I started a daily deals platform for the parenting market called UnderTag. My co-founder and I failed to gain enough momentum and burned through a lot of our own cash.
It was a chicken and egg problem, and we focused mostly on the chicken. Thinking the egg would follow by itself. It didn't.
Things I learnt:
- You have to focus on both sides of a chicken and egg equation at the same time. We secured exclusive deals with companies like Gymboree and Gap, but had high user acquisition costs. Thinking that the first few thousand users would be enough to get momentum was a fatal mistake.
- The co-founder with the domain expertise needs to put his/her foot down when making product decisions. We went back and forth a lot on things that one knew wouldn't work. Ended up costing both time and money.
- Go 50/50 on the equity. Especially when the co-founders are brining equal value to the table.
- If it stops being fun (or worse) for several weeks in a row, stop and think why. It'll only get worse unless you address the issues.
- Just launch. If you are satisfied with the product at launch, you took too long. We could have launched with just a Wordpress template and put all our efforts into the user acquisition strategy. But instead we decided to spend all our resources hiring people and building a perfect product.