10 Lessons From A Failed Startup

My Startup is closing and I’m going to tell you why.

Yep, the cat’s out of the bag. Sadly Traxart wasn’t able to make it through COVID and this week I struck off the company and started the process of deregistering.

1. Select your team carefully.

These are the people you will go to war and spend much of the next 7 years with. Choose them wisely!

2. Obsess around validating your idea

Read any of the first-time founder staples (Lean Startup, The Mom Test) and you will learn that the main reason startups fail is due to lack of market need.

3. Build quick and build simple

Within the first 6 weeks, I had spent £1k on an animated video for a product that didn’t yet exist and had not been validated, £5k on a CTO to ‘manage the MVP’ and £8k on an outsourced team. That is quite frankly, ridiculous!

4. Get to know your ideal customer. Fast.

This is tricky but crucial. The faster you can narrow down customer segments, understand who you are solving a problem for and find product-market-fit, the more chance you have of succeeding.

5. Pick a problem you care about.

If you ever fill out a Techstars application, you’ll notice the question ‘what makes you and your team uniquely qualified to solve this problem?’.

6. Cashflow is king.

I can’t emphasise this enough. Raise as much as you can, as infrequently as you can.

7. Community is everything.

Many Founders will disagree with me, but I decided early on that it would be beneficial to place myself in a co-workspace rather than slogging the first year out on a desk in my bedroom. It was one of the best decisions I made.

8. Split equity fairly.

Again, a controversial topic between founding teams. Many will argue points to receive more equity and the common ones I have heard are:

9. Time is your most precious commodity.

If you had all the money in the world but no time, what would you be able to accomplish?

10. Life’s too short not to take risks.

It is (generally) true that the higher the risk, the higher the potential reward.