A good team is one you can take to the bank

Angel investor Aydin Senkut's advice: It's the team, stupid, and the virtues of iterating quickly

Lessons learned from investor by Bambi Francisco Roizen
December 10, 2009
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I've often heard that finding the right team members requires the same effort as finding a spouse. After all, you're going to work with them day in and day out. And, many startups fail because of people and their inability to get along.

When you're as prolific as Aydin Senkut, an early-Google-employee-turned angel investor who's investments are spread across some 40 startups, it's critical to look for the right team magic. "A good team is one you can take to the bank," he said.

In this segment of "Lessons Learned," Aydin - whose portfolio consists of some well-known consumer Internet companies, such as Mint, which was recently sold to Intuit for $170 million, Aardvark, Disqus, Dogster, BrightRoll and Rapleaf - said that often people hire in a hurry and hurry the wrong people.

Managers have to spend the time to interview hundreds of people for each hire. That's a painstaking effort, but one that good entrepreneurs will go through, he suggested.

That said, many entrepreneurs don't build a good team fast enough, he said. What does this mean? 

Know who you have to hire in advance and start interviewing people early on in the process. 

Another advice he'd give is to experiment more. "I saw a company cut back product development from two months to two weeks," he said. A big mistake he sees teams doing is "not experimenting fast enough or more."

Now you can take that advice to the bank. 

(For more lessons and advice about the virtues of having a great team, see stories below)


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