off our 2012 New Venture Program on January 9th with our Co-Chair of the
Program and founder of Monster.com, Jeff Taylor, hosting a panel of other
successful entrepreneurs on what it takes to win in the world of start-ups.
First, a big
thank you to the new Harvard Innovation Lab which hosted our kick-off!
this year has cash prizes for local winners and contestants are now allowed to
have up to $2 million in current revenue and up to $1 million in equity and an
HBS alum must be an operating member of the team with significant equity. For more information click here.
Much of the
evening centered on finding the right people at the right time and then making
them part of your team. Taylor
noted that you should, “always have your eyes open for talent, even in places
you might not expect it.” He also
noted that as a company grows it is just as essential to hire where you are
strong as you are weak. He learned
from his own experiences with Monster.com when he tried to implement ideas, but
found no “co-pilots” with similar skills on-board.
All of the
speakers agreed that Boston is a great place to be - from the universities to
the cultural connections to investors to the talent that will stay with
companies. Israel Ganot noted all
were “bullish on the Boston market” and a “fantastic place to start a
business.” Much of this again went
to finding the right talent and the right investors. Paul English talked about the importance of finding
investors that are great advisors, friends, and come from a strong firm.
When it came
to the specifics of starting their own companies, Ben Fischman talked about
creating a strong brand identity, giving the example that, “Rue La La means
everything, and at the same time nothing.” He went on later to talk about choosing teammates to turn
Rue La La into a success, “first four employees are the most important hires
because they will set the example for all others so that everyone will want to
work at your company”. English
compared running start-ups to building and running a winning sports team and
how winners are important.
All of the
speakers agreed that ideas don’t matter - it is all about execution. Leadership matters, the team
matters. Success translates to
success. And, relentless pursuit
of making your ideas real is absolutely necessary for success. Taking no cannot be an option. All of this is what it takes to found
the successful start-up.
We hope to
see many of you with this same idea mindset to be a part of the New Venture