Tenacity is probably the most important attribute in an entrepreneur. It’s the person who never gives up – who never accepts “no” for an answer. The world is filled with doubters who say that things can’t be done and then pronounce after the fact that they “knew it all along.”
I agree with Mark that tenacity is a key attribute in successful entrepreneurs. It’s hard to see it in a person in the short “get to know you” period you have on many investment opportunities. But if you can get to know an entrepreneur over a longer period of time, you can see it.
Avner Ronen, co-founder and CEO of Boxee, showed a lot of tenacity to me a few years back. As I outlined in the post announcing our investment in Boxee, Avner originally pitched us in mid 2007. At that time, they were pitching a hardware play. I said no. Then he came back in early 2008 with an open source software play. I said, “better, but no users”. Then he came back in the summer of 2008 with 10,000 users and a nice growth curve. And we closed an investment in November of 2008.
Reece Pacheco is a young entrepreneur just getting going. He’s an active member of this community so many of you know him already. He and I emailed early this week about a pitch meeting he had with a friend of mine for an angel investment. I pointed him to that Boxee story and told him that:
raising money is about turning nos into yeses
He was all over that. I’ve met Reece and I suspect he’s got the required tenacity to be a great entrepreneur too. He’s showing it right now as he is building his company, Home Field, and hearing a lot of nos, a few maybes, and just enough yeses to keep him and the team going.
Tenacity comes in all shapes, sizes, and sexes. It’s an equal opportunity employer. But it’s not easy to see and reveals itself over time. If you want to be a successful venture investor, keep your eye out for it. It will lead you to a lot more wins than losses.
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