Founders' Fear of Money

Güçlü Talu

Co-founder @ Smartup Network

Linkedin Profile

"It is too early for us to start charging our users.

Why would someone pay for this?

We can start charging after we reach …….. users.

We should start our monetization model at the right time."

Do you hear startup founders saying these over over and over again when they are asked when their product will actually start making money? We certainly do and spend a whole lot of time trying to persuade our entrepreneur partners that the “right” time will never come, surely not before their team runs out of money/time/motivation. Most of the time, it is hard for an entrepreneur to face the ugly truth -  that his product might actually never make it. However, it is a fact that only a tiny fraction of startups ever generate revenue and your job as a founder is to find out if you are a member of that elite club or not as early as possible.

Everyone knows that you will be testing a hypothesis when you launch an MVP but whatever game you are playing, the hypothesis must be “Users will pay for my product” . So if you spend two years without trying to monetize, you really have not started testing at all. You have not started the build/measure/learn feedback loop so you are not really getting better. Actually you might be getting better at something but it surely is not your end goal because users who pay behave a lot differently compared to users who are just wandering around because it is free.

The number of startup products that fail while the product is growing steadily is surprisingly high. Growth without financing means you actually need more financing and you will need that extra fuel from your users if you are not one of those rare entrepreneurs that can raise funds before your product starts generating revenue.

The ugly truth is there whether you want to find it or not so it is best that you discover it sooner than later if your users are not willing to pay for your product.


Smartup Network is a team of entrepreneurs that have experience in building, raising funds and selling startups. Our mission is to support entrepreneurs with bright ideas who don't have the proper team to turn their ideas into products. Our three main areas of expertise are:

We build their products for entrepreneurs whether they are at idea stage or post-MVP stage.

Product Management
We work alongside entrepreneurs to find the ideal product user experience for their target markets.

Finding Investment
Once our entrepreneurs' products begin showing traction, we get them in contact with the right investors.

So far, we have had the opportunity to build startup 35 products in 16 countries, for entrepreneurs from all over the world including San Francisco, Seattle, Amsterdam, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Copenhagen, Dubai, Johannesburg, Accra, Quito and Istanbul. You can find some of the latest successes of our entrepreneurs' apps through this link. Smartup Network partners with well known startup hubs all over the world. Including but not limited to, Switzerland based Seedstars, which supports startups in developing countries, Boston New Technology Group in the United States and Impact Hub Istanbul, the world-renowned startup hub for social entrepreneurs. Startup experts from all over the world such as. Trivago founder and CEO Rolf Schrömgens and Sina Afra, who was named One of Top 100 Most Influential Tech People in the world by Wired Magazine. Our goal is to support as many entrepreneurs as possible realize their dreams.

Smartup Network
Technical Partner For Your Startup