How do I know he is a good co-founder for me, Alexey?
Mighty Building’s Alexey Dubov Shares The Key Startup Advice He’d Give A New Founder
Alexey Dubov is an experienced founder who has spent his career in the startup world, and he knows what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.
As an accomplished innovator, entrepreneur, and executive, Dubov has the experience necessary to help new founders learn how to maximize their efforts. He is the COO and Co-founder of Mighty Buildings — a company using innovative 3D-printing technology, advanced materials, and robotics automation to create beautiful homes that are affordable and sustainable.
In an exclusive interview with Potlatch members, Alexey shared some of the most important advice he would offer to founders trying to find their way in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
It All Starts With The Right Team
For Dubov, startup success begins (and often ends) with the individuals who make up the founder team.
In reflecting on his own experiencing starting in the field, Dubov pointed out the power of relationships in creating a successful product or idea:
“I remember that in our early days we had to spend almost 3 months together. This was closer quarters living — it’s like you are married. So you need to make sure you can get along and work together.”
When asked what the criteria were of the right co-founder for a startup, Dubov’s answer surprised the group:
“The criteria? There is none. It’s about having a relationship. You have to find someone that you want to build something with. You want to trust them because if things go bad, you want to know that you can trust them with your passion, your future, and everything else.”
For startup founders looking for those who can build a successful team, finding someone with great ideas and industry expertise is critical. Finding an individual or group of people that you can do life with as you bring an incredible idea to life? That is where success lies.
Turning A Value Into A Brand
In building Mighty Buildings, Dubov and his team took a desire to advance sustainability and turned it into a critical aspect of their overall process. With Mighty Building’s sustainability efforts, Dubov took a founder value and made it into a part of their minimally valuable product.
To take a simple desire — such as sustainability — and turn it into a startup company’s main product, the key simplifies the process and the message.
“You have to think about the entire product lifecycle and how you can use your value throughout.”
Dubov uses the example of sustainable food company Impossible Foods. In designing their message, they decided to focus on the need involved.
“Impossible Foods found a problem — for every one calorie consumed, eight calories are made — and they decided that their message was going to be to change that statistic. That’s a great way to take a value and turn it into a successful message.”
For sustainability, the key component is to find advisors and experts on board from the beginning to make sure you have the right message that isn’t getting lost in the trend.
When Is The Right Time For Fundraising?
It’s the question every founder has — when is the right time to start fundraising?
For Dubov, his answer comes straight from the hidden gems of Silicon Valley:
As the founder, it’s your job to build your funnel that will convert once you trigger your fundraising stage. You are the CEO and COO, and CFO at all times.
You must always focus on making relationships, spreading the product or concept’s message, and maintaining investor engagement. Always make sure the top of your funnel is full of potential investors and advisors.
Dubov shares that there is really no good time to start fundraising. If you are thinking about when to start thinking about fundraising, you are already behind.
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