Lessons and advice for entrepreneurs from the wise venture capitalist, Howard Hartenbaum
In this segment of Lessons Learned, Howard Hartenbaum, a venture capitalist at August Capital shares his three pieces of advice for entrepreneurs.
A little bit about Howard - he's well known as the investor who spotted Skype early on, and also made the Forbes Midas List of top venture capitalists. Recently he invested in Swoopo, a shopping game which attracts bargain shoppers and gamblers, as well as invested in Pixazza, a company that allows people to mouse over images and receive an advertisement.
Hartenbaum's first piece of advice takes us to the beginning of starting a business - when you pick a co-founder, be very certain this is the right person you want to work with. He compares it to picking your "wife," in the sense that, you're going to be with this person for a long ride, and there's going to be tough times and you have to be sure you can get through it with this person. Hartenbaum advices, "don't recruit off of Craigslist," and at the same time, don't grab somebody you're good friends with. Ultimately, the best founders tend to be the ones you've worked before.
Second, if you're new to raising capital for your company, find yourself an adviser. The adviser should be positive about the idea of raising venture capital and it should be somebody who understands exactly what you are trying to build. If you start with the mentality that a venture capitalist will have a negative impact on your company, you're going to be doomed.
Finally, when building a company, make sure you have an underlying thought of optimism at all times. When things are rough, realize it's part of the process and make sure not to point fingers or blame anybody, including your VC's. Enjoy the process of getting to your end goal, as opposed to focusing solely on the end goal. Focus on the path there, and make sure to experience the path.
Check out the video for the full interview and the wise words from Howard himself.
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