Friday, July 5, 2013

3 Tips to Startup Success

At Science, we are fortunate enough to meet hundreds of entrepreneurs each year. And as you might imagine, we sit through a lot of early-stage pitches -- some good, most…horrible. There's no doubt that confidence is often key -- but maybe not for the reasons you expect.

Although I've met many great entrepreneurs who lack external confidence and a great many lesser entrepreneurs who have confidence in spades, I can say without a doubt that the confident entrepreneurs often walk away with funding.

It doesn't mean their businesses are better or their skills superior. Rather, it simply means that they are confident selling themselves and their vision. When you invest in someone with confidence, you're investing in someone who can typically get investors on her side and sell her vision to the staff. Importantly, that entrepreneur will likely also have a better chance of selling the business to a buyer in the future.

The best example of this is an entrepreneur who I met in Los Angeles right after raised a very early, very big $10 million round before the company was started. Over drinks with his new investor, the entrepreneur boasted about having lost venture investors more than $100 million in the past five years, and once again he couldn't believe that someone just gave him $10 million. I pulled the new investor aside and asked if he was crazy, considering the startup's track record of losses. He said he was confident in the entrepreneur's abilities in this business.

Within two years, the entrepreneur sold that company, raised more money and started another. I cannot attest to the quality of his businesses, but I can speak to his high level of confidence and the fact that he seems to be on point.