In 2006, he sold Namesdatabase to classmates.com for 10 million, and has now founded a widely used search engine called DuckDuckGo, but Gabe Weinberg comes off as humble and sincere when he talks with host, Mike Maher and audience members, during his recent spin through Startup Grind.
What He’s Looking For as a Venture Capitalist…
In his talk Weinberg revealed the types of entrepreneurs he favors, including: founders that he likes as people; those that are passionate about what they do – and he also leans toward investing in tech startups with hackers at the helm.
5 Of My Favorite Points From His Talk…
1. When asked by an audience member, how do you tell the “real” entrepreneurs from the wannabe’s, Gabe shared wisdom someone once shared with him, “Its about the lines, not the dots.”
He explained, “I try to look at what someone has done over time, not just the high points; I look to see – are they vested, are they committed.”
2. In the same response, Weinberg said, he likes when entrepreneurs are passionate about what they do.
In his experience, new startups will face tough challenges, and its tempting for entrepreneurs to quit their ventures or respond negatively to adversity. But its those with a passion that tend to stick-it-out when the times get tough, and in doing so become the more successful ventures.
3. Along those lines, Weinberg offerred advice to those trying to decide whether a particular startup is a good fit. Entrepreneurs should ask themselves, can I do this for 10 years or more, because often it takes that long for businesses to be successful in any one particular field.
4. On mentorship: Weinberg shared he has come to value mentorship over the years, so much so that it led him to found, Mentor Chats, an opportunity for making connections between mentors and entrepreneurs.
Some notable advice, he wished he would have gotten from mentors includes:
Hire the right people in the first place…
Know your market, and develop traction…
It turns out, Gabe’s first venture was an educational software company. He came to find a bit too late, what he wanted to do was apparently too far ahead of its time. In retrospect, he wished that he would have spent more time on developing traction, instead of spending all his time on the product. In the end they had a great product but no one to buy it, and the business did not succeed.
5. Spend 50% of Your Time on Developing Traction…
As a mentor, Weinberg is adamant that founders should spend half of their time building traction. Traction meaning the amount of people in the market willing to buy what you are selling. That means getting out there, talking to people, using search engine optimization tools, using social media; in short – doing whatever you have to do to build your market.
For more on Gabe Weinberg, what he is up to and what he is funding, check out the Gabriel Weinberg Blog