It seems like every day I hear from an aspiring entrepreneur who doesn’t know where to start, or doesn’t have the time or expertise for all the mechanics of starting a business based on their great idea. While I can route them to hundreds of resources on the Internet for individual pieces of this task, I never found an online platform that integrates all the required activities, until now.
David S. Rose, who literally wrote the book on Angel Investing, and is the long-time CEO of the Gust platform for bringing together investors and startups, just announced Gust Launch as a “Company as a Service” solution. His intent is to automate and simplify the process of creating and funding a startup, to minimize the mistakes that often jeopardize a high-growth startup.
In the interest of full disclosure, David has been a friend of mine for many years, but I have no financial interest or affiliate relationship with any of his companies. I did touch base with him recently to catch up on his activities and expectations:
Marty: What was the key driver that motivated you to create Gust Launch?
David: Gust Launch was born out of the realization that founding and running a high-growth startup is much, much more complicated (and expensive) than any first time entrepreneur ever realizes. I found this out the hard way with my first venture-funded startup over twenty years ago, and it's something that every other serial entrepreneur will immediately confirm.
Marty: How does Gust Launch relate to your existing Gust online platform to connect investors to growing startups?
David: Gust Launch leverages the power of Gust (the world’s largest startup platform, already used by some 500,000 companies and thousands of investment groups and accelerators) taking many of the things in my recent New York Times best seller, The Startup Checklist: 25 Steps to a Scalable, High-Growth Business and turning it into an automatic, software as a service solution.
For the entrepreneur who wants to found a high-growth venture, it makes the startup process a single click. We incorporate the venture as a Delaware C corporation, serve as its Registered Agent, file for its tax number with the IRS, register with its home state, set up its bank account, credit card, accounting software, cap table....everything!
And then on an ongoing basis, our partners provide basic bookkeeping, legal, accounting and equity management services. With everything included for as little as $199 a month, it’s not surprising that it was the most up-voted find on Product Hunt the day it launched.
Marty: How are you splitting your time these days between the many roles and activities that I know you are involved in?
David: I’m fundamentally an entrepreneur, which means that I have voluntarily forgone any semblance of work/life balance. I spend about 150% of my working hours as the full-time CEO of Gust, and with the other 100% I serve as Chairman Emeritus of New York Angels, Managing Director of the AREA Accelerator, Managing Partner of Rose Tech Ventures, and keep up a pretty full speaking, teaching and writing schedule.
Marty: How do you see the climate and opportunity for startups in New York for 2017?
David: The New York City tech scene has exploded from absolutely zero in the 1980s to the point that last year Accenture named New York the world’s #1 city for innovation and entrepreneurship.
Today, there are over 20,000 New York City-based startups who have created profiles on Gust or on Digital.NYC, New York City’s official online hub for tech and startups, and that number continues to explode. No one disputes that NYC is the second-largest startup center after Silicon Valley, but what’s interesting is that in many months last year it grew even faster than the West Coast.
Marty: What is the best advice you could give to someone contemplating a startup?
David: Being an entrepreneur is tough. Really, really tough. The entrepreneurial life is one of challenge, work, dedication, perseverance, exhilaration, agony, accomplishment, failure, sacrifice, control, powerlessness…but ultimately, extraordinary satisfaction.