Marc Suster interviewing Bill Gross, an awesome entrepreneur that has founded 75 companies through Idealab with 30 IPOs and acquisitions. Living proof that an entrepreneur can have his hands in many projects at a time. You just have to find the right model to make it work. Idealab took a unique approach to incubating - very different from what Y Combinator and TechStars are doing today.
Here are some insights recapped:
- If your product is early to market, stretch your capital, so you can survive until the market is ready for the product
- Don’t be greedy about your valuation. Find the right investment partner (someone that believes in you and your product) at the right time. “Dilution doesn’t matter…success matters.”
- Out execute the competition by (1) having faster turns on knowledge, (2) be more open (i.e. listen more), (3) adapt to what the market wants faster than your competitor
Striving entrepreneurs should keep Idealab in mind as viable incubators. Since its founding, Idealab companies have mostly been ideas generated by Bill Gross and team, but they are now starting to fund outside ideas and bring them in.
Key Takeaways for Entrepreneurs
- Read the analyst reports for your public incumbents’ companies to gain insights and an edge on your large competitors
- Help journalists find their story angle when covering your company. This makes their life easier while generating good PR for your company. Also, respect the profession. Journalists are under a lot of pressure to get good stories in. Help them do their jobs, and they’ll return the favor
Some Other Key Takeaways
- NYC is known for consumer-facing, user experience startups. Chris is hoping this is the longer term secular trend (and, so am I)
- There was a distrust for equity that came out of the 1.0 crash. Mark and Chris would like to see a renewed trust for equity and an understanding for its value
- Friends are not predictive of you, but your likes are (I’m completely on board with this. I value the interest graph much more than the social graph)
- There is a movement to normalize people, places and products online. Foursquare is a leader in this (and, I’m very excited about this trend. The web is messy, but if we can standardize these three verticals, it’ll be a huge step in organizing the web and users’ social experiences and activities)