Starting a Company Now on Featherlight Capital

Never have the barriers to starting a new company been lower.  And never has there been more Tech capability available for virtually free.

I have just been through the experience of setting the infrastructure up for a couple of friends as they launch their new companies.  These people are accomplished, have worked globally and have successfully held positions as CEO, CFO, scientist, board member, investor and entrepreneur.  In short, they are the audience for this blog as described in the welcome post here.  A consistent pattern is emerging and I intend to chronicle it in this forum.

They have their ideas and their business plans.  It happens that the businesses are in the fields of the biotech and financial services, but for our discussion here it hardly matters.  What matters is most of the activity of the company is the output of people in the form of services, and as a class, most start-ups today share some similarities that will be useful here.  If you are starting an airline with reservation system (!?) or a chemical company with a manufacturing plant, good luck, and what you read here will not be directly applicable.

Capital and time are always limited, and if not, start more companies until they are.  The point I want to make is that with limits, come tradeoffs.  Tradeoffs as to where you put your money and time, and no doubt, some aspect of your business will consume all of each you can muster.  But the IT, tech and computing you employ can be robust, professional, scalable, indifferentiable from a large firm and virtually free.  The how is the journey I will take you through.

The Latte Scale

I want to introduce the my latte scale.  Many executives I know enjoy a latte grande everyday.  If  you are one, you know how much you spend each day.

My Latte Scale

My Latte Scale

I will relate the IT decisions made here against the daily cost of a latte grande.  Willing to forego the latte?  You’ll save about 200 calories and most of what I show you here will cost less than you would have otherwise spent.

Know your assumptions

Get started by knowing your basic assumptions.  When you have done a business plan, you have made these decisions.  I recommend writing them down, because early in your company, someone you respect and admire will bring you a suggestion that if implemented, may overturn those premises.  Stop, think, and do so only as a deliberate and informed decision.

Here are the assumptions and premises in the company explored here:

  • we will start in the house, garage or local Starbucks before signing a lease for office space
  • I have a fast internet connection
  • I have my own computer (reading this after all, unless you are at the library)
  • initial team members and colleagues will not be in a shared space with me (like an office)
  • initial team members will have their own personal computers and an internet connection
  • my suppliers such as my accountant and lawyer will not come to my office to do my work
  • we will not have dedicated IT professionals on staff, at least to start
  • we will not have servers on our premises.

Right for you?

I promise to be the provocateur and explore the edge cases.  So what you find here will make the point and may seem extreme.  You will decide what is right for you.  For my part, I will point out how to be more extreme.  db

1 Comment

[...] IT horsepower can deployed in a startup for much less than the daily cost of a fancy coffee, a latte grande. These ideas are forged from the real-world, as I have had the privilege of setting up resources [...]

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