Alex MacCaw (Clearbit & Reflect): Everything I’ve Learned as Startup Founder
Alex MacCaw is the founder of Clearbit and Reflect, and his journey with each company has been wildly different. Clearbit took more of a “classic” startup approach—raising VC money, hiring hundreds of people, and working from an office in SF.
In 2020, he charted a new course by replacing himself as CEO at Clearbit, selling all his possessions and living full-time on a sailboat in the Atlantic.
And now he’s building his new company Reflect in with a totally different approach —building a fully remote & asynchronous “lifestyle” company that decidedly eschews VC money and the other common hallmarks of a tech startup.
Alex shares everything he’s learned as a founder and why he believes building startups should not be one-size-fits-all.
Blake and Alex talk through:
(7:07) Pros/Cons of being asynchronous by design
(09:01) Why Alex doesn’t believe in remote work for large companies
(10:11) Remote work pitfalls
(14:21) When to replace yourself as CEO
(15:52) How to find your zone of genius
(18:31) When do startups hire a CFO or COO?
(21:14) #1 piece of advice for founders
(24:14) Things to know before you found a startup (B2B vs. B2C)
(27:27) Why not raise venture capital
(28:28) When startups should (or shouldn’t) raise venture capital
(29:40) How Reflect started crowdfunding
(39:14) What AI and ChatGPT is good for
(44:13) Best time to start a company
(46:20) Not all startups need VC funding
(47:16) Advice for VCs from a founder