Kris Duggan, an Entrepreneur who is Giving Back
We sat down for a fun chat with Kris Duggan who is founder the Badgeville, BetterWorks and an investor in many companies.
After going through several fund raising rounds and exits with his previous startups and raising almost $100 million in capital from top tier venture firms, Kris has recently embarked on a new journey… to help other founders by sharing his lessons learned and helping to guide new founders in the right direction. In 2018, Kris has made it his goal to advice 100 startup CEOs that are are facing challenges in different aspects of their businesses. He noticed that one of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face is not knowing where to start. They are often torn between spending their time getting customers or validating their idea with investors.
Kris advises entrepreneurs that their time is better spent acquiring customers vs worrying about their investor pitches. Founders should focus on their customer decks instead to attract clients, and once having found traction in a number of customers, those founders will then be on the receiving end of calls from investors who've heard about their product through happy customer advocates. He positions that it is wiser to get customers and focus on customer traction to attract investors, as spending all your time going after investors will get you neither investment dollars nor customers. He also advises startups not to go after the biggest fishes like Microsoft, or IBM at the start. Those companies have long procurement processes and will take too long to make inroads. Rather instead focus on solving a specific pain point for a company that is mid-size or smaller with a healthy stream of revenue.
Kris Also believes that entrepreneurs today have a better understanding of what’s required to run a successful startup versus entrepreneurs in past years. Today there is a plethora of resources available to new entrepreneurs, such business and tech information platforms like HackerNoon, and different business blogs like Andreesen Horowitz. These platforms provide founders with the information they need to create a solid plan and to understand the roadmap and the metrics for measuring success. another concern is that they lack the experience since they are not seasoned entrepreneurs. He believes that they have to make mistakes a few times or experience not being laser focused enough on what they need to do for growth to happen.
Even though he is an accomplished entrepreneur, Kris still believes that he has a lot more to learn. He sees the act of giving advice as a learning opportunity in and of itself, as he's going through the process with up and coming entrepreneurs, he is also able to reflect on his own company and check himself to see if he is following and implementing his own advice.
Apart from the entrepreneurial endeavors, Kris is also passionate about non-profit work, specifically making legal data more accessible and transparent to eliminate injustices.
As of now, Kris’ primary passion is launching his new health startup which he has been working on for four to five months now. With this company, he’ll try to solve health problems in a pretty unique way. He’ll also be applying his lessons learned and new insights from his 100 entrepreneur conversations.
Love what Kris is doing, such a great guy and fascinating story! Have a listen!