Instamour is a dating app that intends to eliminate all the issues associated with the other dating apps that have been there for long. It does so by giving video profiles to its members and allowing them to have a live video chat before meeting someone in person. The CEO and co-founder of this startup, Jason Sherman has a long history of failures that taught him valuable lessons about what “not” to do in order to avoid failure.
This long list of failure starts in 2010 when he submitted his film to the film festival, which he had himself written, directed and produced. He found it to be an exhausting journey and soon realized that he was actually a technology guy at the core. This was the time when he decided to take a step back from film making and work on the idea of building a website that he had thought of 6 years earlier.
That was the time when smart phones didn’t exist and it would have been very difficult to build the website. But, as the smartphones had become prevalent afterwards, he decided to seize the opportunity and bring his idea to life.
Based on that idea, he co-founded a tech startup along with an actor from his movie. The actor was a simple guy who was not tech savvy and had some business knowledge, but not much presentation or marketing skills. He insisted on spending a lot of money on lawyers as he didn’t know how a company is run and wanted the lawyers to tell them what to do. As Jason knew how a business is run, he felt that they are wasting too much money on the lawyers and they didn’t even have anything to protect.
Also, as Jason was the tech savvy one he had to do 90% of the tasks from designing the platform and finding the programmers to creating a workflow document. They decided to outsource the platform in the hope of having it built faster with less cost involved. But they ended up spending a lot of money and still not getting what they really wanted. They tried to get local programmers, but failed as they couldn’t secure funding. He had to let go of that company and later on started another company with two other partners. This time he kept all the lessons learnt from the earlier failure in mind and designed a fully functional platform. They were pitching some investors, but couldn’t secure the funding fast enough and failed to survive the competition.
Jason used up all the lessons learned from all his failures and started a third company, which is successful. Some of the important lessons learned that he shares are that you should not hire lawyers right away, nor should you rush into picking a cofounder. Another important thing to keep in mind is not to spend money on something you can do yourself. He advises the beginners to learn to code the minimum viable product themselves and get customer feedback as soon as possible rather than waiting for the product to be perfect. Lastly, he advises the new startup launchers to have an open mind and embrace the opinions of their employees and customers.