To be honest, I did not know it was the right time to start a business–nobody can really predict something like that–but I was hopeful and passionate about becoming an entrepreneur.
My story started in 2013 when I was in a master’s program that I did not enjoy. By pure chance, I ran into a Y Combinator (YC) alumnus and Silicon Valley investor, who offered to help me find a summer internship. I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but it sounded exciting. By pure chance, my CV got forwarded to a YC founder mailing list and overnight I had a bunch of interview requests in my inbox.
I was at the right place at the right time, and jumped at the opportunity. I ended up with a summer internship at a company called LendUp, and eventually dropped out of graduate school and stayed in Silicon Valley.
I wanted to start my own business, so I reached out to my now co-founder Simon and together we worked on an e-commerce marketplace for artists. It wasn’t very innovative, but we didn’t care. We just wanted to get started working on something.
- I think that’s the most important decision that a founder can make: the decision to get started. You don’t need to come up with a grand idea, just start working on something, and eventually you’ll find the right problem to solve.
- That leads into my second piece of advice: the best business is one that can solve a real problem for your customers. A former CEO once told me to build something that resembles painkillers, not vitamins. If you build something that’s “nice to have”, it won’t be around for very long. Once we experienced how challenging it was to ship as an e-commerce company, we realized that was the problem we wanted to fix.
Published on: Sep 19, 2018