Startup's only way to continue
Startup with young man in the night

Start-up’s only way to continue

Most of the articles on the network are about the first venture ideas and ideas, to find a second (above) entrepreneurial methods or processes, can refer to the literature is very few.

The reason is actually very simple, after all, “The Tao is very tao”, in the experience of grass-breaking, transformation, near-death, initial financing, product on-shelf, expansion, refinancing, growth, stagnation, re-transformation, re-growth, re-expansion, internal division, reconciliation, re-transformation, re-growth, re-expansion

… Finally, the first encounter buyers, nods, negotiations, negotiations, renegotiation, and finally appear, continuous entrepreneurs see through the plight of internal factors and external factors of impermanence, this process again, in addition to heaven and earth, they are also embarrassed to say that successful entrepreneurship is an effective and refined skills, more reluctant to like the first entrepreneur will be “success model” on the lips.

Even so, some of the experiences of continuous entrepreneurship are much higher in gold than in the dental language of first-time entrepreneurs. Imagine if you wanted to play in the NBA, whether it was the junior teaching of shooting or the Lakers coach’s legacy? The same is true of the tech industry, where Elon Musk’s story begins PayPal, not Zip2, and Travis Kalanick’s experience starts with Uber, not Scour.

So, take this opportunity, hoping to throw bricks to lead jade, chat about the continuous entrepreneur’s journey.

Since too many people call themselves serial entrepreneurs, define it a little before you get it right.

For senior venture capitalists and angels, Serial Entrepreneur means an entrepreneur with more than one “successful” entrepreneurial experience. The definition of entrepreneurial success is varied, but generally speaking, it refers to a company with a clear business model, long-term business profits, “successful listing” (IPO) or merger, and does not include false mergers and acquisitions (Acqui-hire, which means that the company is on the verge of bankruptcy, the team is bought by a very low and undisclosed amount; For investors, if one person sets up a bunch of companies but none of them makes a long-term profit, is acquired or goes public, it’s basically close to zero entrepreneurial experience.

The “continuous entrepreneur” discussed below will be based on the above definition.

Successful appearance

For continuous entrepreneurs, in fact, the success of the appearance is more than a kind of mixed feeling. Starting your own company is like your own child, what do you think when someone pays you to swap your child’s future dominance (like taking your child to training and playing in a minor league) ? It’s good that someone is bullish on the value of your company, but in this case, the most important question an entrepreneur has in addition to thinking about the price is:

“Can I take the company out of a better future?”
In fact, if the founders can lead the company to a better future, why sell the

“Usually, the main reason for deciding to sell a company is that the company’s future is difficult to have ups and downs (or at least not big ones), so a merger may have a better development.” If the company decides to sell and return to reality, how much money does the founder get?

In fact, this problem is not simple, because a deal is not only valuation, there are many factors. For the founders, two headaches are the 1) merger clause and 2) the special stock clause.

Merger terms are an easy place for acquirers to do it, even if the valuation is clearly written, and the acquirer can use escrow Agreement to hold off the surplus on the founder’s equity sale and withhold money from the escrow account by defining the liability for future business gains and losses; The trick naturally doesn’t stop there, so it’s hard to say how much money the company can get when it sells.

The terms of the company’s special stock are signed with the founder when the venture capital fund (or angel investor) enters. If investors are taking special stock, they usually define the minimum amount they would like to show up and other conditions. If the valuation of the company’s sale is much higher than the terms signed at the time, everyone may be prorated and happy, and if the company’s selling valuation is not as good as expected, the special shareholders can share the money until the minimum appearance criteria in the terms are met, and the general shareholders, including the founder, may not get a dime.

All this can happen if the internal and external negotiations are smooth and consensus is reached.

When the deal was done, the founder looked at his bank account and had a few more zeros, and suddenly felt like he had gained nothing and lost something.
Few serious entrepreneurs want their company to be bought out by someone else, because when that happens, it also means that many future reverie is dashed.

Leave the company

Mergers and acquisitions are not immediate, and parent companies usually require founders to stay on for at least two years.

While both acquirers and acquirers are psychologically expecting the company to continue to grow at a high rate, the fact is that most mergers and acquisitions have a long run-in period, which is usually difficult to complete within two years. And the financial friends who have done mergers and acquisitions know that the actual integration of the difficulty is high, the parent company often a few years later after the dissolution of the subsidiary high-level integration of resources into the parent company after the reorganization.

I’ve had this imagination before, but when I do come across something like this, the mood is completely different.

When you’ve been thinking about the company’s way out almost every minute for the last five, six, or even ten years, fundraising, products, marketing, business, quality control, HR, every second. In fact, I have long been addicted to my own destiny.

After stepping out of the company’s door, from president, director, deputy director, into director, consultant, suddenly inexplicable anxiety. I thought I’d breathe a sigh of relief and couldn’t wait to leave the city to enjoy tropical beaches and cocktails. Unexpectedly, I sat at home, stayed at home, and ate takeaways for three days.

What the hell am I thinking these days?

Those who have had the illusion in the past that they want companies to dominate the United States and the world, and that they can be the creators of new products and technologies like Google, Facebook, and Apple. At this moment has been cruelly no longer exist, there are many plans in my mind has not yet been realized, this impulse makes me want to go back to their own company immediately, but that company is no longer “my company.” The management of the company has been reshuffled and the future development of the company will affect the parent company’s financial results. All decisions start with a symbol, a number, not an entrepreneur’s vision of the future.

And because I have anticompetitive terms with the company, even if I have any ideas, I can’t do it on my own. Anxious, I sat down in front of my computer and started writing Prototypes. When I was invited to speak, I announced that I was already working on my second company. Finally, I found a time to have a cup of tea with my former Investor, investors, and friends.

A Mentor friend, a former serial entrepreneur, is now the president of a well-known accelerator in the United States. After listening to my complaints, he told me, “In fact, we accelerators and seed funds announced that they will achieve unicorns, we all know in our hearts, young first-time entrepreneurs, the success of the appearance is unlikely to be listed, or billions of dollars of mergers and acquisitions.” That’s why many venture capitalists refuse to invest in start-ups, because it’s lucky that a shallow entrepreneur can’t bring the company down after it takes off, both in terms of chance and reality. 」

“When your company was founded, you were 23, right?” In fact, the results of both of you are very rare relative to your age. What you should think about now is not what you didn’t do, but the next step in your career. We do Mentor, often encourage entrepreneurs to gamble, but in fact, in people to do things in the day, successful entrepreneurs are accumulated, step by step really very few. 」

Listen, it does make sense.

Startup's only way to continueA few days later, I had a drink with a friend who used to work in the education and technology industry, and when I met, I realized that he had only recently left his company. This friend and I started a business at the same time, my company mainly does school learning system, while his company is focused on mass mobile users. Their company used to have a rapid growth in user numbers, with hundreds of millions of users worldwide and a market capitalization of more than $200 million.

He shared with me some of his thoughts after he left the company.

He said he was also anxious when he left the company six months ago. For the past five or six years, he has dominated the company’s operations, marketing and finances, leaving the company suddenly unaware of what he was going to do. A few weeks later he set out to develop a sports analysis platform, and when he met a former company investor (who is a venture capital fund partner), he told him shortly afterwards:

“I want you to do one thing for me, which is to stop your current project right away.” He asked the investor what he was for. “Because we’ve been working together for a few years, I know you, and you don’t care about sports events at all. You are now riding used to riding, suddenly off the horse you are not used to, I hope you do not waste time, have a good rest, enjoy life, adjust and then come back, start again. 」

He thought it made sense, so he followed the venture’s advice and travelled to Kyoto for two months before returning to New York.

Look for the next idea

After a break, it seems time to look for the next idea.

For some serial entrepreneurs, there is sometimes pressure from their families to say, “You’re doing nothing every day, why not go to work?” 」

A budding entrepreneur friend, also of Asian descent, shared his conversations with my family.

He came home and said, “Why do you want me to find a job?” 」

The family said, ‘Is it better to have a steady income than not to have an income every day?’ 』

“I’m not short of money now, I’ve got all my money to invest, I’ve got more surpluses every day than I go out to work, why should I go outside and find a job?” 」

The family said, “… You don’t look good like that, relatives ask you what you’re doing now, how do I answer? 』

The friend said he was laughing and said it was difficult for his family, especially in Asia, to understand his current situation. When entrepreneurs from grass-building all the way to the appearance, you will see through the actual value creation is a multi-faceted thing, employees put in the work is on the one hand, venture capital investment is on the one hand, and the founder of the important investment in value creation is not just working hours, but the quality of decision-making.

Startup's only way to continueIf you understand the founder’s work from the perspective of the average employee, you will feel that the founder does a lot of things that are not like working. In fact, founders must make good decisions, collect information, and reach out to people who are often more than their own industries, so it’s hard to judge founders by a single act before they decide.

When it comes to serial entrepreneurs, it is not usually possible to start a company of the same nature as the previous one, but rather to start a company of the same industry but with different customer base, or to enter new territory completely.

So what serial entrepreneurs do, such as sitting by the river every day reading books, flying to different places to attend seminars that have nothing to do with their profession, or eating and drinking coffee with others every day, is “poor-looking” and “doing nothing”.

And from the language of a serial entrepreneur himself, the friend says, until you leave your first company, you’ll find that your success has so many external variables beyond effort.

When you start your first business, you’ll always think about how you can change the world, change the surroundings, have many, many fantasies, and do your job every day. And when you leave the company, you find yourself too focused on work, but not seriously experience life, please ask every day you want to change, really will bring positive impact on the world?

For example, like a techno man from an artificial intelligence background, many times he wants to automate everything in his life, but he doesn’t find himself cooking, not recording music (no concept of the cost of the music industry), no taxi, let alone growing vegetables.

Every day people are talking about changing the world, but not even the most basic life experience, what kind of joke?

Second time to start a business, slow down, carefully experience life, feel all kinds of good and ugly, will find new enthusiasm, and new opportunities.

Second venture

When a continuous entrepreneur friend starts preparing for a second start-up, he or she finds himself with a lot more concerns.

After asking entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and industry people around you, you suddenly feel that the market value is too small.

  • After completing the market research, found that the competitors are too large, homogeneity is too high.
  • After doing some preliminary product questionnaire, it was found that the market opportunity was not as good as expected.

Of course, after a baptism of entrepreneurial experience, we have increased their ability a lot, but at the same time they also feel deeply unknown. The second time, we know not to understand, will not do too much daydreaming.

You may feel timid for a while, but it is the only way to mature.

And then Mentor, from the accelerator, told me that in fact, a second company of serial entrepreneurs usually fails. The reason is not poor team ability, but because investors too trust the founder (pay too fast), and some founders because of their own success so too light enemy, into the unknown and unable to adapt, and finally defeated.

The same seems to be true. At the time, I met another very young speaker at an entrepreneurship seminar, a young girl who, if I were 27 years old and 21 years old, had just started.

As a young man, he published a book and was invited by the U.S. State Department to serve as a role model for young women. His first company was social networking, and he decided to enter the physical advertising industry. Two years later, his company took it away, perhaps because it was too light-weight. This year, he started a new company, got a $2 million investment, and finally got back on track.

At the same time, I happened to meet a schoolmaster at my alma mater, who appeared a year earlier than me, and the same team went on to create a second company, which had already secured more than three million dollars from well-known American venture capital firms. Their first company was O2O, but the second company moved on to mobile software architecture. For more than two years, the company has been unable to break through business bottlenecks. This year, after a poor transition, their company took it away.

The second venture, entrepreneurs are still in the spirit of victory and professional caution to find a balance between, rather than the outside world thought plain sailing.

On the other hand, my friend, who is also from education and technology, joined a food technology company as its chief operating officer through a venture capital invitation, and the company’s business has grown steadily in the past.

Another friend, who is also of Taiwanese descent, is traveling around Asia looking for the next idea after selling the company.


And when asked how this group of serial entrepreneurs feel when they look back at their first venture? Everyone’s first reaction was: the past is too arrogant, too reckless, too self-indulgent.

At the time, if you did a good job of market research and
consulted a few more predecessors before doing anything, you might save months or even a year on the runway.

At that time, if they are a little less vanity, you will find that in fact, the game, reporting are only false names, marketing is important, but no one because of the award and media exposure and success.

At the time, if you hadn’t been so blind and listened to the media reports about the short-term success models of Groupon, Yelp, and Twitter, you might not have made such a bad decision.

At the time, if you were developing your product with more careful consideration of Feedback, perhaps the company would have gone better.

At that time, if they spend more time communicating with co-founders, the company will be a little less friction, less idling.

At that time, if they raise more money to hire senior professional managers, rather than self-righteous all have to come by themselves, will not be a few times a clumsy.

And most importantly, at the time, everything had to thank its co-founders, and without him, the company would not have succeeded.

The second time I came, the mentality was different.

Tolerance is big, but not widowed; persistence, but not blindness.

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