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Startup Fundraising is a Time Sink (paulstamatiou.com)
156 points by PStamatiou on Dec 21, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 29 comments

I'm really very fond of notifo and the service that it offers is invaluable, but what I think is wrong with it is the packaging. I can understand what notifo does, but I don't think anyone else in my family would ever understand it.

If I were them, I'd pivot notifo to become a kik-like instant messenger, but with a little twist : it's the IM that webservices can send messages to. So you grow on the consumer front because people can just use it for normal IMing between friends, but then you make revenue on the back-end by selling the website to user offering (when it exceeds a certain size).

Thanks for the feedback Max, and being an early user.

We've been internally discussing many, many directions we could easily (most without having to build much else and using our current technology) take with the product. Agreed that it is rather broad at the moment and the lack of a single powerful use case makes it hard to evangelize. The next few months will be interesting. :)

I you need to clarify your positioning, first. Then work on your GoToMarket Approach.

I think you make a more powerful Value Proposition to developers, instead of individuals. One or two home runs with wildly popular apps that choose to deliver their notification with Notifo will do a lot to drive up the number of devices with your app installed...

I think you just won startup buzzword bingo ... congrats!! :)

Great post as usual Paul (OP).

The points raised are really good pointers for other startup companies and their approach towards fundraising, which let's not kid ourselves is one of (if not the) most important things to do.

I am sure that it is a really good product and has a lot of potential. I can easily see notifo as being one of the little tricks in a developer's bag, a framework that handles all of your notifications while you concentrate on other, more important aspects of your application.

I would agree with maxklein on the approach towards Notifo. Yes it is revolutionary and brand new technology and it did take me quite a bit to understand and comprehend what it does. The understanding was also hindered by the fact that I cannot see what it does, since I do not have an iPhone and the Android application is under development.

The only obstacle is understanding what notifo is and what notifo does. Some people will not get it but the more do, the better it will be for you :)

Keep up the good work !!

Hey Nikos, email me - I want to follow up on something..

καλές διακοπές

OP here: If you get any nginx errors on my site can you let me know here? I think I'm about to jump ship with my WP setup and move to Jekyll.

what do these upvotes mean? that you approve of me moving to Jekyll or that you experienced nginx errors on my site?

I upvoted because I've been looking at jekyll myself and with your writing talents would look forward to your post covering the experience!

I upvoted it so that it bubbles to the top where it can be easily seen. Not sure if that's the motive of others.

Why is your name golden with the font color value of be6400? http://imgur.com/xb5W7

I see it now with your first parent comment now instead of the one in the screenshot, but clicking on the permalink shows no coloring.

new HN feature: YC founders are orange'd

Paul is rapidly turning into one of my favorite bloggers. Long-form, candid, and a lot of actionable advice.

PStam has been my fav blogger since way back in his Georgia Tech days. Great insight and good journalism.

This article especially is of "PG essay" quality.

Posts like these make me wish a friends&family round was a viable option for me. Right now my startup is in the sort of place where most of our focus should be going to the product, it's live, but not quite launched. We have a lot of great feedback that we really want to execute on before doing a proper launch.

And on the other hand being live, but not quite launched, is giving us a lot of scaling issues. You might as well say it's becoming a bit costly to run everything ... and we can only live without money for so long. That's why we're starting to devote half of our time to freelancing, just to put food on the table. This in turn affects the execution I mentioned.

Of course instead of freelancing we could completely stop executing and go for a round of fundraising ... but surely there's a chicken&egg problem hiding in there somewhere. Thing is, we have some soft-circled angels/VC's ... but we can only handle those so fast next to executing on the vision and putting food on the table.

Ok, rant over, not really certain whether it's on topic or not.

Do you mind sharing what your product is (if not the name or URL)? Have you tried making money with your product itself, directly or indirectly? I think if you don't try to be ramen profitable, you may never be.

Must be great to be in a place where getting meetings with 40 interested angels is not some kind of impossible fantasy!

No, thank you! If you didn't post an article worth reading and telling others about, there'd be nothing to see there! :-)

Thanks for the detailed article, Paul. Do you have any paying customers? It's not clear from the Notifo site if you have a paid version out yet. Don't want you to spill all your beans, but it would also help to know how many total users you have (ballpark?) to give some context to your fundraising story.

Paul, Always enjoy your comments and insights. Glad things are working out so well. If you are in Atlanta for the holidays i would love to grab drinks and catch up.


Thanks for the kind words Steven. Unfortunately I won't be back in Atlanta for the holidays, but there is a chance I might fly in for a few days around Startup Riot.. we'll see!

Hoping to make it to StartupRiot as well (assuming I am accepted to present). Andrew Warner and others (like me) are hoping to have an HN meetup of sorts.

Fantastic post. I'm an ATL-based entrepreneur registered for StartupRiot, hope to see you there.

Pretty good summary.

For what it's worth, it's only ever this bad on your first time around raising funding. Even follow up rounds for your startup are 10x easier (assuming you did what you said you'd do.)

Love his app to track his mood from day-to-day. Priceless.

Hi, Jonathan,

I'm one of the developer of MercuryApp that is using Notifo for our notifications. It is the application that he uses to track his mood. We are opening up in the next few weeks, although you can request a beta invite at www.mercuryapp.com. We've got some great features coming out to make it even more useful as a tracking tool.

Yeah it's quite cool. I used a combination of Google calendar reminders and Posterous to do it a while ago.

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