Start-up Diary Entry #7 | Decision Dilemmas

Every start-up faces dilemmas and takes decisions about them. In this entry in my Start-up Diary I share some of the dilemmas we’ve faced with Treeveo and the decisions we’ve taken to move forward. 

The last time I wrote an entry in my Start-up Diary, we had just entered into Wayra. This was an amazing step forward for Treeveo and I can honestly say that without Wayra our life at Treeveo would have been significantly tougher (perhaps impossible). Since then we’ve developed the product, signed our first clients and raised funds. These are some of the dilemmas we’ve faced and the decisions we’ve taken along the way.

Fundraising Dilemmas

When you raise funds, you need the money, at least we did. Even though it is generally advised to raise funds before you need them, we didn’t have this luxury. We decided on the amount: €150K, this was our first dilemma. Do we seek more or less? Could we have done with less? Perhaps yes, but then we could not have invested the way we are doing now. Also it would have meant another fundraising round sooner. Everyone who has raised funds for their start-up told me that opening a new round is much tougher than raising more money during your current one. Therefore we decided to raise €150K instead of less so we will have enough time to execute our strategic plan, get to positive cash flow and invest.

The second fundraising dilemma was to decide which kind of investors to approach. We could have pitched the entire amount to individual investors. But if you’ve been following us then you know we decided to do the opposite: raising from 6 investors vs 1. Reasons behind it we explain here. But we were able to raise the round in 2.5 months, a record in Spain. Also already we’ve been benefitting hugely from the collective expertise from our “Saints”.

Product dilemmas

When building a product, you always have trade-offs in what to build now and what later (or not at all). In our case we first had to build the foundation. We had to pick a framework: CodeIgniter; A decision that my co-founder explains much better on his own blog. Then we created a product road-map. Deciding what to develop during the creation of our product roadmap was much easier. Our development dilemmas were solved by asking / observing our first 2 enterprise clients. We intend to keep doing this to prevent us developing useless “ballast”. Another dilemma was in our infrastructure, there we’ve decided to invest resources in moving to a much more scalable infrastructure, we believe it will help us to be prepared for the future growth.

Future dilemmas

Now we have our product alpha built and have slowly started to sell. We have our investment secured to execute our plans in the next months. But what decisions do I think will await us?

People dilemmas

First of all, we have to invest in people. This I feel will be the one of the most difficult decisions we will have to make. Who do we hire to help us realize the Treeveo vision? A wrong decision here can break our company, so we are definitely spending time to find the right people.

The Route-To-Market

A second dilemma is when to launch our new mass-market channel. As part of our 2014 execution plan, we want to launch Treeveo to the masses. However which messaging we will use to explain Treeveo is a big challenge. We are fortunate to be able to tap into the expertise of one of our Saints to attack this challenge. Also we will have to decide when our product (that we are re-building) will be ready enough. We follow the lean start-up which encourages start-ups to launch as soon as possible. But the question is how fast exactly that is.

If you are an entrepreneur you must face dilemmas like we are. I’d love to hear about them and how you solved them.