My learnings as an Entrepreneur In Residence at Partech
By Montana Scher, Entrepreneur in Residence at Partech
Before joining Partech, I was a Product Manager at Square in San Francisco where I got the opportunity to work with driven and talented teams on launching new payment products and growing the developer platform. Product Management was an exhilarating change of pace after studying computer science and getting experience as a software engineer at Google in Paris and as an engineer/designer at a few different startups in the bay area.
Fast forward to 6 months ago, when I was fortunate to get the opportunity to join Partech as an “entrepreneur-in-residence” (EIR). I can’t say I had a great idea of what that meant or what to expect, but I was eager to contribute my past experience in product and engineering where I could. I knew it would not only expose me to the startup ecosystem in France and Europe but give me a new perspective on how startups succeed or fail to address a market need, and rare insight into the other side of the startup fundraising process. Well, I am now closing out my last week, and I can safely say, thank you Partech, for quite a valuable experience.
Below is a distillation of some of my learnings, the interesting patterns that stood out to me, and insights I think will be valuable for my future self, but also hopefully for others who are aiming to solve a problem through the creation of a startup.
On creating a successful startup…
Customer Access > Product
While I understand that the best product doesn’t always win, i.e. “build it and they will come” rarely applies, my focus and experience in product development still biases me towards thinking that the product is the most important part of any startup. However, during my time at Partech, it really hit me both how difficult it can be and how important it is to ensure that you actually have access to the customers you think will derive value from your product. You can build an amazing product, one that solves a huge pain point, but if you can’t get access to your target audience, it’s not going to work. Thus, tactically, building your customer base early, talking to and selling your solution, even before you necessarily have a product to give them, is a major advantage. Of course, it will also allow you to more rapidly learn what it is they really want and the problems they face.
Read the full blogpost on Medium.