Patterns with startup founders, i.e. hot or not

Recently I made a focused series of meetings with about 20 startup founders.

Hallmarks of highly promising fundable founders?
– they have worked for a tech company, possibly a startup
– the founders can code at least a little
– have built something that works that is live and out there right now on zero outside investment
– they have met the VCs they are pitching before – in a non-pitching context. Going to events, interning, whatever.

–> these are all non-idea related issues. Ignore the idea and evaluate only the above and every single pitch I heard correlated.

On the negative side, the poor pitches come from students who are
– pure students/recent grads
– aren’t technical
– wrote up their idea as words (probably translating some great dinner party thoughts…) vs. drew wireframes that look like a real UI
– had not yet built anything

This is a really simple pattern to look for:

– technical?
– worked at a real VC-backed startup?
– has built something?
–> meet

No to any or most?
–> don’t meet


So if you are a founder, you should just teach yourself to code, intern for a real startup, make your Alpha in your spare time, and in 6 months you’ll be a “real” startup founder.


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