5 Lessons About Building A Business This Podcast Host Learned From Philly founders
“It’s a learning process”: Founding Philly host Zachary Brand shares insight from the entrepreneurs behind companies such as Nextmv, Lula and Rego.
The Philly startup ecosystem has been on the rise for quite some time. In 2022, for instance, Philly was ranked 27th on Startup Genome’s Global Startup Ecosystem Report, two years after being named a lower-level “emerging” startup ecosystem. The companies fueling the city’s innovation are impacting a variety of industries across healthcare, life sciences, technology, consumer packaged goods and more.
Building a business is not easy. From ideation to validation, to fundraising and growth, there are challenges along the way — and most aren’t successful.
I host a new Philly startup podcast called Founding Philly, where I have the privilege to sit down with the innovators, founders, and builders shaping the Philly startup scene. From my interviews in the past seven months, here are five lessons:
Lesson 1: Validate early on if your problem is a problem worth solving
Whether it is the next unicorn or bootstrapped success story, all businesses start with an idea. But is your idea a business? It is important to make sure that your idea is solving a real problem and that the problem is big enough to solve — and worth solving.
Make sure that you are validating this early on. Validating doesn’t need to get complicated. Share the idea with friends and colleagues. Use online tools, social media, email and other resources that you have at your disposal. In episode five, Carolyn Mooney, the cofounder and CEO of decision automation platform maker Nextmv, put it best: “It’s a learning process.”
“MVPs are a way to de-risk things that have a lot of uncertainty and complexity,” she said.
One of Philly’s most exciting startups, Lula Convenience, the delivery solution for convenience retailers, did just that. In episode 14 of the podcast, Adit Gupta shared that he and his cofounder Tom Falzani actually started Lula on Instagram, initially posting convenient store items with a Stripe subscription link and then delivering items purchased to users.
When people say MVP, it is just that — a minimal viable product. It is something that gets your idea across enough to get feedback from users. Oh, and make sure to ask if someone would pay for it.