How Mattermark is Creating Market Intelligence for the Startup Community

By Poornima Vijayashanker We know that funding is critical for the life of a startup, and founders can opt to bootstrap or raise capital from VCs. Many do both as we saw in episode 8 when I interviewed Melody McCloskey. Then in episode 9, I spoke to Shruti Gandhi, the founding and managing partner at Array VC, a fund that invests in early stage startups. Shruti shared with us the different ways investors can help a company grow, plus tips for dealing ... Read more

How Investors Add Value Beyond the Check

By Poornima Vijayashanker If you’ve been following along with FemgineerTV, you’ll have learned what the investor-founder dynamic is like from the viewpoint of an entrepreneur. In the last episode, I sat down with the CEO & co-founder of StyleSeat, Melody McCloskey, to understand what it takes to raise capital at the various stages of a startup, from Seed to Series A and beyond. In today’s episode, we’re going to get the opposite perspective by diving into an investor’s mindset. We’ll try to understand ... Read more

A Work in Progress

By Poornima Vijayashanker I took the picture above while I was touring the Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona last month. The famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi took over the project in 1883, and transformed it into his own architectural and engineering style. Gaudi continued to work on the church until his death, but to this day the church is incomplete. Many factors have contributed to the delay of its completion such as the Spanish Civil War in the 1950s and finding sources of ... Read more

What It Takes to Raise Capital for Your Startup

By Poornima Vijayashanker You’ve probably noticed the ongoing debate about whether or not we’re in a tech bubble. Headlines are always gushing about the latest companies with billion dollar valuations. There’s a lot of investment capital out there right now, and if you’re a startup founder who hopes to raise money, you might be wondering what it takes to attract some of that capital to you . You have to figure out what to say to attract investors, but here’s the thing: depending on ... Read more

The Art vs Science of User Experience Design

By Poornima Vijayashanker You might have used products that just get the job done. (Think Excel.) They compete with similar products on features, cost, and other mechanics. The problem is, these products become commodities and can lose their users to competition in a heartbeat. Meanwhile, there are standout products that are heralded as works of art. They inspire people and change lives, and consumers stick with these brands for a long time thanks to a glue called love. Most of us want to ... Read more

How to Find Your Other Half: Secrets for a Good Co-Founder Partnership

By Poornima Vijayashanker We all have ideas for features, products, and companies. But we cannot bring them to life alone. Partners and teams help us get out of our echo chambers, see possibilities we’ve never imagined, and put one foot in front of the other when the going gets rough. The best teams are composed of individuals with complementary skill sets, and as we learned back in Episode 4, empathy for one another. But you might be wondering: How does a team form over ... Read more

How to Identify Efforts that Make a Big Impact When Building Software Products

By Poornima Vijayashanker If you’re a technical person, such as an engineer or designer, then your todo list is probably filled with product launches, bug fixes, interviewing candidates, attending meetings, answering emails, and fighting fires. The daily grind can leave you wondering if the work that you do is actually worthwhile and makes a big impact. While it’s easy for people to tell us to work smarter, not harder, the bulk of the work still falls on our shoulders, and it often feels like the ... Read more

How to Close Investors: Stop Pitching and Start Growing Revenue

By Tanya Soman and Poornima Vijayashanker In our previous post we talked about the 3 elements every demo day pitch must have, and the biggest takeaway was to show traction: lead with real success indicators like monthly revenue and revenue growth. And this doesn’t just pertain to demo day. Many investors will say they want to see more traction before they’re ready to invest. You might be thinking, “Well, they just aren’t the right investor. They’re too risk averse!” A lot of founders ... Read more

Trust Your Team or Hire People You Do

By Poornima Vijayashanker A couple months ago I sat down with a startup founder who was also the CEO of the company. He said he felt really overwhelmed and had too much on his plate. So I asked him to list out EVERYTHING that was vying for his attention, including personal tasks. Here is the list he came up with: Hiring a new front-end engineer Hiring a new designer Closing 3 enterprise sales customers Creating a new sales deck to pitch the 3 enterprise sales customers Prospecting 100 new ... Read more

How to Close Checks on Stage: The 3 Elements Every Demo Day Pitch Must Have

By Tanya Soman and Poornima Vijayashanker Most startup founders have one thing in common: they want to raise money for their companies. There’s a lot of anxiety about “the pitch”: How can a founder squeeze their current life’s passion into a 3-minute summary? Will it compel an investor to cut a check? There’s also skepticism: it’s hard to believe that an investor would be willing to write a $50K, $100K, or even $500K check after hearing a 3-minute pitch from a founder. But suspend ... Read more
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