During talks with a potential investor Ting Shih, founder of ClickMedix, and her team came to a reckoning. They needed to answer big questions about their startup in order to show the venture was worth investing in. What that process revealed, though, was that the team had more fractures than they had anticipated. They disagreed on how to proceed and who should be fulfilling certain roles. They also didn’t agree on how the money they would receive should be used. The funder saw those fractures and decided not to invest in the company. Ting realized the startup’s structure could not work. So she did the only thing she could to save the idea that gave birth to the startup. She dissolved the company.
She then reevaluated the process she went through in creating the startup and decided to begin again from scratch. This time, however, she reached out to a whole new set of advisors. She also brought on an interim CEO to train her for the position. She credits the insights she gained during that process for the success she finally achieved with her startup.
Finding the right resources before you commit yourself to a startup can make the difference between success and failure. The most recent GIST TechConnect: Building a Startup From the Ground Up provides unique perspectives on the steps early-stage innovators take when building their startups. From team building to product market fit to finding your customers to working with regulatory constraints to overcoming failures--these women founders share stories from their personal journeys that can help entrepreneurs make the right choices for their own ventures.
Kristina Francis, executive director of JFFLabs and Nina Dudnik, founder of Seeding Labs, joined Ting Shih in discussing the most difficult decisions they made in the startup building process. Topics the panel discussed included how the founders knew their solution would be successful, overcoming failures, building their teams, and how they overcome obstacles in a male-dominated field.
On teambuilding, Seeding Labs founder, Nina Dudnik, explained her process as identifying what she wasn’t good at and then finding people to join the team who were better than her in those roles. She then identified the most important gaps in the skills that were needed and worked to find people to fill those gaps. She had to find people who were okay with risk and working in new ways on new solutions. “We had people with deep expertise and who could roll with the startup,” she explained.
Kristina Francis, in relating her experience of being a board member of Black Girl Ventures, brought up the importance of creating a place of psychological safety for women and how women can provide that for each other. Women need to “share stories of triumph, failure, and success and support each other along the way.”
You can watch the entire conversation and get all the great insights here! And you can watch all of our discussions in the TechConnect archive. We have over 40 hours of incredible resources for you to watch.