Every few days the tech media gets all excited about some new startup. People clamour to get access to the new product, service or platform. Thousands of articles are written hailing it as the new "solution" for a "problem". In many cases the solution is for a problem most of us didn't even know we had ..
Ok. I am a little cynical.
Not all startups are vacuous.
There are plenty of really nice people with really interesting and genuine projects out there.
But venture capital or the promise of it is creating a very odd reality.
My company has been around for more than 10 years now. We're no longer able to call ourselves a "startup" nor can we act like one. We're probably quite boring and staid at this stage.
But we are masters of our own destiny.
Sure, it'd be a lot easier to do a lot of things if we had millions of somebody else's money to play with.
Over the last 10 years we've grown from operating out of a bedroom to having 30+ staff spread across multiple locations.
We've gone from a tiny number of "friends" to thousands of paying clients from 130+ countries.
We've had problems. We've made mistakes. We've had cash-flow problems. We've had failed product launches. We've hired and fired. We've even had explosions (literally).
But all of this has been done without being forced to do things solely to appease an investor.
This quote from Aral Balkan sums it up for me:
A venture-capital funded startup is a temporary company that has to convince enough people into using their platform so that they can make good on the exit they promised their investors at the very beginning. It is the opposite of a long-term, sustainable business.
Sure, we might "exit" at some point, but we aren't working solely on an exit. If the right company came along and the numbers etc., made sense then I'd definitely consider it.
But for now I'd prefer to focus our energies on growing revenues, improving service, offering new products and services and all those other things that are on our ever-growing "to do" lists.
There's still so much for us to do. And I'm still enjoying it!