Yesterday, George Zachary, a Venture Capitalist with Charles River Ventures, visited us and spoke about entrepreneurism and startups.
George pointed out several important things needed to get funding from venture capital. The most important thing is that you should have passion and rationality at the same time. If you have a great idea but you cannot show your passion to VCs, or they do not see how strong you desire it, you are not going to get money from them. Also, even though you have deep passion, if you fail to persuade them how your idea actually works, you cannot get money from them either. In terms of that, he mentioned that the combination of CEO and CTO is very important. The CEO is from the business side and can show people their passion and vision. The CTO is from the tech side and can explain how they implement the idea and how it works.
The next thing is network. He did not say directly how important a network is but he explained his weekly work schedule. He spends very little time having meetings with people who do not have any connections with him. He usually meets people who are introduced by his friends. He said that because there are a lot of people who want to meet him for funding, it is very good filtering system. I think most of other venture capitalists have the similar filtering systems. That means you need to have some relationships to make a deal with investors.
Lastly, he talked about what staring a company really means. If you start a company you should work very hard – like working for 14 hours per a day. It is like living in an office. If you have a family and children it sounds terrible and is not even possible. Also, only a few people are successful and you can easily get nothing from what you invest. People like many successful stories in Silicon Valley but they do not know how much effort they should make for that. He told us that a startup is a typical American dream, but it is not the only one goal of our life. It’s just one of them.