Sequoia Capital is the most respected technology venture capital firm in the world.
They’ve backed companies that collectively are worth over 20% of the total value of the NASDAQ stock exchange: Apple, Oracle, Google, Electronic Arts, Linear Technology, PayPal, Aruba, LinkedIn, Youtube, Zappos, Airbnb, etc.
They invest in people they call “The creative spirits. The underdogs. The resolute. The determined. The indefatigable. The defiant. The outsiders. The independent thinkers. The fighters. The true believers.”
On their website, they share for free numerous lessons learned over the years while working with world class entrepreneurs and companies.
“We shield ourselves from distractions. We value teamwork over showmanship. Listening beats talking. Teams, and gradual improvement of teams, are the secret to long-term success”. Those are said to be Sequoia’s core believes and culture code.
Below are Sequoia’s Top 10 recommendations for Startups.
1. Clarity of Purpose
Summarize the company’s business on the back of a business card.
2. Large Markets
Address existing markets poised for rapid growth or change. A market on the path to a $1B potential allows for error and time for real margins to develop.
3. Rich Customers
Target customers who will move fast and pay a premium for a unique offering.
Customers will only buy a simple product with a singular value proposition.
5. Pain Killers
Pick the one thing that is of burning importance to the customer then delight them with a compelling solution.
6. Think Differently
Constantly challenge conventional wisdom. Take the contrarian route. Create novel solutions. Outwit the competition.
7. Team DNA
A company’s DNA is set in the first 90 days. All team members are the smartest or most clever in their domain. “A” level founders attract an “A” level team.
Stealth and speed will usually help beat-out large companies.
Focus spending on what’s critical. Spend only on the priorities and maximize profitability.
Start with only a little money. It forces discipline and focus. A huge market with customers yearning for a product developed by great engineers requires very little firepower.