Ah, stealth mode

I’ve read several posts over the years from VCs discussing whether stealth mode as a startup is a good thing or a bad thing. Those that oppose stealth mode say you are only hurting yourself by not coming out early (feedback, mentorship, recruiting, investor interest, etc etc).

Just look at YC and TechStars startups as good examples. Or Kickstarter projects. They are amazingly open at a very early age. There are clear benefits.

But there are some founders that know exactly what they want to build but because of the complexities involved it could take 9-12 months to launch. And some of those founders choose to remain in stealth mode until they take the covers off.

There are plenty examples of companies that start in stealth mode, recent example include Nest Labs and Aero operated as Bamboom Labs before launching.

Back in the day (late 90’s) stealth mode was more popular or at least that is my perspective. Before publicly launching as WebTV Networks, the founders hid behind the name Artemis Research for about a year. I love that the site is till up and running.

Before co-founding Android, Andy Rubin, Joe Britt and Matt Hershenson created Danger Research. I can’t find the original website but it was amazingly creative. It had these little videos of a gorilla and a girl skipping with dynamite. And a countdown until launch (hopefully someone can find a link).

And then there was other successes like Optigrab and not so successful but well hyped Ginger.

Anyway, this post isn’t meant to suggest that stealth mode is a good thing or a bad thing per se.

But I do appreciate what stealth mode represents to me — namely an idea that takes a long time to build with founders that are wonderfully proud, crazy ambitious with a healthy dose of paranoia.