Ep. 990: Ali Tamaseb Interview with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio


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Ali Tamaseb has spent thousands of hours manually amassing what may be the largest dataset ever collected on startups, comparing billion-dollar startups with those that failed to become one—30,000 data points on nearly every factor: number of competitors, market size, the founder’s age, his or her university’s ranking, quality of investors, fundraising time, and many, many more. And what he found looked far different than expected. Just to mention a few:

Most unicorn founders had no industry experience; There’s no disadvantage to being a solo founder or to being a non-technical CEO; Less than 15% went through any kind of accelerator program; Over half had strong competitors when starting–being first to market with an idea does not actually matter.

Tamaseb tells the stories of the early days of billion-dollar startups first-hand. He includes exclusive interviews with the founders/investors of Zoom, Instacart, PayPal, Nest, Github, Flatiron Health, Kite Pharma, Facebook, Stripe, Airbnb, YouTube, LinkedIn, Lyft, DoorDash, Coinbase, and Square, venture capital investors like Elad Gil, Peter Thiel, Alfred Lin from Sequoia Capital and Keith Rabois of Founders Fund, as well as previously untold stories about the early days of ByteDance (TikTok), WhatsApp, Dropbox, Discord, DiDi, Flipkart, Instagram, Careem, Peloton, and SpaceX.

Tamaseb provides counterintuitive insights and inside stories from people who have built massively successful companies. His book Super Founders is a paradigm-shifting and actionable guide for entrepreneurs, investors, and anyone interested in what makes a startup successful.

Bio: Ali Tamaseb is a partner at DCVC, a VC firm in Silicon Valley with over $2 billion under management. He holds several leadership and board positions at companies across the U.S. and globally.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

Silicon Valley Startups Collecting Data Super Founders The Unicorn and the Non-Unicorn The Domain Expertise College Degree Doesn’t Matter Eric Yuan and Zoom Social Media Companies

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