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The Second Time Founders Manual

James Currier · @jamescurrier · Jun 2020

by James Currier (@JamesCurrier). James is a General Partner at NFX, a seed and series A venture firm based in San Francisco.

The Second Time Founders Manual

We have been Second Time Founders many times ourselves. We’ve also invested in tens of Second Time Founders.

Do you have an advantage as a Second Time Founder? Yes, you do.

As a Second Time Founder, you have a set of experiences and a deeper network that give you advantages. The research numbers prove this out. An HBS study found that while first time founders have a 21% chance of succeeding with their company, Second Time Founders who succeeded with their first company have a 30% chance of succeeding in their next company, and Second Time Founders who failed in their first company have a 22% chance of succeeding with their second.

Your experience gives advantages, but it also gives you disadvantages. So we put together this manual to share what we wish we’d known earlier.

We use the term “Second Time Founder” broadly. Our use of the term includes someone who was a Founder before and is now founding their second, third, fourth, or fifth company. But it also includes someone who played a critical role in a hypergrowth company. In short, our definition encompasses anyone who has already learned what it’s really like to run a startup. It’s not your first rodeo.

The first essay in this manual is How Second Time Founders Can Win and Avoid Common Mistakes.

We will continuously add new essays and resources to the Manual – the hard-won lessons from the 10 companies we founded ourselves, as well as lessons from the community of Second Time Founders.

If you would like to be considered for our invite-only group of Second Time Founders, where we plan to hold private forums and small-group discussions, complete this form.

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