New book

Start-up powszechnie kojarzy się z budowaniem firm o globalnym zasięgu, młodym wiekiem, astronomicznymi pieniędzmi i nietuzinkowymi technologiami. Dla wielu to wręcz praca marzeń. Przedstawione realia dotyczą jednak znacznie mniej niż 1% spółek, które osiągają spektakularny sukces. Dla reszty codzienność to ciągła walka z brakiem kapitału, nieustannymi porażkami oraz własną psychiką. To niesamowite wyzwanie, któremu jest w stanie podołać zaledwie garstka ludzi.

Autor po kilkudziesięciu własnych inwestycjach i kilku tysiącach analizowanych start-upów pokazuje jak mocno powszechna percepcja podsycana przez media jest daleka od rzeczywistości. Książka jest szczerą i pragmatyczną refleksją nad budowaniem start-upów, przepełnioną autentycznymi historiami, które zupełnie zmieniają obraz tej branży.

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This book irrevocably zmienia wyobrażenie o świecie start-upów, burząc znaną z mediów narrację sukcesu.

Experts About the book

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Creating a start-up is by no means a road strewn with roses. Simon in his book emphatically shows that in this world most are not, as you might think, media unicorns, but graveyards of companies looking to achieve this status. Therefore, instead of thinking about how to build a unicorn, learn from this book and create a "cockroach". A company that will survive under any conditions, even with the extremely difficult challenges you will face in the intractable start-up world.

Wojciech Pysiewicz, co-founder of WP2 Investments

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Simon is known in the investment and start-up community for his uncompromising, cutting language and love of simple expression. He says succinctly what he thinks and doesn't beat around the bush. And that's what this book is - it's a concise but factual picture of the extremely difficult reality facing founders, as seen from the perspective of an experienced investor. Simpler and more blunt is probably not possible anymore. I recommend it, especially to entrepreneurs who want to take the first steps in their own business.

Maciek Marszałek, CEO and Managing Partner of THE HEART

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"The Dark Side of Start-ups" is a must-read for anyone considering starting a start-up. The book is full of difficult, and sometimes dramatic, stories of founders and shows how difficult the path of building a start-up is. However, for me, the most interesting parts of the book are about Simon's personal experience as CMO of a startup, in which he describes the problems and challenges the company faced, despite being perceived from the outside as a spectacular success.

Pawel Maj, partner of the Warsaw Equity Group fund

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9 out of 10 startups fail. You'll read about the one on LinkedIn in a founder's self-deprecating post. From this book, you'll learn what happened to the other nine. Working 20 hours a day, fictitious backers, real scammers, a million zlotys of funding that doesn't even last a year, an exit that doesn't even return your contribution, stress, loneliness, depression illness. This is much more often the reality of building a start-up. Do you dream of a unicorn? See what awaits you on the road to creating one.

Boleslaw Breczko, journalist,

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Reading this book, you will not get tired of "unwinding the cotton" of the crux of the matter, i.e. start-up realities. The author spares the reader unnecessary embellishments. He calls things by their names, is not afraid to talk about numbers, and breaks down budgets into factors. Also he exposes shortcomings, not so much in knowledge, but in the code of ethics. He spares no one, but does justice to the deserving. There is no unnecessary malice or cynicism here. Instead, there is a description of the ecosystem given in an easily digestible form that will undoubtedly encourage readers to take a holistic and unapologetic look at our Polish start-ups. I absorbed the reading in one breath!

Dra Maria Belka, Mentors4Starters

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Without anesthesia, but with an accurate diagnosis.... These terms, which are familiar from a doctor's office, perfectly describe Simon's latest book. This time the author presents us with the fascinating world of funds and start-ups in a clear and accessible way, revealing its full picture. Simon does not try to disenchant or color it. Instead, he shares his experiences, showing it as it is. Devoid of unnecessary aura and glitz, the book is a must-have for those who can look for solutions on how to get out of the "dark side" when things don't go according to plan ... business plan.

Grzegorz Chylinski, KnowledgeHub Starter fund partner

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When, after 30 years of professional experience, you still find great fun in reading your chosen reading, while taking notes and remembering the author's key recommendations, you have come across a really strong book. Such is Simon's book. I sincerely regret that I didn't have the opportunity to read it many years ago, when I started my journey as an entrepreneur. Polish startups usually rarely invested in knowledge, because the information that was available so far often distorted the true face of business, including investor relations. In the book you get only valuable suggestions - "meaty morsels" - which, certainly, will not discourage you at all, but will motivate you to consciously build a startup.

Tom Plata, entrepreneur, marketer, coach, Co-Founder AUTENTI

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"The Dark Side of Start-ups" reveals with great candor and precision the behind-the-scenes of the not-so-easy world of start-ups. It is a story full of empathy and deep understanding about people who have the courage to dream and take risks. Simon balances perfectly between a realistic view of business and a tribute to human determination. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is ready to look at the world of start-ups from the perspective of the journey that entrepreneurs go through.

Bartek Pucek,, angel investor.

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Simon describes the often brutal reality behind the media successes of both domestic startups and the funds that invest in them. Does this mean that it's not worth starting your own innovative company and struggling to find an investor? Of course not. You just need to prepare better for negotiations, and learn quickly from failures. If only for this reason, this is one of those books that you simply have to read and appreciate even more those who are trying to change the world. I highly recommend it!

Paulina Skrzypińska, Chief Innovation Officer, BNP Paribas Bank Polska SA


Media Partners


Wiele osób decyduje się na budowę własnego start-upu, ponieważ kuszą ich piękne historie jednorożców, które zbudowano od zera. Nie ma się, co dziwić – to właśnie nimi przepełnione są media zarówno tradycyjne jak i społecznościowe. Tymczasem pod powierzchnią są tysiące niesamowicie trudnych i pozbawionych happy endu historii. Założyciele bankrutują, trafiają pod opiekę psychiatryczną, tracą relacje z najbliższymi – a wszystko to w imię zbudowania globalnego potentata. Linia dzieląca upór i wytrwałość od szaleństwa jest niesamowicie cienka. Dlatego właśnie tak ważne jest, aby poznać realia tej branży zanim podejmie się nieodwracalne decyzje. Zamiast karmić się iluzją, należy poznać fakty, bo właśnie to pozwala na podjęcie racjonalnej decyzji i odpowiedzenie sobie na pytanie – am I ready to build my own start-up?

* E-book of the new and previous book