Your first idea always ends up different

Bambi Francisco Roizen · September 12, 2008 · Short URL:

Pubmatic co-founder on finding a team that can be flexible and evolve

Most second-time entrepreneurs, heck - even first-timers, have that grizzled look about them. But not Pubmatic's co-founder Rajeev Goel, who helped his older brother, Amar, build golf retail site ChipShot back in the mid-90's, while Rajeev attended Johns Hopkins University. ChipShot raised $50 million in venture funding from the likes of blue-chip firm Sequoia, and others. But like many of the dot-com companies in the heyday, the exits weren't homerun returns. ChipShot's assets for sold to Eco Associates in 2001.

But the returns aren't always in the form of boatloads of cash. Often it's in the lessons you take away.

Entrepreneurship is a "constant stream of problem solving," said Rajeev. Every day seems like just trouble shooting, one has to remember to keep thinking of the "big picture." Also, keep in mind that the team is more important than the idea, he suggested. The idea of a team and execution as far more valuable than an idea is recurring theme that many entrepreneurs express in the Lessons learned segments on Vator. 

"Typically, your first idea of what the business is going to be is usually not where it ends up two or three years later," he said. "The direction will change." Basically, the right people are those who help you evolve and stay flexible, he explained.

The biggest take away for Rajeev and his brother from their 90's experience has been focusing on working with a lot less cash.

"One of the big things that we're doing differently this time is not raising as much money," he said. "Obviously, entrepreneurs recognize that the late '90s was a unique time." Building a retail site required significant amounts of money. The challenge was that fewer than 20% of the online population was on broadband at that time. This time around, Rajeev says he's focused on metrics and driving the company to meet those goals.

This time around, it's about building a company, and knowing that ideas will evolve. The right people who can manage the many changes in a startup life are the ones that are most likely to succeed.


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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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PubMatic is focused on serving the needs of publishers by providing an industry leading platform that allows publishers to maximize their revenue while simultaneously reducing complexity.

Being a publisher is difficult these days. On the one hand, publishers want to focus on developing rich content and sustaining a user community based on common interest. On the other hand, they’re forced to spend ever more time and energy running the “business” of being a publisher.
What ad style should a publisher use? Publishers have to figure out what’s the best color combination, size, ad type, and other parameters that best appeal to their users. There are over a billion different combinations for publishers to consider.

How can a publisher manage multiple ad tags? Each ad network and ad style requires a unique set of ad tags that publishers have to maintain and manage.
Which ad networks should a publisher use? There are several hundred significant ad networks operating around the world today, with that number growing every week.
How does a publisher get consistent reports across ad networks? Each ad network is only able to provide reporting visibility for a subset of the publisher’s ads, but yet publishers need the ability to view their ad inventory performance holistically. Learn more about PubMatic for publishers.

At the same time, ad networks are finding challenges of their own.
It’s difficult to reach new publishers. Most publishers already have ad tags on their web site, and they’re reluctant to change them for a new ad network.
Signing up new publishers is inefficient. Signing up new publishers typically involves lots of emailing or faxing back and forth, requiring lots of staff time and slowing the growth of the ad network.
PubMatic was founded in 2006 and is based in the Bay Area, California and Pune and Mumbai, India. PubMatic is backed by Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Helion Ventures.

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