Entrepreneurial ADD: The Startup Killer

Every time I get the monthly update, I’m confused. Did I really invest in this company?


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There’s a disease that will kill a startup faster than anything else. It’s called Entrepreneurial ADD.

This deadly condition involves a founder who gets distracted too easily. Rather than nailing one business model, he’s always running off in new directions.

Hot new trend? He’ll pivot the entire business to work on it.

New product showing signs of working? Trash it and build something even cooler!

Entrepreneurs have boundless enthusiasm and tons of ideas.

This can help them innovate and succeed. Or it can have them running around like chickens with their heads cut off, accomplishing nothing.

Take the example of my portfolio company. After seeing some early signs of success with one product, they pivoted to something completely different.

The founder continued to chase down every hot trend in tech. Meanwhile, revenue shrunk and cash evaporated.

Now, runway is minimal and the chances of raising more money are poor. In this environment, a cash burning company with declining revenue is not investable.

What if they had simply hammered away at their original, successful business? They might be break-even by now and raising from a position of strength, if at all.

Venture capitalist Ben Narasin notes that in decades of investing, he’s almost never seen a pivot work. How many companies pivot over and over and succeed?

Probably almost none.

Don’t abandon a winning business model for the shiny new toy! Double down on what works.

And if your model isn’t working, fix it! If a particular problem is important to you, don’t just abandon it at the first sign of difficulty.

Because guess what? The next business will be difficult too!

Do you struggle with Entrepreneurial ADD? Do some of your founders have it?

Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

More on tech:

Have We Reached SaaS-turation?

Is 2023 the Best Time to Invest in Startups?

The Magic of Milestone-Based Funding

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Photo: Jack Dorsey, one of the very few CEO’s to successfully pivot a company. He pivoted Odeo to Twitter. “Jack Dorsey” by jdlasica is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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