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Week 7 – Battling 🦠 virus and taking stock (of life and Amygda)

Faizan Patankar on 19 August 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).

And I have finally caught the virus.

It isn't all that surprising, I was on a 2-hour drive and then 2 hours at the airport, followed by 4 hours in a full flight. Having followed all the guidelines, including the use of masks throughout the airport and the flight, the virus had a sucker punch.

The week was spent battling the virus. And by the timeline of recovery (if at all), next week isn't going to be any better.

I am lucky, I am experiencing only mild symptoms. But if this is what mild looks like, I really can't imagine what people went through with worse symptoms.

There is a world out there who has gone through so much. And I am experiencing only a tiny part of it.

Sucker punch though, sucker punch.

Image credit: Love Alert (on App Store)

As you can imagine, when you are down and unable to have the strength to do anything, a lot of thoughts go through mind.

I on the other hand am keeping a lot of thoughts aside and just focussing on where Amygda is right now.

Where is Amygda at in week 7?

It has a battered founder, and the rest of the summary is as below.

On prospects

mage credit: Love Alert (on App Store)

We have validated our methods with a rail company and an airline. Whilst we have another 3 companies in the pipeline in trial discussions.

There's about another 10 at various stages of discussions. For me, it is definitely quality over quantity and we are focussing on large complex enterprises.

On funding

mage credit: Love Alert (on App Store)

We have 200K commitment and are currently raising another 300K to complete a pre-seed round of 500K. This will help us meet a number of milestones.

What might reduce the amount to raise is customer revenue, which is in the pipeline to the bank in 2020. So when we sign that contract in we can actually reduce the external funding required.

What are the challenges at Amygda?

Where do I begin 😅

I am trying to build a startup,

✅ in the middle of a pandemic

✅ with jobs being cut in companies

✅ and budgets are slashed

✅ and a reduction in machines and industrial equipment being used

⚠️ and the founder is now battling the virus

Like take a wild wild guess, are we having challenges?

Yes we are.

To be very open with you, all startups have challenges. They go from one headache to another and really, the pain of running a startup never really goes away.

Doing it in challenging times just makes it harder.

But I knew that.

And this handy little note below popped up on my notification, which is relevant 😀. If you are curious, it is an app Love Alert. Contrary to what you may think, it has nothing to do with dating 😅. Love Alert is a simple mobile application that sends across, love, positivity, and good vibes from us to you via push notifications. An app that serves as a motivational tool that can ease one’s mind.

Back to Amygda.

The challenges we face are around two things, one is product development. And second is just finding the bandwidth to spin all the plates.

There is never really a finished product in this domain. Industrial analytics is a lot about continuous improvement (product side) and machine learning optimization (on the data side). But we might have to add on the product team.

This is not easy.

And there are so many things on the operation side that a startup has to focus on, it's crazy. I underestimated that bit. And this includes everything from decks, proposals, finance, legal, export control, data security, infrastructure, blah blah blah.

We don't know everything. And we can't afford everyone. So we try to upskill in topics and challenges we face and then solve them.

It is time-consuming though.

And now I realize, why getting funding is important. When you are in the B2B space, at enterprise scale it takes 8 weeks of the actual trial, but another 8-10 weeks of commercial, legal, and data security-related discussions.

That is time consuming and if you don't know what you are doing, you are screwed.

So, funding is important to reach the right milestones.

So what's the plan now?

The first thing is for me to get better, along with my family. That's number 1.

And whilst I can still work a couple of hours a day before tiredness kills me, the immediate thing to sort out is getting a handle of where our prospective customers are. With the drop in momentum, I haven't been able to be on top of them all.

Next up is having a clear list of target customers.

I know, a lot about customers. But that's what I care about. Nothing else takes priority over customers.

And whilst that is ongoing, hopefully, I will survive (melodramatic) and get better, to have a clear plan on product development. I always feel plans in a 4 people company are ridiculous, but now that I am ill and realise there is nothing I can see to see what's impacted, it's a reminder that maybe I was a bit wrong.

So yeah, some planning to do.

Time lost to the virus is a sucker punch

I have to admit, this time lost is a sucker punch.

There is nothing I can do, or anyone else for that matter. There are no medicines to improve the condition, there is no GP who can do anything.

And how long this virus lingers in the body, I don't know.

But if we didn't have enough challenges to ride over, having this one feels like a sucker punch.

The story continues.

. . .

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.