Getty Images/Scott Olson
American startup entrepreneurs have got it incredibly good, says London-based entrepreneur Liad Shababo.
Shababo says he learned this back in the Spring of 2012, when, in just one week in California he was able to raise seed-funding for his startup, called Shoply.
Shoply helps small businesses and brands sell their goods online. Shababo says it's like Etsy, but for more than just handmade goods.
Back in 2012, Shababo posted about an earlier version of Shoply on a Website called AngelList. AngelList is a site where entrepreneurs meet startup investors.
One of the investors on the site, early Groupon employee Shawn Bercuson, messaged Shababo to say Shoply looked interesting. So Shababo booked a ticket to meet with the Bercuson in Northern California.
When they met, the Bercuson told Shababo that Shoply still looked good to him, and that Shababo should meet all of his friends.
So Shababo spent the week shuttling back and forth from San Francisco to the Valley, meeting with that Becuson's friends. Every night, Shababo would come back to his hotel room to get online and manage his business from 3,000 miles away. He'd also tweak his pitch deck based on what he heard that day.
Eventually Shababo met with a former Facebook executive named Chamath Palihapitiya. Palihapitiya invited Shababo over to his house for dinner with him and his wife. At the table, Palihapitiya decided he liked Shababo and that he wanted to invest in a small seed round.
It was a pretty wild week.
Looking back on it two years later, Shababo says American entrepreneurs don't understand how good they've got it — especially compared to entrepreneurs based in places like London.
He gave three reasons why it's so good in America:
There's a boat load of angel investors in Northern California who will decide very quickly if they want to invest in you and will open their networks to you if they see value in you.
There is a collegiate atmosphere in the American startup industry that is missing in London. The collegiate atmosphere out there for entrepreneurs, even if they aren't successful yet. In Silicon Valley, people who have seen the model work before are willing to invest in young people they trust, even if they don't have a long track record and their business ideas aren't fully formed yet. In London, people are less willing to take on young, seed entrepreneurs because they are much more into business models, cash flow, and financial forecasts. Shababo thinks its particularly silly for an early stage investor to expect a startup to have a realistic financial forecast.
In the US, failure is viewed asa step on the path of success. In the US, people who start companies that fail are celebrated for actually having the balls to try. In the US, people use their past failures as badge of honor. In the UK, such entrepreneurs are seen as tainted.
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