At the recent TechStars Demo Day, Gary Vaynerchuk spoke about his concern with the current trend of celebrating the startups who raise money.
It’s easy to understand why the media, investors, and us all as individuals in the startup/tech world tend to focus on the stories of fundraising and hot startups. It’s positive, exciting, and it fuels the dreams of so many involved.
Gary’s point seems to be that we should celebrate the startup that knows how to make money instead of raise money. It’s a good point, but I think when startups make money at scale that’s celebrated quite a bit by everyone.
The problem I see is that these stories paint a picture that everything is great out there in startup-land, it’s easy to raise money, and that if you follow some simple steps you can also raise money and get on Techcrunch.
Besides the inaccurate picture that’s painted, there’s frankly not much to be learned from hearing about a hot startup with a strong team, that’s executed their product well, and raised money from A+ investors. While it’s a feel good story, there’s not much in that story that’s easy to learn from or duplicate.
Where there is something to be learned is from the startups that aren’t making it. The startups who are not finding product/market fit, the ones who can’t raise money, who are having team problems, or are failing for some other reason.
I’ve learned far more from the few startup postmortems that founders have posted than I’ve learned from the thousands of “Startup X raises investment” stories that have been published this year.
These stories are somewhat hard to find, as founders are often less excited to publicly talk about their failures. However, it’s also because there is no publication that’s really giving these companies and founders a voice.
The solution is a blog that specifically covers startups that have failed, are currently struggling, or that were on their way down before pivoting to find success. This isn’t meant to be a site that gossips or mocks these startups like F—edcompany.com did back in 2000, but one that seeks to pull out the lessons to be learned and positive experiences that can be drawn from them.
I’m tempted to start such a blog, but I’m busy working on my own company and don’t need the additional distraction. Who’s up for building a publication that could be very valuable for the good of the tech world?