One thing’s for certain… this startup thing ain’t for the faint of heart…
Granted, the economics of entrepreneurship have changed and now, more than ever, almost anyone can put together the pocket change to play a hand. What is less obvious, is the whirlwind that follows that decision.
Despite the falling cost of capital and an investment climate where you can choose to take only what you need (whether to test an idea, find product-market fit, or scale the business), there is still one economic reality that hasn’t really changed all that much;
It is really f*cking hard to build a company.
It is an exercise in physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. There is a hard cap on the number of people who would expose themselves to it if they knew what lay ahead.
602 days ago, Rocketr got its start. On Day 99 we released what we now consider a prototype, into private beta. On Day 181, the team was put on salary and the bank statements started to show up in the mail with real transactions on them – the kind you look at. The kind that create a sense of urgency.
On Day 219, I gambled. I signed a contract with a mobile development team to build our iPhone app as we continued developing on the web. It was a $50,000 contract and I didn’t have the money when I signed it. Day 220 to 252 were among the most stressful days of my life. I didn’t sleep much and spent a lot of nights looking in the mirror. No one is happier to have those days behind them.
On Day 271, the team split. Half of us no longer wanted to endure the uncertainty of starting a company. Prior to beginning, we had all turned to each other and asked every hard question imaginable. It took 271 days to discover that we did, in fact, have limits that could not have been foreseen without a previous experience to refer to.
On Day 289, I stood on a stage in Vancouver in front of investors and peers, having been named one of the top startups in Canada for 2011. We launched our iPhone app that day (the one I couldn’t afford). It was approved by Apple the night before. We were featured in the App Store. The app crashed. People rated us poorly. We fixed it and wrote apologies to everyone. Some people wrote back…
95% Exhaustion. 5% Invincibility. That is what’s in store. That is startup status quo.
As a recovering addict might put it – today, for me, is a good day. I feel a little wiser, if not a little more humbled. Best of all, there is an overwhelming sense of renewal.
Rocketr has been re-imagined from concept to company. The vision of a playground for ideas remains, but the path there has changed. In the coming weeks, we will be re-launching the product (across web and iPhone) and introducing the team. Those of us who’ve come this far have been joined by others with the same burning desire to build something incredible.
And we think that once you see it, you’ll agree we’re headed in exactly that direction.