Vinicius Vacanti

The Secrets Behind Many Successful Startups

Vinicius Vacanti

“What is your startup’s unfair advantage?”, ”, a partner from a VC firm asked us. I had no answer for that. It’s not that I was surprised by the question; I had thought about it a bunch. But, how in the world is a startup supposed to have an unfair advantage?

The Manual-First Startup

Vinicius Vacanti

It was February 2010. We were noticing that a company named Groupon was taking off and a whole new industry was booming along with it. Our idea for Yipit was simple, aggregate all these daily deals being sold by different companies and put them in one email.

Trending Sources

How Our Tech Startup Succeeded Without the Tech

Vinicius Vacanti

It was February 2010. We were noticing that a company named Groupon was taking off and a whole new industry was booming along with it. Our idea for Yipit was simple, aggregate all these daily deals being sold by different companies and put them in one email.

The Depressing Day After You Get TechCrunched

Vinicius Vacanti

Post loosely based on our experience years ago when TechCrunch covered Yipit’s launch. If you’re a first-time reader, you can get future posts by subscribing via email or following me on Twitter.

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How We Fooled Ourselves into Delaying Our Startup’s Launch

Vinicius Vacanti

I remember reading the first few pages of Steve Blank’s book, Four Steps to Epiphany , and thinking two things: This is not exactly a page-turner. This is a really smart way of thinking about startups.

Advice I Wish I Could Have Given Myself 5 Years Ago

Vinicius Vacanti

Since going down the startup path, I’ve made so many mistakes, struggled so many times, failed in almost every way you can. But, we turned the corner after a few years of hard work. We’re now 25 people ( we’re hiring !), raised $7.3 million, and just had our best month ever.

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Lessons Learned Raising $6 Million

Vinicius Vacanti

After raising our $1.3 million seed round for Yipit, we raised $6 million a year later from Highland Capital, RRE, IA Ventures, DFJ Gotham and others. It turns out that the process of raising a $1.3

9 Ways To Make Your Startup Grow Virally

Vinicius Vacanti

If you want your start-up to become the next big thing, it’s not good enough to just build a great product. Unless you can afford to buy users, you’ll have to grow virally.

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Stop Saying ‘Let me know when works for you’

Vinicius Vacanti

As a current or aspiring entrepreneur, you should be meeting with a ton of people (potential customers, investors, biz dev partners, employees, journalists). You will often get introduced via email or you are cold-emailing them.

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The 6 Books That Actually Saved Our Startup

Vinicius Vacanti

After about 6 months of struggling to get something off the ground, I realized a sobering truth: I had no idea what I was doing. My startup instincts were terrible. So, I went on a mission to learn from others. And while “saved our startup” may seem dramatic, it really isn’t.

Things First-Time Founders Regret Saying

Vinicius Vacanti

Things first-time founders regret saying: “Don’t tell anyone we’re working on a picture sharing startup. We don’t want anyone to steal our idea.” ” “Stop the launch! The forgot password recovery email has a typo!”

How I Learned to Code

Vinicius Vacanti

Next posts on how to acquire users for free and how to raise a Series A. Don’t miss them by subscribing via email or via twitter.

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How To Get Your First 1,000 Users

Vinicius Vacanti

The good news is that it’s easier than you think to get 1,000 people to try your site. The bad news is that it’s really hard to get those people to turn into users, users that create an account, users that come back repeatedly and users that tell their friends about your site.

How to Know If Your Startup Idea is the Next Big Thing

Vinicius Vacanti

How do you know if your startup idea is the next next big thing? It’s easy. It isn’t. Most Great Companies Started With Bad Ideas. Most great companies started off with very different ideas that were either not very good or impractical.

How to Keep Your First 1,000 Users

Vinicius Vacanti

So, you have a startup idea. It’s going to be big. You can see it now. Millions of people using your service. You’ve already figured out your mobile strategy. You know the neighboring sectors you’ll expand to first.

The Shortcut We Took to Build Yipit in Three Days

Vinicius Vacanti

Family, friends, journalists, potential investors and palm readers will tell your idea is brilliant or foolish but they don’t really know. Very few ideas are clearly amazing. The success of most ideas is very much unclear. So, how can you find out if your startup idea is good or bad?

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How Getting Rejected By Founder Collective Helped Save Our Startup

Vinicius Vacanti

In January 2010, I remember shaking Founder Collective’s Eric Paley ‘s hand after pitching Yipit to him for an hour and struggling to smile as we left his office. The meeting had been a complete disaster. Founder Collective wasn’t going to be investing. Maybe nobody would.

When Do You Throw in the Towel On Your Struggling Project?

Vinicius Vacanti

First-time reader? Get future posts via my RSS feed , following me on Twitter , or subscribing via email. Hope you enjoy the posts! One of the hardest decisions you have to make, as an entrepreneur, is deciding when to give up on your current struggling project.

6 Things You Need to Learn To Build Your Own Prototype

Vinicius Vacanti

This is the fourth part of a series on becoming your own technical co-founder. In 2008, we couldn’t find a technical co-founder for Yipit. I’m writing about how I became our technical co-founder. Hopefully, I’ll encourage other entrepreneurs with a dream but no technical co-founder options to take their destiny into their own hands. Disclaimer: If you know a great technical co-founder that wants to work with you, join them. This series is intended for everyone else. Learning Python.

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How We Knew When to Launch Our Startup

Vinicius Vacanti

From a PR perspective, I like to think of the internet as an ocean full of schools of fish. There’s the TechCrunch school, the NY Times school, Lifehacker school, HackerNews school and thousands of others.

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Two Cold-Emailed TechCrunch Pitches That Worked

Vinicius Vacanti

Your launch will have very little to do with your startup’s eventual success and you probably spend way too much time worrying about it. That being said, a successful launch can be used to gain thousands of early users if you did your job right when they show up.

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The Other Reason We Were in Stealth Mode

Vinicius Vacanti

When we quit our jobs to start a new company, the first question we always got: “So, what are you working on?” ” It’s actually a question I hated getting. It puts you on the spot. You feel like you’re getting sized up.

How New Ideas Almost Killed Our Startup

Vinicius Vacanti

Odysseus resisting the Sirens. On my three year startup journey that lead to Yipit , I had over 30 other completely unrelated ideas. Each time I got the idea, I would immediately start sweating profusely for three straight hours in a ridiculous state of unbridled excitement and optimism. Sounds great, right? Not really. Those new ideas and the emotional frenzy were a serious distraction.

Here’s an Amazing Reason to Apply to TechStars

Vinicius Vacanti

Getting feedback on early versions of your prototype is crucial to a startup’s success. You’ll learn more the first day a user tries out your product than the previous 2 months you’ve spent thinking about it.

Many-to-Many Sharing

Vinicius Vacanti

You can put all of today’s apps into two user acquisition buckets. There are the apps where people push their actions to Facebook and their Facebook friends sign-up for the app (e.g. Instagram, Foursquare, Socialcam, Pinterest) and then there’s everyone else.

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Can't Find a Technical Co-Founder? Do It Yourself

Vinicius Vacanti

This is the first part of a series on becoming your own technical co-founder. In 2008, we couldn’t find a technical co-founder for Yipit. I’m writing about how I became our technical co-founder. Hopefully, I’ll encourage other entrepreneurs with a dream but no technical co-founder options to take their destiny into their own hands. Disclaimer: If you know a great technical co-founder that wants to work with you, join them.

Everyone at Yipit is Now Learning to Code

Vinicius Vacanti

The spread of the internet will put people into two groups: “People who tell computers what to do, and people who are told by computers what to do.” ” - Marc Andreessen. Five years ago, I was firmly in Andreessen’s second group: the non-coders.

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Y-Combinator’s “No Idea” Round Isn’t a Bad Idea, It’s Awesome

Vinicius Vacanti

6 Things You Need to Learn To Build Your Own Prototype

Vinicius Vacanti

This is the fourth part of a series on becoming your own technical co-founder. In 2008, we couldn’t find a technical co-founder for Yipit. I’m writing about how I became our technical co-founder. Hopefully, I’ll encourage other entrepreneurs with a dream but no technical co-founder options to take their destiny into their own hands. Disclaimer: If you know a great technical co-founder that wants to work with you, join them. This series is intended for everyone else. Learning Python.

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Guide to Finding a Technical Co-Founder

Vinicius Vacanti

Steve Job's Technical Co-Founder. “I’ve got this HUGE idea. I just need to find a technical co-founder.&# I’ve heard that too many times over the last few years and it almost always ends badly. I was in this situation and we barely escaped. I write this post to put you out of your miserable technical co-founder search and give you some realistic options. The Challenge of Finding a Technical Co-Founder.

Should You Hire a Programmer or DIY?

Vinicius Vacanti

This is the third part of a series on becoming your own technical co-founder. In 2008, we couldn’t find a technical co-founder for Yipit. I’m writing about how I became our technical co-founder.

How We Raised $1.3 Million as First-Time Founders | Vinicius Vacanti

Vinicius Vacanti

When Jim and I quit our finance jobs to start the next big thing, we were really unprepared for our startup journey. We didn't have startup experience, we had no real domain expertise (our startup wasn't going to be about finance) and

How LOLcats Will Kill Your Startup

Vinicius Vacanti

Adam Smith, in Wealth of Nations , talked about an &# invisible hand “ Basically, by businesses pursuing their own interests, they end up helping society much more than they had intended, led by an “invisible hand&#.

How We Used a Python Script to Find Our Domain Name Yipit

Vinicius Vacanti

Naming your startup sounds fun and awesome. Let’s say you have a music sharing idea, so you’re going to grab music.com. Wait, that’s probably too obvious. I’ll be creative. Let me try sharemusic.com. Oh, taken. How about Musicster.com, taken. Songster, taken. Songly, taken. Beaster, taken. Uh, oh. That’s when you realize something we’ve all at one point realized, EVERYTHING sensible is taken.

How We Raised $1.3 Million as First-Time Founders

Vinicius Vacanti

When Jim and I quit our finance jobs to start the next big thing, we were really unprepared for our startup journey. We didn’t have startup experience, we had no real domain expertise (our startup wasn’t going to be about finance) and we didn’t know any investors in the tech community. There was very little reason for them to want to invest in our startup. Exactly three years later, we raised $1.3

How Our Startup Got Featured on CNN

Vinicius Vacanti

Traffic Bumps via Chartbeat. Last Saturday, we woke up to a surprising alert from Chartbeat , we had a new record for most active visitors on our site Yipit. It turns out that CNN had run a two minute segment profiling Yipit. By Sunday, they had aired the segment four times and we easily had our best ever two-day stretch across all key metrics including user sign-ups. Did we get it because we had raised money, crossed 100,000 users or hired an expensive PR firm?

Goldman’s Investment Actually Values Facebook at Much Less Than $50 Billion

Vinicius Vacanti

Goldman Sachs CEO. It has recently been reported that Goldman is investing $500 million in Facebook at a lofty $50 billion valuation.

How to Go From Hacker to Founder

Vinicius Vacanti

Now that Yipit raised a round of funding , we have the amazing opportunity to grow our team of engineers here in New York City. But, in all honesty, we’re not looking for just great engineers in the way Wall Street, Google or Microsoft does. We want our developers to one day become the next great founders. Starting a successful company is one of the most rewarding experiences on both a personal and outward level. We want you to experience that.

How Our Startup Got Featured on CNN | Vinicius Vacanti

Vinicius Vacanti

Last Saturday, we woke up to a surprising alert from Chartbeat, we had a new record for most active visitors on our site Yipit. It turns out that CNN had run a two minute segment profiling Yipit. By Sunday, they had aired the segment

Should You Hire a Programmer or DIY? | Vinicius Vacanti

Vinicius Vacanti

This is the third part of a series on becoming your own technical co-founder. In 2008, we couldn't find a technical co-founder for Yipit. I'm writing about how I became our technical co-founder. Hopefully, I'll encourage other