Nate Westheimer Gains Wisdom, Loses A Company: BricaBox RIP

BricaBox founder (and SAI contributor) Nate Westheimer says he’s closing the doors on his “make-your-own-YouTube/Yelp/etc.” startup just half a year after launching.

Why? Mostly because BricaBox ran out of money and never quite caught on, which means it’s like the overwhelming majority of startups. The upside: Nate’s already processing lessons learned, and is sharing some of them with the rest of us:

  • Solve a market problem, not a technical problem: “While it’s good to scratch itches, it’s best to scratch those you share with the greater market.”
  • Start with a real team: “If you get more people involved from the get-go, you can better distribute responsibility, and grow on the cheap.”
  • It matters how you spend money: “BricaBox was fed-but-anemic and and slowly roasting its cash. Do it again and I’ll concentrate those costs at the beginning. We would have had twice the product in 2/3 of the time.”
  • Build off open-source stuff that’s already ready: “One of the first questions I had to deal with, while building BricaBox, was why we weren’t modifying an existing Open Source solution, like WordPress MU… Next time, I’ll give more consideration to building off and participating in existing Open Source project.”
  • Take a long vesting period for all sweat equity founders: “When a co-founder walks out of a company — as was the case for me — you’ve already been dealt a heavy blow. Don’t exacerbate the issue by needing to figure out how to deal with a large equity deadweight on your hands (investors won’t like that the #2 stakeholder is absent, even estranged, from your company).”

What’s next for Nate? Well, first, lots of blogging, he says. Then consulting for media and tech companies, launching some “exciting small projects” with friends, and looking for new startup opportunities.

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