Tiny Startup Camp

A tiny camp for making tiny startups.

November 10-11, 2012
Portland, Oregon

Tiny Startups are Different

One of the great things about Tiny Startup Camp is that we get to pull back and re-examine the idea of what a startup is. In general, startups are considered an online, fast-scaling business. But people often tack on some mandate that it has to be part of an incubator, and either be funded, or working towards funding.

Often times, people in the startup world are more interested in raising money than raising a great product, and people are more excited to tell you about their traction and plan, along with who their VCs are, than actually about their revenue and potential to be a long-term sustainable business. It’s like name-dropping who you dated in high school.

Why can’t startups be sustainable businesses? Why do startups *have* to have an exit in mind?

There are no answers to these questions, but one thing I’m excited about is at least revisiting the assumptions of a startup, and offering a second opinion to what seems like a cemented definition of a business genre.

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  • Chris S.

    I really like your pointing out that too many people think VC funding is a minimum requirement for any successful startup. I completely agree that there are many definitions of success and there is no right answer. My question is how much do you think the experience/expertise/mentorship offered by VCs and incubators can be replicated for a tiny startup? This seems like a significant advantage for the conventional model.

    • jasonglaspey

      It is definitely nice to have a community to surround yourself with, so you’re not running in a vacuum, but when you don’t have a company that’s hiring employees at post-VC funding rates, and you aren’t trying to close big deals with Fortune 500 companies, the role of the VC isn’t that critical. VCs are awesome for helping when decisions are very big, and very costly to get wrong. But if you are making $10k a month, and only have a few contractors helping out, you may not need a VC to mentor you.

      And, it’s definitely possible to get mentors in business who haven’t given you money (VC), nor that you’ve given equity (incubator). Sometimes, they’re friends, sometimes colleagues, sometimes older entrepreneurs. I actually chat with some of my funded-VC friends about ideas and opportunities, and they’re help is super valuable, even though it’s much more of a casual advising.