Here are Priceless Business Lessons From Five Black Startup Founders And VCs

When creating a startup, you go through a few hurdles along the way – from financial challenges to picking the right co-founder that will help spearhead the company with you. It’s never an easy journey, and you should never believe anyone that tells you otherwise, so it’s always essential to have a mentor or an advisor who can share their mistakes and lessons – so you don’t make the same errors.

Unfortunately, not everyone has the privilege of landing a mentor or sponsor that will give you the time of day and share advice. So that’s where we come in.

We’ve scoured the internet and put together a list of great practical and motivational advice given by thriving startup founders.

Del Johnson (VC, Angel, Micro-Fund Manager)

Johnson is a Venture capitalist and angel investor, but he is also the editor of The Intersectprimer, a newsletter about intersectionality.

You can’t build or sustain a funding ecosystem large enough to change things if your funders don’t understand what they are investing in. And since venture capital rests on a series of flawed assumptions about what the asset is and how to invest in it, the only way to institute change is to first show people how the old model is flawed.

Excerpt from a thread Johnson made on Twitter

Dr. Paul Judge (CEO and co-founder of Luma Home)

“Choose a problem that is sufficiently big but that you can actually tackle. One mistake that I see people make is choosing a problem that is so big that they have no reasonable path to [make] it happen. Break a big idea into stages. Mark Zuckerberg [for example,] started Facebook with a simple social fun website, turned [it] into a destination for Harvard, other schools, and then [finally as] a global social network.”

Excerpt from an interview with TechCrunch

Natasia Malaihollo (CEO and co-founder of Wyzerr)

The firm builds artificial intelligence to turn customer, employee, and consumer feedback data into business tasks.

“Always, always perform tests. Founders are often trapped by the constant stream of new ideas, and fast execution has become a trend among young leaders. [For me], performing tests before building something has become a ritual of its own. Be it before executing an idea, product or other forms of innovation.”

Excerpt is taken from an interview with Yahoo!

Rodney Williams (Founder and CEO of LISNR)

LISNR’s ultrasonic data-over-sound technology enables proximity verification & contactless transactions for merchants, financial service providers, and mobility companies.

“There is a lot more business, and a lot more selling, than I thought there would be. Coming up with the idea is only the first step. If you can’t monetize it, you have no business. You will need investors and companies to continue moving along the path to market. That means selling—yourself, your idea, your ability to make it happen. And then selling some more. And when you’re tired of the selling, you sell even more.”

Excerpt from an interview with Forbes Magazine 

POCIT team

The best VCs seem to usually be the most networked – so a lot of time and energy is spent meeting with people and attending events – that’s how they probably grow their circle and find talent – so as a founder it might be worth getting out more and attending some of these events.

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Abbianca Makoni

Abbianca Makoni is a content executive and writer at POCIT! She has years of experience reporting on critical issues affecting diverse communities around the globe.

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