Five Questions to Founders who Want A Successful Startup from Alex Bean of Divvy

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Founded in 2011, Founders Network offers lifelong peer mentorship to over 600 tech startup founders globally. Our platform, programs and high-touch service facilitate authentic experience sharing, warm introductions and long-term professional relationships. Additional benefits include over $1M in startup discounts and mentorship from 50+ Institutional Investors. Members are located in San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Toronto, London and other tech hubs. Each month our Membership Committee admits a new cohort of full-time tech founders who are nominated by an existing member.

5 min read

Alex Bean is the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Divvy, the leading spend and expense management platform for businesses. Founded in 2016, Divvy makes it easy to access the funding you need, no matter the size of your business. During their 5 year run so far, Divvy has been used by well over 3000 companies across the country. 

Prior to Co-Founding Divvy, Bean worked in sales and marketing for Surge, Fresh Consulting, Lucky Scooter Parts and Ananya Group and had no prior FinTech experience. Bean says he has always thought as an entrepreneur and was never afraid of taking risks, teaching skiing in high school and creating businesses with friends to earn money; it seems that Divvy was inevitable. Born because Bean’s partner wanted to find a way to see his budget in a timely manner. 

“Your job can be more than just running the company -- it should be creating value for the people who work for you, and creating opportunities for growth for yourself as an entrepreneur.” - @Alexwbean Click To Tweet

Being a founder is all about the journey. You have to find out what it is that you want out of your company. How will you provide a quality experience for your customers? How will you build a strong team? What will you value most in terms of equity or compensation? By being transparent about these questions, you give yourself the best chance at figuring out how many people are really on your team for the right reasons and what exactly your role is. Alex Bean is here with five questions that will help others get their startups off the ground.

What is my role as a founder?

Alex Bean wants to help you fill in the blanks so you know that your role isn’t defined simply by what you produce or what you endorse. However, think about it like this: you’re not just an entrepreneur; you’re also a product manager, marketing expert, director of engineering, customer service rep, etc. Your job can be (and should be) more than just running the company — it should be creating value for the people who work for you, and creating opportunities for growth for yourself as an entrepreneur.

Product Market Fit

In the process of validating product/market fit for a new venture, it is important to understand what constitutes product/market fit. Product Market Fit is all about demand. Does the product you have created satisfy the needs of consumers? Many believe in the 40% rule, where at least 40% of customers surveyed responded that they’d be strongly disappointed if access to a product or service is no longer available. As a business owner, it is essential to know where your product or service stands. Are you selling something that someone will miss if it suddenly disappeared? If not, you’re likely not selling a product that has reached product market fit.

Divvy had what Bean calls a “crazy” product market fit, raising capital quickly even by today’s large rounds and venture pre-emption standards. 

“How to scale quickly begins with knowing your mission and how you will proceed.” - @Alexwbean Click To Tweet

Turn Your Startup Into a Scaleup

A startup is exactly what it sounds like; a business venture that is still working on funding, getting their product out in the world and working on sorting out their concepts. However, a scaleup is different. A scaleup is a product that is already established in the market and is experiencing growth. How to scale quickly begins with knowing your mission and how you will proceed. How will you attract funding? How will you stay focused during the early days (and even between stages)? The answers lie in gathering knowledge from those who went before you so you can learn from the best. Alex Bean has those answers. 

Scaling

How do we scale quickly – while handling the major pains of building a company? This is the question Bean wants answered by any prospective founders he’s spoken with thus far. It’s imperative to find a way to successfully scale a company quickly, as it requires an incredible amount of discipline and attention to detail. For Bean, it comes down to two things: hiring the right people and trusting the right people with his data. 

“It's imperative to find a way to successfully scale a company quickly, it comes down to two things: hiring the right people and trusting the right people with his data.” - @Alexwbean Click To Tweet

What tools can you use?

There are several things you can do as a founder to increase your chances of success. If you are looking for a way to support yourself while building your company, creating jobs, spreading the word or whatever else is in your mission, the following advice may help you. It’s not always easy to know what tools would best serve you and your needs – especially when it comes to something as intimate as starting a business. On the other hand, there are some very useful and effective ways that anyone can use to build their business – even if they’re not very technical. 

Be sure to join Alex Bean to hear his suggestions and how he approached these to continue to succeed. Register with Founders Network to know if you qualify for full time membership and to get in depth answers to these questions:

  • What’s my role as a founder – beyond building a company?
  • Where can we innovate – while creating demand for our product through product market fit
  • When should we seek funding – turn your startup into a scaleup
  • How do we scale quickly – while handling the major pains of building a company? 
  • What Tools can we use? 
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Read more by Founders Network

Founded in 2011, Founders Network offers lifelong peer mentorship to over 600 tech startup founders globally. Our platform, programs and high-touch service facilitate authentic experience sharing, warm introductions and long-term professional relationships. Additional benefits include over $1M in startup discounts and mentorship from 50+ Institutional Investors. Members are located in San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Toronto, London and other tech hubs. Each month our Membership Committee admits a new cohort of full-time tech founders who are nominated by an existing member.