Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sequoia’s Gospel of Startups More True Than Ever

Elements of Sustainable Companies

Start-ups with these characteristics often foretells the success of a
business and the likelihood of it becoming a sustainable, enduring
company. We like to partner with companies that have:

Clarity of Purpose

Summarize the company’s business on the back of a business card.

Large Markets

Address existing markets poised for rapid growth or change. A market on
the path to a $1B potential allows for error and time for real margins
to develop.

Rich Customers

Target customers who will move fast and pay a premium for a unique offering.


Customers will only buy a simple product with a singular value proposition.

Pain Killers

Pick the one thing that is of burning importance to the customer then delight them with a compelling solution.

Think Differently

Constantly challenge conventional wisdom. Take the contrarian route. Create novel solutions. Outwit the competition.

Team DNA

A company’s DNA is set in the first 90 days. All team members are the
smartest or most clever in their domain. “A” level founders attract an
“A” level team.


Stealth and speed will usually help beat-out large companies.


Focus spending on what’s critical. Spend only on the priorities and maximize profitability.


Start with only a little money. It forces discipline and focus. A huge
market with customers yearning for a product developed by great
engineers requires very little firepower.

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