Summary: Hustle Con 2015, Start-up tactics for non-technical start-ups.

One of the many perks of being a part of #TINCSV is the opportunity to go to different tech conferences in the bay area. This year we decided to attend Hustle Con in San Francisco, and I will tell you, it definitely didn’t disappoint us.

Matthew Brimer from General Assembly kicked off the conference by teaching us the importance of building a strong community, supporting your company. Building a community can be challenging, but if you focus on building a powerful core of true believers, you will more than likely succeed. “Give karma – get karma, connect, inspire and support”, he concluded.

Next up, Tim Chen, the founder of Nerdwallet. Tim gave some very applicable advice on “how to build a massive audience”. He pointed out how important it is to hire great people, with great people come great success.

The next speaker was by far the most talked about during the networking session. Jack Smith from Vungle gave us the perfect step-by-step guide on how to reach people by hacking LinkedIn’s advertising tool. He gave us his story on how they managed to get in contact with CEOs of several companies by running ads specifically targeted at that individual.  

After a short break spent networking, a new line up of speakers waited for us. Walker Williams from Teespring taught us how to succeed when you are a typical non-scalable startup. Next, Tim Westergren from Pandora presented his career this way: Male Nanny – In A Band – Film Composer – Founder Pandora. He really inspired us, the audience, to never give up. Whilst struggling with raising money, Pandora had 50 people working without salary for 2 years. People in the audience wanted to know how he managed to motivate his employees for such a long period of time, whereas Tim responded by performing the speech he used and created a “hallelujah” moment in the audience - what an inspiring man! And for those of you wondering: all the people got their money back after Pandora, in 2004, raised 9 million dollars.

Heidi Zak from ThirdLove taught us how to pick a PR firm and get results. Arram Sabeti told us how he went from working at Ben & Jerry’s to found ZeroCater, and James Beshara from TILT focused on the importance of trust and network when building a company.

Adam Draper from Boost VC presented seven tips on “all you need to know about VC”
1.     Fundraising is difficult.
2.     Use fundraising meetings as a way to get to know an awesome person.
3.     Pitch your company to everyone.
4.     You have no money until it is in the bank.
5.     Investors invest in lines, not dots.
6.     Investors invest in team, traction or hype.
7.     Have a plan B.

Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora shared their vision of making food personal again, and how they started growing mushrooms using coffee waste. After landing a deal with Wholefoods, they are now a nation wide dealer, and have launched new product categories such as healthy cereals.

Arum Kang from coffee meets bagel, focused on how to make a startup successful when you don’t have a technically co-founder. AJ Forsythe, from iCracked, assured us that life isn’t over if your phone breaks. iCracked delivers on demand iphone repair, and is to be found in six offices around the world.

Last, but definitely not least, Gagan Biyami from Sprig. He talked about product market fit, and about having a clear vision. Gagan pointed out that a vision should never change, but you should always strive to present it better.

Let’s hustle!