Gregarious Narain, the former VP of Product at Klout, is the Co-Founder of Chute, a service that lets brands and publishers collaborate with their fans and ambassadors to create rich, visual media.
Bring remote workers in to collaborate in person. We brought everyone who was working remotely together for 6 months to accelerate our learning and ability to react to customers. Even though we still think working remotely is valuable and viable, it was a great way to drive the company forward.
Our first customers came from leveraging our network, doing a lot of in-person presentations and then adjusting our product to match specific needs.
It’s very hard convincing large companies that you’re going to be around long enough and it’s hard to earn their trust. The trick there is to really build on top of reliable things that they know already (ex. AWS), build a product that’s tuned into everything they need, and have excellent customer service. You basically have to make choices that will alleviate their fear.
I’ve always been surrounded by people who were enterprising and entrepreneurial, least of which my parents. That’s been hugely inspiring for me. Now, when I see problems, I have a drive to seek ways to solve them.
With Chute: I’ve always had an interest in photography and as more and more consumers and businesses alike have started to use them in a near-infinite number of ways, it became clear this was creating both problems for many and an opportunity for entrepreneurs.
We’ve been through just about every type of funding: the standard regiment in terms of funding from a small friends and family round, through a seed / accelerator round with YC and on through our Series A with more traditional venture capital.
“Who” is almost as important as “how much.” If certain people are known for having ideals that align better with your goals, then that is going to be more powerful than just having a bunch of money from a well-known investor.
Fortunately startups have thousands of problems and tasks to address. Switching modes and finding something unrelated to the task at hand is a great way to find something else to work on while your mind works through the other problem.
We punch way above our weight class, to be honest. The thing that really separated us from success or failure was that we were successful in finding really influential partners early on in the space. It took a lot of work to get the customers we did, but it gave us a great deal of credibility early on.
I’ve always been an entrepreneur… straight out of college.
I would have moved to San Francisco from New York sooner. Although I attempted to build and launch several startups in New York City in the mid-90s onwards, it wasn’t until I finally visited SF and encountered so many others like myself that I knew how important a community can be to your success.
When I was trying to originally get my podcast business off the ground, I went on an 11-city tour around the United States in which I recorded conversations at bars across the states. It was called Beercasting.