To start-up or not to start-up? That is the question.
Nelu Mihai was СЕО and СТО at SunEdison, Enphase Energy, Packeteer (NASD:PKTR), Cloudshield Technologies (NYSE:SAIC), head of subdivision at Bell Labs, AT&T. Founder of MosaixSoft, Inc.
Large company or own start-up?
What did you get in large corporations especially when you are young? You may get a good salary; large companies always have opportunities to teach you, it is an excellent way to make your start. Also at the beginning it would help you with network and connections.
However, what are the cons? You may not get your politics; the work can start to be boring, you may lose motivation.
When you run a start-up, especially if you are young, it is the most exciting way to create adventure. Taking the risk, follow your dream. You can join the start-up founded with somebody else, nothing wrong with that. The main reason is that you want to carry some dream into reality. You are more in control of your faith. It is always more interesting to start a business from scratch.
I don’t know what is better. But I do know what is exciting. I am 59 years old, and now I run my next start-up. I’ve been already at five start-ups. I decided to take another risk again.
“Every fellow from HP or Google dream to do his start-up. Because when you carry your dream into the reality, you became the part of the world.”
In Silicon Valley, we have Sand Hill Road (or just “Sand Hill”, is a road in Menlo Park, California, notable for its concentration of venture capital companies – ed.). Also, legalisation a business in the US is very easy. In two hours, I can incorporate a new company. So what’s your problem? Let’s move on.
Most important thing
Team? Idea? Product?
The most important thing in a start-up – market. Because it is more important to sell a product, not to build it.
It is better to start a company with two or three founders.
You have to build a particular circle of a network. Also, you have to leave something behind you. Only then people are going to follow you. A team must be enthusiastic, and they need to feel you as a leader.
Control company it is a little bit different from the philosophy of founding. The most important thing here?
Customers? Investors? Connections? Venture capitalists?
The best majority are going to say it is customers. However, I do not agree with it. In my opinion, the main thing in company control is an employee.
“Through hire the right team you can hire strong individuals.”
To build a professional reputation and network
Try to leave something behind you after every job you had.
Try to make people that you worked with to say at least: “That guy did a great job!”. They do not necessary need to like you or to love you, but you want them to respect you as a professional. Especially at the beginning of your career.
When you find yourself at some level, always hire people that smarter than you! If they are not appropriate for your company, help them in their career. They may help you later when you need.
Talk to other people! Talk about their profession. Don’t be shy! Sometimes, people, you do not know, can make a big difference in your life.
VC vs. Angels Investors
Business with not much funding does not need a large team. In this case, Angels Investors are a good option. When you do big business, Angels Investors are unsuitable, and you need VCs.
VC is going to give you money and connections. Choosing a right VC is important. Wrong VC worth than a wrong partner.
Changing – the hardest thing in start-ups
Do you know about Darvin principles in his theory about speeches? Survive those, who can adapt. You have to be able to adapt because the world may change any moment. To move forward, you got to have a thick skin.