10 months and 16 days.
Our time at Amplify.LA has come to a close, it only took 10 and a half months… Our peers at Amplify have spent anywhere from 2 months to a year in the accelerator program. Many other start-up incubators have graduating classes every 4-6 months, Amplify.LA understands that every company is different, they want you to leave when you are ready. As a new SAAS company, we learned everything takes a bit longer than our consumer facing business brethren.
What did we learn in our time at Amplify?
Patience – The start up life is a roller coaster filled with many highs and lows. Throughout the process, as mentioned before, everything takes a bit long than expected. If you haven’t raised funds before, it is not as simple as promoting your business on Angel List and watching the dollars come in. One of the best things about the Amplify.LA program is the network of investors you have access to. We talked to almost 100 different investors, many of them multiple times over our tenure in Venice. Ultimately, we ended up with the perfect scenario, venture backing from a team with enterprise software experience that will help us with a lot more than just money in our bank account (official announcement coming soon!).
The power of the pivot – At FloQast, I wouldn’t say we had a true pivot in the sense of the term, but we did learn a lot trying to sell our beta product to potential customers. We had solid traction with our initial platform, but we really wanted to focus on helping accountants without changing the way they work. This was a difficult task, but the FloQast reboot has potential clients & investors very excited about the future of the product.
How to get investors excited – You need to be able to sell the vision, which is tough when you have about the least sexy product you could pitch to an investor. ’We sell a project management solution for accounting departments’ is a Betty White on the ‘scale of sexiness.’ But, if you can articulate market size and strategic relationships, suddenly investors become excited. Investors did not need to know the painpoints of an accounting department first hand, but luckily for us every one of their portfolio companies is a potential client, so the due dilligence process moonlighted as a sales opportunity.
This has all lead to very good problems:
-We have a new office! Which leads to Ikea, Home Depot, Target… repeat.
Investor Due Diligence – From handshake to wire, the due diligence process is about
6 weeks 10 weeks (seriously, everything takes longer than you think). Lawyers go back and forth, negotiations happen and every piece of language is scrutinized. Using FloQast has helped us immensely during this process. Since inception we have used our own product to close the books, with that every incorporation doc and every agreement has been neatly saved into our system.
Assembling our team – Hiring people is not easy, especially when it comes to development talent. If you don’t make a decision after you meet someone, they are on to the next opportunity. Your first hires are crucial for the fate of the company, yet you need to decide in what seems like an instant. In every HR function, make sure you have some help. Recruiters can be ruthless, but reach out to a couple of them and see who is really responding to your needs and work with that person. We talked with six different recruiting firms, but only used one of them for our first three hires. How do you set up benefits, workers compensation, key man insurance? With help, there are specialists in the field, I would suggest you don’t try to handle this yourself.
We operated as a team of 3 for 10+ months and suddenly we have doubled in size in the last 2 weeks. We are excited for our future, our new team members and our new office. Even though we no longer work out of the Amplify.LA office, we will always be a part of the Amplify family.