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Weathering the storm: How startups can survive without ongoing investments

However, as an industry, sometimes you have to get real and face the facts. Sometimes, funding is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Sometimes the right course of action is to break the cycle and catch your breath.

Rather than putting you on a path to mediocrity, taking this action can teach some important lessons, and set you up for even more exciting growth in the long term.

The tough decision

Four years ago, Pusher took $1m of funding. We had early growth, but were in a product category that wasnt well understood, and with several approaches seemingly doing well. We were also Europeans who (shockingly) didnt want to move to The Valley.

As a result, the options for Series A in 2012 just didnt work for us. Let me rephrase that: we couldnt get more funding. We had to make a choice.

We believed in what we were doing and knew that our customers loved the product. But, given Wengers growth vs profitability spectrum, we made a conscious decision to pursue the latter.

Read more about access to finance:

Problems money can’t solve

They say money can’t buy you happiness. It also can’t buy you the right timing for your startup to take off.

Its easy to quickly find your most well-known customers are early adopters, while mature businesses further down the technology adoption curve are slow to get on board.

In our case, the idea of having data pushed to open applications in real time seemed cool, but there was no real understanding of the best method, or whether a few kids in a startup could be trusted with such important infrastructure.

Having tons of cash doesnt immediately fix these issues. If you believe your speciality is the future, you have to trust that time will help your market become educated. The question is, can you survive, continue to sell and thrive while that continues

As a pretty lean operation, it’s easier than ever to punch above your weight without costing the earth. Outside the crazy salary nexus of San Francisco, burn rate may be more forgiving than you expect.

If you pay close attention to the numbers, in Paul Grahams immortal words, you can build a business that is default alive . And going through that experience will shape how you run the company forever.

Continue reading on the next page for a look at how to survive and coming out on the other side.

Image: Shutterstock



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