Summing up more than a decade of experience building startups and helping companies grow, April Dunford says simply that she’s “done a lot of startups, like six of them, some of them exited, there was all kinds of money, changed hands.”
But Dunford didn’t show up to TechToronto to talk about building and exiting; the managing partner of Sprintly talked about what she’s learned about building a self-sustainable startup with happy customers.
Dunford said that most startups need to focus on fixing issues that sabotage the business — like odious onboarding and signup flow confusion — which she compared to plugging holes in a leaky bucket.
She also said that startups are so focused on getting customers to their platform, that they don’t notice the ‘death stink’ — or the annoying bugs that turn customers away. “This term comes from a time that I was in Toronto and I had a real estate agent sell me a house, and she walked me in and was selling the hell out of that house,” said Dunford. “I was standing in the middle of the room going, ‘It smells like a dude died in here — you can sell all you want, but it stinks in here.'”
After many years of extensive experience in building companies — she was once director of influencer marketing at Nortel and has served as COO of Tulip Retail — Dunford finally stressed one thing: “True love is not a funnel optimization problem. It’s not about getting more people to the website,” she said. “It’s about getting the right leads.”
Watch Dunford’s whole talk: