It Really Is All About The Founder

This post originally appeared on Medium

It’s All About World Domination

It’s pretty easy for a startup’s goal in life to be “world domination”. You hear it in pitches all the time.

How many founders do you know who have said: “Once we get all of the customers in this segment, we’ll be a billion-dollar company.”

It’s a trap that many startups fall into. They believe that if they get every customer they will be okay. They will survive. They will get an exit. They will have reached the pinnacle of their existence.

Our company believed the same thing.

We started off thinking that if we could work with every great accelerator in the world, we would have a great business. We would survive. We will have reached the pinnacle of our existence.

But over the past few years, we’ve really dug into the question of what are we really about. At some point, we realized we had the wrong focus.
It just shouldn’t have been world domination.

About two years ago, I was chatting with one of the early partners at 500 Startups — a guy named Paul Singh — who said something that’s always stuck with me. He said “you know it really is all about the founder, isn’t it?”

He was right.

I said, “Yeah, it really is all about the founder.”

From that point going forward, I realized that while the accelerators are important (they’re the best avenue we know of today to help an early-stage startup) they aren’t the most important part of what we’re doing. It’s all about the founder.

Because of that, we changed. We hired John Schnipkoweit, a Techstarsalumni, whose whole job is to support the 5,000 founders who have gone through a GAN accelerator.

We’re bringing together startups who have gone through one of our accelerators. We’re working with our network of investors to find the best ways for them to work directly with startups.

Corporations have incredible networks, mentorship and resources as well. We’re committed to connecting the most founder-friendly corporations directly with startup founders. That’s why we started a Corporate Partner Network.

We’re even having our first Global Founder’s Rally this week in Denver.

As we think about the future, we can honestly say our priorities have shifted.
Our mission is to give startups the power to create and grow their businesses wherever they are.

We can’t wait to empower next generation startups in Omaha, Nebraska, Wellington, New Zealand, and Cairo, Egypt to thrive in their own communities.
We continue the search for a better way to help startups, and we’re always happy to hear about the next great idea. Because like Paul said, it really is all about the founder.