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DAY NINETEEN – SEPTEMBER 13TH, 2013

Erin Hopmann

How are you feeling?
Feeling pretty good. Going to Vail for the weekend for a friend’s wedding, so mostly will be unplugged from Dabble. Hope to be reminded come Monday what a great thing getting away can be for clearing the head.

What’s the plan?
Relatively unchanged since yesterday. More of an interesting update here soon!

What’s it like to have investors?
It’s a blessing… if you are aligned on vision for the company. And if you understand what you both can bring to the table, so that one plus one equals three.

Dabble has over 15 angel investors, and I’m so grateful for their support and involvement. It’s pretty awesome that people out there are not only willing, but eager to back seed stage companies, despite what the numbers say about it being a very risky investment.

The profiles of our investors look very very different from each other – which makes for an interesting dynamic at times. Some of our investors also double as advisors, most of whom are more experienced in working with start-ups and/or have been entrepreneurs themselves (in my experience, the combination of the two is the best).

Others are first-time investors, and given that we’re first-time entrepreneurs, sometimes we fumble together at figuring out how best to work together. Some want updates as frequently as possible, others sit back and don’t care if they don’t hear from us for months. So it can be challenging.

Some believe X is best for the company; others feel strongly that we do Y. As the founder and entrepreneur, you have to balance this – and it’s not always easy. You have a commitment to your investors – after all, money talks, and it’s a meaningful thing that they put money into this thing that you built. At the same time, if you’ve maintained majority control and operate under the assumption that they’re investing in the company because they believe in you, the founder, you have to know when to push back.

There are a few things I’d do differently in raising money if I could. And there are days when I wish we didn’t have investors. It’s an added pressure and responsibility that every founder feels if they take outside capital. No longer are you just working for yourself. (The idea of being your own boss slightly shifts when you take outside investment.) But, if you surround yourselves with the ones that are right for you, it really can be a pretty awesome thing.

DAY NINETEEN – SEPTEMBER 13TH, 2013

Jess Lybeck

How do you feel about the project?
Good. I feel like we’re in the right place. I told a couple close friends & colleagues today what our plan is – and they are as excited as we are about it. We’re admittedly crazy but it might just work.

We got on Google Hangouts with Frank early this morning to see progress with the new feature. This is by far the biggest challenge he’s taken on to date – and he’s totally killing it. To most people, they’d say “it’s just a website”. But Dabble’s dream is built in code. It’s really exciting to see it continue & grow under Frank’s guidance.

What’s the plan?
Today was about organization. The feature is almost built but there are a LOT of things that will need to be tweaked or adjusted to allow for the new pricing structure to roll-out. We prioritized our list of “To Do’s” and assigned them between the three of us. Goal is to put this in front of users by the middle of next week.

What’s it like to have investors?
In many ways, our investors are our biggest cheerleaders. They believe in Dabble’s vision. They believe in us. They’ve provided financial support, connections and helped us think through some big decisions in the past two years. They invested in us because they believe in the business – but also our ability to provide a return on their investment.

When sales don’t go as planned or we have hiccups in operations, it’s not just the company we’re thinking about. We’re thinking about our responsibility to our investors. People and commitments we value & trust.

Now that we’ve hit the end of our runway, it’s been pretty great to see our investors step forward and offer help. Sure, some are irked or feel that we should have made some different moves. But hindsight is 20/20 – we made (and continue to make) decisions that we feel are the best for Dabble AND our investors.

When we see the fairy-tale stories of Facebook and other successful companies it’s easy to assume that there is just one way. Seed Round, Series A, Series B, Series C … then acquisition or IPO and everyone rides off into the sunset.

There are many paths to success. Dabble might be bushwhacking our way through the rough patches right now. But we’re finding our own path. We’re not giving up. We’re not taking the freeway, but we’ll get there one step at a time.

 

We plan on answering different questions every day. Submit a question you’d like answered by emailing 30daysofhonesty (at) dabble.co.

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