A Happy Contrarian: With Friends

By Tarmo Virki | editorial | May 3, 2017

At CoFounder we try to give the insider perspective into the startup sector – something that would be an interesting read for both insiders and outsiders. We do not take the same approach as classical media, which tries to be a distant observer and not meddle in the processes it covers. We participate in the startup sector: build startups, help them grow, launch products and campaigns.

For example, one of our early issues focused on crowdfunding. If you missed it, you might well guess how we covered crowdfunding – we rolled up our sleeves and built a campaign for CoFounder, of course. We combined our non-digital, almost retro product, with the latest hip digital sales strategy. We ran a successful campaign on Indiegogo in 2015, eventually raising 17,363 euros.

This helped us launch the magazine, made our crowdfunding coverage more insightful and we shared our knowledge and experiences to try to help other teams with their campaigns. By nature, a startup wants to make it all happen today, but launching a successful campaign can rarely be done in a day, or a week, or even a month. Patience is something many teams lack and that causes failures.

We are now thinking about how we could use crowdfunding to grow the reach of CoFounder in the coming months and years. Yes, years. You can build a massive startup in weeks (thinking of MSQRD), but as Christoph Auer-Welsbach, a partner at IBM Ventures, says in an interview in this issue, he is looking for startups that are built to last 100 years. That is a fascinating approach at a time when many are looking for a quick buck. However, building 100-year companies is not that uncommon. In our previous issue, we wrote about the Latvian fintech startup Twino, which is built on cashflow and is surely built to last for 100 years.

For many startups, raising seed funding is inevitable, so we are now working on that. You have to eat your dog’s food, as Bayer digital innovation head said when we interviewed him, referring to his preferred method of communication (“Tweet me!”). This spring we went through Seed Forum training and an investor pitching event, and we have been meeting investors and pitching to angels. As a journalist, you can write news stories about raising funding rounds, but when you are preparing for those first meetings with investors who are interested in investing in your startup, who do you talk to? You can, of course, talk to advisors or mentors, but eventually, it comes down to listening to the people who have done it before and want the best for you and your business. Other founders – the friends you go out with for a beer.

Cheers to all our friends!

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