What Every Startup Needs to Know

On Wednesday, June 26th, 2013, Perkins Coie’s Palo Alto office hosted the startupPerColator event, “What Every Startup Needs to Know.”  Lowell Ness, a Perkins Coie partner in the Emerging Companies & Venture Capital (ECVC) practice, moderated a panel which included Herb Stephens of NueHealth, Thomas Huot of VantagePoint Capital, Jennifer Jones of Jennifer Jones and Partners, Yuri Rabinovich of Start-up Monthly, and Olga Rodstein of Shutterfly.  The panelists discussed, with over 120+ attendees, the multiple facets of what it takes to be successful at all stages of startup growth (i.e. pitching for seed funds, elevator pitches, growth after product, etc.).  Below are the top takeaways from the discussion.

1. Team

“Date” your co-founders.  You will spend more time with your co-founders than with your friends and family, and VC investors care about the team at least as much as they care about the idea.

Hire s-l-o-w and fire fast.  Don’t let one bad apple spoil the bunch.

2. Intellectual Property

Be thoughtful about utilizing your employer’s resources.  If you’re working for a company when you begin to formulate your startup plan, be sure to understand your obligations to your employer.  You don’t want to launch a business only to have your former employer claim that your company’s work belongs to it.

Develop an IP strategy.  Assign all intellectual property to your company and develop an IP roadmap for leveraging the value of that work.

Your ideas need champions.  Be cautious about sharing the specific details of your work, but remember that if no one knows what you’re up to, no one can help you succeed.

3. Product

Know your product and validate the concept.  Don’t go to market until you have clarity on the problem you’re solving, your target audience, the size of your market and your product’s defining features.  Once widely known, a company’s narrative is hard to change.

4. Fundraising and Business Development

Be strategic about your relationships.  Investors can provide critical business intelligence, help you make connections to industry leaders and provide strategic advice; investors are more than just a checkbook.

Understand your company’s growth cycle.  Very few companies find success quickly — develop a fundraising strategy that will help you preserve your equity position for the long haul.

5. Execution

Just in case you missed this, execute, execute, execute.  You’ve got to be in the market to win the market.

Check out pictures from the event on our startupPerColator Facebook page.

About the startupPerColator Series

The startupPerColator Series is dedicated to the startup community.  Our dynamic and interactive seminar series is a forum for entrepreneurs, investors and other members of the startup ecosystem to learn business and legal best practices, build their networks and grow their businesses.

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