We met 4 young entrepreneurs in the average age of 20, all of them created already one start-up: Thibaud, Jason, Nikita and Sagar. Thibaud, coming from France, created a solution based on what he faced which was that most of the members of his family are deaf. Before that, he worked 4 years in a start-up and did a Master program. Jason, from Trinidad and Tobago experienced failure but learned a lot from it. He had imagined an anonymous platform of discussion between students and teachers. Nikita, an American, has already created 2 start-ups, one called “Five.com” and the other one “Politify” which is a software that predicts future revenues based on the elected Presidents. Finally, Sagar originally from India invented 2 start-ups “Campus Cred” where you can find every day a new product at a special price and “Quad” a shared students’ calendar based on the syllabus of all courses with reminders for assignments.
We had an open discussion between this 4 entrepreneurs and Ken Singer, Managing Director of the Fung institute for engineering leadership and teacher at Berkeley University.
They gave us precious advice on how to be a successful entrepreneur:
How to start
- Find a solution to a problem you are willing to work for 5 to 10 years.
- Don’t wait too long until you start your own company, there is even a higher success rate if you do it at a young age.
- Go outside of Switzerland because it is a wealthy country where no real issues needs to be solved. They recommended us to travel for example to Brazil, India and China to figure out solutions for fundamental problems.
- Be curious about your surroundings, constantly interrogate yourself about the “why” factor, adapt yourself quickly, be flexible and focus positive.
How to gain experience
- Participate in an accelerator and entrepreneurship program if you want to start your own business. Berlin and Paris are ideal to gain experience in start-up environments.
- Failing is part of your success, you always learn something about it and can progress while experiencing it.
How to benefit from others
- Look for a dedicated team before to meet potential investors.
- Talk to potential users to test and validate your idea.
- Develop network in a wide range of areas so that when you change your path you can still benefit from it.
- When you pitch to investors, go straight to the point, present a prototype and be upfront about your company’s problems and risks.
The general feedback here is that most of the people who come in the Silicon Valley are driven by passion, they want to change the world and be part of those who change it.
(Camille and Nelsia)