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What We’re Looking For – Teams

Posted on Jan 21, 2013

Blackbird Ventures

To back you, we have to believe that you’re better placed than anyone else in world to succeed in your chosen area.

We’re looking for world class founders and teams. To back you, we have to believe that you’re better placed than anyone else in world to succeed in your chosen area. It’s a high bar, but it’s also a big bad world out there. There are no set rules but here are some general guides to the types of founding teams that we’re looking to work with: 


- Entrepreneur DNA: The world is littered with very intelligent people with fantastic ideas. Entrepreneurs are separated by their ability to get things done with very few resources and under chaotic conditions. Can you make quick decisions, find solutions to insolvable problems, network like crazy, convince people to follow you for little or no pay and buy your product even though it’s not finished? Here Mark Suster lists some of the attributes of an entrepreneur we’re looking for. 


- An authentic connection to the problem: We’re looking to back teams of founders who have a deep understanding of and connection to the problem they’re trying to solve. It might be that you’re a domain expert who’s stumbled across a better way of doing something you’ve been doing for years, you might be a technical founder who’s experimented with a product and learned how to do something new, or you may have a unique understanding of a particular demographic. There’s no right answer to this, but you’ll need to be able to articulate why you’re more likely than 99.99999% of the world’s population to succeed at your chosen task. 


- Technical founders: We have a particular affinity for technical founders who have a great sense for what it means to be a hacker – to make something with no money and extreme uncertainty. 


- Building your company with lean startup principles: The Lean Startup movement is about the pursuit of reducing waste. The largest risk to a startup is that your intended customers won’t care. There are a set of principles called ‘Customer Development’ that help speed up the search for a repeatable and scalable business model. 


- A focus on metrics: Opinions and ideas are the lifeblood of startups but they should be validated and metrics should be what eventually steers the ship. Check out Dave McClure’s Metrics for Startups or Andrew Chen’s list of essays, you’ll find a wealth of knowledge on these topics. 


- Team size: Manu Kumar of K9 Ventures said it best: “The highest chance of success is for founding teams of two. Three founders is okay too, but two seems to be the ideal number. Any more than three founders and it’s usually just a mess, and there’s bound to be a shake out in the future. A solo founder is a special breed and only those people who have the determination and strength of will to hold on to the roller-coaster can make it as a solo founder.” 


- Chemistry: Finally, there’s got to be some chemistry between you and us. We’re signing up for a long and probably tumultuous ride together!

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