‘Don’t take drugs!’ and more insight into the fast-paced life of startup founders

We were incredibly lucky to have a talented and impressive set of panelists for our event on the 24th of February, at the swanky offices of WeWork in Prague.

The buzz was palpable – the lineup was exciting, companies featured were disruptive and innovative, and wine was flowing. The presence of tech giants of Microsoft and Google

Let’s recap what the event was about and who is featured. The first panel comprised of 4 amazing women who stood behind their dream and have successfully built their team, product or company from scratch. What is behind their success? How do they relax? How do they balance family and business?

Following this deep-dive into the psyche and work practices of these kickass founders, there was an opportunity to hear the story of 4 founders who accelerated their business through Microsoft for Startups.

What were the key takeaways? And what were the key similarities all these successful people have in common?

Before we jump in, let us remind ourselves of some spine-tingling statistics. 137,000 startups are created daily worldwide. 90% fail. 2/5 are profitable. Reasons for failure vary: scaling too quickly, personal problems of founders, incompetence of staff and management, lack of skilled workforce.

But the most common issue with startups? It comes down to people and organizing them, setting the right priorities for the team, and maintaining clear goals while remaining agile.

Key moments in terms of growth of startups happen at the very beginning; to be more precise, finding a market fit, where people are willing to pay for what the startup is building, and where third-party companies are interested in the company are absolutely crucial. After all, 30% of startups fail due to a lack of market fit. The first thing to do about this? Talk to as many people as you can about your company/startup idea – VALIDATE YOUR IDEA. It might make sense to you, but if your grandmother doesn’t grasp it and your colleagues from your industry don’t see the market fit (or have tried it themselves and failed), this becomes valuable feedback to pivot your idea and iterate on your strategy.

Mental health is also a growing concern in the startup community. Hiring a coach is becoming an increasingly popular way of being able to deal with personal problems as well as overwhelming workloads. Especially in situations where founders are thrust into the position of managers (who they don’t necessarily want to be), or in a situation where expectations aren’t managed correctly (it’s in many ways an unsurprising statistic that founders usually need 3 times longer than expected to validate their business in front of investors), stress becomes a huge burden and it’s important to maintain a clear head as much as possible.

What were the key takeaways from the first-panel discussion and the individual panelists?

Jarmila: Laughing, she said that as cliche as it sounds, ‘just do it’. She never regretted what she did, but always regretted what she didn’t do.
Lucie: don’t be afraid to work hard. Otherwise, you won’t make it. Also, be clear in your views and goals; make sure even your grandmother gets it.
Kveta: Think big. Do everything you can, every day, to achieve that. Who knows; you might be the next unicorn.
Martina: ‘Do what you love’- what may sound really cliche, is one of the most powerful pieces of advice out there. Also, network a lot and talk to people and use every opportunity.

Check out a panel discussion in the following video below.

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