What do you look for in an entrepreneur/founder? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Saam Motamedi, Venture Capitalist at Greylock Partners, on Quora:

At Greylock, we have the privilege of working with an incredible group of entrepreneurs of diverse backgrounds. All of them share the below qualities (in no particular order) and are some of what I personally look for to get excited about partnering with a new entrepreneur and founding team:

  1. Fundamental Market Insight - Whether the company is going after an existing market with incumbents, or focused on creating a new category, the entrepreneur has an insight about what the customer wants, or how a solution should be better architected and delivered. Often this means that the founder has some domain relevance from a previous journey, where they unlocked these insights, but we have also backed founders who are new to their domain and have had successfully derived new insights from a first-principled approach.
  2. Learners Mindset - We invest in slope, not y-intercept. The best founders are learning animals - learning from their customers about the product to build and surrounding themselves with world-class teammates, executives and advisors who push them to improve operationally.
  3. Customer Centricity - Customers. Customers. Customers.
  4. Iteration Speed - If the broad area a new company is started in is fertile, velocity becomes a key determinant to success. Iterating on product based on customer feedback, speed of software delivery and go-to-market execution.
  5. Storytelling Ability - Company building involves successful story telling and persuasion of multiple constituent groups: recruits and teammates, customers, partners, and investors. The best founders are able to inspire and drive the inevitability of their visions.
  6. Recruiting Magnet - Is this someone who will be able to attract world class talent to join them in their new mission? Particularly important in a recruiting environment as tight and competitive as the current one in Silicon Valley, and in technology more broadly.
  7. Grit - Every company journey goes through ups and downs. The best entrepreneurs keep getting up after they get knocked down.
  8. Playing the Long Game - At Greylock, our objective is to support our partnered companies into building independent, enduring companies. This requires commitment to building for and optimizing over very long time horizons.

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Published on: Oct 8, 2019