If you're the non-technical co-founder of your startup, like me, you may be asking yourself how to best be making progress at times. I wish I had known the answer to this question many years ago. The answer is, BUILD.
Build what? I can't code to be building Nebullam's dashboard which runs our food growing equipment, and I can't build our food growing equipment. Thankfully Mahmoud and Danen lead the charge with their years of expertise, as builders of the products.
For me, I'm in one of 2 build modes.
1. Building the Bank Account
As Nebullam is raising its 3rd round of investment, most of my time since wrapping up Y Combinator's Demo Day in March has me carrying our fundraising torch. From meeting to meeting, city to city, and state to state (maybe even one of these years, planet to planet). And not all locations are the same, in terms of how people invest.
For example, we're raising our current round using Y Combinator's Post Money SAFE. A SAFE is different from a convertible note (one difference is that a SAFE is not debt, while a convertible note is debt). Some investors want a priced round. Some investors want to use convertible notes. Some investors want to use SAFEs.
One of the biggest reasons we're using a SAFE is in the name. Simple Agreement for Future Equity. With the SAFE, we're able to avoid time and costs in fundraising, which allows more time to be spent with our customers. Everybody wins.
To make sure we can achieve Nebullam's next phase, my mission is to find the money. Once we have that magic number in the bank (it only ever counts once it's in the bank), I'll happily switch to my other build mode.
But first, a small piece of advice: This build mode will likely require MUCH more of your time than you can imagine. Fundraising is a full-time job. You're either in fundraising mode or you're not.
2. Building Team
Building team for me includes working hand-in-hand with current team members to help build up their strengths, as well as finding additional team members who want to build a better and healthier food supply chain. For everyone.
Some days the meetings are 1:1s. Other days, it's with the hardware team, the software team, or a combination. No matter who it's with, my focus is on running the meeting as simply as possible, so all parties know clear next steps.
One of our core values is to be Daringly Simple.
Examples: What does Nebullam do?
"We create indoor farming equipment with a faster payback."
^This one liner is simple. There's no confusion over what Nebullam does. There's no fluffy language such as "aeroponics," "automation," "artificial intelligence," or "plug-and-play solution."
Simplicity starts to pay off when team members can recite what we do, to a general audience. The simpler, the better; for conversation starters, efficiency, marketability, and overall health of our team.
How else can we keep team dynamics simple? A really simple dashboard (pictured below), so we all know where Nebullam stands. For some leaders, radical transparency works. For others, it doesn't. Do what's best for you and your team.
Whether it's keeping fundraising simple, or it's keeping the day-to-day simple, I'm building. I hope you are, too.
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