Luke Singham

Startup Reflections

These are some of the tough lessons lessons learned from my start-up journey. Writing this has been incredibly cathartic.

My top two key-takeaways are:

  1. Validate the problem and willingness to pay upfront i.e. find someone that says 'how can I use this now? Please take my money'

  2. Stress test your co-founder relationship.

Product #

For a little context, our two sentence description of ilumadata was:

ilumadata is Retool for data pipelines. We're building a cloud editor for enterprise data teams that makes it easy to build, test, and launch data transformations in seconds.


"if a company makes a product that people dislike yet still buy, then presumably they'd buy a better alternative if you made one" - pg

Co-Founders #

Here's a guide on: How to find a co-founder

Co-founding a company is the business version of marriage. The first signs we didn't work well together occurred during the YC batch. We had left the happy place of coding as a side project, and now were making all sorts of time pressured decisions to make this a successful company. Our communication styles were very different. Founders are literally the foundation of the company, not working well together always meant a separation was inevitable[1].


Sales #

We initially had an enterprise sales motion. Following several months of zero traction, we shifted our focus down market, targeting small to medium enterprises. Take the following lessons with a grain of salt, because ultimately we didn't make lots of sales! 😞




Investors #

I'm extremely grateful to everyone who took a bet on ilumadata. We raised a small round ($720k) from a mix of angels and a VC.

Market #

See also #

Legal #

Self #


Essential reading #

Footnotes #

  1. One exception to this is if you find PMF - it solves everything. I've heard of founders absolutely hating each other and that trickling down into very poor company culture. But when you're on a rocket ship to a big payout, people will stick it out đŸĨ•! ↩ī¸Ž

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