On the fundraising side, the number one piece of advice I have to entrepreneurs out there is, don’t get attached to an investor, get attached to a process. And what that means is decide what your process for fundraising is going to be, and try to be unemotional about firms and investors that come in and assess them objectively, don’t fall in love. If you fall in love, you may end up taking a lower value deal than you should take or you may evaluate how much you like that person, not about what their firm could bring to the table. And so you want to be clear-eyed about choosing that. So we always said, we were at Uber things like we’re going to spend four weeks on fundraising. We’re going to do 15 meetings and whatever valuation it spits out, it spits out. We’re going to take. We’re going to test the market and we didn’t get patched to evaluation and too much. This is not to say that some investors don’t add more value relative to others, but make that one of the criteria not the only criteria.
Do you think Uber ends up making more money on Uber Eats than driving?
The ride-hailing business is bigger than the food delivery business because when people are relying on Uber—like you did before you got your car, you were taking it every single day, potentially multiple times a day. The food delivery business, people are not typically ordering food multiple times a day from Uber Eats. It’s just less of an everyday habit, less of a reliance, if you will.
How do you make money?
I started or was a very early employee at 4 start-ups from 1995 through 2017. I almost always invested my own money (whatever little I had given student loans) and got equity to join a start-up. Along side of equity, I had to sacrifice on salary as that is the general trade offs relative to corporate jobs. If you are good and lucky, when these companies go public or get bought, the equity could be worth something. After my tour of duty working at start-ups, I now invest in start-ups and advise them. I see a lot more different businesses this way, but it makes it easier to invest across different sectors.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Unfortunately for me, I can’t sleep when I have an important idea I am trying to develop. I toss and turn and take notes on my iPhone in the middle of the night. I then discuss a half-formed idea with someone I consider an expert in that area or someone who thinks differently than I do to see if the idea is dumb or not. Once I decide an idea is worth it, I try to find a place for that idea. Is it a new company to start? An idea for an existing company to complement what they do? I try to lose no time on ideas because the world is more competitive than it’s ever been.