Introducing our new podcast, Problem Solvers with Jason Feifer, which features business owners and CEOs who went through a crippling business problem and came out the other side happy, wealthy, and growing. Feifer, Entrepreneur’s editor in chief, spotlights these stories so other business can avoid the same hardships. Listen below or click here to read more shownotes.
Sam Sisakhti had a great idea. He wanted to start a company that would sell clothes designed by independent fashion designers all over the world — effectively breaking down the big barriers that many talented upstarts face when trying to get their clothes to market. In his head, he was thinking: This is the next Amazon.
And at first, people seemed to agree that Sisakhti did indeed have a great idea. He and his partner booked a meeting with a venture capitalist to pitch their company UsTrendy.
“The two of us didn’t really know what we were doing,” he says. “But we had a connection in Silicon Valley. We went out there, and for some reason — I mean this is so rare — but the first meeting we had they offered us half a million seed. Which was crazy.”
But then, things went sideways. Sisakhti’s partner refused to move to Silicon Valley, even though that was one of the terms of the deal. The VC pulled the money. Sisakhti, though inexperienced, was arrogant from hitting a home run in his first at bat. He figured he’d just go pitch more VCs.
More turned into a lot more — around 150 more. And every one of them rejected him. During those 18 grueling months, he kept changing his business plan, trying to accommodate all their notes.
“I was spending all of my time pitching, and I wasn’t spending any of my time building the business,” he says.
Entrepreneurs get a lot of no’s; it’s part of the territory. But even by the usual standards, Sisakhti is special. In this episode of Problem Solvers hosted by executive editor Joe Keohane, he takes us through the mistakes he made, and the big lessons he learned — about himself, his company and entrepreneurship in general — that drove him to become the success he is today.
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