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We value the team over everything else when we make our selections (investments).  We focus heavily on this because a startup company can quickly change a target customer, a market, a price, etc. but not so when it comes to the team.  You need this talent from day one to enable agility.

How do we define ‘tech on your team’?

A full-time member of the team (ideally a co-founder) is experienced in software development.  They can develop software or know enough to architect the product and work with a team of developers (front-end and back-end) to build, scale and support your product.

We do realize many of the teams don’t know everything when it comes to software development which is why we have a number of mentors who can help.

What if I already have a finished product that was developed by someone else and I’m already selling?

That’s great, but what’s your long-term strategy for product support and future changes?  Relying on external vendors to support the product can be very expensive.  Additionally, your vendors likely have many other customers they need to support; are you always their first priority?  The speed of execution is paramount so you need to position yourself to make product changes quickly and regularly.  To repeat you’ll likely be expensive and slow for an investor.

We largely feel this way because we are not the only investors that take this into consideration.  The majority of our companies will need to raise additional capital which means you’ll be approaching angels, angel groups, and venture capitalists.  These folks will not move forward without committed resources to making the team complete.  With our goal of creating investable startups, we plan ahead.

Please note, this does not mean you shouldn’t outsource work.  In fact, we encourage it to help move things along, but a member of your team needs to be able to understand, support and take that work further.

Picture from Flickr user Connie Ma

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