How did you get started in startups?

Chayan Shaikh
17 replies
Makers, I'm curious how you guys got started in startups, I'm a high school student and I would love to get more involved. Many thanks!


@chayan_shaikh I wrote a book all about this! I relied on networking through social media and my university alumni network to find people in the startup world. I also went to lots of events. I did everything I could to build real life connections with people in the industry. Where are you based? If I was starting now I'd do what I can to build and launch products relating to my interests. I'm not technical so I'd use no code tools.
Federico Pérez
@chayan_shaikh Hi! I don't have a startup yet because a startup it's by definition an organization that's working constantly on growth. But, in the sense of me getting involved in a startup has to do with my ability to work better when there's a lot of uncertainty. I'm in a market that's not fully developed and in a country that's going through a lot of problems but the risks that I take and the way that I shaped my career is quite similar to what you would do in a startup. So, to sum up, I think that I get involved because of the excitement of the unknown and constant learning that a startup provides.
Dre Durr💡
@chayan_shaikh I had a friend that was building a small application that I thought was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. At the time I was not technical, but I wanted to learn as much as possible. I asked questions and contributed wherever I could. Writing emails, building outreach lists, small code changes (with help🤦🏾‍♂️), getting feedback from users, etc. It was a huge rush to help contribute to something that grew from nothing. Every one or two person team will need help with something. Volunteering yourself to help is truly invaluable. As you learn the skills to contribute to the bigger project. The small things matter the most such as; showing up on time, being honest, displaying integrity, and enthusiasm for what you are working on.
Agustin R
@chayan_shaikh When I was studying computer science, back in college, at least where I'm from, its common to see some "roles" that emerge in any group project, I was usually the go-to guy for guaranteeing delivery of a project, I would take responsibility and do what was needed to be done in order to reach the goal, even if that would mean doing someone else's work too. Therefore it's also common to see other "roles", like the one who says would do X but never shows up, the one that seems lost at every step of the way, another that might look busy and writing lots of code to do X when it should take 2 lines of code max haha, etc. etc.! At my 4th year of college, one of my buddies asked me if I could help with a real-life project of a startup, first time I ever heard the word 'Startup'. As a college student you are eager to put your knowledge into practice, so jumped in! In theory I was supposed to work in a small feature, not much.. In practice I arrived at some improvised offices to meet a bunch of people and the 3 developers (my friend and 2 others from college) tasked with building a platform, that were nowhere even near to start, they were trying to come up with an architecture.. My friend looked for me in particular, because I was that go-to guy in college to make sure a project was delivered.. So what started as a "small contribution", by the end of the first month ended up with me leading the other 3 devs, bringing the platform live, to later become cto of my first "Startup". My suggestion is stay open, there are lots of events for "entrepreneurs", "hackathons",, etc. What a startup needs is someone that would tie an idea to his back, and work his ass off, doing whatever needed to be done, learning in the go, to make that idea come to life
Alex Loukissas
@chayan_shaikh my first taste was when I joined the initial engineering team of a startup (Maginatics, acq. by EMC later on). After our exit, I was 100% certain I wanted to do this all over again, this time as a founder. It turned out that we had a problem to solve right under our noses, which is how my current startup (AgentRisk) was born. Would I do it again? 100% - and I will :)
Berkan Asanovski
@chayan_shaikh Volunteering for a Startup community is always a good start :) While you are in high-school or university. Give back to the community and the community will give back to you :)
Edison Espinosa
@chayan_shaikh I tried to get internships at startups to just see how they really work and the dynamics of creating and launching a product because I was intrigued. I also feel it has to born in you. Just how some people are more drawn to arts as opposed to sports or whatever. Also, you have to have like a real tangible reason to get started in startups (do you have an idea for a startup, want to learn how to make products people use etc), not just because you read about how much money a company raised or how cool it may seem.
Chayan Shaikh
@edisonjoao6871 Yeah, I'm pretty sure it's "born into" me and I've been thinking about doing an internship.
Daniel Yubi
@chayan_shaikh Hi I was a lawyer divorcing people, and I was thinking to do an MBA but I used the money to launch my own startup which it failed amazingly, but give me a story to tell when I joined a Product Manager role in a fintech startup :) Just do something interesting doesn't matter if you win or loose as long you feel happy doing it,
Veronica Gilbert
@chayan_shaikh A startup is booming right now, but we all know that starting a business is not a bed of roses to enjoy. Especially for those who have no experience before, will be facing high difficulties. At present, so many entrepreneurs are emerging in this modern world. Everyone will have a dream to achieve something in their life and, moreover, they want to be independent in what they do. This is how I started my startup I just want to be independent in what am doing. Initially, I too had a so many confusion in what business to start then somehow I stepped to start my business using website clone script. Because I thought developing a website to my business from scratch would be difficult so without minding anything I got a clone script of a popular website. For those Before starting a business you have to be clear in your business idea, then what you have to start a business. If you contribute your whole surely you will get the perfect outcome.
Igor S
@chayan_shaikh I'm still starting in this area as well, and a lot of other comments are soo true - a lot of networking, keeping up to date, understanding what others are doing etc. I'm simply very interested in all of that. What helped me a lot was to create an overview of the startup ecosystem where I live. You can check it out at
Slava Kuznetsov
@chayan_shaikh What a cool question! But everything is pretty simple. I was a student in Architecture University and making my bachelor degree in engineering and have a couple of pet projects like a 3D sculpting and media resources for designers maintained by myself. And one day I randomly meetup with some guys who make websites too and then we start to hang out together and just thinking about how to transform our hobbies to little services. Of course for gaining money :) And then a few months later we help to made a hardware startup for our friend (founder) and it was a first experience of working with my mates as a command. And later that startup was gained a round but we're leave because of misunderstanding with founder and start our own projects. Best times
Eric Martin
@chayan_shaikh I was just living my life as an architectural designer, who owns a home and was ordering stuff online once in a while. Then one day I had to go pick up a parcel due to a missed delivery, which took over an hour in traffic. Then I thought, this has to stop, and started working on a solution for myself. After a few months of that my wife said I should apply to an incubator at my school to try to make a product of my idea. So I did. Then I pitched and got in. I subsequently got sucked into the startup vortex and the they say, is history.
Tejaswi Rana
@chayan_shaikh Learn how to sell before you learn how to code? (I'm telling this to myself)
Ruben Lozano
@chayan_shaikh I moved out from Bournemouth (UK) to Barceloan (Spain) because of Printsome, a t-shirt printing startup. There I was involved with people who loves to go to events and know people in the startup industry. Also, Barcelona it is a good city to meet people about startup. It is huge the network. So, it was easy for myself here in Barcelona. Then, it is just to go events, talk with people, talk through groups. Amazing the experience and I love the Startup industry.