There’s a lot to be said for having industry experience on the founding team.  Oftentimes, industries have quirks and ways of doing business that might not be immediately obvious to outsiders, but that can make or break your business.  For this reason, unless you plan to disrupt an industry rather than compete in it, investors will almost always require that you have domain expertise on the team.  If your team doesn’t have the right experience, get an advisor, partner, or employee to fill this hole.  This will help in three key ways.  First, an industry expert risking his reputation to join you will give you credibility.  Second, the expert should have a solid network of industry contacts, which will help with everything from early feedback to strategic sales.  Finally, and most importantly, this person will help you find the right product/market fit faster, which lowers your risk substantially.  With a domain expert, when things go wrong, you’ll be more likely to get to the root causes and understand why.  While industry outsiders have unique perspectives, industry experience is a big plus.

Matt Sand

Author Matt Sand

Passionate about making a difference through innovation and entrepreneurship.

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