Top 10 Startup Mistakes
You cannot be a General if you have never been to war. I made all of the mistakes on this list below and more throughout my 20+ year business career. I started my 1st company during my 2nd year at Harvard Business School with my classmate Soon Loo when I was 27 years old and living on US$4 a day in poverty. Within 18 months after graduation, our startup had raised over US$38m in venture capital, grew to 150 employees, and had a US$200m acquisition offer on the table. We foolishly rejected any discussions because we had big IPO dreams. As luck would have it, the stock market tanked soon afterwards while the economy fell apart, shutting the door completely to the capital markets. We were burning through cash and had to pivot our business model. A year later, we sold the company at a much lower valuation. In that startup alone, I made almost all of the mistakes on this list.
People often ask me today how ONE Championship went from a dream on a piece of paper less than 5 years ago to Asia’s largest sports media property in history. My answer is simple. I have tons of battle scars. Years before ONE was even born, I went through many failures and mistakes. And they teach you what no textbook or classroom can. Embrace them as wonderful opportunities to learn, grow, and evolve. Failures and mistakes are simply stepping stones to your future greatness.