We Suffer from Understanding Startups

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We suffer from understanding startups. Perhaps “suffer” isn’t quite the right word, but if you understand anything about entrepreneurship, you know it comes with high highs and low lows, too often both in the same week, and even sometimes both on the same day.

Or perhaps why this sentence resonates so well for Fledge is that we are not the type of program that provides just days or weeks of training, then moves on to the next batch. Instead, (with a few exceptions) we invest in every company we invite into our program, and after months of intense training, mentorship, and guidance, we go forth as partners for years, together suffering those ups and down.

Maybe our suffering comes from understanding the realities of startup finance. Being an investor across 100 companies gives us a unique insight into the path startups take from idea to first customers, more customers, and millions in annual revenues. We often can see what comes next for an entrepreneurs and her startup before she knows it’s coming, and before she believes our warning.

Certainly we suffer along with our startups when it comes to the realities of startup funding. We have chosen to work with mission-driven for-profit companies (a.k.a. impactful startups) and there simply isn’t enough capital in the world seeking to support such companies. We make follow-on investments when we have the funds, and we make introductions to every investor we can find, but capital demand always outweighs supply.

Lastly, startup suffering is as often about people as it is about money. Sometimes our job is life coach or mediator or shoulder to cry on, or some other role where we put away the spreadsheets and slide decks and deal with the egos and aspirations, miscommunications and expectations.

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