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being a formidable founder

being a formidable founder
By Open Water Weekly • Issue #8 • View online
My name is Jacob and I’m the Editor at Open Water Accelerator. This week’s newsletter features an exclusive interview with Michelle Wirantono, Co-Founder at Cotter (YC W20). Cotter is building one-tap passwordless login for websites and apps.
As always, we included some weekly tech news and job opportunities in tech and finance.


Michelle Wirantono 🗣️ 
How did you get your first 10 customers?
Qualify Customers: We prepared 5 questions to understand if the customer really has the problem we’re trying to solve. We also made sure to know our early customers personally and iterate our product based on their feedback.
Avoid Hard Customers: We only worked with those who were willing to work with an early-stage startup and were willing to move quickly. We avoided enterprise clients because the sales cycle is long and the compliance requirements are hard to meet.
Charge Customers: We charged our customers to filter those who are actually interested vs. customers who are just browsing. If a customer pushed back and would only use our product if it’s free, then they were not really having the problem that we’re trying to solve.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started your company?
Invest in Building Your Community: Ideas can be copied but building a community around your product is not something that competitors can copy. 
Launch Immediately: Unless your product is regulated (fintech/health tech/bio) then launch it immediately.
Keep Your Product Simple: Our customers care a lot about simplicity. Don’t over complicate your product and only build what your customers need. Build as few features and use as little technology as possible to solve the problem.
Do you have any advice for founders applying to YC?
Educate the YC Partners: Explain your idea concisely, avoid buzzwords, and tell the YC partners something they don’t already know. YC partners are resourceful and they have probably heard of your idea before. Tell the partners what the market looks like and how your product uniquely solves a problem for, as well as the barrier to entry and how you are uniquely positioned to break through that barrier.
Be Formidable: Make sure to convince YC that your team is the right team to work on the idea (tell them about your background, technical skill, domain expertise, etc.) and that your team will stick together through thick and thin. Pivots happen all the time but the team usually stays the same.
What do you get about auth that your competitors don’t?
We focus on being lightweight, developers or builders don’t even need to understand how to code to use our product.
What have your last six months looked like and what do your next six months look like for growing Cotter?
The last six months, our users have helped shape the auth product that they wanted. We have built a step-by-step instruction that lets our users integrate auth to their website in under 10 minutes.
The next six months, we want to go beyond the login page; therefore, we will focus on building Typedream, the world’s simplest website builder with a note-taking interface. It’s as simple as Notion, looks as good as Webflow, and as functional as a developer-built website.
leaving shore ⛵ : CartaX opens its private exchange
Carta’s cap table management may have been the Trijon horse needed to open startups to public investment. The company launched its new exchange by offering some of its own shares. Carta’s existing customers include Robinhood, Flexport, Intercom, and Classpass. Who will be the next to list?
You can check out the CEO’s blog post here.
tech internships 🖥️ 
🤖 Boston Dynamics | Multiple Software Roles | Boston Dynamics is a leading developer of mobile robots. We’re pushing the boundaries of what robots can do, including coordinated dancing We’re focused on making our robots useful in the real world, such as for the safe decommissioning of Chernobyl.
🏃 Fast | Software Engineering and Design | Fast is building the world’s fastest one-click checkout and more.
finance internships 📈 
🏦 Goldman Sachs | Office Hours | Goldman Sachs Virtual Office Hours Series is open to all majors and is designed to introduce students to the financial world through hands-on experience, key insights into the Goldman Sachs culture, and networking opportunities with professionals at the firm.
🤝 McKinsey & Company | Associate Intern | When you join McKinsey as an Associate Intern, you are joining a firm that will challenge you and invest in your professional development. In this role, you will work on the best teams to help the best organizations in the world – in private, public, and social sectors – solve their most difficult problems.
next edition...
Thursday’s newsletter will feature an interview with Turner Novak, and some more remote job opportunities.
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