This post is part of a series where we interview Chisos portfolio company founders.
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I experienced this for the first time in 2017. At the time, I lived in China and it all came together by circumstance.
This time, I realized I was ready during a PE firm interview. They told me I had "founder energy vibes." I didn't get the PE job, but it resonated and I was on a path to my next company from that moment.
I bootstrapped my first company. Try to go the first 6-12 months without spending any (or very little) capital until you've isolated product-market fit (PMF). In my experience, 90% of what you'll spend during year one will be a waste, so just wait. Start spending in years 2 and beyond, once you have a better understanding of your company's needs and PMF. Most startups fail within 2 years, so if you can extend runway to 3+ years, you have a better chance to find your way.
Success is having a day that doesn't cause you to weep in your pillow at night. Sadly, founders have a lot of moist pillows.
This may sound weird, but about one year after I founded my company, a DAO came along with the exact same business model and raised a $20M seed round. I was floored but also felt insanely validated. A full year before anyone else, I (and this other DAO founder) saw around the corner. He was well-connected and got funding; I'm not there (yet). But still, the idea was validated and that makes me feel proud.
Be methodical and contemplate, but don't waffle. Make quick decisions and don't be afraid to reverse them should they be incorrect. Time is important, so you must make decisions and adjustments quickly in the first few years of the business.
Great. I love any company working to give diverse and overlooked founders access to capital to build our visions of the future. Part of why I accepted capital from Chisos is I'm aligned with a similar vision of success for entrepreneurs.