The Non-Linear Path of Start-Ups

Seth Levine wrote a great post today about how the path for many start-ups is non-linear. Highs and lows. Mad dashes and speed bumps.

In it, he referenced a previous post he wrote about how it takes 10+ years to build a company. I found it to be very thoughtful and it really resonated with me. At Kepha, we talk about wanting to back entrepreneurs over a 20-year time horizon; it means we want to back great people over multiple start-ups–and, do so by earning entrepreneurs’ trust. No “quickies” or “flash in the pan” type relationships.

Below is one paragraph from Seth, which really caught my eye.  You can read the full post here. Super-helpful and thoughtful.

Years 3-10 in a business are the real heart of entrepreneurship. Figuring out how to scale an organization, realizing that you need to bring in a set of managers above many of your initial key executives, playing with product market fit that you thought you’d already figured out 10 times, going through a downsizing of the business after you ran a bit too hot, having a co-founder leave, trying um-teen different sales and marketing ideas as you struggle to create a scalable sales model, all the while trying to make sure you don’t run out of money in the process. This is the meat of company building. And it’s hard. And messy. And rarely pretty.


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