Building a Startup

This is a story of how I co-founded and what it took to do so.

3 min readJun 14, 2022

A few of my decisions were right, and some were wrong, but I will share them all with you.

I give a silly pose to my girlfriend — 📸: Deniz Bensusan

In this post, we’ll go through the founding journey of Novus. It was really hard to raise funds, but the long way to raise funds was really fruitful for us.

I can’t remember how many times I heard, “Startup life is hard”. For me, it was always more like, “You don’t know how hard it is”.

Not knowing how bad it can get. I was really happy to see how my girlfriend, parents, and family members supported me, despite my unplanned schedule, bad timing, and weird habits.

The first step is always the hardest. For me, it was making the decision to start my own company. I had a chance to get a good job, a stable income, and healthcare. I was comfortable.

But, I wasn’t happy. I knew that I wanted to create something, to build something from the ground up. And so, I made the decision to quit my job and start my own company.

The second step was finding co-founders. This was actually the easy part, as I had known my co-founders for years.

The third step was probably the most important one: coming up with an idea. We knew that we wanted to build something in the communications space, but we didn’t know what exactly. We spent countless hours brainstorming, researching, and talking to people in the industry. Eventually, we landed on the idea of Novus: a platform that helps people to write.

The fourth step was building the product. This was both the most challenging and the most rewarding part of the journey. We had to learn how to code, design, and market.

We made a lot of mistakes along the way, but we also had a lot of successes. In the end, we built a product that we were proud of and that helped people to write.

The fifth and final step was raising money. This was by far the hardest part of the journey. We spent months pitching to investors, only to be rejected over and over again. But, we didn’t give up. We went on to attract a group of fantastic investors, and raised over 100k in dollars in preseed funding.

We’ve learned so much over the past years, and I’m excited to share some of those lessons with you now. Here are three biggest mistakes I made while building my startup:

  • I didn’t pay attention to the numbers. If I could go back, I would have been much more focused on growth from the beginning. I would have tracked our progress carefully, and made sure that we were hitting our milestones.
  • In the early days of my startup, I spent a lot of time on things that didn’t matter. I spent hours worrying about our logo, and whether or not our website was “perfect.” I spent days debating which features to build next, instead of actually building them.

We kept pitching and eventually we raised the money we needed to keep going. Looking back, starting my own company was the best decision I ever made.

It was hard work, but it was also the most rewarding experience of my life. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

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Reimagining technology in media | Co-Founder, CRO at Novus |