Entrepreneurs should accept failure

Yoav Leitersdorf of YL Ventures says keep expectations low, and accept failure

Lessons learned from investor by Bambi Francisco Roizen
May 18, 2009
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European entrepreneurs have a tough time accepting failure. That's what I learned while attending the Innovate!Europe conference, held in Zaragoza, Spain recently. One dominant and recurring theme was the idea that failure was OK as an entrepreneur and that European entrepreneurs should realize that it's a positive trait on the road to one day being successful. 

"Entrepreneurs who've failed in Europe rarely go back... there's not enough respect for entrepreneurs that have not made it the first time," said Yoav Leitersdorf, an entrepreneur-turned-venture capitalist who founded YL Ventures, which looks for companies that can exit in a few years time at between $20 million and $80 million. "If you look at Silicon Valley, most successful entrepreneurs have had to fail once or twice before they became successful." 

Among other pieces advice from Leitersdorf include:

- Get to revenue as quickly as you can. There’s scarce capital and there’s less patience for new businesses to get off the ground. Even if it’s little revenue, get there as quickly as you can.

- Raise as little capital as possible. What happens if you raise a lot of capital, you raise investors' expectations really high. The less you raise, the higher your chances of getting to an exit and making everyone happy around the table.

- Learn to be lucky. Create opportunities as much as possible. Be out there and network as much as you can. Have diversity of customers and diversity of partners. Go to conferences. Network as much as you can. By meeting a number of people, you’re increasing the likelihood of luck. In many ways, it could be a liquidity event.

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