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Tonight I attended the second Entrepreneurs Unpluggd event featuring three great entrepreneurs:
The Boostrapped Entrepreneur: Seth Kravitz, CEO InsuranceAgents.com
The Angel Funded Entrepreneur: Jessica Kim, CEO BabbaCo
The Venture Funded Entrepreneur: Chuck Templeton, Founder OpenTable.com
**A big thanks to Stella Fayman and Tim Jahn who put on the event!**
There were so many great takeaways, so here are a few. Please comment and add to this. For me, the consistent theme from each speaker was build a lean company and don't take on funding you don't need. Taking unnecessary funding leads to waste and frivolous spending.
Build through bartering - websites for legal services. Work out of basements, hire when necessary, buy cheap furniture. Only hire great talent, be honest and forthcoming about what you can afford while your building.
Seth and his partner have not shared equity with employees. For them, it was cleaner to only have two decision makers throughout the growth of the company.
At age 19 raised $1 million during her first round for a Ben and Jerry's of baked goods company (side note: still had braces).
Angel investors can be anyone, always be ready to pitch, because you never know who your next investor will be. It's crucial to only take smart money - smart money comes from investors who are aligned with your vision. Great investors can also be mentors and bring a value-add besides money.
- Create scarcity + get first check = company funded
- Open table raised a lot of money, over $90MM -- BUT still only raised money when needed and did not spend unnecessarily
- if you ever get the opportunity to go through an IPO do it, it's kind of fun
- Got paid $600k to go public
Good investors add strategic value:
- They can attract talent
- They can help the business grow/increase sales
- $ now and in future - Can they help keep later investors in check, before they get too demanding
- They can help with an exit