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The Founder Formula
The Founder Formula

Episode · 2 years ago

Gaurav Manglik, Co-founder WestWave Capital - Starting a Company During a Global Pandemic

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This is a terrible time to be trying to start a company.  


Right?  

 

Maybe not.  

 

While it might seem like the worst possible time to be throwing your energy, time, and money into starting a company, what if this were the best possible time to embark on this crazy journey?  

 

Gaurav Manglik thinks this might just be your time.  

 

And it’s not just about starting a company. If you are starting, what do you need to do? How can you increase your chances of getting funded?  

 

Gaurav was a guest on The Founder Formula recently, and was kind enough to talk with us all about:  

 

- Some of the most common myths about working for a VC 

 

- Why your business plan could be the thing that makes the difference between success and failure 

 

- What it was like having your company purchased by one of the largest enterprise tech firms in the word: Cisco  

 

Listen to this and all of The Founder Formula episodes at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.

My advice to entrepreneurs right now is that if you have a solid idea, really you know technology that you feel works and it's going to address, in the long run, large markets, that's not necessarily a bad time to start a company. The founder formula brings you in behind the curteys and inside the minds of today's brave executives at the most future leaning startups. Each interview will feature a transformative leader who's behind the wheel at a fast paced and innovative tech firm. They'll give you an insiders look at how companies are envisioned, created and scaled. We hope you're ready. Let's get into the show. Hey, everybody, welcome to the show. My name is Todd Galena, and with me, as always, is the chief innovation officer, a trace three. His name's Mark Campbell. Mark. How's it going, hey? Going great, going great, doing better than I deserve. Yeah, so, I know that you're still kind of sequestered, so hopefully everything's going okay with the whole work from home thing. How we're at? Yeah, so far, so good. We haven't had any domestic calls to the law enforcement agencies. Like consider that a win for sure. Hey. So mark, I was doing some prep for season two and we were we were sharing some stories about the show. I get a quick audit of, you know, how much money has been raised by the Group of founders we've interviewed to this point, and the number came back at two point seven billion dollars, which is which is huge, no doubt about it, but they varied considerably, everything from two point seven million all the way to six hundred million. I think it would be great if you could share why the disparity and investments, why some company might need a small amount while others might need a large amount. Yeah, sure, obviously every VC's got a different strategy on this, but it basically boils down to two things. One is what stage and the other one is valuation. So the stages. There's no prescribed set of rules that you have to follow, but there certainly are a lot of patterns. And when you're raising funds initially, the first round of funding, you know, sometimes called seed, sometimes called Angel, sometimes called Venture, depending upon how it comes together, is usually brought together by the founder or the founders parents or or some some sort of tangible assets that are in their immediate network. Maybe they've had a company in the past and they typically kind of get, you know, prime the pump. You know, how do we? How do we you know, register and LLC? How do we get a website up? It's normally to kind of get the ball rolling, maybe get some graphics help to really put that pitch deck over the edge. So there's kind of, if you will, like prefunding funding, if that makes sense. But when you get into what I'll culled tradition hill, I'm not sure there is such a thing as traditional VC funding. But we when you kind of...

...get on the the typical track, there's an a round fund and the around fun is, let's get the company off the ground, let's get a prototype built. This proved the concept? You know, does this idea worked as a have legs? Are customers out there for this product? Maybe we introduce a prototype into a real live company out there to get some get some feedback on things. And of course the amount of funding it takes to do that isn't astronomic. You probably have to hire development team. Maybe you rent a classy office space, you know, somewhere near where the the nexus of the company is. And as you move from an a round to a B round, to a sea round. Different companies do this different timing. How things come together is always quite a bit different. But certainly when you're into that sea round and D round, you're into a growth phase where we started selling our products, we do have some revenue, we have to open up the the Denver Office or the Phoenix Office or you know, we're going to start building a sales force, we're going to do a big marketing campaign, we're actually going to start expanding our product from just a single product road map maybe into some other features were adding. And of course that is a much more expensive endeavor. So if you take a look at seed venture, Angel ABC, the numbers of those increases you go along. The other factor, of course, is how valuable is that company. If your company is struggling, it's still an interesting investment, but you know things aren't maybe clicking or they're going a lot slower than anticipated or there were some technical hurdles that have to be overcome when you go for that next round of funding. A lot of times deal here VC's talk about runway. Head of the analogy is your planes going down the runway and you have to get enough enough speed so that you can have the aircraft takeoff before you run out of runway. If you don't have enough speed built up, you have to go get more runway, which sometimes, well, you can't find that in your plane kind of plunges off into the jungle, which is something not a lot of people like to talk about, but nonetheless, or the alternative is that you do get someone that comes as no. I like what I like what you guys are doing, I like how things are coming along. I am going to put some put some money in there. Of course, that would be a lower valuation rather than a company that maybe has gone through an a round of b round and maybe they've gone through a sea round. They've got some market inertia, they've signed some big name logos, they've got some good long term deals, they've got a full sales pipeline. That companies going to get a lot higher valuation. So to invest in them, to get into the Equity Pie, if you will, of that company, is going to cost you a little bit more. You've got a hot ticket. So that's the disparagement. For the most part, it's what round, earlier rounds are smaller and what valuation. By the way, the formula for how to come up with the value of a company, especially with startups that don't have traditional type metrics like twelve months...

...trailing revenue. Maybe there are a a or B round company that doesn't have a product. So there isn't, like a business, one on one formula that you can go to for that. Every venture firm has their own Voodoo that they look at for calculating what the value of the company is and also for calculating how much of an equity stake they're targeting. Do I just want, you know, a very small minority steak, or am I looking to hold, you know, a sizeable chunk and maybe a seat on the board or what have you? So that's where the the huge price range has been and, like you mentioned, you start adding up the guests that we had on season one and it's a sizeable amount of money that these folks have been able to raise and certainly with some of the guests we've had on the show, it is returned a sizeable a sizeable return for some of the folks that jumped in and did provide that runway. Looking at Garrov, who's going to be on our show, who, obviously he sold this company to Cisco. He ended up going all the way from a seed series a, series B and series C. I did want to ask one quick question as a follow up mark. So when these guys come in and they're looking for let's just say series a, they've gone through this, through the seat round. Do they call out a number? Are they like, Hey, man, I want three point three million dollars, and the VC's come back with we will give you three point three, will give you more, or we think you can run your business with actually two point seven. Is there a negotiation in that phase? Go absolutely yeah, and to be very honest, that that's one of the separators of the what I would call the top tier VC's and the other players. Normally on around, especially bees and sees. Later on, it's typically not a single investor, it's a group of investors to kind of distribute that wealth. One of the investors will lead the round. It's kind of like they're the ones who get stuck doing all the paperwork, but they typically also have the biggest equity stake in that round. But there's a huge negotiation not just between the founder and the stakeholders that are already in is company, because certainly if it's a sea round, there are other investors that have invested in a round and be round. So it's not just them and the negotiation. And there's also a negotiation in the investors in that round. You know, what type of valuation are they looking at? And I mentioned earlier the every DC is got a different way of calculating that Voodoo. So when you bring three, four, five, six investors together, like I think GROB had five different investors in his sea round, to get those folks all sitting around the table and kind of get heads on at the same time, there's a lot of negotiations. I mean it's not, you know, like in the movies or anything like that. There's you know, there's there's some general understanding. This isn't the first Rodeo for most of the investor side of things, and so but when dealing with the founders, I think that's why it's quite important on that a round of funding, if you get, you know, real star stalwork vc that invest in your a round, when it comes time to be and C in effect it's also their company and so...

...they're kind of looking out after you so that you get that best deal in the B round. Maybe they want to get their equity steak out. Maybe they want to dilute their equity steak, you know, and so I do think that's kind of important. I wait, by the way, caveat astricre. I say that as the if I've like started fifty eight companies and been through this. This is just me working with BC's and working with founders over these that's the pattern that seems to emerge, and I'm sure there are probably more exceptions than norms. No, I think obviously you learned everything you know about this from watching shark take. Yeah, I mean that's basically all you need. All right, hey, let's get our guests on. What do you think? Well, let's do it. Okay, as promise. Our guest is an entrepreneur, founder and venture capitalist. He's probably most wellknown for being the CEO, president and Co founder of Clicker, which is a leading provider of application to find cloud management solutions. They were purchased by CISCO in April Two Thousand and sixteen. He's currently a general partner at the BC firm West wave capital, which is located in Redwood City, California. Please, welcome to the show, GARROB MANGLIC bigger off I high market dot as a pleasure to be talking to you today. Great to have you on the show. So grab we have to ask. What's it like working from home for you right now? You know, it's awesome. Actually, it's not too different from how I used to be working you a pre coovid. You know, we are a small VC firm, and so I'd be typically working from home and I actually find it a lot of fun. I get to spend a little bit more time in my family and a lot of zoom calls, for sure. Yeah, that's that's certainly part of take all of our lives right now. What are you working on right now? I know you've got various interests and so forth. What are you doing to sink your teeth In't you know? So you know, best of capital. We are looking to invest in really early stage enterprise be to be startups, kind of similar to how clicker was when I first started the company back in two thousand and ten really early technology, small themes, technical founders addressing really large markets in the enterprise space. So you know, even though we are working from home and things seem to have slowed down, you're still seeing a lot of new starts getting formed in the CETUM value as an example, and they reach out of folks like us, and we are continuing to evaluate really interesting technology companies that are looking to, you know, raise their first round of capital typically appreciat or a seat out of money. And the past few weeks, in fact, I closed one investment in a security company still under stelke and looking and reviewing a few investments right now as we speak. This certainly, you know, kind of heading into a headwind right now, at the time of this recording. We're all on lockdown here, but the economic winds are certainly uncertain right now. You know, I have to admire companies taken a shot right...

...now. Kind of company you guys are making the pitch. I think they get like points right off the bat for doing that. You've been down that road. What advice would you give to companies, you know, wanting to take their shot right now, is opposed to back when you were given it a go? You know, when I started clicker in two thousand and ten times for not that dissimilar two thousand and ten, he was still another recession, and I remember my days raising the first round of capital for clicker. It was really hard to raise money back then. But the companies that did raise money and, you know, survived that period of procession came out on the other side with flying colors. So, you know, my advice to entrepreneurs right now is that if you have a solid idea, really you know, technology that you feel works and it's going to address in the long learned large markets, that's not necessarily a bad time to start a company. Now, fundraising might get more difficult, the bar might be a little bit higher, but some of the best companies are formed in times like these. You know, I think it's the key show of the past few weeks. They'll be hearing this from a lot of venture capital firms, companies like CISCO, companies like Google, all of these companies are found in, you know, downtowns, and so if you have a really cool idea, actually know better times than to fund raise. A lot of noise in the system gets wiped out and you can take the opportunity to hunker down and build some really solid products. That's a such a good point. We've had discussions here about the difference between the downturn in two thousand and eight and two thousand and one and the companies that came out of both of those. Out of two thousand and one you had, you know, our research and apple and a research of Microsoft, Google and facebook and you know, all of these standards of our industry. Now you look at two thousand and eight and we didn't really see that in that time. But this, the kind of events of recent times, this year, are a little more reminiscent of two thousand and one. So I think you're I think you're onto something there, but that kind of does beg the question. So it was a down market coming out of two thousand and eight. You've got a day job, you've got benefits, you got a paycheck. What was it that trigger you that said you know what time to leave this job because start bround company. How that come about? Yeah, that's that's a great question mark and you know, you know it brings memories. We know one of my main reasons to come to Silicon Valley, and you know I came here to Stanford University for my master's. One of the main reasons I picked Stanford was I always wanted to come to silicon valley. In the dream was to, you know, become a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and started company here. What got me really motivated was back in my undergraduate days I did my study that idea in India, id Denny, and I used to hear all these stories about Indian entrepreneurs who had moved to the US, you know, the likes of, we know, the coastline, but deep into who had done a phenomenal job starting companies and, you know, just having a phenomenal success. So, you know, I always wanted to do that. I felt, let you know, with my engineering education,...

...the dream was always to start my own company and one of the reasons I picked Stanford was so that I can come to the bay area access the tremendous we see and the investor network that that is here as well. As we talked that entrepreneurs that, you know, one day I start my own company. Now it took some time because, you know, I do wait put things like my green card, but eventually, you know, in two thousand and ten I thought it was the right time for me to do that. One of the other things that triggered it was I finally, you know, after working for a couple of large companies, I thought I had enough experience and enough confidence in my ability that I can go out and build products on my own, and so I would say, you know, I was really to fulfill that dream and I thought that the timing was right for me. I love the part of that story that it's all great, but the fact that you you chose Stanford. You know, I have a couple of kids that are that are looking at at colleges right now. I would love if they had a gaggle of choices and they're like, well, you know what, of all these, I'm going to go ahead and pick pick damp for it's pretty incredible. It's not a bad school, Ye know, for all the reasons that you just mentioned. So you said that you're good at developing products, but then from there you're going to need to build a team. And so what do you look for when you're when you're building that foundational team? Yeah, you know, the most important thing is to choose school founders that you're founding team in that you have a tremendous relationship with folks that you might have actually worked in the past and folks that you could trust. You know, I think there's a it's saying in the VC world that most companies fall apart, not because the investors and the founders didn't get along, but most companies actually fall apart because the founders didn't get along, and so taking the right co founding team, the right partners for your company, is really, really important. And I was actually extremely fortunate because, you know, my one of my colleagues and actually my architect on the product that I worked on at we e were was my cofounder at clicker and we had worked long enough with each other where we kind of wing stood how each other. Each of us worked, the kind of things that we liked. We were of a similar inclination and had similar views and vision on the market, and that was really important for us, that relationship that we had built and that carried us further, you know, because startups are not easy. Start up go through or, you know, really rough faces. They or, you know, go through bright faces as well, but it's really important to have a team that can stick with you during those rough times as well, and I would say that's one of the most important things when you're picking your foundation. Seems people who you think are not just a similar caliber as you are. Maybe you when you know better than you, but once that you can really trust and have a long lasting relationship with so you kind of mentioned about these characteristics and pounding a company and that you felt fortunate finding a kindred spirit. What about some of the background, you know, your childhood and so...

...forth? You mentioned about being in college and looking at these Indian entrepreneurs that really come to the US and hit their home run. You always an optimistic kid, always a dreamer, always a hard worker, or you know, did this come easy to you? What in your background made you think that you could go out and six start start to successful company as you did? You know, I think I was always an optimist, but I don't think things came easy to be but one of the things that did help me my, you know, childhood. That I think helped me later on in my startup career. Well, that a pretty diverse bringing up. You know, I was born in India, but very early on, when I was little, my parents moved to the Middle East in a country Couloman, and there, you know, it was kind of a shock for me to move from one environment to the other, and the kind of environment that I grew up in Oman was highly varied. I lived in this university campus where we had people from all walks supply from all over the world and having that diverse background really helped me built a mindset where I thought that anything is possible and I could also work or play with anybody, and I think that helped a lot. Plus, you know, I kept getting these changes in my life. So, you know, I went from India to Omand and back from Aman to India. That was another shock, and then, you know, a very different environment, very different education system. So I kept getting these, you know, regular shocks in my life and I get experiencing diverse environments. But I think hyped a lot because that's kind of what happens to you and start up right, think things are going well and suddenly you get a situation like what's happening to all of us right now. To keep getting these consistent shocks and being able to be, you know, adile and adapt to these changes is really important in the start up. So I think you know why I was also looking for a shock. was working in a large company and I wanted some change and I got the ultimate shock by starting my own company. That's yeah, that kind of like jumping into freezing water. Well, you you're actually being adaptable to all these kinds of shocks and certainly in startups we hear constantly about, you know, pivots and recasting a vision and so forth. So, clicker, did you guys go through some major pivots? Where did you guys kind of had, you know, a vision in mind? You stay true to it? And how did that come about a clicker to get you to where you're in a position were where Sisco wanted to buy you? Yeah, you know, there's those are a lot of questions, but let me start with, you know, the vision aspect and the pivot aspect are I think we stayed through to our vision throughout our startup days as going as even post acquisition when clicker was a part of Cisco. But we did pivot on the use cases. So the vision of the product and be the same, but what we were using it for, what we were selling it for, kind of shifted over time as we learned to look a little bit more about the market it. I think the vision was, and you know we laugh about this now, back in two thousand and Ten the vision that clicker had was the whole world is going to be multiach out. Back...

...in two thousand and ten people that pretty much only heard about one cloud, which was Amazon, Amazon web services right, right. So there was a start up. There was saying that the world is going to be multi cloud and back then nobody would believe us. In fact, the number one we see objection we used to have while fundraising was they were just say, isn't Amazon the only child? Why would the world be multi cloud? So I guess we were a little bit ahed of a time. But our prediction was that they will be multiple cloud providers on the theme and your average enterprise would be using multiple clouds, not just Amazon web services. And to use multiple cloud you will need a technology platform that can provide sort of a consistent, coherent management played across those diverse environments. So that was a vision. We stay through to that vision and you know, if you pass forward now today to two thousand and twenty, and I'm sure you guys are saying this, seeing this, that tracty with your enterprise customers, ninety percent of the enterprises are multi cloud. So I would say we put a big bet on that vision and either by luck or maybe you know, we got it. We were able to see the future. We did get that vision right and we did not steer away from it. What we did change were the use cases. You know, I remember earlier on the first use case that we had for the clicker technology was to address high performance computing, HPC work clothes. And you know, the reason we went after that kind of workload, that kind of market, was those work lads can derive the most amount of benefit by moving to the cloud. You know, these tend to be very compute to densive applications and it's really expensive to buy data center capacity for such workloads. By moving to the cloud and only paying for what you use, and by the way, these work was at a cremely birthday, you can get a lot of scale benefits but at the same time, you know, highly efficient from a cost perspective as well. So that was the first market we went after just because it made so much sense. Yeah, from a value proposition perspective, however, it's so turned out of the really hard market is selling too and as technical founders, you know, we really realize that. In the beginning we just went with the theoretical value that could have been achieved and you know, the practical word said something very different, which is that the you know, most HPC workloads are okay where they're running tends to be a conservative market. It's also, by the way, a small market. So very soon we had to pivot into, you know, the bigger market, which was, you know, always our original goal, but we just had to accelerate words, pivoting towards that you gets sooner, which was web applications. My position roughly, Bill. Who pointed that after who was at a conclusion that you came up with, or was that customers or your initial investors who kind of nudge over into the new areas? You know the combination of investors in us. I think we always used to get pushed back from investors, even when we were fundraising, that HPC is not the best market to go after. And you know, a lot of founders are stubborn,...

...and they should be because, you know, they have an idea that they believe in. So the beginning we were stubborn and we stuck with that particular market right and then, after spending some time and talking to several customers and realizing there's just too slow moving, we came to that conclusion that we should, you know, accelerate. flasket to word, you brought our market the bigger use case, which is web application. I just want to ask you a quick question because this is this is unique to to you. We have very few people who have been on both sides of the table. Right. So you've had the pitch and you've listened to pitches. You know, mark and I were joking earlier about how we're formulating our pitch to get the founder formula, you know, funded at a big level, but we're going to set that aside for a moment. What I'm curious about is, being at both sides of the table, what's the most important thing entrepreneurs need to demonstrate to get funding from a VC? You know, I don't know if it's the most important thing, but it is really a very important thing, which is, you know, the pitch itself, the business plan itself, has to be in really solid shape and articulated really well. What I see, and you know I struggled with this myself early on, is, you know, all entrepreneurs, most entrepreneurs, have amazing ideas when they start their companies, but how you articulate those ideas and present them to re see's is almost as important. And you might have a great idea but do a really bad job of presenting it. I think you've killed all your chances of getting funded. On the other hand, you might actually know have not that great idea, but your business plan presentation was also you're just increase your chances of getting funded. So, you know, one thing that I do encourage entrepreneurs to do, and I actually help companies with this kind of a thing, is they really need to create a very powerful business plan presentation, backed up obviously by, you know, their technology and idea, but the business plan itself has to be presented really well. I mean it does. Sometimes people don't like doing this, but I even advise people standing up in front of a mirror and practicing the pitch before going in for a PVC. You know, it's not about just being able to articulate it well well to a venture investor. But the venture investor is also evaluating is can that entrepreneur articulate the technology and the idea to a customer? And if the entrepreneur is failing to do that in front of a VC, the conclusion of we he's going to draw is that, you know, the same entrepreneur is going to have a tough job present to get to a customer. So one thing I do encourage everybody to do really well is to come over. It really you know, Nice, suctant business plans that can be present really well. Well, and I think that's that's probably good advice coming from someone who has been on both sides. I've heard it said that it's a great thing to start your own company, it's a even better thing to sell your own company. So, because you've gone through that, when you guys are get to that point, and I'm sure offers were coming in, you guys are one of the hottest tickets in town. That exit criteria. was that set by the investors or was...

...that the plan from the beginning? How did you how did the whole exit and acquisition by Cisco? How that all come about? Yeah, that's a great question mark. I would say there wasn't any criteria or acquisition criteria or game plan. You know, the plan was always to keep building the start up, keep building the company, but at the same time, you know, if there is possible interest in an acquisition, we would entertain it. And I guess the Clich is that companies, you know, they never sell them SOS, they get acquired. So I think one of the things that we did well was we continue to grow our revenue or sales, continue to build the company but at the same time get enough alignment with possible strategy partners that, you know, there was the possibility of exploring an acquisition if that opportunity came to us, and I think it's still happened. In Two thousand and sixteen, that opportunity presented to us. You know, Cisco had an acquisition offer and one that, you know, we and the board thought was very fair and reasonable and made sense to take, and so we, you know, we decided to go down the acquisition route, thinking that, you know, could we have not done it? Could we have kept building the company? I'm sure we could get building the company as well, but at that present at that moment of time, I think the acquisition made a lot of sense in terms of financial outcomes for the investments. And here this is just to talk a little bit more on idea of this is this is a thing that all companies, all sortups, have to think about, you know, is it the right time to get acquired or not right and one of the ways I encourage companies to think about this is, you know, look at the market. Is it a is it a market that still growing? And in that market would you would your start up continue to have a competitive edge that? If the answer to both those questions is yes, then you should probably lead in lead towards continuing to build your company rather than getting acquired, unless the acquisition offer is something that, you know, outweighs the time and pain and the risk associated with building the company further on. So if we, you know, the valuation is something that's higher than the associated the risk of not taking the acquisition right, I think you take the acquisition, but otherwise definitely keep building the company and I think we were that sort of stage where we had the competitive edge. We had, you know, awesome technology in a market was still growing. You know, the multicloud market is sort of only met you now, and so we could have kept building the company. But I you know, we thought that the valuation and the acquisition at that stage we had a lot of sense. You know, one of the things we worried about is the MAC. Back then in two thousand and sixty was a matrieconomic environment and they were going to be elections later in the years. So we weren't sure about the bat trieconomic environment and also made vans. Yeah, it can, we don't click on something, because your intent...

...was to continue to build the company and obviously an acquisition offer came in. Can you give us a little bit of inside into, you know, the mind share that requires from someone like you, you know, to your building, building, building. Now let's what this offer. Let's really look at this offer. How much how much time that I take for you to kind of bifurcate between the two things? Well, you know, the I think the key the key insight was if we had to build a company, you know, we had proven ourselves on the technology execution, but we would have had to, you know, really scale up our Google market in terms of sales and since we were a platform play platform places typically take a lot of a lot of money, a lot of investment to build scalable gdms. Right. So that was one major risk that we were looking at and the acquisition of from Cisco made a lot of sense because SINCEC was one of the only dodg infrastructor players that that was sort of independent in the multi cloud wars, if you will, right, and they also have an extremely large glogo market. So one of the factors that Gadeen was we thought that for this technology, for this product, that clific product to be able to get scale and momentum. Cisco would be the right home for such a technology and so personally for me as the founder, I thought that would be in the the you know, Cisco would be an amazing home for a technology like that and we could really scale or go to market much faster than as a standalone company where you would have possibly, you know, to go through some learning curve and some pain to build that scalable Gutm. So you know there there is a number of challenges going through an acquisition. And now you've made your transition over into the venture side. was that kind of a an initial goal or once you've been through the process you said, hey, I'd really like to be on the other side of the bench. What are some of the transition issues that you've found switching teams, and maybe I can recast that a little bit different. What myths are there about VC's now that you're on the other side of the bench, that you're finding out that certainly a lot of us in the industry kind of thinker true, but maybe you've learned something different. They the first bit about we see that I'm discovering the hard way. The first a lot of vocation time. I'm finding it the hard way that actually we see that the work really hard and the vacation time and all the privates and all is just a pantasy. Yeah, I think there are possibly a lot of bits about BC's but I would say the current environment, most venture capital firms are highly professional set of people and not your stereotypical so called their capitalist, you know, predate, know, an entrepreneurs hard work, but they send to be actually very pro entrepreneur working on very fair and reasonable terms and, you know, helping their companies as much as possible. Because so one...

...of the things I'm finding in my new role is a we see is, and maybe it's a side effect of the fact that I'm an early stage investor, is we have pretty much like the entrepreneur, you know, once we have our check into a company, we are on the entrepreneurs side and we're going through the same, you know, journey as the start up founders are, and our job is to help them, you know, build their operation, build their companies and get to the next round. So I still feel like I'm an entrepreneur, except that now I'm an entrepreneur in multiple companies, not just one. That's awesome. From one of your earlier responses, it sounds like you're doing a lot of coaching as well, getting those pitches and business plans dial then not only to pitch to you, but to pitch the customers. So I can totally understand how how invested you get in each of these because you know, I and that's what I really enjoy about this and that's why, you know, I thought that maybe I should move over to the socalled dark side become a venture investor, because it's not really that much different from being an entrepreneur, and especially for an early stage investor. We go out of our way to mentor and coach our companies to, you know, for example, work on their business plant presentation and then make the right introductions to the next round investors. And you know, that's just like being an entrepreneur. That's a lot of fun for me. I had a lot of learning myself. I'd probably been a lot of mistakes during my clicker days, and so if I can apply any of those learnings and help you know, the newer founders to not make the same mistake, I think you know, my jobs accomplished. Great, must be gratifying when you're able to pull that off. Grab, it's amazing. Hey, is there anything else? We're done. We've asked all the questions that we have grab, but is there is there anything else that maybe we missed or anything you want to share with our listeners? So you know, I think what are the advice that I would go to start up founders, having been a found of myself and now you know, working with multiple companies is the key thing in start ups, and this is where most starts make mistake is time. Time is your enemy. You know a lot of startups worry about competition and worry about a variety of other factors, but really a number one enemy that start up has this time. And you're always up against the clock, but not just being up against the clock in terms of how much cash runway you have, as an example, but also time is the sense when is the right time to do a particular thing, and the number one mistake that starts make our around timing. When is the right time to hire your first beat your sales or when is the right time to launch the product? And usually the mistakes are you did something too soon or too late, and one of the things I would encourage start up founders to really think about is, you know, continue to make decisions fast, make at your decisions, but really think hard about the timing all those decisions. Well, I certainly think you're taking time out of your busy data to be with toddnight today. I know that you've got a thousand and one things to do, but certainly great advice, and not...

...just pontification from someone who read a good book, great advice from someone who's been there, as had that that fantastic exit and as now on the other side helping other companies move along. I think that's a I think it's a very encouraging story. I thank you very much for being on our show today. Thank you so much for having me with a plate of talking to you, mark and ud great problem breaks itsime. Thanks. Trace three is hyper focused on helping it leaders deliver business outcomes by providing a wide variety of data center solutions and consulting services. If you're looking for emerging technology to solve tried and true business problems, trace three is here to help. We believe all possibilities live in technology. You can learn more at trace threecom podcast. That's trace, the number threecom podcast. You've been listening to the founder formula, the podcast for all things start up, from Silicon Valley to innovators across the country. If you want to know what it takes to lead tomorrow's tech companies, subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts. Until next time,.

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