As head of Techstar’s startup pipeline, Saba Karim spends much of her time presenting how entrepreneurs can benefit from joining an accelerator.
But is it the right choice for every founder?
After he posted a thread on Twitter giving several reasons explaining why some should definitely avoid them, I invited him to adapt it for a TC+ guest post we published yesterday.
“Keep in mind that financing will solve your money problems, but it won’t solve everything else,” he writes.
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“You still have to figure out how to acquire customers, find the best talent, build an incredible product, put together a good advisory board and get to market.”
His article confirms a suspicion I’ve long harbored: Many entrepreneurs use accelerators so they can get access to investors, get free publicity, or get positive reinforcement for their idea.
But none of these are decisive factors for success. “If you don’t live and breathe your startup, you’re going to struggle anyway,” says Karim.
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These founders landed early checks by being social media savvy
Is there a correlation between being extremely online and a founder’s ability to raise money?
According to three entrepreneurs Connie Loizos spoke with at TechCrunch Disrupt, a social media presence that blends aspects of your business and personal life “can make it easier to connect with investors and customers.”
Nik Milanović (Founder, This Week in Fintech), Gefen Skolnick (Founder, Couplet Coffee) and Josh Ogundu (CEO, Campfire) talked about the pros and cons of using TikTok, Twitter and other platforms to build authentic personal and business brands.
“I even tweeted yesterday that it wasn’t a good day as a founder, and it was really nice and people engaged with it,” Skolnick said. “I don’t believe in constantly showing that things are good. Some days things just aren’t good.”
How to effectively manage a remote team in wartime
“There are many studies on crisis management on the web, but none of them tell us how to run a company during wartime,” according to Alex Fedorov, CEO and founder of Ukrainian startup OBRIO.
Before Russia’s invasion, “our company had never seen a real crisis,” he writes in a post outlining the six methods his company used to maintain continuity while protecting workers.
“Training to manage stress, anxiety and personal finances will help your employees build the knowledge needed to respond to tough situations.”
3 founders discuss how to navigate the nuances of early-stage fundraising
Founders who have raised money for early-stage startups in the past year have generally had an easier time than people seeking Series A money (or later). Again, “easy” is such a relative term.
At TechCrunch Disrupt, Rebecca Szkutak spoke with three entrepreneurs to learn more about how they adjusted their expectations and tactics when approaching investors during a downturn:
- Amanda DoAmaral, Co-Founder and CEO, Fiveable
- Arman Hezarkhani, Founder, Parthean
- Sarah Du, Co-Founder, Alloy Automation
Prepare to amortize: Inflation can spell doom for R&D tax costs
The US federal government has made R&D tax credits available for decades, but a big change that will take place this year will affect startups across the board.
Previously, R&D expenses could be expensed upfront, but now “those costs will need to be amortized over five years in the case of domestic research and 15 years for foreign research,” according to tax attorney Andrew Leahey.
Because so many startups “incur the bulk of their R&D costs in their first year of operation,” many may wait “the equivalent of a lifetime” to recoup those expenses.
High inflation has stalled efforts to repeal the amortization requirement, so Leahey shares several tactics companies can use “to prepare for the possibility of the rule taking effect.”
Remote work is here to stay. This is how you manage your staff from afar
Before the pandemic, most startup workers had the same experience on their first day: set up a new laptop, fill out some introductory paperwork, then start gathering information about the best places to eat lunch near the office.
Now that so many teams are hybrid or completely remote, companies are learning the importance of fostering corporate culture and community from day one, a topic Rebecca Bellan dug into at TechCrunch Disrupt with three veteran executives:
- Adriana Roche, Executive Director, Mural
- Deidre Paknad, CEO and co-founder, WorkBoard
- Allison Barr Allen, Angel Investor, Trail Run Capital
“The biggest lesson for us over the last three years was that it’s very difficult to really build expertise in a domain or subject through Zoom,” Paknad said.
How our startup got through 2 recessions without relying on layoffs
So far this year, around 45,000 tech workers have been laid off. If that’s hard to visualize, imagine a sold-out Mets game at Citi Field in New York City.
Cutting staff is standard procedure during a downturn, but Sachin Gupta, who heads sales, marketing and general operations for HackerEarth, says his company has weathered two recessions without resorting to mass firings.
“At any given time, our staff portfolio is operating at about 90% of what we consider ideal,” he says. “Think of this as the distance you have to keep between you and the car in front of you when you’re driving on the freeway.”
“If we staff our teams to meet 100% of our needs (following too closely), then there will be a domino effect as the market changes rapidly, causing internal ‘accidents.’