In the basement of Bridge Hall, future entrepreneurs of USC, graduate and undergraduate alike, learned tips and tricks from Manan Mehta, the founder of Unshackled and Netanel Bar Ilan, the CTO of Yobs.
1.“Brag about yourself, Don’t Be Humble”
VCs are in the business of buying businesses, so walk in with swagger because you are the customer as well. Mehta stressed the importance of knowing holding on to your superpower. Netanel Bar Ilan pointed out how most people often don’t even realize their potential and that they are eligible for the O1 visa.
2. “Your Advisors Shouldn’t Be The Reason Why I Invest In You”
Mentors and coaches are necessary and they will give you a head start, however, they are for you not for the company. Having big names as your advisors is not a sign of success as they probably won’t have real time for you. Find people who will invest time and effort into you. Additionally, giving the analogy of tennis coaches, Mehta, suggests that you shouldn’t be afraid to switch coaches because they need to evolve.
3. “Three of My Investments have Changed Their Ideas”
VCs are investing in people. It’s easy to find good ideas but difficult to find good people to work with. Mehta suggests that you should start early and that when he invests, he does not necessarily need business progress.
4. The 3 Questions
Manan Mehta says it takes him 3 Key Questions to decide whether he is going to invest in someone.
“How much Is your customer willing to pay you?”
“What is the most are they willing to pay you?”
“At what point do they tell you to fuck off?”
5. Customer knowledge: “It’s a motion picture, not a photograph”
Don’t think about the product, think about the problem. Customers buy you solving their top pain point. Follow the shortest pathway until you hit a set of customers who start asking for the same.
6. Learn the Language of VCs
Mehta says that something that takes about five hours to learn is what can set you apart from what most Entrepreneurs forget about. Also, it will prevent people from taking advantage of you.
7. “Fight yourself and take the opportunities”
From his personal startup experience, Ilan encourages entrepreneurs to not freak out if things don’t work. He recommends having more than one solution always. “Don’t think too much into the future”, he says, “focus on what you need right now, prioritize your tasks. “Scalability – you need to be accessible – that product is running 99% of times”
8. Stay in LA, Everything is still New, Companies Are Being Founded
Both Mehta and Ilan recommend that it is more important to build one’s name in Los Angeles rather than Silicon Valley or San Francisco.
9. Unknowns are Going To Hit You- like Hoodie and Piper from Silicon Valley
Watch the full event live on Troy Labs’ Facebook Page
Unshackled, a Silicon Valley-based pre-seed fund for immigrant founders and international students. Unshackled Ventures uses capital, a hands-on approach, a large engaged network, and an innovative funding model to help founders turn their ideas into reality. Unshackled Ventures was profiled in the 2016 Forbes 400 issue.
Since Unshackled Ventures began investing in 2015, it has helped its portfolio company founders, who hail from 16 countries, obtain seven different types of visas. Investors in
Unshackled’s first fund include First Round Capital, Emerson Collective, TYLT Ventures, Jerry Yang’s AME Cloud Ventures, Naval Ravikant, Brad Feld, and Joe Lonsdale, among others.
Unshackled’s portfolio includes Starsky Robotics, Lily, and Pluto AI. Manan is the Founding Partner of Unshackled Ventures.
Netanel Ilan Bar – he’s an entrepreneur, ninja coder, and currently works at Yobs Technologies as their CTO. Yobs Technologies utilizes AI to assist hiring recruiters to narrow down their pool to only the best applicants for the job