What makes for a successful startup?
It is an interesting question because startup success is not a science; it is a combination of different things, and often being in the right place at the right time with the right product.
One of the most important things that we seek in startups is strong founding teams. It is founders who can seize opportunities and effectively navigate the challenges and hurdles that emerge along the way. Strong teams can handle the ups and downs without losing their focus, drive or enthusiasm.
They have the ability to shift gears and strategic and tactical directions when required and they refuse to panic or make rash decisions during difficult times. And they ask a ton of questions and surround themselves with people with the right skills, personalities, and approaches to working at a startup.
The importance of strong teams is illustrated by Ada, a portfolio company from Fund I now that it has reached unicorn status, ChatBot Provider Ada Valued at $1.2 Billion in Funding Round
The company has grown revenue to $30M USD ARR, they have 250 staff and expect to double that in the next year.
Ada’s success is driven by the two founders, Mike Murchison and David Hariri. We invested in Mike and David back in 2014 when the company was at inception.
Mike was very inquisitive and soaked up all the information he gathered and calmly steered the company, David understood what was required technically and went about his business developing the solution. They worked very well together, respected each others’ contributions, understood each others’ roles and the rest they say is history
As a team they had combined experience and vision and leveraged each other’s strengths and built a team around them as they grew to fill in the missing pieces.
Fastbreak Ventures supported Ada as it worked on an initial version of the product, (initially called Volley) and tackled issues such as scaling its technology, connecting to the market, and understanding the key metrics and traction that would attract investors.
When it comes down to it, the most promising startups have two key components: a strong team and a product that solves a real problem. They have the domain expertise to understand the problem being solved and how the product will be adopted and used. And they have the ability to attract top-notch talent by selling them on the vision during the early days.
Ada’s success has been propelled by many factors. At the core is the founding team.