From Entrepreneurs For Entrepreneurs is a weekly interview session with some of the most influential entrepreneurs, creators and investors. Goal is to share our lessons learned and help to shape the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Zaky is Co-Founder and CEO of bukalapak – one of Indonesia’s unicorn companies (=worth more than $1 billion dollars). Zaky and I, we have both attended the first Innovators-Retreat consisting of a delegation of entrepreneurs, innovators and high-tech people from South-East Asia and Austria. We were also on the same EurAsian Entrepreneurship panel at the 4GameChangers Festival in Vienna. I grabbed him during a post-speaker dinner so that you can enjoy the last interview from the From Entrepreneurs For Entrepreneurs interview series.
What does entrepreneurship mean to you?
Entrepreneurship is a set of value. I think most people have an entrepreneurial spirit in them. Some value creativity, think differently. Or being passionate.
You know when you were kid: when you fall no one blames you. This spirit of failure is inside our DNA. When people get bigger, they get blamed for mistakes. But in essence that‘s the entrepreneurial spirit. Fall, stand up & learn.
What are you looking for when you meet founders?
I think first some personal traits. Do they have hungriness to grow? Are they open to new ideas? So can they absorb new ideas & try them.
Apart from hungriness of knowledge & ideas: Do they try really fast and quick? When they fail they try again. So they are not accepting the status quo. They are dynamic. When they think they fail in something they change it. If they succeed they want to grow even more. This is the main differentiator between good & great founder.
What are business models that you like to invest in? and why?
I invest mostly in platform businesses. Because I understand platform businesses 🙂
One of my investment is the number one crowd sourcing platform. So platform business model as I understand them, and they are usually easier to scale.
What have been your 3 lessons learned as entrepreneur? What would you do differently today?
I think the first one is talent. Hire very good talent from the first day. So early stage as possible. I wish I could hire the quality of talent now 10 years ago. But back then we couldn’t afford it.
Second funding: being number one is very important. Be number one, raise faster with strategic investor.
Third I think: user experience matter. We didn’t invest a lot in user experience in the first place. We were very engineered driven. Now we are investing heavily in user experience.
What have been your 3 lessons learned as investor? What would you do differently today?
I invested in 3 start-ups so far: I lost one investment as it was a friend I invested in instead of a rational investment decision.
Don‘t be greedy. Invite friends and be collaborative. Invite some reputable investor early on.
Help them. Don‘t just put money into it. Really help them to find good talent.
If you would give an entrepreneur one advice – what would it be?