Founding Voices: Know When to Listen to Your Gut

Originally part of our Founding Voices newsletter series. Read more insights here.

Embrace Uncertainty to Find Your Own Path

If you want your venture to succeed, you need to surround yourself with good people. Half of that is building a stellar team, the other half is cultivating a circle of confidants who can offer guidance and perspective.

Some of your best advisers will be your investors; they’ve almost certainly “been-there-done-that,” and their mentorship will be deeply helpful on your journey. Nevertheless, you should seek their advice, not blindly follow it.

“A good adviser may give you amazing advice nine out of 10 times, but you need to be able to spot the one time when you need to stick to your own convictions.”

JOHN ZIMMER
Co-founder & President, Lyft

Your partnership with your investor is founded on mutual trust; you believe in their experience, and they have faith in your thinking and ability, so be receptive to investor input, but don’t take it as gospel.

Ask questions, seek to understand the reasoning behind their advice, and know that there will be situations where you’ll need to push back. These moments are daunting, but healthy disagreement like this sharpens your strategic mind, and builds confidence in your judgment.

“As an investor, I’m a resource,” says Navin Chaddha, “but at the end of the day, the entrepreneurs are leading the company. So if something in you tells you to zig when everybody else says zag, it’s important to explore that instinct. You’ll either win, or you’ll learn.”

Navin Chaddha

NAVIN CHADDHA
Managing Director

Enterprise, Consumer, Semiconductors

Partnering with Vartana to Power Frictionless B2B Sales Closing & Financing

Founding Voices: Embrace Uncertainty to Find Your Own Path

Originally part of our Founding Voices newsletter series. Read more insights here.

Embrace Uncertainty to Find Your Own Path

Building a business means dealing with ambiguity. There’s a steady stream of difficult decisions at every stage of your journey, and while you can take inspiration from what other founders have done in the past, their circumstances were different, and the paths they took might not be right for you and your organization right now.

 

“There’s no Google Maps for starting a company. You have to think through the multiple ways you can get from where you are to where you want to be and decide which is the best path for you.”

REHAN JALIL
Founder & CEO, Securiti

As a founder, each decision you make needs a “why” that maps to your situation and capabilities. Without this, it’s easy to get distracted, and burn valuable time and resources on moves that aren’t right for your company.

Finding this strategic clarity is difficult, and it’s tempting to look for a roadmap for growing your business, or study how other companies built themselves up. But success stories are case studies, not guidebooks. Analyze them for lessons, try to understand the principles behind decisive moments, but don’t fall into the trap of copying their moves.

“The way you succeed will be unique to your business, which means you can’t rely on precedent to get you there. Rehan’s a serial founder so he understands this better than most,” says Navin Chaddha, Mayfield MD and three-time partner to Rehan. “Be thoughtful, gut check absolutely everything, and if your thinking leads to different or unconventional approaches, don’t be afraid to embrace them.”

Navin Chaddha

NAVIN CHADDHA
Managing Director

Enterprise, Consumer, Semiconductors

Naver Completes Acquisition of Poshmark

LexCheck Raises $17M to Automate Common Contracting Processes

2022 Year in Review

2022 continues to test our resilience on the economic, political, and social fronts. However, as a People-First firm with a 50 year plus history of investing through up and down cycles, we remain eternal believers in the power of entrepreneurs and their ability to build a bright future. Our team of founders turned investors is eager to partner with entrepreneurs who are changing the way we live, work and play, and we look forward to our shared inception to iconic journey. Join us as we look back on 2022 and forward to the journey ahead.

Founding Voices: Through Thick and Thin

Originally part of our Founding Voices newsletter series. Read more insights here.

Through Thick and Thin

You’ve worked tirelessly to bring a great product to market. But the unfortunate reality is that excellence doesn’t protect you from circumstance. Eventually, every entrepreneur will encounter macro-level challenges that are far outside their control. In those moments, having a steadfast partner can make all the difference.

 

“Navin really, really, really—I don’t know how to emphasize this enough—cared about our employees. Looking back on 2020, it’s clear he was trying to do what was best for them all along the way.”

GERARD WILLIAMS
Co-founder & Former CEO, Nuvia

Good partners help you overcome obstacles. They offer strategic counsel, leverage their networks for leads, and guide you through difficult decisions. This is because, above all else, they are invested in your vision.

Ask potential partners about their experiences with similar companies and how they’ve navigated difficult times. Try to assess their principles, and their passion for not just the product, but the mission and ideas that undergird it. Answers here will help you understand if a given partnership is a good fit. While this is not a simple process, getting it right nets you a more enduring and resilient foundation upon which to build your company.

“We invest in people first, markets second,” says Navin Chaddha, Managing Director at Mayfield and longtime advisor to the Nuvia team. “Just because market conditions change doesn’t mean a good idea is suddenly bad. It’s a signal that you need to refocus, readjust and find a new opportunity to win.”

Navin Chaddha

NAVIN CHADDHA
Managing Director

Enterprise, Consumer, Semiconductors

Founding Voices: Know the Story Behind the Product

Originally part of our Founding Voices newsletter series. Read more insights here.

Know the Story Behind the Product

As a founder, you are undoubtedly close to your product. You have intimate knowledge of its benefits and its potential, and you believe it can deliver value, shake up the market and even change the world.

But outside observers will not have your depth and perspective. That’s why you must learn to articulate the value of your product and vision to a wide variety of audiences. For this reason, the best founders are good storytellers as well as strong leaders.

 

“You have to tell people why what you’re working on matters. It’s obvious to you as the founder—that’s easy. It’s about how you articulate that and tell people why it’s important—not just to you, but to the market—and how it’s going to help people.”

MITCHELL HASHIMOTO
Co-founder, HashiCorp

Everyone who touches your product – your team, customers, investors, and partners – will look to you for a vision that inspires them and wins their support. And this narrative can’t be static, rather it must adapt to address the goals, outlooks and concerns of the different groups you address.

“Your message must be accessible and relatable to each audience, whether that’s end users, executive decision makers, or potential investors,” says Navin Chaddha, Managing Director at Mayfield. “This is how you convey why your product is so important and how it will change things. Work on this message. Hone it. Because a clear and compelling product narrative is how you spread your vision of the future.”

Navin Chaddha

NAVIN CHADDHA
Managing Director

Enterprise, Consumer, Semiconductors

Founding Voices: Empowerment Drives Growth

Originally part of our Founding Voices newsletter series. Read more insights here.

Empowerment Drives Growth

Founders have a tendency to be hands-on, touching every important task, meeting, and decision. The desire is understandable, but it’s important to resist the urge to be so granularly involved. This approach is not only unsustainable in terms of bandwidth, it’s also not good for business.

You’ve worked hard to build a standout team of capable people. So delegate to them. Show your trust and confidence in your team’s abilities by giving them opportunities to grow, learn new things, and take on new responsibilities.

 

“It’s only when there is a lack of growth, then there is stagnation and politics.”

ANOOP GUPTA
Co-founder and CEO, SeekOut

Empowering your team allows you, the founder, to focus on leading well. At the same time, employees can expand their intellectual horizons and advance their careers. The net result of these efforts is a more skilled, motivated, and productive workforce.

Make employee empowerment a core aspect of your organizational culture. Talk with employees about their development and help plan the way forward. Creating an environment of growth, responsibility and learning improves your overall capabilities, and allows your team and the business to perform better.

“Your company’s greatest asset is its people, and people’s needs change” says Rajeev Batra, who helped lead Mayfield’s investment in SeekOut. “If you want to retain top talent, employee growth must be a business priority. You need to give your team space to explore and learn new ideas, skills and responsibilities.”

Navin Chaddha

RAJEEV BATRA
Partner

Enterprise, Consumer

October Human & Planetary Health Newsletter

In this edition:

  • Next-Gen Biomanufacturing Company Prolific Machines Launches with $42M to Build the Assembly Line for Biology
  • Mammoth Co-founder & CEO Trevor Martin & Ursheet Share Company Building Learnings on TechCrunch Live
  • Arvind Shares his POV on Planetary Health Investing & What he Looks for in Companies with Axios and BIOS
  • UBCO Partners with Chemix to Create World’s First Ultra-Safe, High-Energy Cobalt-Free Battery
  • Endpoint Health Launches New Precision Immunology Program, Appoints First Chief Medical Officer
  • Mirvie Expands Leadership Team with Appointment of Alison Cowan, M.D. as Head of Medical Affairs

Next-Gen Biomanufacturing Company Prolific Machines Launches with $42M to Build the Assembly Line for Biology

The manufacturing process for cultured meat has historically been difficult and expensive. We are thrilled to partner with the Prolific Machines team as they pioneer a unique manufacturing approach for cultured meat cells and beyond that will transform industries by creating an assembly line for biology. Arvind shares five insights from investing in Prolific below.

Read more >>

Mammoth Co-founder & CEO Trevor Martin & Ursheet Share Company Building Learnings on TechCrunch Live

Mammoth Biosciences CEO & Co-founder Trevor Martin joined Mayfield’s Ursheet at TechCrunch Live for a candid conversation on Mammoth’s inception to iconic journey.  Watch the recording to learn how to create built to last relationships with co-founders and investors, align around the vision and mission, recruit a world-class team, turn an audacious goal into tangible progress, and more.

Watch here >>

Arvind Shares his POV on Planetary Health Investing & What he Looks for in Companies with Axios and BIOS

Arvind sat down with Megan Hernbroth at Axios to share insights into his investment strategies and the future of climate technology. He was also featured in a Q&A by BIOS where he shared advice for founders preparing to fundraise, what he looks for in founders and inception-stage companies, finding product-market-fit in capex heavy companies, and more.

Read more >>



UBCO Partners with Chemix to Create World’s First Ultra-Safe, High-Energy Cobalt-Free Battery

UBCO, the global leader in electric utility vehicles, has partnered with cutting edge AI-powered battery platform Chemix to commercialize sustainable, ultra-safe, and high-energy cobalt-free (Co-free) Li-ion battery technology. Chemix is using AI to develop battery chemistries similar to how AI has been applied to speed up drug development, and this collaboration will help reduce battery dependence on rare earth minerals.

Read more >>

Endpoint Health Launches New Precision Immunology Program, Appoints First Chief Medical Officer

Endpoint Health has acquired Iconic Therapeutics as part of its newest precision immunology program, which aims to transform immune-mediated inflammatory disease treatment with novel precision medicine strategies. The team also welcomed Ransi Somaratne, M.D. as their first Chief Medical Officer to lead the company’s clinical strategy and drug development programs.

Read more >>

Mirvie Expands Leadership Team with Appointment of Alison Cowan, M.D. as Head of Medical Affairs

Mirvie, a pioneer in predicting unexpected pregnancy complications, has welcomed Alison Cowan as Head of Medical Affairs. Dr. Cowan will guide Mirvie’s continued clinical and commercial development of the proprietary Mirvie RNA platform, which is first to predict preeclampsia and preterm birth months before they happen by revealing the underlying biology of each pregnancy.

Read more >>