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Week 8,9,10 - Back to work

Faizan Patankar on 7 September 2020

This post is part of the Building It series where I share my journey building a startup, Amygda. Published weekly and as transparent as our customers, investors, and partners would have us be (read: legally allowed).

Wow, the past 3 weeks were crazy. A lot has happened. And thankfully I recovered with my brush with the virus.

It's something, I do not want to have again.

Moving onto fun bits. Building Amygda the past 3 weeks was hard. I was slow, things were slow. And some of the plans were torn apart.

I guess that's part of building a startup, the only constant is change. You just have to change and adapt. Constantly.

What happened at Amygda these past 3 weeks?

On the customer side, we did complete a data-trial with a solar customer. It is the start of an engagement and we continue to validate our equipment-agnostic methods of building predictive analytics.

Doing trials is very beneficial to us. And generally at an early stage, I am a big fan of trials, because they allow us to:

  1. Understand data from various equipment and industries
  2. Build various data manipulation techniques to build out templates
  3. Know the different integrations and data pipelines we need on our product roadmap
  4. And of course, validate our methods with real customer feedback

It actually is quite hard to do trials in enterprises.

You don't just have to deal with the challenge at hand, but also deal with other enterprise shenanigans.

For example, getting different stakeholders agreed on starting a trial is a huge effort in itself. We are slightly fortunate that we get to the right stakeholders.

And that's an important point worth making, at an early stage (like us) getting to the right stakeholders is very important. As we just don't have the resources to drive account management similar to other sales team.

Anyhow, some quick updates on where we are so far;

  • Commercial discussion with one large customer
  • Data trial with a solar customer
  • 4 customer trial discussions ongoing

What are the challenges at Amygda?

There are 2 challenges, which are interlined really.

The first is that the technology lead on the team has decided to focus on a corporate job for now. As a startup, the responsibilities of a tech lead are different from that of a corporate.

So, I am currently on the lookout for a very good tech lead. Someone with experience of the industrial world and who has worked with complex, and critical data sets.

Currently thinking that we will probably go remote for this role. As we are a remote small team right now.

But yeah that's challenge number one.

The second challenge is the pace of product development. We definitely need to increase the pace to reach our goals for Dec 2020.

The last 3 weeks have been a bump in the road. But it's time to go again, once we hire the new tech lead 😅. It's going to happen soon.

I often heard, as a startup CEO you are constantly looking for good engineers and talent. And I can now see why. Because things can change any time and you need to have a pool of talent. Thankfully I am surrounded by an amazing group of people and we will solve this challenge.

How's the fundraising?

Yeah, between all of this, there is fundraising to do. I put this on the back burner as there is enough going on the customer side and operationally to get distracted by fundraising right now.

However, there are a couple of things ongoing which hopefully come to fruition in the next week or so.

Whether it goes well or not, you will find out. That's the transparency pledge I made to all of you.

Some of the last 3 weeks has gone into the couple of opportunities I alluded to above. But apart from that, I am not fundraising.

On fundraising, this is a must-read " How to maximise FOMO while raising VC" by Finn Murphy (Principal at Frontline Ventures). Thanks for writing this Finn (as if he actually reads the blog, but let's just be polite shall we).

I took away a few points from that post. What I like the most is the refreshing honesty in that post. My favourite bit in the post is this (which is so f****** true)

"You meet with over 50 funds; get ghosted by 20, hear the market is ‘too small’ from another 15 and get told you’re ‘too early’ by 10 you know would invest in three toddlers in a trench coat if they heard Sequoia were putting in a term sheet."

So what's happening next?

Next up is full-steam ahead. As I mentioned, the last 3 weeks were bumpy. But now that I am back, it's going to be a race to the end of the year.

We want to achieve a few things by Dec, namely on the product side and customer traction. Closing one or more fundraising opportunities for pre-seed will be great for us.

Altogether, it's about validation for next few months.

Validation with customers and investors.

. . .

What do you think of this week? Let me know via messaging me on LinkedIn or tweet me @faizanpatankar. I love talking, just mention you read my blog.