Entrepreneurial Qualities

What the greatest technology investors say about Entrepreneurial Qualities

Successful Entrepreneurs have these Qualities

Mark Suster Partner Upfront Ventures and former entrepreneur

 Suster believes successful entrepreneurs have these qualities:  “1. tenacity, the most important [].  2. street smarts []” including “[] know[ing] [] how customers buy and how to excite them [], [an ability to] spot opportunities that aren’t being met and [] design products to meet these needs. []”. “3. ability to pivot []” which “[] might just be a totally different business model.[]”  “4. resiliency  []. 5. inspiration [].  6. perspiration [].  7. willingness to accept risk []. 8. attention to detail [].  9.  competitiveness []. 10. decisiveness []. 11. domain experience []. 12. integrity  []”.    Mark Suster, Entrepreneur DNA, December 15, 2009;http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/entrepreneur-dna/ What Makes an Entrepreneur (2/11) – Street Smarts December 16, 2009

http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2009/12/16/what-makes-an-entrepreneur-210-street-smarts/

What Makes an Entrepreneur (3/11) – Ability to Pivot December 17, 2009

http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2009/12/17/what-makes-an-entrepreneur-310-ability-to-pivot/

Curiosity

Reid Hoffman angel investor, Co-Founder & Executive Chairman LinkedIn and Partner Greylock & Ben Casnocha entrepreneur

“There’s one [] mind-set that must be “on” [] to power all the other opportunity-seeking behaviors: curiosity.  Entrepreneurs brim with curiosity: they see opportunity where others see problems, because while others simply complain, entrepreneurs ask Why?  Why the heck doesn’t this annoying product/service work as well as it should?  Is there a better way? And can I make money off it? [] For entrepreneurs this mix translates into supreme alertness for new business opportunities”.   Reid Hoffman & Ben Casnocha, The Start-up of You (book), pg 147  

Balance Entrepreneur's Strengths

Bill Gross Founder and CEO business incubator Idealab

“Design a structure around [the entrepreneur’s] strengths, and balance that by hiring complementary skills.”  Gross enjoys working on many different projects, considering himself unfocused--“[] yet for a company to succeed, it needs focus. At Idealab [they] brought people in with skills [Gross] lack[ed]. [They] devised a structure for companies to succeed by staying laser-like focused on their mission, but allowed [Gross] to be involved in multiple companies.”   Bill Gross: Here Are The 12 Lessons I've Learned In My 30 Years Of Being An Entrepreneur, Bill Gross, Chime  Dec. 15, 2011;  http://www.businessinsider.com/bill-gross-lessons-2011-12#lesson-5-recognize-your-strengths-23#ixzz1j68rtWix

Brad Feld's Investment Criteria

Brad Feld  venture capitalist and Managing Director Foundry Group

Feld discusses his investment criteria.  Feld first determines if the investment falls within his ‘filters’: US and Canada-domiciled early stage firms which have raised less than $3 million and fall within one of “[Foundry’s] [] [broad horizontal, abstract themes]”.  Assuming the investment fits within these filters, “[] then [Foundry] goe[s] incredibly deep on [] people and product. [] [Feld gets] excited about people who are super-obsessed about a product.  [] [If Feld wants to work with the entrepreneur, and the entrepreneur wants to work with him and is product-obsessed, and Feld has an attachment for that product, then he’ll invest.]  [] [Feld]  [already knows his markets, competitive dynamics, the business model.]  [] All [Feld] care[s] about is what [the entrepreneur is] going to do with the idea [] or the product or [where he’s taking] it”.  The best founding teams are 2-4 people half of whom are product-focused.  His optimal nascent team is 3 people, 2 of whom are product-focused, “all [of whom] are passionate [about] the product []”.  Brad Feld,  This Week in Startups # 319, published Jan. 9, 2013,  @ 25- 32 min. into interview with  Jason Calacanis;  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INyouAjKgR8

What Ron Conway Looks For in a Deal

Ron Conway angel investor

What Ron Conway looks for in a deal: “[] traits that good investors look for in entrepreneurs []”:

[] personal chemistry with the entrepreneur 

[] great idea

[] solving a practical and real problem

[] sectors that [grow] at thousands of percent a year

[] good elevator pitch – [ability to articulate what the company wants to do] in 5 words 

[] IP (intellectual property) [] matter[s]

[] [team’s] personal characteristics including [intangibles like passion, vision, body language, being decisive, reliable] ]

[] hire ahead of [the] needs [if possible []]

[] CEO [] [must set the example as a team builder and leader] []”.

Ron Conway, Startupatwork Interview Ron Conway: What Ron Looks For In A Deal, StartupAtWork  Feb 20, 2010; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hksBO57gfaw

Many Successful People are Deliberate about Randomness

David Cohen Founder and CEO TechStars, angel investor and former entrepreneur

“Many [] successful people [] are very deliberate about randomness [like Brad Feld]. [] Brad has regularly held “random days” when he’ll meet anyone to talk about anything [].”  That’s how TechStars arose when Cohen met Feld on a random day.

“Being open to randomness is about more than just taking meetings [].  It’s the idea of trying something you really have no reason to try. Recognize [] that someone you meet or something that you do might ultimately be able to help you in some completely unexpected way.  If you’re not open to randomness, you may miss a huge opportunity [].”   David Cohen, Do More Faster by David Cohen & Brad Feld, copyrt 2011, pg. 109-110