Building a consumer app’s MVP and how to fundraise with Zest’s Jake Gutstein | E1889

Building a consumer app’s MVP and how to fundraise with Zest’s Jake Gutstein | E1889

Zest: A Cooking Education App

  • Zest is a cooking education app that uses gamification and bite-sized content to teach users how to cook.
  • Zest was created to address the pain points of learning to cook from influencers and online publications.
  • The app's MVP was a Google form that allowed users to pay for custom meal plans and grocery lists.
  • The founding team started as a club, meeting weekly to work on the project while maintaining their full-time jobs.
  • They eventually found a technical co-founder, Om, who had experience leading a product team to exit and possessed an entrepreneurial spirit.
  • The team of four co-founders worked together efficiently, leveraging AI tools to move faster.
  • To make the transition from a side hustle to a full-time venture, they raised $100,000 to cover living expenses and invest in the business.
  • Zest learned about the multiple reasons why people engage with their product through user interviews conducted during the pandemic.
  • They identified four key reasons why people like to cook:
    • Providing for others
    • Taking care of people
    • Being the host
    • Saving money
  • The speaker believes in a "prototyping and nothing's finished" mentality, which means that they are constantly iterating on their product and never consider it to be finished.

Vanta: Automating Compliance for SAS and Services Companies

  • Vanta helps SAS and services companies that store customer data in the cloud to achieve and maintain SOC 2 compliance easily and quickly, saving time and money.
  • Vanta automates up to 90% of compliance for GDPR, HIPAA, and more.

Fundraising and Startup Advice

  • The biggest obstacle to starting a company is not risk aversion but rather ambiguity aversion, or the lack of knowledge about uncertain outcomes.
  • Founders must accept the existential uncertainty of entrepreneurship and focus on what they can control, such as their inputs and the time they have.
  • Instead of fixating on product launches, founders should focus on time as a limited resource and work in short sprints to build substantial products.
  • To scale efficiently, founders need to implement processes and structures, starting with their product.
  • The speaker has been able to acquire customers for his investment fund by tweeting about it.
  • The speaker, Jason, describes the process of applying to and being accepted into the Launch accelerator program.
  • Jason emphasizes the importance of being concise and getting to the heart of the matter when presenting information to potential investors.
  • The accelerator program introduces startups to a large number of investors, providing valuable feedback and deal flow.
  • Jason discusses the challenges of fundraising for consumer subscription apps and expresses his belief in the potential of the business model.
  • The speaker emphasizes the importance of articulating both the vision and the financial aspects of a business when pitching to investors.
  • Different investors have different decision-making processes when it comes to investing. Some focus on the product, others on the team, and still others on the market size.
  • There is no "golden goose" or perfect formula for fundraising. Every founder's experience is different, and there are best practices that can help, such as launching a scorecard system for sourcing investors.

Founder Fridays: A New Meetup Program for Founders

  • Founder Fridays is a new Meetup program that provides founders with an opportunity to network with other founders in their community and trade notes about what's working and what's not working at their startups.
  • The meetups will be held in cities around the world and will provide founders with an opportunity to network and learn from each other.
  • Founders can sign up to host a meetup in their city or join an existing meetup.
  • The meetups will be non-commercial events, with no service providers or passive speakers allowed.
  • Meetups are already lined up in San Francisco, New York City, Toronto, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, London, and India.

Overwhelmed by Endless Content?