What Andrea Barrica Learnt at 500 Startups

Andrea Barrica is an entrepreneur in residence and pitch coach at 500 startups. They welcome in their San Francisco office entrepreneurs from all over the world to help them create growth engine through sales and marketing. They help them understand how to fundraise and create a community and a network in the  Silicon Valley. Andrea is passionate about emerging markets and believes in the potential of turkish entrepreneurs. She shared the top 5 lessons she learnt while working with all these different ecosystems.

Lesson 1 “Entrepreneurs are great everywhere”

All the entrepreneurs have these common factors of talent and passion. You could even say they are all delusional and crazy. Each has a dream and is trying change the world his own way. Anywhere in the world there is a group of people trying to solve problems for its community.

“Every happy family is the same but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. ” – Tolstoy

What makes every ecosystem amazing are the entrepreneurs, the people. However what makes an ecosystem not so great can be different things: Infrastructure problems, lack of past successful entrepreneurs who can mentor the new ones, lack of experienced investors and most of all the fear of risk and failure. If there is one comparison to make with the entrepreneurial culture of the Silicon Valley it is that it’s ok to try big ideas there and fail whereas in many other ecosystems an entrepreneur who faced a failure is then stigmatised.

The problems that you see here have nothing to do with the quality of the entrepreneurs in the ecosystem.

Lesson 2 “Team and growth not PR, funding & business plan”

Entrepreneurs seem to be similar in the things they aren’t doing right. There are focusing on the wrong aspects, on the things they have learnt at school or read somewhere. Define what success means for your company. Define targets and hit them or pivot.

Lesson 3 “Be brutally honest with yourself and others”

Entrepreneurs needs to face the problems their startups have and they need to stop being nice with each others and be honest. They also need to hear the investors’ feedback on why they are not investing.

“You should stab someone in the front not the back” – 500 startups

Lesson 4 Global thinking is a mindset and a necessity

Having a global mindset does not necessarily mean starting globally in your approach but your ecosystem shouldn’t be the end of your startup knowledge.

Lesson 5 The next generation of startups won’t look like the last

And this is great for everyone because different problems are going to be solved. The next Mark Zuckerberg might be from an emerging market. Maybe from Turkey?


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