Building Barriers of Entry
“The way you build barrier to entry I believe is building strong teams of people that have an imaginative or passionate way to do it that will be better than their competitors” – Alfred Mandel, Startup Business Advisor
Alan: You've spanned over 35 years in here Silicon Valley, have seen a lot of success in the companies that you work with, and as companies come to you, or you get involved with them, how do you weed out what's an okay idea versus a great idea.
Alfred: I look for belief and look forward a team that is strong together I look for ideas that I think are defensible and in the world of Internet in software today that everything is so easy and quick off-the-shelf to build components- you can't just be product itself unless there is some unique patentable feature or function because today as my father used to say, there's nothing new under the sun today, you find out very quickly. You build an app that does XY and Z and it starts making money within a very short time there's many many competitors because the barrier to entry is very very low. The way you build barrier to entry I believe is building strong teams of people that have an imaginative or passionate way to do it that will be better than their competitors. In fact most of my advising to these companies is preventing them from making the same mistakes I have made as an entrepreneur, I try to short-circuit some of those mistakes get them on a better path and that also try to build up the features of those guys in the company and the product that give them the competitive edge. Because entrepreneurs are dreamers and entrepreneurs are people that have passionate and believe that anything's possible and I don't like to dump reality on them I like to keep that idea alive that they can do anything but also try to temper that with the real-world situation and if I can do that effectively, it gives them a little bit of an advantage.
About Alfred Mandel:
Alfred has been an entrepreneur since his teens and has over thirty years experience in technology businesses, notably at Apple Computer and Redgate Communications. He co-founded and ran Tenex Medical Investors, which become this country’s largest angel investor group for the health and life sciences. In its eight years Tenex invested in over seventy companies, a quarter of which have had liquidity events.
Alfred is associated with many of the Valley’s leading venture capital firms, and several private equity groups, and is an advisor and side-along investor with many of them.
Mr. Mandel holds a degree in Environmental Studies, with a minor in Physics from UC Santa Barbara, a Masters in Environmental Design and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning, both from the School of Architecture at the University of Oregon.