Pop Quiz, Monday with Hemendra Mathur

I work with multiple teams. To me fun part is more about sharing and working upon new ideas, trying and failing together and enjoying the stroke of luck in between.

The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?
Hemendra Mathur

Hemendra Mathur
Photo credit: Hemendra Mathur

What is your job role?
I wear many hats which include – investing and mentoring agritech / food tech / deep tech startups and advising investors, corporates, government and foundations with interest in these areas.

Tell us about your company?
I work as Venture Partner with Bharat Innovation Fund (http://bharat.fund/) – an IP-driven early stage fund housed at Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship at Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

I have also co-founded a platform in 2018 called ThinkAg (https://www.thinkag.in/) – to connect agritech startups in India with corporates, mentors and investors.

What do you love most about your job?
Almost everything from – scanning, evaluating, negotiating, closing deals to working with like-minded partners to build a start-up ecosystem in India.

But if you ask me what gives me a kick – it is working directly with entrepreneurs as – mentor, guide and co-founder – to scale up businesses. Working through ambiguity, making mistakes, course corrections, multiple pivots, sales pitches, investor search, head-hunting and constantly re-scripting your plans are all part and parcel of motions that you go through while working with founding teams in scaling ideas from scratch.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
Learning about a new idea, meeting high-quality entrepreneurs, working with young, motivated teams and cracking deals. There is so much happening in the start-up world, that a 15-hour workday feels like 15 minutes.

I also believe that we are at the cusp of some transformational changes in India. For example, the tech-driven innovations that I see in the agritech space in linking farmers to market can fix the age-old broken food supply chains in India as well as other parts of the world.

I am confident that in the next decade or so these innovations can change the way food is grown, stored, processed, transported, distributed and consumed in India. Two critical beneficiaries in this process will be farmers and consumers. Each part of the food value chain in India offers billions of dollar worth of market opportunity for such innovations.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
I mostly work with guys who are younger than me. Their energy, diversity, creativity and tech orientation is quite infectious and inspiring.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
I work with multiple teams. To me fun part is more about sharing and working upon new ideas, trying and failing together and enjoying the stroke of luck in between.

People with integrity, intellect, crazy ideas and sense of humor is all you need to have fun at the workplace. Fortunately, there are plenty of them.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
As I mentioned that I work many startups in the food and agritech space. The number of such startups is 500+ in India and is growing enormously.

I find it challenging to keep myself updated on their progress. They also keep coming with tough questions, and I do not have answer all the time. They also seek help in chasing customers, investors and talent. Sometimes I deliver but I sometimes I don’t. I sincerely hope to improve upon my success rate.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
Each investment teaches you something whether it is a success or not. Some of the lessons from my last ten years of investing experience are:

  • Early stage investing is all about one’s ability to identify trends and look for teams who can deliver on it. Spotting trends and top-quartile teams require building right networks with people coming from diverse backgrounds, not necessarily from the investor community.
  • Value creation after investment – irrespective of the stage of investing – is about rolling up your sleeves and working with entrepreneurs day in and day out, more like a co-founder. Capital is vital but so is your sweat in building teams and businesses together.
  • Building a culture of merit, performance, and governance in portfolio companies from day one is critical. An investor job is to keep pushing for it.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?
My advice is for the investors who are looking at an early stage investing in food and agri space in India. I will say it is a perfect time to enter the sector but have patience and capital (at least for a couple of rounds) to reap the returns.

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web:

Twitter: @hemendramathur

Pop Quiz, Monday with Herby Marchetti

We empower founders to move markets. My vision is to enable entrepreneurship by serving up connections. I love to inspire and grow startup founders to boost their dreams.

The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?
Herby Marchetti

Herby Marchetti
Photo credit: Herby Marchetti

What is your job role?
Early-stage VC Investor at seed + speed Ventures (seedandspeed.com), Advisory Board Member of RightNow Group (right-now-group.de) and university lecturer at Steinbeis University for EMBA students.

Tell us about your company?
seed + speed Ventures is a Venture Capital firm within the family office Maschmeyer Group of self-made UHNI Carsten Maschmeyer who invests into Pre-Seed and Seed startup companies and is also known from the TV show “Die Höhle der Löwen” (German version of `Shark Tank´). Located in Hanover, Munich, Berlin and San Francisco, the Maschmeyer Group provides innovative startups with sales support and smart capital.

What do you love most about your job?
We empower founders to move markets. My vision is to enable entrepreneurship by serving up connections. I love to inspire and grow startup founders to boost their dreams.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
Working together with the brightest people to change our future, spreading the spirit of founders and fostering entrepreneurship is highly rewarding.

Mentoring motivated founders lets me stay curious, open, young and inspired. Combining the capabilities of other VCs, industry partners, accelerators, company builders, startups, academia, and government not only brings a basis for new inspiration and innovation but mostly lets you gain new access points, speed and flexibility. Innovation means making fascinating ideas happen. This is a free flow of creativity.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
My co-workers are highly ambitious, communicate clearly and are open to change. When actively listening to everyone’s opinions in my team, I often hear out the „what, if?“. This curiosity and a strong sense of urgency to change the future lie in our VC nature. We take deep dives in many sectors and companies (e.g., in AI, IoT, Health, TravelTech. LegalTech, E-Sports, InsurTech, Media, etc.). We need to ask and learn “beyond” and love to explore and push for new investments, innovation, and growth. We connect with many new inspiring personalities a day with a global mindset: startup founders and product heroes with a focus on execution. Overall, it leads to challenging one’s own views regularly.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
We know how to celebrate success. To give you one out of the many examples: every year, we go to the Oktoberfest in Munich/Bavaria all together. All of our colleagues fly in, and I can tell: it is a lot of fun and we laugh a lot.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
Keeping up with the speed of digitization is a challenge itself. We always need to think ahead of our time, evaluate between good and bad investments and keep closeness to founders, customers, partners and respective dynamic markets.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
Invest in digital culture and innovation also involves an openness for failure and acquiring new know-how.

Strictly (re-)investing into complementary winner teams, doing what they love has turned out to be a great strategy.

Complimentary Team + Good Traction = Easier Capital.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?
Connect. Connect. Connect.

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web:

www.seedandspeed.com

Pop Quiz, Monday with Chris Smith

The investment team at Playfair is outstanding – hard-working, insightful, smart, experienced – but what really inspires me is the way that we bring out the best in each other

The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?
Chris Smith

Chris Smith
Photo credit: Chris Smith

What is your job role?
Partner

Tell us about your company?
Playfair Capital is a London based seed stage venture capital fund.

We invest in exceptional founding teams tackling big opportunities or problems matched by big ambitions.

We are UK focused but have invested elsewhere when we’ve seen a compelling opportunity. We are sector agnostic but love deep tech (AI, ML and computer vision), B2B SaaS and marketplaces. We typically write initial cheques of £400k but will invest smaller amounts at the pre-seed stage for the right team.

What do you love most about your job?
All of it!

Firstly, I get to spend time researching and understanding markets and the latest technologies to identify areas that make the most sense for venture capital investment. Trying to think about what might happen in the next 5-10 years is a fun intellectual challenge.

Second, I meet hundreds of inspiring entrepreneurs every month. Hearing their stories and seeing the opportunity from their point of view is incredibly stimulating. I certainly learn something from every interaction with a founder.

Third, I get to fund and build long-lasting relationships with a select group of founders and be a part of their journey. I find it very rewarding to help founders when they need it, whether that’s with contacts and introductions, strategic planning or just acting as a sounding board drawing on my own experiences.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
The opportunity to meet with amazing founders and potentially get involved with their companies as well as finding ways to help our existing portfolio. I love that no one day is the same and that I am always learning something new.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
The investment team at Playfair is outstanding – hard-working, insightful, smart, experienced – but what really inspires me is the way that we bring out the best in each other; at our investment committee meetings (actually, every day) we have full and frank conversations that challenge each other to make data-driven and validated decisions and reach the best outcomes. Of course, they’ve also made a load of great investments too!

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
We all enjoy what we do so pretty much every day at work is fun. We often end up debating the latest company or market trend at one of the local street food markets! We also like to get together for a meal once in a while.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
Saying no to founders. I’m very conscious of the fact that founders have poured their lives into their business, but our model means that we have to be selective and we fund less than 1% of the companies that we see.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
Probably the most relevant lesson for readers of this site relates to the challenges of scaling a business from the founding team to 50 then 100 staff. When this happens, it’s impossible for everybody in the team to have personal relationships with each other and communication can suffer. As the founder, it’s your job to make sure you clearly communicate your vision, strategy, and objectives so that everybody on your team is aligned. As LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner said, “When you are tired of saying it, people are starting to hear it.”

What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?
There isn’t one obvious way into the venture capital business, and my career to date hasn’t been linear (founder of a telecoms business, a corporate lawyer, operations at a fast-growing telecoms business and a litigation funding provider, angel investor). I would, however, thoroughly recommend John Gannon’s Yet Another (ex-VC) Blog as a good starting point.

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web:

http://www.playfaircapital.com/
https://www.linkedin.com/in/cdgsmith/
https://twitter.com/ChrisSmithPF

Pop Quiz, Monday with Jason Kraus

Being part of something bigger than myself, helping people realize their dreams and watching the startups I work with “grow up” and become successful.

The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?
Jason Kraus

What is your job role?
CEO of Prepare 4 VC

Tell us about your company?
We are a startup consulting firm dedicated to helping entrepreneurs through the fundraising process from an investors perspective. Our team consists of VCs, investors, experienced entrepreneurs and MBAs ready to assist our clients.

What do you love most about your job?
Working with exciting new founders every day and being on the forefront of technology, adding my team’s expertise to see it come to life.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
Being part of something bigger than myself, helping people realize their dreams and watching the startups I work with “grow up” and become successful.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
I learn from everyone I work with, and we focus on an environment where every voice is heard and taken into consideration. Startup environments should foster creativity and out of the box thinking, and we model ourselves as a startup helping startups.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
Trying out all the cool apps and products we work with and going to or organizing some of the amazing startup events around Boston.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
Balancing project work, team management, and marketing/outreach as new projects come and go.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
Timing is critical in the startup world and simply following up and staying in touch has led to new clients, partners and investment partners.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?
Find a pilot project first to help out with and model your consulting firm off of the value you find you add to their business.

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web:
Http://prepare4vc.com
Http://facebook.com/prepare4vc
Http://twitter.com/prepare4vc

Pop Quiz, Monday with Rishi Thomas

They’re all brilliant. Each member of Contrary brings in a host of talents and expertise. My teammates at USC are two of the brightest minds that I have met, and they continue to inspire me to think differently and be accepting of all ideas.

The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?
Rishi Thomas

Rishi Thomas
Photo credit: Rishi Thomas

What is your job role?
Venture Partner at Contrary Capital

Tell us about your company?
Contrary is a university focused fund. 100+ Venture partners like myself are students at universities at 40+ locations with various domains of expertise and startup experience.

Most of our LPs have been founding members at $1B+ companies such as Emmett Shear (Twitch), Daniel Macklin (SoFi), Steve Huffman (Reddit) and more.

We believe in backing the best and brightest founders in the university space, so if you think that is you, reach out to us!

To find out more, please visit our website https://contrarycap.com/.

What do you love most about your job?
The learning, even though the curve has been very steep. I am not only talking about learning about early-stage venture investing, but also understanding how feasible ideas are, and how people drive disruptive ideas to become industry titans. My interactions with founders have been the most valuable experience because they radiate passion and expertise. Therefore, through them, I personally learn a lot about the world of startups and venture and thoroughly enjoy the process of learning while making new friends.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
The uncertainty of what the next achievement may be. You never know what you stumble upon, or who you speak with that would spark an idea or thought that could propel you to ‘the next level.’

How do your co-workers inspire you?
They’re all brilliant. Each member of Contrary brings in a host of talents and expertise. My teammates at USC are two of the brightest minds that I have met, and they continue to inspire me to think differently and be accepting of all ideas.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
Being a VC while also being a student at the university is in itself quite fun. We attend events on and off campus and spend time hanging out and talking about various topics startup related and otherwise. There was this one time that we ended up at a taco place and ordered the whole menu.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
Not knowing enough. Being relevant and learning about various industries and ideas is extremely important. The amount of knowledge that I have right now might be made obsolete in the next couple of minutes, so constantly being able to absorb information becomes crucial.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
The first project that I worked on with a friend immediately taught me the value of building for the user and finding a sustainable way to keep the company alive. My co-founder and I were too busy building a product for a problem and did not give much thought as to how the product would add value to a user. Qdero was an online job consulting platform. We facilitated thousands of interactions between students and experts in India but were never able to effectively understand how else to augment their search for jobs and learning. We also struggled with finding a way to make recurring revenues because most students’ willingness to pay was very low, so naturally making money off of each interaction was out of the question.

Being at the university across the world where business was taking place also added its own set of problems, so both my co-founder and I decided to scrap the idea. This time would also have been perfect for a pivot, but we decided to start working on other things. All in all, build a product that your users will value and consider sustainable revenue models that would support growth over long periods of time.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?
All you have to do is learn. Meet new people, read as much as possible and immerse yourself in the community. Startups and venture capital, in my opinion, is about people. Therefore, being able to meet people with radical ideas, understanding what their thought process is or what they are learning is really valuable. I personally think of meeting people as a cheat for learning. Most individuals spend years amassing knowledge and insight, which one can effectively extract in a couple of hours of meeting someone, so use that to your advantage.

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web:

https://contrarycap.com/

Silicon Valley is Actively Supporting Emerging Economies, like Nigeria?

SV-NED hosts the Acting-Consul General for Nigeria House, New York NY. After pledging support to the United Nation 2020 Development Goals.

Femi 42 Student (left), Denise Williams SV-NED, Jane 42 Student, Acting-Consul General Nicholas Ellas Esq., Chief Temitope Ajayi & Ola Hassan SV-NED (right).

WhatsApp Image 2018-11-21 at 9.59.08 PM
Ola Hassan Founder Ola’s Exotic African Coffee & Tea (left), Chairman & CEO Chief Temitop Ajayi and His Excellency Acting-Consulate General, Nicholas Ella Esq., Nigeria House, New York, NY (right).

WhatsApp Image 2018-11-21 at 6.42.49 PM
Lesley Toche Founder/CEO Nextplay Events

SVNED with Mayor of San Francisco, London Breed
Acting-Consul General Nicholas Ella Esq. (left), Mayor of San Francisco London Breed, Chairman/CEO SV-NED Chief Temitope Ajayi (right).

The Salinas Valley’s rich and fertile agricultural ground is nestled between the Sierra /Santa Lucia mountains and the Pacific Ocean. California Ag value is over $60B annually, and Salinas Valley Ag value is over in Crop grown in the valley are some of the best in the world.

3x Mayor of Salinas Dennis Donohue, VP of Church Brothers True Leaf Farms Francis Adenuga and SVNED
3x Mayor of Salinas Dennis Donohue (left), Acting-Consulate General Nicholas Ellas, Chairman/CEO Chief Temitope Ajayi, and Francis Adenuga VP Technical Service Church Brothers -True Leaf Farms (right).

Dean of Hartnell College and SVNED
Acting-Consulate General Nicholas Ella Esq (left), Francis Adenuga VP Technical Service Church Brothers -True Leaf Farms, Dean Clint Cowden of Hartnell College, Chairman/CEO Chief Temitope Ajayi & Denise Williams SV-NED Team (right).

Church Brother and True Leaf and SVNED
Hayden D. Williams III (left) and Chairman CEO Chief Temitope Ajayi SV-NED Team, Acting Consulate General Nicholas Ella, and Francis Adenuga VP Technical Service Church Brothers -True Leaf Farms (right)

The product harvested and processed are distributed across the US and internationally to Canada, Mexico, South America, Europe, and Asian countries. The 3-day Economic Summit hosted by SV-NED was put to a close with an award presented to the Acting-Consulate General and SV-NED from the top Elected City Officials of Salinas, CA. The award was presented by the 3x Mayor Dennis Donohue to the Consulate General of Nigeria House, New York NY.

3x Mayor of Salinas, Church Brothers True Leaf, SVNED
Francis Adenuga (left), Dennis Donohue, Chief Temitope Ajayi, Acting -Consulate General Nicholas Ella Esq, and Denise Williams (right) at the Church Brothers True Leaf Headquarters

Interview with Mark Peter Davis, Managing Partner at Interplay

 

The founder series explores the minds of business owners and their journey to make a difference in their industry. We interview these business founders to understand the life lessons that mold them into who they are today. We also learn more about their company, their products or services, how they are different from their competitors, and the problems that they are trying to solve for their customers. The information that these business owners provide to us helps inform other entrepreneurs who are looking to make an impact in the business world. We all can take these lessons and apply them to our entrepreneurial journey. We want to thank every business owner who volunteered their time to participate in these interviews and share their knowledge with the community.

Great to meet you. Thank you for doing the interview. We want to know more about your journey, early struggles, success, and some wisdom that we can pass on to others who are interested in walking your footsteps toward becoming an entrepreneur. We know that being an entrepreneur is not all glory and fame, but there are hard times too. We believe that others who are interested in being a business owner can gain insight from other business founders like yourself. Again, we want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule. Let’s get this interview started!

Let us start off with some basic questions to learn more about who you are as a person.

Can you tell everyone your name, please?

Mark Peter Davis

Tell me about your education?

BA Economics Duke
MBA Columbia Business School

Can you give an example of an early lesson in life that helped shaped who you are today?

I believe that wrestling beat insane tenacity into me. This game requires resilience and a hell of a work ethic. Wrestling helped with that.

We all have entrepreneurs whom we look up to in our industry. These business leaders help influence, shape, and drive our ambition to succeed. These entrepreneurs could be someone that we have worked with on a project or could be someone that we look up too from a distance. For example, Bill Gates is a big inspiration to me not only because of his work in Microsoft but his outstanding contributions to society.

Who would you consider to be a significant influence on you professionally and can you explain why?

I’d say I’ve been more impacted by the folks I’ve worked closely with than the people we read about in the media. I’ve had many mentors over the years. Oddly, some of my most valuable mentors were unintentional — they were the bad actors who have taught me how NOT to operate. Refreshingly many folks were positive role models. I tip my hat to Jed Katz, Thatcher Bell, Brad Svrluga and my current partners.

Thank you for providing a background on who you are as a person. I always find it fascinating to learn who a person is and their early life lessons. Let us move forward with the interview and discuss what you are doing now and how you are making a difference in your industry.

What is the name of your company?

Interplay

Where is your company located?

New York City

What services or products does your organization provide?

Interplay is a venture capital firm and foundry. We invest, incubate and co-found companies. Our companies include:
• Interplay Venture — Venture Capital (http://interplay.vc/ventures.html)
• The American Crypto Mining Company — Crypto Mining as a Service (http://acmc.io)
• Bristol Palmer — Customer Service, Call Centers, SDR (http://bristolpalmer.com)
• Broker Buddha — Commerical Insurance Broker SaaS Platform (http://brokerbuddha.com)
• Firon Marketing — Marketing (http://fironmarketing.com)
• Founder Shield — Commerical and Health Insurance (http://foundershield.com)
• Greenparc — Office Management & Cleaning (http://greenparc.co)
• Maison Merch — Promotional Products (http://maisonmerch.com)
• Nomad Financial — Accounting, Finance, and Tax (http://nomadfinancial.com)
• Venwise — Peer Leadership Community (http://venwise.com)

What problem is your business trying to solve?

We exist to facilitate innovation. Whether it’s someone else’s mission that we support with capital or advice or an idea of our own — we’re helping to build the society we want to live in for the future.

How is your business unique against your competitors?

There are very few VC fund-foundry models out there. Each is very different — we operate in our own way. All of that said, I’m not sure being different is the key to success. I think that’s a fallacy.

How did the idea for your business come to fruition?

I’m frequently asked what our secret sauce is. The answer is blood, sweat, and tears. We execute on the fundamentals and focus on doing that well, which requires a depth of operational knowledge combined with a strong work ethic.

Where can people go on the web to learn more about your business

Interplay: http://interplay.vc

Blog: http://mpd.me

My Book — The Fundraising Rules: http://mpd.vc/tfrkindle

Final question. We want to thank you for the interview. We have one last question to ask you about imparting some wisdom to future entrepreneurs.

What three tips would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out on their journey?

  1. Understand that you’re not starting a company in the beginning — you’re running a science experiment. Test the idea. Moreover, if the tests yield a negative result stop and move one.
  2. Surround yourself with people who complement you.
  3. Find advisors that can provide knowledge of the startup method. There’s no reason to learn the hard way.