Elon Musk said that building a startup is like eating glass. I couldn't disagree more. Even when the work is hard, the opportunity to work on a startup is a great privilege. Just look around, and you will see people digging ditches, cleaning toilets, and going to soul crushing jobs every day. In perspective, building a startup is more like eating ice cream. And if it's not, then you might be working on the wrong thing, or your perspective might be out of whack.
In mid 2021, I started working full-time on Gum. I decided to bootstrap it and not rely on funding from investors. I had seen the announcement by On Deck and knew that ODX would be an incredible program, but decided stick to my plan and not apply to it. Then, I saw a tweet by Erik Torenberg that changed my mind:
The gap between the amount of money held by people/institutions who don’t know how to spend it and the amount of talented people who, with more money, would do incredible things is mind blowing— Erik Torenberg (@eriktorenberg) November 24, 2021
We need to accelerate the rate at which capital, ideas, & talent can find each other
With one post, I realized that the leadership at On Deck was aligned with my thinking about pre-seed venture capital - that there is a ton of unsupported talent and unrealized value in the startup world. So, I felt inspired and applied to ODX. Then, like any good founder, I forgot about it and moved on with my business.
2 weeks later, I received an email from Sar Haribhatki saying that he wanted to meet. Our call lasted 20 minutes. He quickly asked tough questions, said that he liked my conviction, and that I had "great taste". 48 hours later, an email arrived with an invitation to ODX.
Now, it feels like Gum is exactly where we are supposed to be. ODX is backing our vision to give all founders a network & more shots at raising capital. I believe this will create new value, more opportunity, and a better future for the world.
Yes, startups are hard, but so is anything worth doing. When people support you, the journey becomes more fun. When they back you with capital, the struggle becomes easier. At Gum, we want to give more founders this experience of having a community behind them, so building a startup feels less like eating glass and more like eating your favorite flavor of ice cream.