A startup's success is heavily influenced by its team and cultureRead more...
This week, he celebrates the launch of a startup aimed to organize information better than Wikipedia
Today's Entrepreneur is Jude Gomila, founder and CEO of Golden, which launched this week as it raised $5 million in seed funding.
Golden, an open knowledge database built by artificial and human intelligence, celebrated its launch this week as it announced its first funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz and with participation from Gigafund, Founders Fund, SV Angel, Liquid2/Joe Montana, and a number of top angel investors.
Gomila is a leader with extensive investor experience, having backed more than 150 startups in various categories. With Golden, he sought to create a database that would collect and organize human knowledge and fill in the gaps that encyclopedias have today.
In a written interview with VatorNews, Gomila described how that's possible and talked about the best entrepreneur practices.
VatorNews: Please tell us a bit about your background. What led you to entrepreneurship?
Jude Gomila: I’m originally from London, moved over to San Francisco around ten years ago to do Y Combinator. I worked on Heyzap, which we ended up selling to a public German company, called RNTS Media, in 2016 for $45 million.
Over the last eight years, I ended up investing in 150+ companies in a high variety of fields. I’ve always been interested in building and hacking on projects and I’m intrigued with the limits of what is possible and what is not. Entrepreneurship as a route has allowed me to get involved in exciting projects that move quickly and have high leverage.
VN: How has your experience as investor affected you building your own company?
JG: I’ve learned from great founders I have backed and watched them on their journey. Thinking through their problems has also given me some perspective on how to build a better company and soak up best practices from a wider set of sources. It has allowed me to explore business/distribution models and new markets.
VN: How was the idea for Golden born?
JG: The idea came out of looking up very niche topics like technologies/companies/new academic concepts and not finding the information collected in a holistic place with all surrounding information videos, blog posts, a timeline on the topic, podcasts, etc. I started to look into how many topics are out there that didn’t have coverage and dig into why that had happened in the first place.
VN: Organizing human knowledge seems to be an immense task to accomplish. How is that possible?
JG: Organizing human knowledge is an immense task and will be difficult to catch up to the increasing speed that it is being produced around the globe. That said, there are two principal things Golden is doing differently to make this possible.
1) We’ve built an editor experience that’s substantially better than any other, making it easier for users to contribute knowledge.
2) We’ve built AI tools that can detect new topics (i.e. ‘we found something in this new article’, classify these topics (i.e. ‘what is this thing?’), find structured data (i.e. ‘given what this thing is, what attributes does it have’), cross-link (i.e. ‘let’s connect this to other topics of interest’) and disambiguate existing data (i.e. ‘we need to connect this information on a topic to an existing topic’), and create new content (text writing, image collection, even citation checking eventually).
Together, we believe it makes it 100 times easier and faster to contribute knowledge than anywhere else.
VN: How do you see this sector evolving in the near future?
JG: We have seen exciting development from OpenAI on the automated prose writing front and generally a huge wave of progress in AI research. It is hard to predict exactly what will happen going forward but we are sure that it makes sense to spend time working on this problem space.
VN: Please name some of your favorite startups and tell us why you think they were successful.
JG: I’ll try to mention ones I’ve backed and ones I haven’t. Boom (supersonic air travel, amazing at hiring), Wright Electric (making aircraft fully electric, we have to go this way), Airtable (amazing product and super useful - obsessive about product), Superhuman (obsessed about user experience), Bugsnag (product centric founders who deeply cared about the problem they were working), Mercury (super slick UI for a business bank, great team), Benchling, Mixhalo (super fun demo - in tune with their users), Algorand (MIT professor that had done very interesting research), Wild Earth (Founder really cares about saving the planet). There are a few more.
VN: What's most frustrating and rewarding about entrepreneurship/innovation?
JG: Frustrating – having to worry about something that started going wrong. Rewarding – seeing users interact with the product, give feedback, and have systems interact in ways that we didn’t expect.
VN: What are the top three lessons you learned as an entrepreneur?
JG: Hire the best people. Don’t take no for an answer. Learn the rules before you break them.
VN: Describe your recent achievement on a personal or business level.
JG: The team launching Golden and getting thousands of edits coming in, in a very short period of time. Closing paying customers and having them impart their hard-earned dollar for our hard-earned functionality. Having people search for super niche topics and Golden having pages to serve up their hunger for learning.
VN: What excites you the most about your role at Golden?
JG: My team - we’ve pulled together an incredible group and each person has such a diverse set of skills. They surprise me every day.
VN: What are the most important qualities for an entrepreneur?
JG: Perspective - You have to be able to think about tomorrow, a week from now, a month from now, and 100 years from now, all at the same time. Know how to succeed now, and set yourself and your team up for success in the future.
Determination - not giving up, ever.
Transcendence - dealing with the micro issues and the macro picture.
Curiosity - seeing new insight from team members, community, and users on solving problems.
Passion - you have to care.
VN: What are your goals as an entrepreneur?
JG: Success for the company and the mission. I truly believe in what we are doing and that it will make the world a better place.
VN: Where do you see yourself (and the company) in five years?
JG: I see us integrating into existing knowledge structures, in some ways, but also forging new paths in the way knowledge is sourced and built. Our AI gets better every day with the help of our users and engineers. The phase space of the 5-year prediction market is too divergent to comment.
VN: Who is your principal supporter in your work?
JG: Golden’s investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Founders Fund, Gigafund, with participation from several other VCs and numerous angel investors. The team and community.
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