From $100K to Hard Lessons: My Journey as a Solo Startup Founder in Silicon Valley

In 2016, armed with $100K in capital, I moved to Silicon Valley, believing it was the place to launch my software startup. As a foreigner, I immediately secured an office and established a corporation to ensure I could obtain the necessary visa.

I conducted market research on similar companies and wrote a business plan for my web product. However, I soon encountered numerous challenges.

Firstly, hiring developers in Silicon Valley was incredibly expensive. With $100K, I couldn’t even afford to hire one developer. So, I decided to develop the product myself. This decision brought its own set of problems.

Despite facing continuous issues, I stubbornly persisted. I soon realized that development was only a small part of running a business. To truly succeed, I needed to understand the essence of business and how to create a profitable product. I want to share these insights through my experiences.

When I first arrived in Silicon Valley, finding an office was incredibly difficult as a foreigner. I eventually secured a small office in Sunnyvale for $2500 a month. Reluctantly, I signed the lease, believing that hard work and development would eventually lead to financial success.

I spent a month writing a business plan and began development using familiar technologies like Spring and AngularJS. However, I soon wanted to switch to React, influenced by its growing popularity despite AngularJS’s slow performance. This change delayed the project by another month. What should have been a three-month prototype took a year to complete.

Over the year, I spent $60K on rent and living expenses, leaving me with $40K. I wondered if this prototype could generate revenue. But the real question was: should a founder also be the developer?

Back in 2016, the concept of no-code solutions didn’t exist. So, I juggled both roles, which led to several costly decisions. Expecting massive user traffic, I opted for Google Cloud’s Kubernetes Engine for load balancing, costing over $100 per month. I also paid over $500 annually for SSL certificates and sought legal advice.

In my next story, I’ll delve deeper into the unnecessary expenses I incurred and the lessons I learned from them.

Categories: Startup

Written by:Matthew All posts by the author

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