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On being an entrepreneur

Learning and tips from 20 years of building startups. Lecture for MBA students, Imperial College Business School & Goldsmiths University

Matteo Berlucchi

on 28 November 2017

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Transcript of On being an entrepreneur

The idea
The money
The team
On being an entrepreneur
San Francisco
(cc) photo by Metro Centric on Flickr
(cc) photo by Franco Folini on Flickr
(cc) photo by jimmyharris on Flickr
(cc) photo by Metro Centric on Flickr
The idea is what drives you
You have to believe in your idea 100%
You have to believe you can be the best
at delivering and owning your idea in the market
The idea is important but how
you deliver it makes the difference
The team is more important than the idea!
Don't hire too quickly, hire when you are really struggling to keep up

If you can, find your 'Robin' (you are Batman)

Hire people that can complement and challenge you to the point of discomfort!
You can't do it on your own

P.I.Es are the best: pragmatic, intelligent and empathic

Let them share in the upside

Inspire your team and always lead from the front

Integrity is key (if you want to sleep well at night)
Delegate and focus on the things you do best

If you feel that one person in the team is not right is means they have to go: now

Work with friends and people you trust. Things may get rocky (they generally do) and you need to trust your team
Choose where to set up shop - it makes a difference - I mean the country!

Get enough money to build the first prototype/foundation of the service

Then go to friends & family and get a bit more cash

Then you may want to go to VCs to get even more (but you need the prototype!)

If you pick the right VC they can make a big difference (choose well - trust your instinct!)
What really matter is COSTS not REVENUE
Your business plan will be 100% wrong, 100% of the times.
Live with it.
Don't be stingy with people who can help you!
If you are successful, investors will try to have you for breakfast. Get a good advisor, non exec director on board for shares (up to 5%)
In summary, what's my advice?
It's very hard. Be prepared. Do it for the journey, not the destination

Know your weaknesses
(so you can pick the best team)

Get help: a mentor, smart angels
(to cut time and risk)

Pull the plug when needed
(you only learn from mistakes)
Thank you for your attention
and remember...

Anyone can do anything,
so why not you?
Matteo Berlucchi
Full transcript