9 Brilliant Startup Tips with Former Yahoo! VP Bassel Ojjeh
Startups often think that getting funded is a grand achievement. But is it?
Bassel Ojjeh doesn't think so. As the former Senior VP of the Strategic Data Solutions division at Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO) and the founder of several companies, Ojjeh came to this conclusion with years of experience.
“I'd like to think of myself as a data practitioner and evangelist and have been passionate about data throughout my career,” Ojjeh told Benzinga. “I believe anyone can tell a great story, but the greatest story can be told if based on data-driven insights.”
Ojjeh's latest venture is nPario, a company that empowers “business users to drive more relevant experiences for their customers through data.”
“We do that by simplifying the complexity of data and providing deep insights about their customers' interests and intent,” Ojjeh explained. “Our clients typically have a customer base that is larger than most countries, and those customers use multiple devices to transact with our clients, including PCs, tablets, mobile devices, and connected TVs.”
Ojjeh said that nPario designed its apps for publishes and marketing clients. “The apps deliver the most relevant insights to specific user groups, including account executives, analysts and advertising operations specialists,” he said. “With nPario, clients can build or extend existing apps since we provide an open and extensible platform. This helps clients capitalize on their own internal innovation.”
nPario is currently focused on “growing market share and achieving profitability,” said Ojjeh. “It's a challenge all startups go through, but we have a solid business plan, client base, and partnerships that extend our portfolio and value.”
Ojjeh's previous venture, DMX Group, was “yet another data company that I founded with a dear friend, was acquired by Yahoo,” he said. “Before that, I co-founded a company called Audience Science, and I spent 10 years at Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT).”
“I've been blessed in having my career range from working at great, large companies like Microsoft and Yahoo to starting companies like nPario and Audience Science,” Ojjeh continued. “In the case of both Audience Science and nPario, I was working at a large company and saw the need for a startup built from the ground up to offer companies an efficient way to harness the power of Big Data for audience insights and marketing,” Ojjeh explained. “That was the inspiration for my startup ventures.”
Ojjeh has provided the following tips for other entrepreneurs who hope to launch a startup of their own:
- “Funding is not an achievement. It's merely a way to buy time to reach a goal. I'm puzzled when I see companies tout how much funding they received. Would the same companies issue a press release if they received a loan from [a] bank?”
- “The synergy between entrepreneurs and their investors is what makes or breaks a company.”
- “Your first 10 hires help define the culture of the company. The next 10 hires show if you can scale. The following 10 hires indicate if you will ever hit profitability.”
- “Entrepreneurs can never overestimate their ability to sell based on passion.”
- “No one else can sell based on passion, so you'd better build the right sales tools so others can sell.”
- “Avoid something called “founderitis.” It's a condition that occurs when founders feel they deserve it all and know it all.”
- “Advisors are a great source of insights and wisdom for an entrepreneur. Use them abundantly.”
- “Think and rethink your two-liners that describe what value you bring and to whom.”
- “Learn how to tell a story.”
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