Bootstrapping 101: Key Insights on Fundraising, Hiring, and Product/Market Fit from a 3x Serial Entrepreneur

This week RepIQ co-founder and CEO, Shawn Carpenter, discussed his experience as a three-time startup founder with tastytrade. In the interview Shawn discusses some of the key things he’s learned as an entrepreneur.

You can view the complete interview below, or read on for key highlights from the interview.

Raising Capital

The focus of fundraising should be on relationship-building. You should be networking and connecting with investors well before you actually need to raise capital. You should view each conversation with a potential investor as an opportunity to build momentum for your startup. Each time you touch base with someone, explain what you’re going to do next in terms of product development. Then, deliver on that and then some. Investors will be impressed by your progress and feel a sense of urgency to become part of something that’s growing.

Product/Market Fit

As a founder, your primary focus should be on getting feedback from people in your market as soon as possible. Rather than spending time in the office thinking or developing, you should get out there. Meet with people, discuss and demo your product, and constantly seek feedback. Determining product/market fit as soon as possible is important to any startup’s success.

What is the key to success in a startup?

Assemble the best team to tackle the problem you’re after. Having a great team is the number one driver of your startup’s success.

How do you build a great team?

Always try to hire people smarter than you.

Biggest take-aways:

  • Hire people you enjoy working with and that you trust.
  • Understand that building a sustainable business takes a long time. Many founders think they’ll grow a company in one or two years, but this is often unrealistic. Make sure you and your team understand that building a business takes a long-term commitment.
  • Focus on the problem you’re solving, not your product.

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