Video: Indiegogo CEO's 10 myths about entrepreneurship

Mitos Suson · June 10, 2015 · Short URL:

Lessons learned by Slava Rubin at Splash Oakland 2015

Slava Rubin, co-founder and CEO of Indiegogo, shared his lessons learned building his crowdfunding startup since 2008 at Vator Splash Oakland 2015.

In his Splash Talk, he first reminded the audience of mainly startup entrepreneurs and investors, to test their own truth. He brought up an image of a tea kettle and described how young children will touch a hot kettle even on the advice from parents not to. That's because young kids don't believe anyone, he said. They always have to learn for themselves. Entrepreneurs should always remember that.

Here's highlights of Rubin's 10 myths [slightly edited]:  

- It’s all about the idea

Wrong! Ideas are a dime a dozen. We can brainstorm and come out with 100 crazy ideas. What matters is the work behind it. Think Howard Schultz (Founder of Starbucks) was the first person to come up with a coffee shop?

- It’s not a big enough market

If you do a small market and you do it well, it’s way better than getting 0 percent of a big market.

- You need lots of money

The Kauffman Foundation will tell you that the average small business started with $6500. Facebook started with $21k. We had no money and were passed up by 93 VCs. You don't need a ton of money to get started.

- You need a business plan 

A 40-page business plan is garbage [mainly because it's fictitious], but having a really good elevator pitch tightly written is valuable.

- Make sure you have a good brand and PR strategy

Usually, the only reason any of these marketing tactics work is because the people behind the company are product and customer obsessed. Be that first.

- Hire people like you

Garbage. Diversity in thinking is the key to diversity in results. If you have a lot of yes-men and yes-women around you, you won’t have anyone questioning the holes in your thought process.

- Values and culture don’t matter in the beginning

They do. Don't push them off.

- Profit. Power. Fame can drive you through the tough times

If you want a lot of money, be employee 100 to 200 at a B to C-staged company. You’ll have a much higher probability making it rich doing that than starting a company. If you want power, definitely don’t be an entrepreneur either. Power goes to your VCs, the government, the media, etc. If you want fame – YouTube is awesome.

- Entrepreneurship is linear 

Not at all. Watch the movie Inception, and you'll get a sense of why it's not.

- Mom will never understand what you do 

She will, eventually. After being a strategic consultant for eight years, I quit my job and started Indiegogo. My mom didn't understand for a while. All that mattered was whether I had good health insurance. One day, she heard about a nearly-70-year-old bullied bus driver whose supporters raised $600,000 on the Internet to help her our. I told my mom the money was raised on Indiegogo. After that point, my mom understood what I was doing. [Slav-itchka (aka Slava's name in a Belarusian form of endearment) does a much better job of telling this story. So watch the video!]

Thank you KPMG, Kapor CenterWendel RosenJavelin, Rackspace, The Port Workspaces, Alaska, Gensler, Parelius, and Bread & Butter for sponsoring! 

Splash LA 2015 is around the corner. We already have a great lineup. Check it out here. Register early for Super Early Bird tickets. And if you want to apply to present in the startup competition, apply here.

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Mitos Suson

I produce Vator Events and enjoy the challenge. I am learning and growing a lot, being involved with Vator and loving every moment of it!

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Joined Vator on

IndieGoGo is a collaborative funding platform. Anyone with an idea (creative, cause, or entrepreneurial) can create a campaign on IndieGoGo, offer perks and raise the funds needed for execution - all while keeping 100% ownership. Customers range from artists (musicians, writers, filmmakers, etc.) who pre-sell their work as a way to fund it, to people raising money on behalf of charities to small businesses offering limited edition items or access to fund their start-up capital.

IndieGoGo launched the beta in 2008 within the film vertical. By 2009 IndieGoGo became the largest online film funding platform and brand. In 2010, IndieGoGo focused on further developing its funding tools and opened the platform to more verticals. Recent growth has been excellent at IndieGoGo including:

* Revenue up 24x in last year
* Funding projects from 134 countries
* 11,000+ projects
* Webby Award Nomination (versus Flickr, Vimeo & Digg)


Slava Rubin

Joined Vator on

Slava Rubin is the CEO and co-founder of Indiegogo, a company dedicated to revolutionizing the way that people fund what matters to them, and has led the organization to becoming the largest crowdfunding platform in the world.