How do you survive the world of startups? There’s no clear answer, but three entrepreneurs–Revel System CEO Lisa Falzone, Delivery Hero’s Nikita Fahrenholtz and Better Place founder Shai Agassi–took the stage of the FORBES Under 30 Summit, just off the beaches of Tel Aviv, to share some tips they’ve picked up during their adventures in startup land.
How to push passed the fear of failure?
Nikita Fahrenholtz: You have to get comfortable with it. I’ve failed so many times–it’s part of what makes you human. You change your mindset–I never thought about the negative consequences of an experiment but instead the positive outcome. You push through it and you ignore others’ opinions. You have to trust your intuition.
Shai Agassi: If you’re not willing to fail you won’t succeed. The difference between failure and successes is so minuscule you wont’ be able to tell the difference. Fail early, fail big and fail gracefully. And then you take the next step and you’ll invariably succeed.
Lisa Falzone: I was not good at failure. I had to study to overcome that fear to start a company. It’s about being OK with failure and know you’ll make mistakes. But it’s also about how fast you recover. We’re growing at 200% each year, so there will be pain but it’s about how agile we can be. I always look back to this quote from Theodore Roosevelt which basically says I’d rather stand in the arena and fail than be one of those cold timid souls that know neither victory or defeat.
How did you get your start in the business?
Nikita Fahrenholtz : I went into consulting because it seemed like a safe option after university. It was a great company but it wasn’t for me. I didn’t want to spend 16 hours a day in a windowless room talking about operation strategies. I quit after 7 months and talked with my friend (and future co-founder) about starting a company that ordered pizza online. My mom started to cry when I told her. I think she’s happy now.
Lisa Falzone: Point of sale is huge problem for retailers. There’s a joke in the business that the acronym POS really stands for piece of shit. That was a problem that I could solve. The iPad had just came out and we thought, let’s use this new technology and interface to create a good point of sale product. When you create something out of nothing, everything is hard. No one had printed a receipts from an iPad before, no one had found way to connect the iPad to the platforms. Now we’re doing all the check outs for Cinnabon and the Superbowl.
What are your plans for the future?
Nikita Fahrenholtz: Being based in Germany, we have to expanded rapidly because the home market is so small. We had to move quickly to France and Spain and Italy. With Delivery Hero we mapped out countires that were interesting for us and we found most attraive open spots. I’m not so much worried about US comapnies like GrubHub because they are so content with the U.S.–and if they get fancy they go to Canada. That means the rest of the world is ours.
Lisa Falzone: We’re working toward an IPO, I don’t think I could ever work for a large corp. We never built Revel to get sold and always wanted to remain independent – and going public is the best option.
And a final thought from Shai Agassi: “Bits, atoms, and cells are the three major upcoming shifts, but the biggest challenge will be finding the moral compass to steer them.”
Written by Steven Bertoni of Forbes