Dream boldly, and move with purpose
Founders can sometimes feel pressure to “underreach” with their ideas, sacrificing ambition for accessibility and immediate term business viability. While it’s a good instinct to show your product is feasible, you shouldn’t hamstring a grand idea to fit it into the limitations of today’s means and technology.
“We want to produce cultured meat at a price point that competes with factory farming, and that requires creating a fundamentally new approach. If we can do that, then a lot of things that are currently impossible become possible.”
Co-founder & CEO, Prolific Machines
Ambition is valuable, but how do you differentiate your idea as a serious contender to fundamentally change your industry, or indeed the world?
Beyond telling a stellar product story, you must showcase your sweat equity. If your idea is a breakthrough away from feasibility, then know the failure modes in your sleep. Talk to leaders in the field and hire them. Demonstrate mastery over your technical challenge, build the right product and get customers involved at the very beginning. Then you’re ready to disrupt industries.
“I want people to come to me with unique insights into keystone problems that can change the world, if solved,” says Arvind Gupta, who led Mayfield’s inception stage investment in Prolific Machines. “For me, backing something truly game-changing is an opportunity to contribute long-term to humanity. As a founder, be prepared for a long, unpredictable road. When things look great, stuff will go wrong. Likewise, as hope may be dwindling, perseverance creates opportunity. Excellence in every dimension is what it takes to change history. Only when people see that will they start to believe.”
Human & Planetary Health