Veteran Entrepreneur Reveals the Single Greatest Factor to a Startup’s Success

Veteran Entrepreneur Reveals the Single Greatest Factor to a Startup’s Success
Riley Schatzle
June 11, 2015

Successful entrepreneur Bill Gross argues that out of five essential elements that make a startup successful, timing is, by far, the most important.
Gross is the founder of Idealab, a facility designed to foster innovative startup companies that constantly challenge the status quo. Idealab has formed and operated over 125 companies that has covered a diverse range of markets. From selling tickets online to creating databases full of practical city information, Gross has experienced the startup industry from every angle.
Gross believes that the startup industry has the ability to change the world in unimaginable ways. He said in a Ted Talks presentation filmed in March of 2015:
“If you take a group of people — with the right equity incentives — and organize them in a startup, you can unlock human potential in a way never before possible.”
In his presentation, Gross systematically broke down the ingredients that make up a successful startup company.
According to the legendary startup pioneer, there are five essential elements that lead to a startup’s success:
  1. Timing – Answer the questions: Is the consumer ready for the service or product, or is it too early? Would a company have to explain or educate the world on exactly what it is they do? Is it too late because the specific industry is already too impacted? If the answer is no to all those questions, the market is perfectly ripe and ready for a startup to change the world for the better.
  2. Team –  This element has everything to do with the execution, adaptability and chemistry of the people who compose the startup. This is a huge building block that supports future success.
  3. Idea – Initially, Gross thought that the idea was the most important piece to the puzzle — this is why he named his company Idealab.
  4. Business Model – This is where you are able to direct your team with predictive analysis, a clear-cut roadmap to success.
  5. Funding – Although this element comes in at last place, funding is extremely crucial.  It’s not the most important part, but at the end of the day, people need to get paid.
In order of importance, Gross explained why these the elements have been pivotal in shaping not only his own most successful companies, but companies that have developed into global gold mines, like Uber and Instagram.
Gross believes that the most important factor to consider when building a startup is timing. He further explains that success is based on timing because it all depends on whether or not the consumer is ready for what the startup is supplying — as in, do they need it, like, right now?
Loving the idea is key, but Gross explains that it does not matter how much the company loves the idea or believes in its application — the consumer has to love it. The consumer has to demand it.
Bill Gross’s presentation was given in a professional and timely manner, but his seven-minute discussion can be summed up with a quote from the late 19th century French poet Victor Hugo:
“All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come.”
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