This June, we took 16 founders and 8 mentors to Hawaii on Wefunder Workaway, a trip designed to foster connection between idea-stage founders and propel them forward along their founder journeys.
The trip was structured similarly to early-YC. Each day, we worked (or, some hiked and snorkeled). Each night, we reconvened for an intimate evening workshop followed by a group meal and fireside chat led by one the mentors (plus one special guest, Nick’s grandma).
The focus was largely on sparking momentum in a startup — whether it be tech or CPG, but many of the learnings are relevant for founders at all stages...
Shruti Shah from MoveLoot led the legal session*, mostly focused on incorporation for our idea-stage founder audience. We learned about C Corps vs. LLCs, common stock and preferred stock, and that lawyers are our friends.
Some tips & tricks she shared:
(*note: Shruti is not a lawyer, neither am I)
Founder & CEO of Wefunder, Nick Tommarello led the “Make Something” session (again, designed for early-stage founders). But if you’re launching a new product/feature, are pivoting the business entirely, or are stuck on something, keep reading.
The formula for starting out…
Most importantly: Believe in yourself!
Ouch. (See, he should’ve stopped after “Go raise on Wefunder” 😉)
Steven’s (real) pointers…
For female founders, raising capital from VCs can be much harder, which is why more female founders are tapping female VCs and angels. Shruti’s advice was to talk to friends who’ve had good experiences with their investors. There are also lists floating around the interwebs for which investors that female founders should avoid.
For tech-focused founders, you may also want to check out Lunch Club to meet investors in your city.
“A company’s culture is your team, their shared values, and how those are exhibited as actions when you work together” - CS
Goals of a healthy culture:
To build a healthy culture, start early! Here’s how…
To keep your culture on track, pay attention! Look for warning signs like office politics, lack of engagement, low quality meetings, and lack of diversity. Take action by providing office hours for employees to talk with the founders and/or leadership, solicit broader feedback through surveys, implement OKRs, and get HR involved.
Overall, the biggest value-add for participants of Workaway was being surrounded by a kick-ass crew of people who are also building a startup, or who know what it’s like to build a startup from first hand experience. This was reflected in our celebratory luau as the best part of the trip: the people.
It’s super important to be surrounded by people who will challenge and inspire you when building a company, along with having a group of people who will ground and support you through the ups and downs. We (unfortunately) can’t jet off on a Workaway every time we’re stuck in the trenches, but we can tap into the Wefunder alumni community, which is an incredibly rich network that can be a source of support, inspiration, and knowledge for when you’re launching your next product, funding round, or growing your team, etc.
In the spirit of Workaway, we’re hoping to foster more connection between Wefunder alumni founders via office hour calls. Want to sign up to connect with another industry-relevant founder? Let us know here.
Want to be notified when we host our next Workaway? Sign up here.
Thanks for reading!
Privacy: We won’t share your data, or post to your wall, without your permission.
Already have a Wefunder account? Login
Don't have a Wefunder account? Signup