All Hail The Team! An Early-Stage Startup Forms

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By Virgilia Singh (Participant, Founder Labs) All Founder Labs participants had to choose their partners for the next 4 weeks. It’s like a game of dodge ball, where you have to choose people based on compatible skill set and personality. And boy, was it an intense 2 hours!

People teamed up based on a variety of reasons, from similar interests to pure likability. During this time we had Shaherose’s voice in the back of our mind “people matter, ideas don’t” -- something we learned quite quickly.

At the end of the day, the people you work with and the team dynamics that ensue as a result matter more than the idea you initially come to the table with. There were teams that were interested in education that ended up pitching ideas in online marketplaces. Others walked into the program with one very focused idea, but then ended up pivoting after finding a good group to work with.

Think about building your team as finding your startup soulmates, and ask yourselves the following questions:

  • Do you share a passion for solving an existing problem?
  • Do you believe you can trust one another?
  • Are you all patient and open to the most outlandish ideas?
  • Do you all hate quitting?
  • Do you all have a similar drive for success?

If the answer to all of those questions are YES, then more power to you and your team! Now you can all move on to determining tangible qualities such as:

Complementary skills: Founder labs is structured so that there are 2 engineers, 1 designer and 1 business person on each team. There is a very logical reason for this - everyone has their own unique selling proposition. Each team member should bring a valuable skill to the table. In our case, since we are building mobile products, it only makes sense that the engineers understand what technical elements go into prototyping the product, designers understand how the user will see it, and the business “hustlers” are able to understand the customers mind sets.

Stay Lean and Iterate Fast: During the early stages of our program (or a startup), ideas can literally go in any direction. By having an agile and lean team (we all love buzzwords), you reduce the risk of delayed decisions, miscommunication, and essentially building a product that won’t work in the market.

All in all, there is one thing that we should all remember while entering the next 3 weeks of Founder Labs in New York -- build a solid team first, and a good idea is sure to come.

This post was originally published at Founder Labs blog.

About the guest blogger: Virgilia Singh manages strategic partnerships at Invoke Media (the force behind Hootsuite and Eat St.). Previously, she cofounded GenJuice and now serves on its Advisory Board. Prior to that she was the youngest Management Consultant spearheading a Cloud Computing platform for the Department of Navy while working at Booz Allen Hamilton. Virgilia holds a B.A. Honors from ASU and a M.S. from Thunderbird School of Global Management. Follow her on Twitter at @VirgiliaSingh.