20VC: Retool Founder, David Hsu on Why YC Is Helpful Pre Product-Market Fit but Not Post and Why VCs Are Not Helpful Pre-Product Market-Fit but are Post, Why it is Difficult to Become Unprofitable if You Set Yourself Up For Profitability Early & Why VC Theory Around Ownership Is Not True
Posted on 17th December 2020 by Harry
David Hsu is the Founder & CEO @ Retool, the company that allows you to build internal tools, remarkably fast. David has raised over $69M with Retool from the very best in startups including Sequoia, YC, Patrick and John @ Stripe, Henrique & Pedro @ Brex, Paul Graham, Nat @ Github, Peter @ Segment, Tomer @ Gusto and Elad Gil to name a few incredible names. Today Retool works with some of the biggest companies in the world from Amazon to Volvo to Mercedes Benz.
1.) How David made his way from studying philosophy at Oxford to creating one of the valley’s hottest companies in the form of Retool?
2.) How does David analyse pivots today? How does one balance between vision and persistence vs realism and knowing when is the right time to pivot? How did a conversation with John Collison change the course of Retool? What advice does David have for founders on pivoting?
3.) Why does David believe that YC is useful pre-product-market fit but useless post-product-market fit? What elements are so helpful vs not about YC? Why did David raise his Series A as a split between Sequoia and prominent angels? Why was that transformational for the company?
4.) Why was David sceptical of VCs for a long time? Why does David believe VCs are useless pre-product-market fit and useful post-product-market fit? What have been David’s biggest takeaways from working with Bryan Schrier @ Sequoia?
5.) Why does David believe that once you are profitable and growing it is actually quite hard to become unprofitable? How does David advise founders considering raising VC vs bootstrapping? How does David know when to allocate resources more aggressively to a segment? What are the signs?