Find an investor for me!

or tell me that I don’t need VC funding.

Please ask your questions, or mention someone, who can help or be interested to chat with me.

I’m totally open person(I failed my previous company and bootstrapping from - for last few years). 0 shame.

I started 2 threads on HN Forum in order to put max of data, that i have.

links:

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You don’t need VC funding. VCs are a time sink, time you could be spending on product. I failed at my first bootstrapped company as well (and zero shame here too!), but then a couple years later, I bootstrapped another company and we ended up getting acquired. It’s totally doable, it’s just the harder road. Well, harder in the sense that you have to be scrappier, which isn’t a bad thing at all. VC-funded companies:

  1. focus their time on getting more VC money
  2. get lazy and complacent
  3. have to answer to VCs (they won’t let you take a piss in a pot without approval)

I think you can absolutely bootstrap the “Food Alliance” project, from what I’ve seen. You’ve put your heart and soul into that project, as far as I can tell, so why give a chunk of that dream project to a VC (and give them liquidation preference – @David can tell you more about that, but essentially, you’re guaranteeing them a return regardless of how much you sell for in the end).

This begs the question: what sort of company do you want? Are you looking for an eventual acquisition or IPO? Or do you want this to be a lifelong effort, a “forever company” that you can pass down to the generations after you? Do you want to make billions of dollars all at once? Or do you want to make thousands (or maybe millions!) per month as a smaller, sustainable business? I don’t think you can answer the VC question until you know what sort of company you want to build.

I have to get back to work now :slight_smile: but I’d be happy to continue the conversation later, whether in this thread, or via DMs. Feel free to ping me! This was a bit of a “hot take”, unedited and uncensored raw thought, but I’d be more than happy to give a more measured response to any questions this raises.

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I like this unsensored and unedited message - Fuck editing!
Thanks for that. will read it carefully and reply later

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@austin

  1. I’m not very communicative person verbally. Not an offline meet up guy that will bother people at coffee break and making “connections” with people that I can benefit from a business perspective.
    It will work only when it will be interesting for me and that person - like exploring some ideas together or gain new experience…

I like to being stuck with code but have small presentation/packing skills. I definitely can do it, but…

  1. I don’t want to incorporate a company in Ukraine. Different reasons why. It’s just hard/unproductive/fearing…

I’m thinking about opening an official company/bank account with local HQ at Estonia, but I don’t think that it’s important right now.

Why? Example: There is a good food crowdfunding platform - PieShell. They warmly welcomed me there. But they use Stripe( Startup Bank is an official service provider for stripe)

And only USA/Ireland is supported there. Or if I decide to make some device and fundraise on Kickstarter - it’s also a problem(it’s solvable, for sure, but why to spend time on it, if it can be done more elegantly)

Incorporating is not reasonable to do right now, because we don’t make an easy to predict recurring profit.
It’s good to make 2-3 grand, that is not necessary to spend on operations and fly to Italy/Europe and apply to some startup accelerators.
Usually, they require to attend meetups offline. Usually, programs take 1-2 month to complete.
I’ll need to live in Lviv in order to be near with EU border and be able to quickly travel to local offline presentations/workshops/pitches/mentorship. I think it’s twice per week travel or 2 days on weekdays.

Maybe I’ll contact my lawyer and she will help me by preparing necessary documents + visa + travel to Lyiv

  • $250 tickets to Estonia
  • $200 visa/passport stuff
  • $300 lawyer consulting + documents

Maybe I should also set up some meetings there, or some investors as well for pitching.

I’m also not sure right now how much my project can cost right now.
And how much money I need to ask from an investor. A few years ago I was making an estimate. I did it because I prepare an offer to my previous client(she has a meal planning startup) to become my angel investor.

I was offering her 20-25% of equity(because I want to be able to make decisions myself) in exchange for quick partial cash that can support the continuous process of our development. I didn’t require a lot of cash right now, actually.

I lover my expectations so much and we don’t need a whole sum right now, immediately.

But some recurring money will be a great way to set up a team(which I actually did without any money)), cover my personal expenses, motivate me and covert basic costs for hosting, paid services, fees, etc.

I think that it was a great deal as well, because:

  • all my first meal startup I got from her project, working as Team Lead, I know her project weak spots.
  • working with me means that I’ll push her own project forward too.

Part of my first moves there was an application, build it with help of Ionic Framework(at that time a cool and quick way to set up an app and use HTML/CSS/JS skill that I have) But she refused. And I understand and accept that. She saw me as an employee at her team.
Not as a business partner that can make strategic decisions and make moves with my responsibility.

Her US residency could also help me to establish a US company. Because it’s easier with her help to build/create/operate a US company if you have a local citizen, that can be as bailsman at banks, local authorities, knows US laws, know nice US lawyers, etc.

As I did an estimate before I have that skill and can do it again.

And I know/can predict expenses for project development, but sales and marketing --> this is my weak spots. I only learning how to do it. But for last years I’m making some progress there as well.

One of the good side, here in Ukraine is a low salary for developers/designers.
For sure, by comparing to US/EU salary expenses level.
So here it can be done much cheaper/fewer finance risks.
But I actually not limited for working with my natives only.

I’m remote work fan, so if I can do code cheaper at some point - by using people from other countries --> it also can be done. I’m ready to do it and not scared of it.

I have a lot of friends from India --> I see promise in making local office there if needed. Because Indians has the same troubles as we have in Ukraine -> they can code but have troubles to sell their skills.

they also more “hungry” I mean there a big difference - $500 in US -> $500 in Ukraine -> $500 in India.
for that amount, I can do more in Ukraine/India.

From that offer(2 years ago in April) I made good moves. So I think our progress increases our value.

  • I start to write articles
  • I form a team
  • I create and promote some of our profiles
  • I finalize our tech stack
  • I’m pivoting with my idea and adjusting things frequently
  • we are very flexible aka agile.
  • our process more visible and crystal clear

the thing that I feel like an accomplishment - I can not code for a few weeks and my team still will be able to make progress, so we overcome skill/experience with small step progress and team input.

Also, our modular approach should give us more visibility and save time quick updates/releases… And I like our code quality. It’s not complex but will be soon.
and it’s extendibility are very important to me.


And

  • I’m more mature right now
  • I don’t have distractions(or support) - I mean I don’t have family/kids/wife or GF.
  • I’m ready to protect my team/company from bad decisions
  • I’m ready to wait
  • But I have some debts. Lol fact, it actually starts to decrease when I don’t work, then it was before.
  • I’m not overworking right now. I mean I can leave my desk and PC if I want to have a break - I’ll do it without hesitation. And I don’t care if it can affect our process in the short term.

I learn it from my partner in the previous company - he always knows
how to keep balance.

  • I can work without a salary or some compensation.

But I also learn in a hard way how is important to pay salary to my team without delays(yeah, it was not clear before :))

  • I’m not a control freak, But I’m also not that fancy startup that motivated by “Social Network movie” and just love to do your own things.

I want and need profit. I mean that sometimes it better not to do anything that doing something weak in terms of ob business.

  • I love steaks, but I can eat rice for months if needed

looks like I become more open after this message :slight_smile:

1 Like

Great stuff Arthur! This is a lot to reply to each point individually, but at the end of the day, I think you’d be better off bootstrapping if that’s an option. I say this because:

  • You’re focused on getting to profitability, not necessarily a big exit or one of those Silicon Valley-style “successes” (correct me if I’m wrong here).
  • You said you can work without salary.
  • You can “eat rice for months if needed”.
  • You said you “don’t need a whole sum right now, immediately”.
  • You’re “ready to wait”.

That last bit is important. VCs expect to see constant, consistent growth, a “hockey stick graph”. This may or may not fit the realities of your business. Ultimately, in my mind, VC money should be a last resort for a young startup, and a calculated maneuver for a more mature company. Really, you shouldn’t go to a VC when you desperately need the money, because they will see that and take advantage of that. Ideally, you go to a VC to simply grow your business faster, when you don’t absolutely need the money to survive as a company.

The one thing I would do, in your shoes, is get a solid idea of what’s needed to grow the business, know what your path forward looks like, and write it out as a business plan. Or just a “roadmap”, if you like – “business plans” sound scary when really, they can be as bare-bones as you like.

As for incorporation, or whichever structure you choose to start the business, I’m not sure what the laws are governing non-citizens starting US-based businesses. I’m not the person to ask about that, so I won’t offer any advice there (I’m not a lawyer).

Hopefully this helps! :slight_smile:

@austin replying to your first post

Pretty interesting thing. I read about it before - don’t know about this kind of thing. Saving links here, if someone want to explore it as well


Small team + good exit + good code --> so I can move this page over :slight_smile:
my first emotion for doing this was very ego-centric emotions, but I don’t want to do it all the time. it’s started as part of showing-off. Like when your ex-gf broke with you and you want to show her how stupid she was in 5 years :smile:

IPO is for more advanced cases i think. I mean I can hope about it, but partner from my prev. company teach me to be pessimistic - i.e. ready to bad things i.e. murphy’s law

It’s a pretty interesting approach to think of. One Russian mentor told me about companies from Japan, that lasts more than 100 years, operated by families at next generations.
But! I always remember how i read wiki about company that shot adult movies - Dorcel company - and right now CEO is a son of that artist/director(someone can think - pervert) that created a lot of porn.
So i’m not sure if my future kids would be interested to do the same thing that i did. I want them to be open, explore and pursue what they want. But as concept - it’s very cool way to think of things that you doing. Not only be money driven - fun driven - but have a mission - that can live longer than you.


I think about small steps right now. But a big vision is important. I mean my short-life-experience shows me that anything is possible. So i’m hoping for luck, but ok grind(poker term)

I cannot explain how happy i’m to have a place to share things like that

Not searching for an investor is an easy way for me I think. Especially for people that love to play as I’m doing it. But as a founder, I should think not about code only. Or what is easy for me to do.

Because it’s not a major skill that the CEO should have.

But an idea - build a tool that will bring money to the company is OK for me.


Again, bootstrapping and struggling/overcoming is one of my skills. I’m like Bighorn Sheep, that beat his head to the wall, so horns became stronger and later it will help him to attract female and mate :slight_smile:

We totally bootstrap our previous company from 0. With my business partner.

Our job where we met was driving us crazy. Managers have a very “strange” approach to get things done. It was a very toxic environment. And will a low salary.

When I create a document, where I calculate my expenses - I realize that working there as a junior developer is just unreasonable for financial point for me at 2012.

Then I did an oopsie: I was falling asleep and upload by mistake that file to a shared folder to my TeamLead/Friend/Mentor. So quitting was just a matter of days :slight_smile: [more about this story later]


Writing is actually part of mastering marketing skills. I remember one article, where some guy, founder explains that he wrote ~ 800 blog posts, in order to get traction. I have only 80 articles published so far, and it’s 10% done :wink:

This is why I start that 2 threads at HNF. It helps me to plan my work and drive some attention to my work. So in a few months, I will be able to launch something live and start to operate as a business - maybe.


I was naive when I start NetWeight(failed) and think that when our company will make first $50k (huuuge money) -> it will be $25 grand for me and $25 grand for my partner.

Right now it sounds so stupid. But everything has time for it.

0 business experience then help us to not worry about a lot of things and continue our work and move forward without a doubt.


Going “naked”(without resources) is also helping to be agile. I understand that costs can be reduced very drastically.
Like

  • I don’t need money for hosting
  • code is open-sourced
  • articles replacing advertising
  • being part of AngelList helps with recruiting
  • ProductHunt helps to learn how more smart people launching products, and promote them worldwide
  • the modular approach helps to use low-experience developers and made code with pretty fine quality(but it takes more time to do)

I was exploring a similar topics/stories at few of my articles. Want to put it here.
Old one going first:

This is my motto

1 Like

Special day for me

5 Likes

Beauty(at least I see it in this way) of my technical approach - of coding project at my company really helping me with using limited employee resources(interns with small coding experience).

It helps me in future as well --> because I’ll be able to hire less experienced developers full-time. From one side - teams might have different small chunks of knowledge in coding and still be able to move our code forward.

From the other side --> small skilled(experienced) team members create a lot of problems with reviewing code and control of what team actually doing. But, it also diversity a type of employees, that can be inside at our team.

There needs to have a PM, testers and project leaders, that can make decisions and apply code changes.
The leader will create new tasks, partially together with PM and actually watch for the progress.

But right now I don’t necessarily require to hire Senior developers. In my country, salary for a developer with 5-8 years of experience ~ $3500(can be more, depending on the hype around technologies). It’s a developer that worked before in large projects and companies.

At the current stage of our project - it will be enough to hire a few middle developers(1-2 years) and each of teams, working full time, separated by working on different modules will be able to do and ship small projects/modules in a few months.

There is also a small price for errors. Nothing big actually. Nothing complex is inside. That can go broken and freeze a whole development process right now are removed.

With the help of a few project managers and people, that can help me with a management process. Or totally replace me from creating/managing tasks or creating a development tech specification - it will give teams the ability to work in a more simple and organized process.

That process will be more crystal clear for developers, and for us --> team managers, that looking for the whole picture.or for investors, that want to know what exactly is going on.

It also improves processes. And increase the tech value of things that we are doing. Like if junior developers can understand the complex structure, that we building.
It’s great in overall, right?

It’s improved our coding workflow because we like always testing our modules, it’s a structure with other people and sees where they stuck or not.
If someone stuck - “Ok dude, you maybe don’t try hard to understand it”.
If 10 people have a hard time --> it’s a good indicator that we should focus on documentation --> because it’s really our problem here.

it’s also simplifying things like estimates, deadlines, release planning. With a simple code, it’s easier to find what was going broken and quickly fix it. Less number of bottlenecks and pauses to wait, "when X will be fixed, then it’ll be enabled to solve an issue with Y, and in the meantime, Y cannot work, and it’s a blocked by X and we cannot solve it right now"

More people can archive more progress and in a short amount of time.
Let’s crack the previous sentence with an example.

We have a simple module, where a few interns working on. They are young, small, making mistakes. I decided to jump into that module, and ship a “big update”. I’m working separately, so my changes can’t affect interns work.

One week passed and I see this message --> They made more commits than I did for the same amount of time.
And why I should be thinking that I’m better because I’m experienced.

yes, commit numbers is not the best tool to measure progress. it’s debatable. but it’s a good indicator of how it works for us.

Few students, that interested to learn to code -> made more small improvements, that can do unmanageable “expert” like myself.

When I’m thinking about an investor, I don’t see him as a fool, without tech knowledge, but with money. That can be tricked. (Yes, a lot of people actually thinking that way, no jokes. Even investors)

I saw a lot of situations when people borrowed money for “company growth”. And it was a C-management salary growth. I’m seeing investor like a strategic thinking professional, wolf, that smelling money in what I’m doing. So I think I’m looking for “smart money”. So he will be able to understand what and how I’m doing my products. And with his help, we can do everything quickly.

Cash can help us to hire a few developers and

  • speed up our development at least for 4 months(saving time and my brain)
  • can help us with the sales process. maybe can help with pre-sales, find a future client, that can be interested in what we are doing.

So my goal is not to move all risks to investor’s shoulders.
I don’t want to get a “competitive salary” for myself. I can accept some money for my own, but I wouldn’t try to price myself like a golden founder.

I actually want to find a pro that can be my ally, that can help us to perfect this idea, so we can move from “big idea and don’t finish a lot of code” -> to “get a working project, that ready to be used by users and can generate a revenue”.

For example, by using a network or money, or by speeding up a content marketing process, so more people can hear or just can have a similar project. And my code can help to his project or team with my skills. So money not just for spending them, but for saving time and simplify development and releases process.

What’s the current monthly revenue?

Why will/could your revenue hockey stick?

In a sentence or two :slight_smile:

@IAMCOMPUTER

answer for food alliance.

  1. 0 monthly revenue. for different reasons
  2. if my product will be like sausages - easy to buy and easy to include

answer for code school

  1. 0 monthly revenue
  2. here all is easy - Lambda school showing that this market has demand, so only operational work is necessary.

Counter questions:

  1. Does current montly revenue is always important?
  2. What amount of money you think you can invest in slow growing company vs hockey stick company?

watching this. a lot of insights for me

Just send an application to join @rrhoover program

@linh I add you as a person who can give me a recommendation(hope it’s fine)