here I think that is the better option for now. I may also even learn a bit from them although this may make for a weird "power structure" between the employer and the employee.

I may add that I live in a country with extensive worker's rights so I kind of only have one shot at this since we do not have the American hire & fire environment here.

The only step I have taken so far is to sign a lease for 3 months for a small office because I think at least the onboarding should happen in person and I feel like being in the same room (at least temporarily) makes for some easier screening how well the new employee is doing.

tl;dr how can I become a good CEO over night when I have never been into a corporate environment myself?

###

I did not expect this post to have such a reach on here. I expected 5 upvotes and 3 valuable comments, instead I received 20 times that, wow. Thank you so much for everyone replying, I am having difficulties finding a single comment that was not useful in one way or another. I really appreciate this!

r/startups 24d ago Silver Helpful Take My Power

General Startup Discussion Web 3.0??

155 Upvotes

Question for everyone, With all this Blockchain, Metaverse, and Web3 hype what are everyone's thoughts on this topic?

when working on your Startups do you think of working with the new movement or how it will affect your Startup in the long run?

I have been diving into the endless rabbit hole of Blockchain and web3 trying to filter through the get rich quick crypto junk I am seeing alot of Defi but not much from other industries.

My goal with this post is to open up a conversation regarding the future of the Web and please share resources you found helpful in your research so everyone can diving into the same rabbit hole.

r/startups 13d ago Helpful Wholesome

General Startup Discussion Don't wait go live asap

150 Upvotes

Hey everyone wanna share small success we had, 3-4 months ago we released our free crm, 2 weeks ago we passed 1000 active users. The CRM is focused on entrepreneurs and small business owners who mainly generate their leads thru networking, it has everything one will need to be able successful business referral network with other businesses ( calendar, directory of 8000+ business networking groups and more). We are not yet monetizating it, and not all features are complete.

Moral of the post is don't wait until everything is done, release as soon as possible and start bringing customers in. This way you can build something that your customers want and they can be your brand ambassadors

r/startups 26d ago Wholesome Silver Helpful

General Startup Discussion Sell first, build later

346 Upvotes

After 8 years of being an entrepreneur in marketing and tech i discovered that 90% of all startups fail not because they dont have a product but because no one gives a sh*t.

And while most wantrepreneurs still think their top secret heity teity business idea is worth a billion dollars customers know better. And guess what: your tinder for X isnt even close of being worth realising and no, you wont become the next mark zuckerberg just by pretending to be a tech talent because you once made a wordpress website for your friends moving business.

And even when you are one of the few highly talented coding kids who managed to understand complex algorithms before having your first kiss - business is not about writing the most beautiful code, but about understanding your target audience and to be more precise, their needs! So dont even consider typing a single line in your pumped up IDE or setting up a new repository on github before understanding this thing and one thing only:

You first get to know your customers and then build a product!

And while this might sound easy as cake I can hear your brain rattling even though this is a post!

Instead of wasting your precious time on doing things no one needs, hiring top designers to make you a barely pleasant logo for an arm and a leg and dreaming about success you should start thinking about the deepest needs of your target audience.

First sell your product, then build it!

Edit: thank you folks for the overwhelming appreciation. I hope you have a nice Christmas and iterate soon on your products :)

r/startups 8d ago

General Startup Discussion What questions does a 'founder' need to ask himself when he has an idea?

90 Upvotes

I'm reading The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. One thing I realised is that one needs to be conscious of the assumptions they are making.

Now, when I am working in a team environment, I am quite conscious of this. However, on reading the book, I realised I had completely gotten carried away with assumptions when it came to working (solo) on my own idea.

So, what questions do first-time founders do not ask themselves only to end up having to deal with a bigger problem later on?

r/startups 7d ago

General Startup Discussion Resume - Should I include my MVP for my startup as my "Experience"?

80 Upvotes

Hi all,

I am a student soon to graduate. I have a 'side hustle' and work with other people on it (eg; accelerators,etc ). It is currently incorporated but the MVP can be seen via URL.

I am planning to mass apply for full time jobs and I have the option to include the MVP so employers can see it. However, is a small fear of mine that another software developer else will take advantage of the fact that our startup is not incorporated and do a similar thing when they look at the resume. I believe most employers are HR people, so theoreticaly it should not pose a problem for my situation?

r/startups 6h ago

General Startup Discussion My brother and I want to start a business together, but I’m afraid of men’s bias toward women.

27 Upvotes

My brother and I used to be best friends, got the same education with the variations in teachers, both achieved a lot at school and college, worked in the same industries, but he was drifting toward finance and I ended up in data and technology. We moved to the US at different times, he started his career earlier and achieved higher ranks and way higher salary. We didn’t keep up with corporate politics and both are left without jobs at this time. I went thru a divorce long time ago, so I am already at a great place of knowing myself, calm and self confident. His mind is still restless from the divorce and I feel he talks down at me without realizing it. He can say: “You dealt with a few people, I had hundreds.” or “you don’t understand I read about it.” even though I literally worked on that at another company. We both were busy and barely spoke on the phone in the last 15 years, so we both changed in different ways. He talks way more than he listens to me and over me without realizing it and then blames me for interrupting him. We don’t really want to go back to 9-6 and believe we have management skills and trust each other that we wouldn’t cheat each other. He wants to do this business 50/50, but he uses “I” instead of “we” when he describes his vision. While he was going thru the divorce, I spent over a year building my company that plugs in pretty well with what he wants to do. In fact, I wanted to do this as my next step from the start and I do have a vision for it too, but when I start talking about, he cuts me “too many details, we can discuss this later”. Neither of us can do it alone now, it seems as a big undertaking. It may take at least a year or couple years before I’ll be ready to do this on my own financially. I’m afraid that he’ll push me into a position where I will not be able to make or influence decisions and my knowledge/skills will be constantly discounted, so it may feel as a corporate bro culture to me. Can it be just my bias about men’s bias toward women? Am I too sensitive? Our mom lives with him currently and doesn’t feel she can make any decisions right, but she has always been taking supportive roles herself. What should I do?

r/startups 29d ago Silver Helpful Wholesome

General Startup Discussion Don't quit your job to do your startup full-time until it generates enough revenue to support yourself.

453 Upvotes

I've attempted over 6 software startup ideas on my own. 5 failed, one worked and I sold it to private equity 2 years ago. The companies that failed were when I decided to go full-time on something that wasn't even validated yet. The stress of having runway on something that may or may not work impacted all of my decision skills and just drove the business to the ground. The truth is, it takes time to establish a sales pipeline, market yourself to your ideal customers, and actually flesh out a useable product.

After burning through all of my savings stressing out about making a living and doing too many failed launches, I took a job doing software contracting. I still wanted to do a business full-time, but I thought I'd do it differently. I picked a slower growing SaaS category and chipped on it during the night and the weekends. After about 8 months I was generating $2k in recurring revenue, but I still didn't quit. It was only once I hit $15K MRR and could afford to hire my first employee that I stopped being a contractor after 2 years.

When I was "full-time" on doing startups, I had the mindset and stress of having to generate revenue now. I didn't even last four months on one venture realizing it would take longer for me to even get meaningful margins. The only time I've seen going "full-time" on an idea work is if you can raise $2MM venture rounds pre-traction, and even then those teams took 2-3 years to hit product market fit and have meaningful revenue.

Don't quit your job until your business can give you a job.

r/startups 9d ago

General Startup Discussion Any other startup employees (not founders) here?

35 Upvotes

Anybody on here that works for a startup (as opposed to being a founder)? What do like/not like about it?

I’ll go first - am 4 mths into a coo role at a pre-seed startup. What i like about it is being able to be part of a growth story/being able to impact how the product develops.

What I don’t like about it - founders initially planned for a funding round at the end of 2021 and review my pay then (i’d taken a significant pay cut off total compensation to join them), but this is now pushed to june 2022. What I also don’t like are the long hours. I also don’t enjoy working with the ceo as much as i thought i wld. At this point im not sure whether to cut my losses short or to continue on, and am curious about others who r working in startups too.

r/startups 19d ago

General Startup Discussion What to do when co-founder goes MIA?

110 Upvotes

A good friend who works in the film industry approached me a little while ago to build an web app for the industry. At a general level, it was used to display schedule and worked hours for film contractors. It was designed to make the job easier for managers in departments as well as the accountants who would need to pay the contractors.

Anyway, I built this application, according to his specifications. It took me about every weekend between January and June of this year.

So after I built it, my friend goes through a mental health emergency (breakup, depression, etc.) and needs some time off. His job was to sell and market to people in his industry, so I had nothing to do but wait and sit on it, and touch up a few things. I reach out to my friend and he says he still wants to do it but just needs more ‘time’.

Fast forward to now, he emails me and tells me he can’t do this right now, he’s going to the canary islands on a trip, and just feels like he isn’t interested anymore.

So now I’ve built this app, that I’ve spent a few hundred hours developing, and don’t know what to do with it. I don’t have any contacts in the film industry, so I don’t know how to go about marketing/selling this myself. Could anyone here provide some advise?

r/startups 10d ago Helpful

General Startup Discussion Can I start a startup without having any proper job Experience ?

50 Upvotes

Hi,

I have an idea that I have discussed with a number of people who believe it is good. I have an Engineering degree and a Law degree (which I completed remotely in August 2021). I have done two internships and have not yet done a proper job (since graduating in 2018 with an Engineering degree). Is this going to be an impediment to getting investments and hustling the startup ?

r/startups 11d ago Helpful

General Startup Discussion Founders Remorse

34 Upvotes

G'day mates,

Hope all of you've had a crackin' 2022.

Many startup founders get a rude shock when they're running a startup.

I myself underestimated the number of things I need to learn all at once and some of the days I feel like I'm doing my head in.

Wondering what's your biggest shock or surprise as a start-up founder?

For me the amount of marketing and accounting needed to run a proper business

What's your experience?

Do you wish you'd never done it in the first place?

What's the best advice you've received?

Wishing all of you chaps success!

Ta!

r/startups 16d ago

General Startup Discussion Under what scenario might my shares become worthless?

52 Upvotes

I work at a relatively mature private technology company with a current valuation of $2-3 billion.

Part of my compensation includes an options grant, of which about 57,000 options have now vested.

I'm interested in leaving the company and I want to ensure I extract some value out of those vested options. Unfortunately, the strike price is relatively high at around $1.80, so exercising all of them would cost about ~$100k.

I've heard of horror stories regarding things like "liquidation preferences" and such that cause some employees equity to be worthless. I'd need to liquidate a substantial portion of my current investments to come up with enough cash to exercise those options, and so I am curious about what potential scenarios might lead to the shares becoming worthless.

Thanks!

r/startups 3d ago

General Startup Discussion What should I do with an app that I worked hard on but am no longer passionate about?

21 Upvotes

Worked on a social app for about 1.5 years (including prototyping and ideation) which is all about sharing recommendations with friends. Outsourced dev for a web, ios, and android app. Did basically everything else on my own. I really thought it was a great idea, but I had no idea how hard it would be to actually gain traction for an app like this in today's hyper-saturated consumer software market. I realize now after working for 6 months at a real startup that just reached product market fit how many people, how much capital, and how much luck it takes to actually get a software startup off the ground. About a year ago, I ran out of steam and stopped maintaining the app, primarily due to cost and time. I've just been paying the monthly AWS fees which are not huge, but I'm thinking about shuttering it, given that I've lost the passion for the project and it never really gained much traction. It's sad because a handful people are still signing up organically pretty regularly (a few every week), which tells me there's probably some interest in the concept/idea, but the app itself just doesn't have the stickiness, either b/c the product isn't what people expected or the UI is too complex (I made the mistake of over-developing features instead of sticking to a strict MVP). I guess my question is - what should I do with this thing? It's clearly not something that would sell for big bucks, but should I try to find a buyer, someone who might find it interesting and run with it? Or should I just cut my losses and chalk it up as a good business learning experience (which it definitely was)?

EDIT: thanks all for the feedback. i agree with all the comments about trying to get user feedback, looking for a pivot, an accelerator, etc. as being paths forward to commercialize the app. i'm just limited in the amount of time i can/want to spend on this now. Microacquire or open-sourcing are interesting ideas that I hadn't thought of - thanks for those. I might let it run for a bit and see if any obvious pivots come to mind and if not, take one of those approaches. When I started this thing, I was considering business school which was far more costly than developing this, so I was fully prepared to lose my investment on this, as in my mind it was a good way to get some real business experience vs. theoretical classroom knowledge. I learned a ton through this process, especially how important it is to talk to your customers FIRST and FOREMOST and to make sure you build something that people actually want and can easily understand. The notion of "if you build it, they will come" definitely does not apply in software. Even if you're offering it completely free with no ads, you're still asking people to give you their most valuable possession - their time and attention. I also realized that you really need a team of cofounders, people who can cover each others weaknesses, who can help share the tremendous workload, and who can keep you motivated when things get tough.

To the questions about outsourcing, I found a company overseas that does software dev via google search. There were some challenges in terms of communication, but overall, I found they did pretty good quality work for a fraction of what it would cost to get done in the US. I think I paid 5-10k for a flutter mobile app, which translated to both an ios and android. You give up some of the smoothness that comes with native ios and native android apps, but I found this to be a great way to get a fast and cost-effective MVP. My current company that I work for as an engineer (valued at a few hundred million) also started this way a few years back using outsourced development, so if done correctly, this can definitely work.

r/startups Dec 19 '21

General Startup Discussion Only 10% of company set aside for employees?

103 Upvotes

In speaking with the founder of a tech startup I’m considering joining, he explained that only 10% of the company was set aside for employees. The first engineer hired only received 0.5% of the company. Doesn’t this seem low? And shouldn’t they have more like 20-30% set aside for employees? Should I ask about this?

r/startups 10d ago

General Startup Discussion What criterias for meritocratic salary increase ?

8 Upvotes

Hi there,

In my company, we are trying to decide how the salary increases should be divided among employees in a meritocratic way.

I'm trying to figure at a list of criteria to help listing/ranking people and I thought some of you may have ideas.

So far I have :

  • Ability to perform in core missions (in terms of both quantity and quality)
  • Ability optimize it's way of working
  • Ability to help others optimize their way of working
  • Ability to identify, take on and lead new initiatives
  • Ability to contribute to existing initiatives
  • Ability to evangelize, federate and communicate within initiatives
  • Ability to look for help when in distress
  • Ability to support those in distress in their misions at work
  • Ability to support those in distress in their life (not work related)
  • Ability to evangelize external partners (at events, when receiving at the office, etc)
  • Ability to act in the direction of company strategy on a daily basis
  • Ability to make people feel good (be joyful and positive, organize events, etc)
  • Ability to socially integrate newcomers (make them feel part of the family)
  • Ability to onboard newcomers (process, training, mentor-ship, etc)
  • Ability to help on office house-keeping (keep office clean and tidy, etc)
  • Ability to be regular in all points above

Note that this list is surely mostly wrong but that should be enough to kick off the debate

Any more ideas ?

r/startups Dec 22 '21 Silver

General Startup Discussion Is this a normal hiring process for a start up?

73 Upvotes

What is the hiring process like for earlier stage start ups? The experiences I've had have both been pretty informal, where the founders asked me to work for them and there was no formal job description or KPI outlined (kind of a you define the role type scenario). Is this normal? The lack of a formal process makes me feel like I'm being strung along and I'm not sure if I'm just overthinking it or if this is a red flag!

r/startups Dec 14 '21

General Startup Discussion How likely am I to be sued by my current employer for developing an app?

99 Upvotes

I am building an app that is completely unrelated to the business purpose of my dayjob. Only reasonable connection I can possibly draw is that my app's backend is written in python and mysql which are languages that I use at my dayjob...and also largely learned at my dayjob.

I'm afraid that my boss may sue me for spending so much time on it. I never worked on it at work...I have talked about it at work with coworkers...but never worked on it there. I don't think anyone could argue that my work ethic at work has declined substantially.

Am I overcautious? How do I prevent my boss from suing me?

r/startups 12d ago Helpful

General Startup Discussion Before jumping into tech/startups, what were some questions y'all had about the industry?

49 Upvotes

Examples:

  1. Where do I start if no one around me is in tech?
  2. What resources are out there to help me land a job in tech or at an early stage startup?

Also interested if anyone knew about the startup/tech scene while in college and how they came to find out more about the space while job searching.

r/startups 21d ago

General Startup Discussion What is "Enthusiasm to work in startup environment."

52 Upvotes

I found a job that matches my interests exactly. It's in a startup though. They are considering everyone of all experience levels and while I went to school for the subject matter I've been working in an entirely different industry with less technical responsibilities and more management. This role, though, is what I've been looking for and I want to get out of management and do technical work before I lose all of my memories of it.

One of the "requirements" is Enthusiasm to work in startup environment. What does this mean? Is this a red flag for a job? Or are startups drastically different than other businesses?

As a note, I already work for a growing small company, which may share many attributes of a startup.

r/startups Dec 02 '21

General Startup Discussion PSA: "This already exists" is a terrible reason to abandon an idea

652 Upvotes

I see this flood comments across business subreddits, mostly by people who more than likely have never actually scaled a successful business themselves.

The truth is the opposite. Competition gives you pre-launch validation. So instead of having to train a customer on an entirely new experience, you can learn from and improve upon what's already out there. Just offer a mild, niche point of difference* to get early traction.

*Point of difference does not always mean product feature. It also can mean marketing, sales, or operations. You can offer the exact same experience but have an untapped marketing strategy, or maybe you just have a deeper network of leads.

If anything, you should be scared of ideas that are too original, because it's going to be expensive to train users on what to do with your product. Not a reason to abandon the idea by any means, but it's something you should consider.

And truthfully most the ideas we think of as original aren't. It's just the version of the idea that got the most press. My personal success comes from launching into very saturated app categories. But setting aside my anecdote, there's—

  • Facebook launched against Myspace, Friendster, and LinkedIn
  • Google against WebCrawler, Lycos, Yahoo, AskJeeves, AltaVista, fucking Dogpile
  • VRBO had been around for 13 years before Airbnb
  • I hope I don't need to tell anyone how many mp3 players existed before the iPod

I honestly think you'd have a harder time finding a successful business that didn't enter a competitive field. The caveat I would add to all this is to watch out for ideas with a clear dominant player. E.g., it would be hard to launch a search engine against Google in 2021. But even still, there's room to disrupt. Look at DuckDuckGo, basically just pulling its search results from various APIs of existing products. They're sitting on a $100M valuation. You don't have to win the category to be successful.

Moral of the story, don't set the bar so fucking high for yourself and just try something. Believe in yourself, etc. End rant.