As probably already know, I have spent the past year or so scratching my entrepreneurial itch. I was really fortunate to find a great co-pilot for this difficult journey, someone with deep industry expertise and a level head to counterbalance my over-enthusiasm.
Together we launched two different products (we decided to pivot after a few months), talked to dozens of customers, did tons of guerrilla marketing (read: cold emailing and shameless plugs), and had a handful of super happy early adopters. We did all the right things. But sometime late this summer we had our Mike Tyson moment. My co-founder had some unexpected family issues that prevented him from continuing to work on our startup almost entirely.
Was it a huge bummer? Yes. But, never forget: startups are crazy hard.
I had to choose between doing everything possible to keep the company alive (including searching for a new co-founder) or hanging up my boots.
As luck would have it, an interesting third option presented itself. Around the same time, my friend Jon (a serial founder and a recent LA convert) asked me whether I wanted to get involved in his current startup. I had known Jon since our SF days and had been following closely what he and his team had been up to since his last startup got acquired. The temptation checked all the right boxes: super early-stage startup, in a challenging space, with real IP and hard tech behind the product, and a great team that’s also fully distributed.
You can guess the rest. As of a few weeks ago, I joined AgentRisk. I’m taking on a rather unique role as the VP of Product & Engineering, which I’ve come to discover is my favorite intersection of responsibilities at a startup.
During the last couple of weeks I’ve talked to every early customer, as a way to learn everything I can about the product and find out what people love about it and how we can improve it. One thing clearly stood out from these customer interviews: our customers LOVE the product. This is a great place to be, i.e. having a Minimum Loveable Product. My challenge now is to absorb all these learnings and take the product to the next level.
At the same time, I’ll be keeping my hacker-slash-designer side happy. Last week recently released a brand new version of the product, which was a pretty monumental task, involving thousands of lines of new code. I’ll be posting on the AgentRisk blog more nerdy details about all that in the coming weeks.
This past year has been an incredible learning experience trying to build a company from the ground up and there’s nothing I regret about it. Doing a startup is grueling as you have heard, and then some. But it’s also crazy fun. Would I do it again? Abso-fucking-lutely. I mean, I’m still doing it 😉