My Own TechStars or Ycombinator Like Summer
I was recently watching some of the videos that they created for the end of TechStars Boulder that were posted on Brad Feld’s blog. As I watched the various founders on the videos, I came to an interesting realization. My summer had been very similar to there summer. I basically created my own little TechStars summer and built a company just like them.
I started out on April 1st when I quit my day job to work on Giving Sports and Giving Square full time. It was a big move for me, but very exciting. Similar to TechStars or Ycombinator, my goal was to relatively quickly (months) create a website and launch it. August 3rd I officially launched Giving Sports achieving that part of the goal. Woot!
Now I’m just entering the second stage of the process where I start building up the customer base and iterating the product over and over. It’s very exciting as I’m just finalizing the details with a number of organizations that plan to use the websites and I’m talking with a dozen more organizations.
Of course, my experience in some ways was quite different than those at TechStars. First, I didn’t have all the mentor ship that they received in the program. However, in some respects I feel like I have some of the same mentors. The blogs (Fred Wilson, Brad Feld and Mark Suster are some favorites), websites, videos, etc that are out there on internet startup companies are tremendous. Twitter and my Feed Reader have been pretty amazing mentors for me.
No doubt I didn’t have the same type of exposure that they have had. Nor did I want some of the exposure they get for my product. While I’d love exposure to the tech crowd, those aren’t my customers. So, it would be little more than stroking my ego to get coverage from the various tech outlets that cover internet startups.
I also haven’t paraded in front of investors for my website either. I’ve certainly built a number of relationships with investors this summer, but there’s something beautiful about bootstrapping the startup. As I grow I may change my mind on this, but for now bootstrapping is beautiful.
I guess I’m just struck by the power of the internet. First, to be able to build a product (website) in such a short period of time. Second, how it provides amazing access to resources that were never available before. Third, that some little guy like myself in Las Vegas could create his own summer TechStars/Ycombinator experience is just awesome!
Now it’s time to make sure I get the same type of results out of my company as those companies have achieved.