Apart from the obvious difference, i.e. the VC money, I see couple of very subtle difference between the funded and unfunded startups. As always, I am looking for more insights from the readers.
Unfunded: Barcamp – Funded: TiE
Unfunded Startups visit Barcamps, while the funded ones are a regular face @ TiE sort of events (read “page 3” kind).
PR: Self or ..?
Now, this is a trend I have been witnessing for quite sometime. The unfunded ones take the pain of sending their product/feature release details to bloggers personally (mails do read as “Hey Ashish”) – quite a personal touch et al.
What about the funded ones?
Well, they hire a PR agency or a PR person and the mails read as “Hello “.
Stationary or Branded Stationary?
Funded startups have branded stationary and all their pen, pencil suddenly starts showing their brands, logos, punchlines and what not.
While the poor/unfunded ones still prefer the plain/blank envelopes.
Are these points really that significant?
Yes. Very much. Read on.
All I am trying to say is that many funded startups start losing the ground touch in due course of time (owing to VC money? Not sure of the perfect correlation, but there is some correlation for sure).
Call it the sudden awakening (that Barcamps are for geeks, branded stationary is a no-brainer), I see whole lot of startups simply wasting VC money and in the process, creating a need for new (IMO: redundant) roles like market consultants, researchers, PR execs etc.
And that results in more digression from the ground reality..suddenly they start living on ‘borrowed (fake) insights’, start adding bureaucratic positions and in the process, end up building gaps in their offerings.
And a “red carpet” welcome for a smart startup to turn the table (feels like deja vu?).
I believe, resource constraint is what makes one think out-of-the-box and many a times, VC money removes that constraint.
“I don’t believe in total freedom for the artist. Left on his own, free to do anything he likes, the artist ends up doing nothing at all.
If there’s one thing that’s dangerous for an artist, it’s precisely this question of total freedom, waiting for inspiration and all the rest of it.”
– quote by Federico Fellini
Shakespeare’s sonnets in iambic pentameter. “Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May”
Ditto applies to startups too.
What’s your take?