Insights and Opinions

What Makes A Good Startup CEO

Building a company is hard. Very hard. Even the most experienced operators, investors, and entrepreneurs fail most of the time. Experienced Angels see exits only 20% of the time.

The fact is that MOST startups fail. But real entrepreneurs are not afraid of failure. It is just another step towards the ultimate goal. It is experience. And they understand what good startup CEOs are all about. They:

  1. Do what they are passionate about
  2. Make sure intentions match emotions
  3. Test concept before they raise money
  4. Make sure they want the success they are seeking
  5. Raise money from value-add investors
  6. Assume they will be successful and work backwards
  7. Recognize when they are the problem

Additionally, they understand the qualities of a startup CEO. Backable entrepreneurs are:

  1. Able to Build Rapport
  2. Committed & Passionate
  3. Missionary and NOT Mercenary
  4. Innovative
  5. Able to Deal with Stress
  6. Understand how VCs work

Good CEOs understand story telling, have an exceptional ability to make personal connections, and know how to build rapport. This is extremely important as it ensures that they are able to:

  1. Build Great Teams
  2. Sell the Vision of the Company & Acquire Customers
  3. Work with Investors and Raise Capital

They are also able to always clearly answer the key questions:

  1. How much capital the need to raise
  2. What does success look like in 12 months
  3. Who is on the team and why
  4. Use of funds
  5. Who is in charge
  6. The go-to-market strategy
  7. How to recruit talent

So for those who still feel compelled to build startups, a good starting point is to understand what it takes, and what the expectations are. It is not easy, but it is incredibly rewarding. As Henry Ford said, "Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success."

Ivan Nikkhoo an experienced entrepreneur, investment banker, and venture capitalist.