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300th Roundtable Recap: March 31 – Looking Back on a Decade of Entrepreneurship Development Work

Posted on Friday, Apr 1st 2016

During this week’s roundtable, we celebrated a major milestone: our 300th Free Mentoring Roundtable.

I started off by providing an overview of what we’ve learned in the last ten years of active entrepreneurship development work around the world. Our core philosophy has remained unchanged through the course of this journey, our conviction around the core has only become greater. Some essential takeaway points:

    • Define success for yourself. Remember, Entrepreneurship = Customers + Revenues + Profits; Financing & Exit are Optional.
    • Pay close attention to the criteria for VC financing. VCs are interested in businesses with hyper fast growth rates and super large TAMs.

  • Be pragmatic, a billion dollar TAM is rare. There are many more $5M, $10M, $20M, $50M ideas, well-worth pursuing by the way, than billion dollar ones.
  • Remember, over 99% of entrepreneurs get rejected by VCs. As Marc Andreessen, one of the most prominent VCs, says: “It is our job to reject.”
  • Our 1Mby1M Mantra: Bootstrap First, Raise Money Later (If at all).

Also, we covered the following myths that the industry continues to perpetuate, but you would be wise to ignore:

Myth: You Have to Quit Your Job To Start A Company
False, bootstrapping with a paycheck works quite well.

Myth: Services Companies Are Not Interesting
False, bootstrapping products using services works great.

Myth: Lifestyle Businesses Aren’t Sexy
False, again, define success for yourself.

Myth: VC-funded Entrepreneurs Make More Money
False, the more equity you hold on to, the more wealth created upon exit.

whomakesmoremoney

Myth: Unicorns Cannot Be Bootstrapped
False, Zoho, eClinicalWorks, and Veeam were all bootstrapped. RightNow and Tableau were bootstrapped first, and raised money later.

Today’s pitches started with three 1M/1M Premium program alumni providing updates.

Finish Line
First up, 1M/1M Premium alumni Steve Owens shared the progress of Finish Line. The company has doubled in revenue every year for the last couple of years.

FreeSpeech App
Next, 1M/1M Premium alumni Ajit Narayanan shared the progress of the FreeSpeech App that recently won Best New App on the Apple app store. Its first month revenue is $20,000. Ajit’s company also sells the Avaz autism app which is a revenue generating business. Ajit is now contemplating the funding strategy for FreeSpeech.

Kimbra Studios
Then, another 1M/1M Premium alumni, Kimbra Orr, shared the progress of Kimbra Studios that had run into huge trouble when it lost an anchor customer, Kodak, to bankruptcy. I had introduced Kimbra to Shutterfly that has now become a key anchor account, and has successfully stabilized the business once more.

Meet Your Community
As for the first-time business pitches, Max Lockwood from Washington, DC, pitched Meet Your Community, a matchmaking service for making new friends. The concept is early, and needs a lot of honing.

ReVal Legal
Next, Jatin Chhabra from New Delhi, India, pitched ReVal Legal, a legal process outsourcing service for Australian small law offices. He has a paying customer already, and now needs to learn how to build a business through systematic customer acquisition.

You can listen to the recording of this roundtable here:

As always, I would very much like to hear about your business, so let me invite you to come and pitch at one of our free 1M/1M public roundtables. We will be holding future roundtables at 8 a.m. PDT on:

Thursday, April 7, Register Here.
Thursday, April 14, Register Here.
Thursday, April 21, Register Here.
Thursday, April 28, Register Here.

If you want a deeper relationship with me, you are very welcome to join the 1M/1M premium program. If you have any questions about the program, please, first study the website, especially What to expect from the 1M/1M premium program and the FAQs. If you have additional questions, please email me, and I would be very happy to respond. Please note that I work exclusively with 1M/1M entrepreneurs.

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