Build what you love, and don’t focus on the money.
I’m inspired every day by the creativity and boldness of strong founders. Seeing founders achieve the impossible, simply because they don’t live within traditional limits, always excites and inspires me.
After exiting China Export Finance, I took 3 years and focused on working with a portfolio of young technology companies to help them along the journey to build their businesses. During that time, I was exposed to both inspiring talent and a wide set of challenges that really opened my eyes—to the unique nature of every business, yes, but also to the problems and solutions they often had in common.
Working with these founders not only grounded me as a mentor, but also provided me with countless insights and significant growth that prepared me for my tenure at Digital Ocean, where I was able to leverage my 20 years of experience and build the company from the ground up—ultimately reaching 500+ employees and over $200M in revenue. I’m thrilled to be able to share this playbook of knowledge and experience with M13’s partner entrepreneurs, across every stage of growth.
Here at M13, our portfolio companies have the unique advantage of a deep, experienced bench, ready to actively support their needs and provide executive-level capabilities in areas where their own resources might be limited. We look to help these companies navigate key strategic planning moments and hurdles specifically oriented around growth, aiming to help them rise above the fold and win in their category.
I truly believe that success is a team mission. M13’s commitment to community allows us to be effective investors and mentors, but also provides an opportunity for founders to gain incredible value from the talent and resources that surround them.
I learned the true value of community in the midst of the 2008 financial crisis. China Export Finance—a fintech business underwritten by AIG and backed by a syndicate of global banks—was on the precipice of disaster for nearly 6 months as the market was dealing with the fallout. The unwavering commitment and support of a strong board and dedicated team was the key to success through tough market conditions. We survived the crunch and still grew in 2009 by 60%+ to $137M in revenue.
The best advice I’ve gotten in my career is “build what you love” and “don’t focus on the money.” Beyond that, remember to ask for help, and to show appreciation wherever it’s earned.