My Journey as a Student Founder and 4 Pieces of Advice
Startup Advice Starts Here
My experience 👇
It has been a year since I started Zaed. I was going to turn 20 when I realized it’s either now or never. In 2019, I went and started writing ideas of what I could pursue as a startup, and thankfully Abdellatif Abdelfattah helped jumpstart my idea.
What was initially On-Demand Car Cleaning, turned into a well-defined Car Cleaning service at the convenience of your parking lot. If you’re interested in this service for your company, I’m open for limited business.
Building my first app was a milestone that helped me take the next steps of pursuing Zaed as a startup.
It was a slow and confusing time, where I wouldn’t know what to do next. I joined Y Combinator’s Startup School, where I learned to expose myself to other startups and learn from them.
It was an exceptional program to finish. I then found myself back to square one, where I couldn’t understand where I was, what my roadmap would be, how to raise money; until Shariq Shah took me under his wing.
Shariq has been my mentor not only for the Zinnstarter Incubator he graciously pulled me into; he’s been like an older brother. Without a doubt, I’d never have gotten this far without Shariq’s support and ingenuity.
For the last few months, Zaed and I have faced many hurdles. Yet I find that there has always been ease following those hardships, from having an overly complicated business plan to pivoting during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Before I pitched Zaed to my first VC, I nearly pulled out of the program, despite that, Shariq helped me finish strong. I am confident after my experience with Zaed, and I can pursue another startup and get to the point I reached faster and more efficiently. Although, I’m not letting go of Zaed’s name and vision.
So, thank you to my many friends and family that have supported me. Abdellatif, you’ve been my friend and brother, you’ve impacted my life in so many ways.
Shariq, you’re my mentor, brother, and the person who cares enough to criticize me harshly; thank you. It’s a bittersweet pause for Zaed, but a necessary one. Thank you for reading, bellow is my Pitch Deck and summary for Zaed. I hope you can learn from it.
🚀 Startup Advice Starts Here
Pick an Idea or a Stagnated Market
I was cleaning my car before taking a trip with friends, where I asked an earnest question: Why in the world would I keep wasting my time on this or have to trouble myself with standard Car Washes? That was the birth of Zaed.
So find something you aren’t content with; if you’re having trouble, you need to expose yourself more. To help you have a strong start, build a pitch deck to understand your idea better. Airbnb has a perfect pitch deck, and I’ve attached Zaed’s bellow.
Start Small, Cheap, and Smart
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries is a perfect place to start, and including Y Combinator’s Startup School. Don’t build a fantastic app without proving it worthwhile.
You can test your idea using Google Forms and by talking to a few potential customers. I made the mistake of starting with an application that has my name and no purpose. Research, research, and research; then start taking smart, small cheap steps.
MVP — Most Volatile Product
Yes, Volatile and Viable, I believe, are excellent descriptions for the first iteration of your product. Don’t start figuring out features and add-ons when you aren’t even sure your product is worth investments.
If your product gets from A-B, then you start changing it based on your customers’ feedback. Airbnb has one of the best startup stories I know of, and I admire how they started.
Customers are Your Northern Light
Your first 3% of paying customers are worth more than their weight in scorpion venom ($39M a gallon), we’re talking Silicon Valley, gold has rookie numbers.
Again Airbnb and Y Combinator are the best resources to understand this concept better. If you can get this down, you’re set.
Don’t Give Up
Yeah, your app got two likes from yourself and by submitting a review on your mom’s unattended phone (I didn’t 😎, I used my dad’s 😭). What determines the loss of your company is if you decide to stop learning.
You will start with reusable diapers for pets and pivot into a smart outdoor toilet. It doesn’t matter if you start strong; what matters is if you keep learning and pivoting.
That’s all. Below is my Pitch Deck, I hope it helps.