Super Founders: What Data Reveals About Billion-Dollar Startups (Hardcover)
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Super Founders uses a data-driven approach to understand what really differentiates billion-dollar startups from the rest—revealing that nearly everything we thought was true about them is false!
Ali Tamaseb has spent thousands of hours manually amassing what may be the largest dataset ever collected on startups, comparing billion-dollar startups with those that failed to become one—30,000 data points on nearly every factor: number of competitors, market size, the founder’s age, his or her university’s ranking, quality of investors, fundraising time, and many, many more. And what he found looked far different than expected. Just to mention a few:
- Most unicorn founders had no industry experience;
- There's no disadvantage to being a solo founder or to being a non-technical CEO;
- Less than 15% went through any kind of accelerator program;
- Over half had strong competitors when starting--being first to market with an idea does not actually matter.
You will also hear the stories of the early days of billion-dollar startups first-hand. The book includes exclusive interviews with the founders/investors of Zoom, Instacart, PayPal, Nest, Github, Flatiron Health, Kite Pharma, Facebook, Stripe, Airbnb, YouTube, LinkedIn, Lyft, DoorDash, Coinbase, and Square, venture capital investors like Elad Gil, Peter Thiel, Alfred Lin from Sequoia Capital and Keith Rabois of Founders Fund, as well as previously untold stories about the early days of ByteDance (TikTok), WhatsApp, Dropbox, Discord, DiDi, Flipkart, Instagram, Careem, Peloton, and SpaceX.
Packed with counterintuitive insights and inside stories from people who have built massively successful companies, Super Founders is a paradigm-shifting and actionable guide for entrepreneurs, investors, and anyone interested in what makes a startup successful.
About the Author
Ali Tamaseb is a partner at DCVC, a highly reputable VC firm in Silicon Valley with over $2 billion under management and investments in over ten billion-dollar startups. He holds several leadership and board positions at companies across the U.S. and globally. Ali was an honoree of the British Alumni Award of 2018 by the British Council, and Imperial College President's Medal for Outstanding Achievement. Ali and his work has been featured in BBC, TED, Guardian, Forbes, Fortune, Inc., The Telegraph, among others, and he has given talks and appeared on panels at major events and conferences.
“This is perhaps one of the most comprehensive and well researched studies by an insightful venture capitalist ever done on startups and investments. I highly recommend it to all MBA and business students as well as everyone interested in startups and venture capital.”—Ilya Strebulaev – Professor of Finance, Stanford Graduate School of Business
"Super Founders dissects startups from every single angle, just like the best investors do. It provides an unparalleled lens for angel investors, VCs, and startup founders to analyze startups, and includes riveting exclusive interviews for anyone interested in understanding how billion-dollar companies happen."—Keith Rabois, general partner at Founders Fund, Investor in YouTube, Airbnb, Palantir, Lyft, Yelp, and LinkedIn
"Ali debunks myths and misconceptions of great founders. His work encourages us to play our own game on our way to becoming the next Super Founder."—Alfred Lin, Partner at Sequoia Capital, Investor in Airbnb, DoorDash, Houzz, and more
"Ali Tamaseb offers an extraordinary look at the success and failure of startups coupled with inside stories and interviews with some of the best startup leaders. A must-read."—Eric Yuan, Founder and CEO, Zoom
“It’s heartening to see initiatives and studies like this. A data-driven effort to understand the success and failure of startups has been lacking and this book is doing exactly that."—Ron Conway – Founder of SV Angel, Angel Investor in Google, Facebook, Airbnb and more
“Conventional wisdom about what leads to startup success abounds. With a vast dataset, real rigor, and fresh insight, Tamaseb validates some truisms and debunks many others. A must-read for aspiring founders and venture investors!”—Tom Eisenmann, Harvard Business School professor and author of Why Startups Fail
"Super Founders challenges founders, entrepreneurs, and investors to rethink what matters most when you’re building a business. These insightful stories help break down bias along the startup journey. It's a great guide I wish I had earlier in my career.”—Tony Fadell, Future Shape principal, Nest founder, iPod inventor, and iPhone co-inventor