Thomas KnollCOO, Revelry Labs / Investor, Revelry Ventures
Bio

Sold Primeloop; Sold LaunchRock; Community Architect at Zappos; Mentor at Techstars & 500Startups. Building online community for 20+ years.



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I've met co-founders and team members through participating in Startup Weekend evens. (The last two companies I sold were started at startup weekends!) But, I generally recommend participating in others groups or pitching different ideas than you're trying to find a co-founder for.

Another great resource is FounderDating.com Just remember, don't think of it as speed dating... Think of it as Match.com and trying to find a lifelong partner.



I've built community and support from scratch at seesmic, uservoice, and launchrock. And, we worked through this same question at my current company, primeloop.com.

Desk, Zendesk, Uservoice, etc. are all great support platforms (and there are hundreds more). But I would skip all of those when starting off, and go straight to http://intercom.io since you can handle support through there, but you also get a full CRM and drip-messaging right out of the gate.

I'm more than happy to talk through your setup if you'd like to hop on a call?


I would start here:
http://blog.kissmetrics.com/startup-analytics

Then I would read anything else that sounds interesting here:
http://blog.kissmetrics.com

More importantly, *why* do you "have to analyze a website and the related Facebook page"? Lets say you have the perfect data, what are you planning to do with it? What are you trying to change?


Well, lets work backwards:

Structure is pretty simple: 4 year vest, 1 year cliff, for a percentage of the company that will match their commitment and unique contribution to the success of the venture.

Running it by them is pretty simple: Tell everyone you can about the problem, the assumptions you have about a solution, the vision for how your company can make some real money by solving a real problem. For each person you talk to, many will say, "That's nice, congratulations." And maybe one or two will say, "OMG, I want to be a part of that." Pick one of those.

So now, it's just down to Locating People: http://founderdating.com; http://meetup.com; http://startup-digest.com; Local University; snapchat.

Finally remember, 100% of $0 = $0.

Clearly it can get much more nuanced than this, and I'm happy to share some more strategies in each of these channels. But, end of the day, you just need as many at bats as you can find, and don't rush it.


I think you might find more luck with a question like, "How do I sell a dream?" or "Want to know how I can make you rich?"

I am going to assume you are looking for funding, because you are trying to capitalize an idea, and that you'd rather convert someone else's money into energy and acceleration than to spend your own money to maintain 100% ownership. (If my assumption is wrong, I'd love to hear why you are looking for funding?)

There is only really one way to create wealth: take a certain amount of capital (money, blood, time, expertise) utilize a particular market advantage to increase the value of that capital, and then withdraw the added value.

So, I assume you are going to invest your time and skill and blood and sweat and tears into your venture. And, I assume you want one or more other people to invest their time and skill into your venture (those are called employee's). But, you might also want some other people to invest their money into your venture (these are called investors). Just like you, and (hopefully) like your employees, they want to get more out from whatever they put in.

You need to convince the investor that you have the ability to utilize a particular market advantage to increase the value of their capital. Just remember, with early-stage investors, they are generally looking for your venture to produce a 5x or 10x return. (I put 100k in, I get 1mm out.) Because they know most of their investments will fail. So, get a 14% return across all their investments over 10 years, they need a few of them to make it big.

So, now that you know all of that, let's answer your original question: "how do i get funding?" To get funding, you need to know why your venture can give a 5x-10x return on investment, know why you solve a problem in a market, and know what your unique market advantage is. Then, sell the dream.


I have found that the best way to create demand for a product that does not yet exist, is to capture the interest of people who experience a common pain that *does* exist.

Focus less on selling the non-existent product, and focus more on clearly articulating the problem your product will solve. And, make it extremely easy for people to:

(1) Tell you they have that problem too.
(2) Realize there are a lot more people like them.
(3) Evangelize a potential solution to all their friends.

I am extremely biased, but http://launchrock.com is a great way to start capturing this list, and enabling them to share.

Look at Mailbox.app and beachmint.com for inspiration.


Have you considered using https://appsocial.ly ? They can really help increase downloads and sharing right within the mobile experience.

[Disclaimer: I mentor this team through 500Startups.]


A co-founder is a long-term relationships that should be built on trust, and passion, and time... time to fight, time to recover, time to build rapport. Ultimately, your co-founder shouldn't be based on *any* specific idea, because the two (or three?) of you could work on anything you are all passionate about, and either experience wild success or learn some great lessons along the way.

An MVP doesn't require a co-founder get built. In fact, the less technical code required the better. You should be able to validate most ideas with some very basic tools: WordPress site, Email list, a set of google forms, and a little love.

I think the most important question to ask yourself is, "Am I willing to have my idea change for the right person? Or am I just trying to find the best person to execute on my idea?"

For what it's worth, I've seen much more success with the former than the latter.


The most innovative ways, might also actually be the least innovative ways:

* Send them hand written thank you notes for their business.

* Interview them about their successes, and highlight them in your blog/on your site.

* Where appropriate, send them business from other customers

* With their permission, talk about them in your PR and interviews even more than you talk about your product

* Tell them whenever someone signed up because of their personal referral

* Actually answer the phone


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