Mihai: Entrepreneurship is not like any other jobs. It is a way of living. There is no work/life balance. It is your life. It is the price to pay to be an entrepreneur. Personally, I could not stop and be something else. I always start a new venture with pleasure and I do not think that I will stop.
I’d say that if young people want to become CEOs, there are many skills required. Entrepreneurship is not for everybody. Because 9/10 of startups fail in the first round. In the second round, 9/10 will fail again. To take a company to over 100$ million in revenues, that’s another 9/10. So technically, your chances of succeeding are 1/1000.
If I’d ask you to put 10$ now on a roulette with chances of winning being 1/1000, would you do it? Probably not.
So when you start a company, you should be aware of the fact that your chances are really low and that it is hard to be better than your competition.
Mihai: Entrepreneurship is like an extreme sport. There are risks and there is failure because we face many challenges. For instance, you have to manage the money of the investors, of the contributors or operate in a system that is brand-new, like the blockchain, where there are not that many regulations.
It’s tricky, but in my team, we have good lawyers, we are careful, we have been used to building these kinds of ventures for the last ten years, we also know how to work with Boards, with investors and Legal departments. But you always have to be scared. If you are not scared, you are not in the game. You have to be scared, but in a constructive way.
This fear can be frustrating because as an entrepreneur, you identify yourself with this project so you also identify yourself with the failure. But that should not mean that failure is the end of the world.
What young entrepreneurs have to understand is that all entrepreneurs fail at one point.
In the 1990s, Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon had 60 meetings with investors to raise USD 1 Million and he was refused every single time, even if he already had a company and an operating business. It shows that even the most successful entrepreneurs have failures and rejections.
What’s important is to understand the stake and the rules of the game. If you don’t, you will think that failure or rejection is the end of the world, but it’s not. It’s just a business failure. What is important is to understand why it failed. Is it because one of the founders left or because the market was not ready for your product? You can be ahead of your time.
For instance, there were many companies that were more advanced than YouTube when YouTube started, but it started two years later than the other ones. Because it entered the market later and because the internet was spread out, their system made sense. Others failed before because videos were not as easy to watch two years before, the internet had not boomed yet.
Mihai: We are a bit ahead of our time. That is a challenge and an opportunity at the same time because we are building the road ahead of us.
Blockchain will be present in our lives in about 3 years. It will be everywhere. So we have 3 years to move the project forward and to consolidate our product. It is a challenge because we are competing with companies from all around the world.
In the crypto space, companies from Japan can operate in the same market as companies in the USA or Monaco. They can be very competitive in this market and be direct competitors. It is very different from the retail market. The competition is global and there are big companies.
As we are a small company compared to them, we need to go fast and change the strategy. We need to be aggressive and fight with the big ones. And once you have decided to do that, it is very challenging. The big companies we are facing have many resources but at the same time, they can be slow, they can be dinosaurs, as they are more hierarchical. That is why our strategy is to be fast on the market, add a lot of substance to it and then receive an offer to be bought by a big player.