The Solo Founders Who Didn’t Take No As An Answer
When it comes to building startups, one of the most difficult things is the need to find a technical co-founder. Over the years, finding a co-founder for your startup has become more than just a need, but a requirement. Most top accelerator programs will not accept solo founders as apart of their incubator recruitments anymore. Most early stage/seed investors will not invest into solo founders, simply because they believe that a team of founders can outperform a solo founder.
There are a few entrepreneurs who did not accept the fact that they must have a team in order to succeed or obtain early round funding. Probably, the most famous person to become exceptionally successful in the startup world without a partner is Jack Ma of Alibaba. Check out our previous article about things that you did not know about Jack Ma. Jack Ma was able to do this because he started Alibaba at a time when there weren’t that many competitors. Let’s discuss a few solo founders in our modern startup time.
Natalie Gordan founded babylist, which is the baby registry startup that lets you register for exactly what you want for your baby from the retailers of your choice – including your favorite local or independent shops. “I created BabyList when I was pregnant with my son and was trying to create my own baby registry. I knew exactly what I wanted – frozen meals, pet sitting for our German Shepard, an eco-friendly diaper service – and there just wasn’t an online registry that suited my needs.”-Natalie
Natalie was able to join 500 startups (top incubator) by herself as a solo founder. How did she do it? How did she convince the 500 startups mentors to accept her? Natalie built Babylist before she joined 500 startups and also had a huge database before she entered. The product itself was already making money from retail referrals. Another huge plus to her application was that Natalie is already a top software developer, so that proved to 500startups that she could manage and debug the app herself.
Natalie now continues to reside in San Francisco and has an office in the Mission district.
Nikhil Nirmel is the founder of Lawdingo, an online startup that helps people find and speak to attorneys. The example above showed how coding skills, a good product, a good mvp, and a good user database can get you into a top accelerator, but what if you can’t code? Nikhil is a solo founder who did not code, instead he hired a bunch of contractor and remote worker to help him put together the website. The startup did not come easy, Lawdingo took approximately a years worth of time to build. He build an amazing MVP as well as proof of revenue growth, and that got him into one of the best incubators, Y combinator.
Ray Grieselhuber was apart of the 2010 Ycombinator batch. After participating in Y Combinator in the Summer of 2010, he launched GinzaMetrics with the goal to help businesses create authentic interactions with their customers through SEO and content marketing. – Giznametrics
How did Grieselhuber do it? Grieselhuber has a background in engineering, business development, as over 7 years of experience as a SEO professional. Solo founders all have one thing in common and that is their ability to multitask and be the jack of all trades. Grieselhuber believes that if there was one thing that being a solo founder taught him, it would be how to be agile and responsive. “Grieselhuber says that he does outsource some aspects of Ginzametrics, particularly administrative work, and hires coding help from time-to-time. That‘s a reminder, of course, that just because you’re a single founder doesn’t mean that every single task is yours to accomplish.”
Laura Fitton is the founder of Oneforty and an alumni of 500 startups. Laura is a powerful tech women and apart of the solo founders list. She did not know how to code, but she had an idea. The idea was to make a Twitter appstore. The company gained so much popularity that it was acquired by known marketing company, Hubspot. Laura also contributed as an author to Twitter for dummies. Oneforty raised $2.4 million at the end of 2009 and launched a commerce platform at the beginning of 2010. Then, just the summer after, the company launched SocialBase, another social product that supposedly interested Hubspot.
Other people also include Aihui Ong of Lovewithfood who is a professional Rails hacker. Naoki Shibata, CEO of Appgrooves , Damian Madray CEO of Hunie and a few more. The moral to learn is to not ever give up. Many of them had to wait over a year to get funded, but they all had one thing in common and that was the fact that they did not give up.