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Anatomy of an (un)fundable startup

Naval and Mark Suster recently gave the keynotes at the 7th Founder Showcase. Andrew Chen did a better job of describing Naval’s keynote than I ever will:

“People spend a surprising amount of time on things that will contribute little or no value to getting them to a seed round, and this talk is the best I’ve seen in terms of presenting the issues in its entirety.

“Naval broke down the 5 main qualities of an ‘exceptional startup,’ in the following order:

1. Traction
2. Team
3. Product
4. Social Proof
5. Pitch/Presentation

“And while all these qualities are important, Naval explained, the most important thing is to understand that: ‘Investors are trying to find the exceptional outcomes, so they are looking for something exceptional about the company. Instead of trying to do everything well (traction, team, product, social proof, pitch, etc.), do one thing exceptionally. As a startup you have to be exceptional in at least one regard.’”

Here are the video and slides:

Some of my favorite quotes from the presentation:

“If you can’t generate traction, do you really want to raise money?”

“If you need money to recruit the best, you’re not ready.”

“It’s easier to pitch a new investor than to convert one.”

“Capital is mobile, but capitalists are lazy.”

arrow4 Responses

  1. Ashe
    34 mos, 2 wks ago

    Great Post! And very informative. I am involved with a start-up right now that has fallen foul of so many of the Don’ts that you mention. Thank you for the insights.

  2. 34 mos, 1 wk ago

    The chart on slide 7 is so apt yet so often forgotten!

  3. 34 mos, 1 wk ago

    Great presentation Naval! Good points on helping entrepreneurs determine if they are ready to or should raise money.

  4. 34 mos ago

    I dont think social proof is quite as relevant when it comes to enterprise software yet. This will happen in the future but today its more important for consumer focused companies.