Advice for later stage startups

Sam Altman, President of Y Combinator, shared his advice for later stage startups as part of CS183B, the Stanford course he ran in 2014.

I think it’s worth listening to the full talk, but in case you’re pressed for time, here are some of my key takeaways:

  1. Late stage companies should have someone dedicated full-time to fundraising. This is less expensive than working with a financial advisor and, since the person works full-time at your company, they know and are able to present your company’s story better than a financial advisor.
  2. You should ignore almost all inbound interest from large companies. I covered a similar topic in an earlier post entitled What inbound interest from a large company really means. It may be flattering but most of the time it ends up with a low ball offer at best. If a large company is really interested they’ll make an offer even if you don’t engage them.
  3. Business development deals require building a personal relationship with the person representing the company you want to work with. Even if a transaction makes perfect sense, a purely transactional approach doesn’t make people feel good and people need to feel good to do something.

You can watch the full talk below.