Introducing Castle (Sort Of): Or, Launching a Blog Before You Have a Product

by Max

Today, we’re introducing Castle to the world—except right now, Castle is nothing more than a bare-bones landing page and this blog. If Castle is our child, this isn’t the birth, or even the conception—it’s the moment the parents first saw each other across the room. (Or, as may be more fitting for a tech startup, the moment they were first matched on Tinder.)

So, why are we starting our company blog before we even have a product? The decision goes back to something Dave Tisch (at the time, the Managing Director of Techstars NYC) said to me when I was a fresh-faced college grad first dipping my toes into the waters of Startup Land back at Venture for America Training Camp in the summer of 2012.

Castle Co-Founders Max and Tim (and a bunch of other people) soaking in Dave Tisch’s wisdom

Dave explained that there were four main factors Techstars considered when deciding whether or not to invest in a company: the team, the market, the product, and the idea—in that order.

The team is the most important factor. A strong team can overcome a lot of other weaknesses, but not even the greatest idea in the world will save a team that can’t execute.

The market is the second-most important. No matter how awesome your company is, it won’t succeed if the potential audience for what you’re making doesn’t exist.

Then comes the product—the thing you’ve actually made—and then, lastly, there’s the idea: the concept that provided the starting point for the product.

Another way to think of it is, which of these factors is the easiest to change? If you’ve got a killer team, you can discover that your first product isn’t really working and switch1 to a different one. But changing your founding team, especially near the beginning, is much, much harder.

At Castle, we’ve put together an amazing team (we’ll be introducing ourselves in a future post), and we’re confident in our market: small, independent landlords2. And we’re working on our product now—first, by interviewing landlords in our target market so that we can make sure we’re solving real problems.

The Castle team. From left: Scott Lowe, Max Nussenbaum, Tim Dingman, and Griffin Wagner

But we don’t want to wait until Castle is released to start sharing what will no doubt be a strange and difficult journey with you. We also want to be brutally honest about the challenges we encounter as we get this company off the ground—and those challenges start way before the product is done.

We’ll have a lot more to share with you in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can always reach us at

Thanks for joining us. The adventure begins!

P.S. Interested in email updates and early access to our super awesome secret beta? Sign up here. We promise not to bother you with useless crap.

  1. I refuse to say pivot.
  2. In fact, three members of the founding team—myself, Scott Lowe, and Tim Dingman—will soon be landlords ourselves, through our side project Rebirth Realty.
  1. entercastle posted this