Before Charles Moldow became a general partner at Foundation Capital, he spent more than a decade as an entrepreneur. He wrote the original business plan for AtHome, a high-speed Internet access comapny, which eventually became ExciteAtHome. He also worked at TellMe, which was sold to Microsoft.
Charles also led investments in roughly 10 startups, including Xoopit, Powerset, Weblistic and AdWhirl. This is his advice to entrepreneurs.
- Be relentless. The management team at TellMe once put a guy in first class on an airplane to Japan just to sit down to a prospective client. Think out of the box and be relentless.
- Don’t compromise with a big idea. Time is one of your most valuable assets. Wait and find a great idea.
- Be capital efficient. You never know where the next dollar is going to come from.
Here's his lesson on selling companies.
- Great companies are bought not sold. If you go out and try to sell a company, it’s going to be very difficult. But build a great company and business, and position yourself so they [the acquirer] comes to the conclusion that they want it. For example, Foundation tasked JK [Jonathan Katzman], founder of Xoopit to build a relationship with Yahoo. It was a strategic decision because Yahoo was identified as a potential acquiror. In the end, it was Yahoo saying they wanted to buy Xoopit. Yahoo bought Xoopit for $20 million this past July.