We are absolutely delighted to be chatting with James Shomar from StartFast Accelerator. James is a tech entrepreneur, investor, and program director. StartFast Accelerator aims to turn startups into extraordinary companies. The program offers funding, mentorships, and much more to startups around the globe. Tune into our chat as we learn about the program, James’s philosophy on startups, MVP, and Syracuse New York.
Thanks so much James for taking the opportunity to chat with us can you tell us about StartFast Accelerator Program?
StarFast exists to turn startups into extraordinary companies. Entire management is founders themselves so they know what it is like “being in the trenches”. The program has over 100+ mentors, serial entrepreneurs and corporate executives. It runs for 12 weeks and helps startups with traction, establishing scalable business models, and funding.
What kind of startups are suited for this?
StartFast works exclusively with tech companies in the area of software or hardware. They look for teams with multiple full-time cofounders with complementary skill sets. One of the biggest advantage of the program is that it is founder-oriented and is tailored towards each specific companies.
You recently wrote an article on having the right cofounder for your startup. What makes an awesome cofounder and team?
When it comes to finding a cofounder, try to understand who you are looking for specifically hard skills. Figure out what skills sets are required and which gap do they fill in. Look for someone who enjoys working at a startup. Your business idea is going to change probably three times. There’s a lot of experimentation and iterative process. That’s the person you want to have on your team, who will push through till they find the product-market-fit. If you’re starting out with a single idea you’re buying a lottery ticket. Try out different things and get real data. To read more check out James’s article on Finding that Cofounder here: https://startfast.net/do-not-take-on-co-founders-like-this/
How does one go about validating a business idea?
Focus on data for validation. It’s about going out and getting real market data. Get deep insights and go through customer discovery. Remove people’s biases.
What recommendation do you have for early-stage startups looking to get those first sets of customers?
This ties back to back to customer discovery process. This means figuring out the audience and their needs. Who is this for? Are they actively looking for solutions? Is it scable? It’s a data game and process.
What makes a great first MVP?
MVP is not a single thing. You may have a lot of MVP’s to test out feature or marketing channels. MVP is a part of customer discovery. Your goal with a MVP is to get insights. It’s a iterative process. The goal of MVP is to test your value proposition. The best companies never stop experimenting and learning.
What are some traction metrics you look for when reviewing startups?
The biggest thing is the team in the beginning. Having that market validation is also huge.
Are there any notables startups we should keep an eye out that came out of program?
Can you tell us about Syracuse, New York?
Syracus is an awesome location. In terms of quality of life is hard to beat! Great place to start a company.