- Sequoia Capital introduced This year’s new project, Arc, aims to help founders build their own startups.
- Sequoia partner Jess Lee shares some tips for founders hoping to be inducted next year.
- One tip: make sure to tell your own story and connect it to your startup.
Sequoia Capital, a legendary Silicon Valley venture capital firm founded in 1972, entered the world of startup accelerators like Y Combinator and Techstars this year, Introductory Arca new program designed to help founders build companies.
The company’s first U.S. arc The course begins the second week of a seven-week intensive program to help founders hone their entrepreneurial business plans.
Sequoia doesn’t use the term accelerator, preferring to refer to Arc as a “catalyst,” and it’s investing $1 million in each startup in exchange for a stake in the business. The size of each share depends on the size of the company.Crucially, the company provides formal coaching and training, working each week on the different foundations of a successful startup — such as creating value, building for customers, and gaining traction — which the company calls proprietary. Corporate Design Course.
Thousands of startups applied, and a member of the investment team read each application to narrow the list to the hundreds of founders who were interviewed, the venture capital firm said. Only 13 startups made it to the finals, down from 17 in the European version of Arc that ended the year.
application next year’s program It’s not scheduled to open until early next year, but for founders looking to get a head start, Jess Lee, a partner in charge of the company’s product team, shares some tips.
Ability to answer 5 main questions
- Is this an unusual team, a group of founders brilliant enough to have the potential to build the next Airbnb?
- Are there novel and compelling insights into the problem they are trying to solve?
- Are there positive market dynamics? It’s not enough to have a great business idea — it has to exist in a market that has the potential for massive disruption and growth, Lee said.
- Do they have “sparks”? Or to put it another way, what are their special superpowers? “Like what makes you unique in any dimension?” Lee said. “It could be your insight, the spark of the idea itself. It could be something about you or your history or your background or your founding insight.”
- Do they have the courage? “Starting a company is not easy,” Li said. “We want people who are really interested in building an enduring company. It’s also about the scale of ambition.”
Tell your own story and link it to your startup
A common mistake in apps is that founders focus too much on their ideas and not enough on themselves, Lee said. She says investment teams need to understand why a founder is the only one who can lead his or her startup to greatness.
“In seed and pre-seed, the story of who you are and why you have this insight is very important,” Li said. “And I think two areas that people don’t always emphasize enough are their personal stories and why they have such compelling founding insights.”
For example, Vikram Bhaskaran, co-founder of health communication startup Roon and elected to the current class, shared that when his father was discovered to have a rare neurodegenerative disease, he came to believe that patients and their families needed better communication doctor. His startup aims to improve doctor-patient communication.
Another founder of this class, Millie Yang, talks about how living around the world — in New York, Hong Kong, Columbia and London — made her want to build a better global payments service, which is how she started her own startup The reason, Bemo.
Focus more on selling solutions than problems
Founders tend to focus only on their own niche and how they can beat their competitors, but sometimes forget that venture capitalists focus on many different niches, Lee said.
“We focus on all companies in all markets at the same time,” Lee said. “You have to say why your market is a good market, or why the problem you’re trying to solve is an important and big problem.”
do not give up
For those who didn’t make the cut this year, Li said don’t despair. After all, the company initially dropped a seed round from food delivery giant DoorDash, but then invested in the company’s follow-up round.
“You don’t just shoot the Sequoias,” Lee said. “We are corporate partners at every stage. I am sure we will see some very, very incredible companies emerge from the applicants we missed out on and I’m excited to talk to them again.”