• Startup hiring. First, get this right.

    Source: Crimson Tide (Buena Vista Pictures)

    There’s a topic I’ve been thinking about for quite a while and that topic is startup hiring. Yesterday, I decided to write this post after reading a post by one of the people’s who’s thinking I thoroughly respect on startups.  I’m talking about Hunter Walk’s post a few days ago on Hiring Momentum.  It’s hard to overstate the importance of this activity when building a successful company.

    People who have built successful startups and those who have invested in these companies talk about a number of factors that contribute to startup success. The fact of the matter is that research has shown that product/market fit is the top determinant of success.  Just to drive the point home, no less of a figure than Marc Andreessen famously wrote on the subject a number of years back.  At the Founder Institute, we spend quite a bit of time analyzing (along with experienced startup CEOs) each entrepreneur’s idea and getting them to validate some of their key assumptions. Thanks to this effort, the results in Colombia have been pretty phenomenal.

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  • Healthcare startup 1DOC3 keeps growing.


    As I’ve stated in the past, one of the most rewarding things that I do is advise startups. I truly enjoy working with strong founders and, though, I’m called an advisor, I see myself more as an admirer and fanboy of these entrepreneurs.  Fortunately, I can say that all of the companies that I advise are going strong and most of these have had some great news to report recently (I need to write a post about this).  Today, I’m proud to say that I am now advising another company called 1Doc3, which currently offers a health Q&A site for hundreds of thousands (and growing) of Spanish speakers from all walks of life.

    I met the founders during my mentoring stints at the local Wayra accelerator during the past year.  I met several impressive founders and startups from Wayra’s last batch, but there was something extra that I felt about the 1Doc3 founders and the opportunity they were pursuing.  One of the things that I really like about identifying and working with early stage companies is how hard it is to spot future success stories. Time will tell whether I’m any good at this, but, even though there were, apparently, “sexier” startups both at Wayra and elsewhere, this company and it’s founders stood out in my mind.

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  • Founder Institute rising.

    Adeo Ressi Entrepreneur Magazine

    The latest issue of Entrepreneur Magazine just came out and it was great to see Adeo Ressi, creator of the Founder Institute, on the cover.  In this issue, he, along with other entrepreneurs talk about the characteristics of a startup founder. The print version of the magazine also has some sample questions so that you can take a quick version of the Founder Institute test to determine (initially) if you have entrepreneurial DNA.  The full version of the test can be taken here.

    For accelerators, it’s important to be very careful in selecting the candidates  with whom they will be working.  Most, such as YCombinator, choose based on a number of criteria that they discern from an online application and in-person interview.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, the Founder Institute decided to use an online aptitude exam that tests for a variety of characteristics.  It’s an interesting and unique approach.

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  • Traits of successful startup founders outside of Silicon Valley

    Founder Institute Colombia mentors I think few would argue with the affirmation that creating a startup in Silicon Valley is a different experience versus creating it anywhere else.  Sure, building a successful business presents the same challenges, but the environment in Silicon Valley provides many benefits.  Nonetheless, everyday there are more and more examples of successful startups created elsewhere.  From SnapChat in Los Angeles, Etsy in New York to Allibaba in China and Flipkart in India.  These founders have a lot of the same characteristics even though the environment where they create their companies is a dimension away from the environment in Silicon Valley.

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