We had the pleasure of co-hosting a fantastic event last month with Jeff Tang, founder of Athens Research (YC W21) and Hard Pivot. The "Pivot Party & Panel" featured guest speakers Yin Wu, founder of Pulley (YC W20), David Phillips, founder of Fondo (YC W18), and Jeff himself.
The panel addressed a group of Y Combinator founders on pivoting in the startup world, and running a successful startup in general. They shared some valuable insights and experiences 👇 (**derived from notes taken by @vincent_hus - thank you, Vincent!)
🔑 Building and pivoting a startup is a non-linear process.
🔑 Selling a product with an unsuitable founder in the market is not a good idea.
🔑 Develop a plan to get your first users ASAP - if you can’t get your users early on, this indicates that you may not be able to build a successful startup.
🔑 Have a go-to-market plan that outlines how you can reach your first 10, 100, and 1000 users.
Where to spend your time?
🔹 Get feedback on your idea, from fellow founders and potential/current users alike.
🔹 Talk to founders who failed at your idea to avoid making the same mistakes and wasting your time.
🔹 Don't just read or learn new things every day, make sure you also create or build something regularly. It can be tempting to only consume information without taking any action, but creating something every day can help you stay productive and make progress towards your goals.
How to tell investors that you're pivoting or closing down:
"Here’s the initial hypothesis we had" ➡️ "Here’s what changed" ➡️ "Here’s our plan for what we’re going to do next."
⭐️ Always have a plan, you should not tell investors: "I’m stressed or freaked out about what to do."
🤝 Focus on building for a customer base you care about and a concept that can serve them well. If you don’t care about the customers, then you are less likely to build a great service.
✅ Use large language models; the "why" is very apparent. Markets are shaken up, which present a big opportunity. Leverage this technology and position your startup for success and establish a foothold in today's market.
🏗️ Build something that you can build yourself.
Talk to fast-growing startups to identify their pain points and problems, which can help you discover problems worth solving. Solving their problems could lead to your first customer.
Prior to the panel discussion, guests had the opportunity to network and socialize while enjoying some dim sum + refreshments. Once everyone was settled in, the panel discussion started.
Check out some photos from the event below 👇