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Startup Weekend:  How do you know when someone is the right fit for your team?

Alexei Dunayev: I absolutely believe that having the right team is the key to success in an early stage startup. There is a lot to be said for having positive energy in a company, and the makeup of the team needs to consider that. We know someone is the right fit for the team when they have a passion for the business, ideas on how to develop it, and believe that it has a great chance to succeed. At Startup Weekend, we were able to attract a top-tier team to gauge the customer demand and at the same time put together a profitable business model of how to solve it.

SW: As a tag-along question: what do you look for when building a team? 

AD: At Startup Weekend we brought together the marketing and operations teams, and after winning the weekend, also expanded the technology side of the business. The structure of Startup Weekend is great, as it lets the people who are most interested in the idea to work on it, and also gives people an opportunity to stay on past the weekend, or not. We agreed amongst ourselves that we are there for 54 hours with a single goal to build a business and win the weekend, and then would decide on how to continue after the weekend was over

SW: You’ve been both an attendee and a mentor at Startup Weekend events,…  In your experience, how are these roles complimentary?

AD: They are quite different roles. There is a lot less pressure when you are a mentor, and so you are able to step back and think about problems from a different viewpoint with the luxury of time. It’s interesting to be a participant also, mostly because of the energy of the team and the buzz of working something really special. These roles are indeed at the opposite ends of the spectrum, but nevertheless the spectrum itself is really the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the city where Startup Weekend is being held, so there is lots of opportunity for collaboration.

SW:  How have you educated yourself (and your team) on the unforeseen challenges/questions you’ve had to deal with?

AD:  By having passionate and dedicated people on the team, we were able to efficiently collaborate in this learning process and share the learnings throughout the team. We also found people with specific domain expertise outside the team to draw in as advisors and supporters.

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