From Stanford, YC, & More
The value I get from the Founders Cafe community is a group of successful founders who already have revenue. Every time I ask a question, multiple people will respond with customized answers and options. Since everyone is pre-vetted, I know it's information I can trust from people who understand my position. And since its only founders - no investors or mentors - I can ask "dumb" questions freely and get the help I really need.
I love the community of people who genuinely want to help and learn from other founders. Its nice to feel like you are working on a team when you are a solo founder.
For who should join: Anyone in the startup space that is working solo. The have to value being committed and your annual fee helps weed out the people who don't. I think you are on to something.
- Solo first time marketplace founder in SF, AriseDaily.io
UnifyID was acquired by Prove last year, so I'm plotting my next move
I have experience raising tons of money (~$100M in total) from top VCs (a16z, NEA, Khosla, HCP, ...) at favorable terms (e.g. uncapped SAFE notes). I can also make investor intros and help you run a process. I joined to meet more diverse founders.
When I met Ananya, I was really impressed. Not only did we share similar backstories, but we were really complementary. Ananya has amazing marketing skills, and I learned a lot from her. At the same time, she needed help raising her next round, and that was where I could help her.
I signed on for a year after this.
- 2 exits (Series B + Series D), solo founder in Palo Alto, Unify.id
I've met many awesome people and learned from what they are doing/have done (both successes and mistakes). I was also able to help out some others (in giving feedback, connecting to venture capitalists, etc). It makes me feel like I'm both giving and getting a lot out of this community, and I'd be sad for it to disappear. I also find the events very valuable and try to go to as many as I can! Hearing what they're doing and have done, getting advice, getting to know them beyond a LinkedIn Profile - struggling together!
For who should join: I would say any founders who recognize that they have something to give and take. Meaning, they are willing to share war stories/give advice, but also know that there is something they could learn from others, even if those other founders aren't as far along as them.
- Solo first time founder, living in Boston with a young founder + VC network
Founder's cafe has been a great way for me to chat quickly with other founders and share ideas / support them. Meeting other founders, bouncing ideas in the subgroups, learning about topics I'm not familiar with.
For who should join: New founders who are looking to grow their network. There's a mix of serial entrepreneurs and new founders and it's really cool to see both sides.
- 4-time founder with 1 exit, industry expert in esport, valts.com
I built a good network in Founders Cafe to take Buji next level. Network from SF to which helps me get introes to investors. Additionally, I learned new things from other founders that I wouldn't have learned by myself.
For who should join: Early stage founders with or without intent of raising funds.
- 3rd time founder. Toronto, Canada, Buji.tv
I've co/founded have brought in over $100M. I've advised companies who have brought in a similar amount as well. I've hired over 700 engineers + elite scientists, managers, designers. hiring A+ executives (3-12months per close). Running largest internship program at several universities.
In general, more than happy (probably too happy) to help any other founders.
- Solo founder and Solo dad from Australia. strongcompute.com
When Ananya joined, she had raised from goodwater, etc. but was starting a new round.
John Whaley (raised $100m from a16z, etc.) was able to help her prep for the call, send out intros, and eventually raise more money :D
When Luigi first joined, he was a solo founder with 0 funding, 0 customers.
With the help of Nils, Charles, Bobo...
He got paying customers, raised $1m+, & got into YC
Whenever I'm stuck, I hit up friends like
- Christina (harvard MBA) with sales challenges
- Tom (ex-fintech) with community challenges
- Charles (ex-4 mil funded) with VC challenges
We met through discord and events: Product Feedback, Pitch Deck Review, Sales, Marketing Feedback, Ideas Session, Strategy Review, Yash (SurfaceVC) Office hours, Ben Sand (x2 YC, Raised $100M), Office Hours, Speaker events (Eg: "Fundraising Hacks")
The startup was doing well at first, but then they started to lose users. They realized they needed to figure out how to make sure their product was actually helping people before adding any more features.
A group of friends started a company together, but one of the friends, Sarah, wanted to do an internship as well as work on the startup.