My Advice for Early Stage Startups

Mistakes From Startups

The mistakes I have seen with our early-stage companies are optimizing the wrong things.  So too often people get too hung up on specific terms in a term sheet.  Determine what is most important and really play the long game.  There might be a difference in evaluation when you are taking an early investment but there might be other details or parts of a deal that are much more important than the initial evaluation if you are a founder or if you are an investor.  People get caught up in the wrong metrics or the wrong things that don’t matter as much in the long term.

What Accelerators can do for Startups

On the accelerator side when it comes to finding investments, we do a global survey of all of our members, we have 85 accelerator members in our network and that represents about 1200 new startup deals every year.  Last year overwhelmingly investments came through introductions, mainly through the community.  Introductions of who is the investor, who is the accelerator managing director, who do they trust?  They are going to trust the people around them or other portfolio companies that they respect in other founders or other entrepreneurs that are at a certain level, they are going to respect their opinion over any cold emails.  If you are a founder you have to optimize your time because that is one of the most precious resources you have because you obviously don’t have money if you are looking for it.  Finding the right partner that can help you raise your next round should be the founder’s focus.

My Final Advice

Never stop learning.  Learning means both learning about your trade and what you are doing with your business and also learning by meeting people.   If you are not at the place you want to be now, go find five people who are at the place where you see yourself or you want to be and to learn.  What did they do to get there?  Not that you are going to go on that path but there are plenty of things to keep learning in life and learn from other people.  A lot of people have been in the same place you have in the past, learn how did they get to where they are at if that is where you want to be.

Marty Bauer
Marty Bauer

Marty is not your typical Managing Director. Although he used to weigh 300 pounds and make crying babies of Division I defensive linemen, he is now a gentle-hearted husband to his wife, Sarah, father to his pooch, Shakey, and fearless leader of the startup company Ridepost. His superhuman abilities allow him to also serve as the head of all things Accelerator at The Iron Yard. He is learning the art of the home brew, and is an avid fly-fisherman.

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