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When and how to scale your startup

At Splash Oakland Day 1, on April 22, hear how to avoid death by premature scaling

Lessons learned from investor by Sharon Wienbar
April 13, 2015
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/3d2c

At next week’s Vator Splash Oakland on April 22-23, I’ll give a workshop on “When and How to Scale Your Startup" during the Breakout Sessions on Day 1.

The point of my talk is how to avoid “Death by Premature Scaling” because you have to be alive to win.

When you spend money before spending really creates value for your company you are not scaling optimally.

At a minimum, scaling too early might force you to have to raise money at a lower valuation than you’ll like, resulting in dilution. And in the worst case scenario the company runs out of money.

There are qualitative aspects and quantitative aspects to scaling.  I am going to focus on the qualitative Board  and CEO level of assessing scalability – not really the specific metrics that you might calculate, although there are a lot of great blog posts on how to do that.

So before you get startup fever and you feel that you have to take VC money and spend VC money; really think about whether the opportunity is right and the time is right for you. Another important qualitative issue is to consider whether you and your Co-Founders are aligned on what you are looking to get out of the business.

We’ll also talk about the life of a CEO/Founder and early team, because your roles and responsibilities will change frequently as the company scales. The founding team has to be willing to go through the constant adaptation in order to scale.

In addition to these personal and inter-personal issues, we’ll cover more technical signs of scalability, too. I’ll address assessing the scalability of your product, marketing and sales efforts and your talent pipeline. We’ll touch on analyzing results and allocating your resources to maximize your “Tooth to Tail Ratio,” a military concept startups should learn and apply. Quality, both in your product and your people, is essential to retain users and to make your company a magnet for talent.

We’ll finish with the topic of money and fundraising, and talk about “friendraising,” which helps you build a pipeline of investors.  

For other segments and sessions you'll hear at Splash, see related stories below.

(Editor's Note: Come mingle with hundreds of top venture capitalists representing $10B-plus in capital under management, including Khosla Ventures, Greylock and Javelin Venture Partners, and learn from founders/CEOs including Marco Zappacosta, Co-founder & CEO of Thumbtack and Adam Goldenberg, CEO of JustFab, Slava Rubin, Founder & CEO of Indiegogo, at Vator Splash Oakland on April 22nd and 23rd. Get your tickets here!)  

(image source: wallpaperist.net)

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Bio: Sharon invests in Mobile and Internet companies at ScaleVP. She sits on the boards of Actiance, BeachMint, Everyday Health, Pla...

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