Traits that make founders successful: Partners from Sequoia, Bessemer, and Lightspeed share their experience

I asked partners from VC firms like Sequoia, Bessemer, and Lightspeed what traits make founders successful.

Between seed stage and unicorn status, the business model or market can change, but the founder has an outsized impact.

Here’s a thread on the 7 traits they identified 🧵

1. Curiosity & Decisiveness

Top founders read, listen, and talk to other people to drive product development and customer research.

Founders should be “learning animals” and strategic, thinking 3 or 4 steps ahead.

2. Effective Team Building

The best founders are aware of their strengths and weaknesses, hiring a team to fill the gaps and augment their skill set.

Successful founders are focused on building a great company, even when it means hiring candidates who have greater expertise.

3. Deep Expertise

Successful entrepreneurs must have deep expertise in their area.

Having novel insights or a unique superpower can create a competitive advantage that helps you scale a company.

4. Customer Empathy

Great founders have a strong sense of customer empathy.

Founders should light up when they talk about their customers.

It helps when founders have lived experience or are deeply passionate about the problem they are solving.

5. Growth Mindset

Entrepreneurship requires determination and courage.

The founders that do well stay close to their customers, have a tight feedback loop, are never satisfied with the product in the market, and have a relentless pursuit to improve.

6. Vision Driven, Commercial Focused

Founders should start with a mission to change the world, but identify a solution that is commercial and eventually can be profitable.

When purpose is combined with curiosity and courage, it gives the team fuel to build an enduring company.

7. Balanced Mindset

The best founders are dreamers, grounded in reality.

A founder has to ignore all the no’s at first to start a company, but then listen to all the feedback as they grow their company.

They must be a relentless visionary, but also rational and open-minded.

Seed stage investing is an art, not a science.

And in a similar vein, there’s no one size fits all founder.

These traits had an immediate impact on what I look for and how I help our portfolio companies.

If you liked this thread, like or retweet

For this blog post, we interviewed @Alfred_Lin @mcadonofrio @mercebent @miriamulu1 @MrStartup and @VCSerge who have had great success picking start-ups that have scaled into dominant companies.

The full blog post is here:

Follow: @jarridvtingle



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