Friday Oct 4, 2013 by Veronica Richter - Contributor, VentureFizz
Not only is Bijan Sabet one of the top VC’s in the area, but he is also one of the top VC’s in the country. He led Spark Capital’s early stage investments in Twitter (where they own at least 5% according to Twitter’s S-1 filing for their upcoming IPO), Tumblr (acquired by Yahoo! for $1.1B), OMGPOP (acquired by Zynga for $180M), and Boxee (acquired by Samsung). He is also an investor in Foursquare, RunKeeper, Jelly (alongside Bono), and Stack Exchange.
Here are some nuggets of Sabet’s wisdom for all of you entrepreneurs to think about:
1. There is no formula for building a startup. Although a good first step for many is to simply learn how to code, aspiring entrepreneurs just need to get the creative juices flowing; they need to get inspired. How? Look for things that bother or stimulate you — things that bring out a curiosity in you that you just can’t shake.
2. Entrepreneurs need to be in love with the product they’re building, not with the idea of starting a company. According to Sabet, this passion for your product will affect everything you do — from your direction to the people you recruit.
3. If you have an idea for a product you truly love, go for it - but make sure you are ready. Sabet believes aspiring entrepreneurs who are not yet ready to build companies should gain as much experience as possible at startups and other great companies. The experience is invaluable.
4. Take advantage of the startup community in Boston. Things have changed tremendously in the area and connecting to the right people is now easier than ever. Sabet explained the importance of making connections, and even mentioned that when he meets startups outside of his expertise that need funding, he often connects them to those who are more in line with their interests. [Shameless plug/personal opinion: get out there! Go to networking events and other relevant events, like hackathons! Our VentureFizz Networking Calendar is a great place to start! And if you need some guidance / help on how to get started, hit me up on Twitter. I’m here to help!!]
5. As for raising money, you don’t have to raise venture capital to build your company. Though every company is different and this isn’t a golden rule of investments, Sabet believes that if you need $5-15 million dollars, then definitely talk to a VC. But if you need less than that, then a VC is probably not the way to go.
6. Take your time finding an investor. In Sabet’s words, “Take your time raising money. Make sure you have a fit because you can’t really fire your investor!” Check out the many resources out there for finding investors and look for ones that shares similar interests as your company. Believe it or not, raising money is easier today than it’s ever been!