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SCV entrepreneurs learn tips from 'ole' pro

Posted: June 3, 2014 5:02 p.m.
Updated: June 3, 2014 5:02 p.m.

Serial entrepreneur Ole Eichhorn shared his insights as to what makes a successful startup drawing upon his experiences with companies like PayPal and working with highly successful entrepreneurs like Elon Musk.

 

Well-known serial entrepreneur, software engineer, architect and manager, Ole Eichhorn spoke with Santa Clarita’s startup community and tech accelerator group SCV Startup last Thursday.

As founder, co-founder and executive manager with several tech companies, Eichhorn’s resume alone helped to pack a room full of startup people attending the event held at Small Dog Creative in Valencia.

Having held executive positions at notable companies such as PayPal, Online BillPay at Intuit Digital Insight and XP Systems, Eichhorn has also founded or helped to found several leading-edge companies – including eyesFinder in 2013, DoubleBeam and Aperio.

Sharing his insights as to what it takes to truly make a successful business, Eichhorn said that core ideas can be broken down into key areas including refining an idea, fundraising, building a great team, and marketing.

Eichhorn drew upon lessons he learned while working at PayPal directly with Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and Space X; Peter Thiel, venture capitalist and first investor in Facebook; Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn; as well as Max Levchin.

Speaking on topics that can become the subject of entire university-taught courses, he went to great lengths to break the concepts down for the local startup community.

“It’s not enough to say your target market is IBM,” Eichhorn said.

An entrepreneur must really understand their target market, he said. Understanding the target market will help a startup focus on who it is truly marketing towards, and better identify exactly problems the company is solving for its target audience.

Eichhorn also cover details about fundraising for a startup, covering methods from venture capital tips and tricks to the formula for issuing convertible debt.

It also is important to “have your story,” he said. “What has brought you to be here, and why should these people help you? If you believe in yourself, then they will believe you as well.”

Part of every great company has a great team, Eichhorn said. He expanded upon the idea of making a great work environment, building a hiring plan, the value of interns, as well as partners and their roles.

“Founding a company by yourself is dumb, get five people in a group and remember that they complement your skills,” Eichhorn said. “A whole team of people great in one skill won’t be as effective as a diverse group.”

In the final segment of his presentation, Eichhorn reviewed marketing giving more insights as to how a company needs to distinguish itself from the rest of the competition, making sure to define itself as the leader of a segment and creating value for customers.

He also advised that companies make sure their name is “Google-able.” In today’s technology driven society, a startup wants to be sure people can find it, he said.

Eichhorn’s last word to SCV Startup was to be honest, “Don’t fool yourself. Ask for help when you need it and be up front with yourself, team members, customers, and investors.”

To learn more about future presentations or the local startup community and tech accelerator, visit www.scvstartup.com

 

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