Kevin has successfully founded and exited on three companies spanning crypto, gaming, and esports. His current interests are in Web3 and its fundamental technology and focus on decentralization. Originally from a finance background, he shares his initial motivation to start his own company as well as tips and insights into what makes a successful founder and company.
While he originally had financial goals for building his first company, he really enjoys the creative aspect and the people-oriented culture of a smaller company.
Despite having successfully started multiple companies, he still feels that finding product-market fit is the hardest step - there is no magic solution. He thinks the most successful startup founders are those that understand what investors want to invest in, and often have a history of overcoming significant challenges.
886: Why were you motivated to start your own company?
Kevin: “I've always cared about financial independence and making enough money so that I could do whatever I wanted without having to work for other people or companies I didn't want to. I thought doing a startup was a way to do that. I also really enjoyed the small company feel; I can talk to the customers, I know who’s making the product, I know who’s making the decisions. I really liked the culture - I feel like I’m making an impact and I understand how the work I’m doing today fits into the mission of the overall company.”
886: How do you find product-market fit? What’s the secret sauce?
Kevin: “Finding product market fit is the hardest part about founding a company. There’s no magic to product-market fit: founders just need to keep trying, building their expertise and accumulating experience, and if it takes off it takes off. There is no real metric by which to measure product-market fit, it just feels right.”
886: What does success look like to you?
Kevin: “If you start a business for financial reasons and you achieve financial success, you need to replace that financial reason with something else that you care about. For me, building a new company and products is a creative process. Something I find a lot of joy in is starting with an idea and taking it and building a product, and then seeing how that product impacts people’s lives - there’s the human aspect to it. There’s the feeling of ‘Okay, I created a company that employed a lot of people and allowed them to buy their first house, make their first downpayment, start their lives…’”
886: What are some characteristics of successful founders?
Kevin: “The biggest thing is that these founders know how to build a big enough company that investors want to invest in. They follow the news (even just people on Twitter), meeting successful ex-founders, and networking with and engaging experienced individuals, and carefully considering feedback.”
“The one thing that I find more common than most things is that the founder has generally overcome some significant challenges in their lives, often unrelated to business. They were immigrants and had to deal with the challenges of being immigrants, they had to take care of their family because their parents died, or they have these amazing stories… they are just generally not normal people.”
- The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
- Hacker News by Y Combinator