You can troll all day on the internet for tips and tricks on what you should and shouldn’t do as a first time entrepreneur. Maybe it’s not your first time, but you’re still figuring things out. Either way, here’s one more that you probably already know (deep within your heart, maybe?).
Archives For entrepreneurship
“Expense reports that don’t suck!”
People often chuckle when they hear our tagline – it’s memorable, it’s catchy, and it captures a feeling that they’ve probably experienced before. As an occasional advisor to growing startups, I often get questions about product branding during our early days. Where did our tagline come from? How did we decide on this one? Here are three quick points to consider: Continue Reading…
Every year, I spend 1-2 months overseas, with probably a trip every month in between. In the last four weeks alone, I spoke at conferences in Norway and Tunisia, before heading to Portugal with the team for our 2014 Offshore. Currently, I’m writing this on a 30-hour journey from Portugal to SFO — which due to the miracle of timezones, happens in a mere 16 hours.
With all this movement, you can say that I’ve had my fair share of both delightful and horrifying experiences in business travel. Along the way, I’ve developed some core nuggets of knowledge that I live by, and I’m passing them along to the next travel-savvy entrepreneur (aka YOU). Continue Reading…
A mobile app is a necessity for any company trying to make it in the big league. At Expensify, we’ve built apps for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone – and even had a Palm Pre app too, when it mattered.
Compared to mobile web usage, mobile app browsing time has increased by 6% from 2013 to 2014. It’s no wonder that companies are vying for a mobile user’s attention by building a native app. Developing a mobile app isn’t easy, but avoiding these three common misconceptions can drastically increase your reach and adaptability. Continue Reading…
Invited to speak at this year’s AlwaysOn OnMobile event, David Barrett, CEO of Expensify, took a somewhat non-traditional approach to talking with the crowd. While others part of the CEO showcase stood up to show off the latest tools built by their engineers or to offer predictions for the future, David took a step back to reflect on the past and growing trend of employee empowerment.
Instead of pitching the app to a crowd of rapt listeners, because “we’ll sign up more people today through natural or viral methods than there are people in this room,” David instead presented his views on the consumerization of I.T. and how this trend has allowed Expensify to grow and prosper. In keeping with being a disruptor, the talk progressed to focus on what this means for larger, established companies and how fledgling start ups could adapt to build their own, cost free, sales force inside of the organizations they want to attract.
Wow, quite a response on the “Expense Reports That Don’t Suck Is the TC50 DemoPit worth it?” blog post! Here are some other questions I’ve received in followup emails; feel free to send more to firstname.lastname@example.org:
Do I really need a partner, or can I do it all myself?
Answer: Yes, one-man-shows are fine. If you can arrange it, I do suggest bringing a partner to help demo. But it’s not crucial.
Must I do a live demo, or can I show a video?
Answer: Definitely do not show a video. People will assume your product doesn’t actually exist and will ignore you even more. People go to conferences to see the real deal, live. They can go to your website if they want to see a video.
Should I bring a big sign?
Answer: They’ll give you a sign with your company name. Some people bring others, but I don’t think I’d recommend it. The DemoPit is about startups. Anybody who rolls in with fancy signs feels out of place — it seems a bit pretentious to have some big huge thing when you’re just one dude with a laptop bootstrapping a startup. As an investor I’d really question your ability to spend wisely. Same goes for fancy printouts and trinkets — people are overwhelmed with junk at conferences, I’m not convinced any of it really has lasting value, and I suspect all of it is more damaging than helpful.
After the conference, how do I actually go out and raise money?
Answer: In general, it works like this:
- Get a list of everybody you know who has money, or knows people who have money. Ideally this list would be seeded with the contacts you meet at TC50.
- Pitch them all on the startup, focusing on three questions: “What do you think of the product?”, “How much would you be interested in investing?”, “Who else should I talk to? (Ask for an email introduction.)”
- Keep adding to your list until the sum of all the soft commitments exceeds the amount you want to raise by some healthy margin.
- Contact the person who is offering to put in the most money — this is the “lead investor”. This is the person you’ll negotiate the terms with; everybody else will “follow” and just rubber-stamp those terms.
- Ask the lead which of the followers they want in.
- Ask those followers if they’re in for real. Repeat 5-6 until you have a full set of investors.
- Finalize terms with the lead.
- Review terms with the followers.
- Ask everyone to sign.
- Get the money a bit later.
- Celebrate! Then get back to work. 🙂
This one obviously has a lot more detail behind it; if you’re interested in more, please let me know.