The Business Wilderness podcast hosted special guest Adam Stone. Adam is a serial entrepreneur and the founder & CEO of Speedlancer. He is a 500 Startups alumnus and was named on the 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 list.
Adam was a keen entrepreneur from a young age. He started his first business as a 12 year old back when he was living in the US. His family then moved over to Australia when he was aged 14 and allowed him to start an e-commerce business, unlocking people’s phones.
Due to his young age, he outsourced a lot of his work and noticed that it was very difficult to have to vet every person you wanted to complete a task for you. An example of this, is if you just wanted a few graphics made up or a month worth of content. There’s no need to go through a thorough recruitment process for such menial tasks.
This led Adam to come up with the idea of Speedlancer, a freelancing platform that does all the recruiting for you and has them available on demand. In turn, he was recognised by Forbes in the 2017 30 under 30 list and his company made it to the 500 startups list.
One of the biggest challenges he faced was raising funds from investors. He notes that the best way to raise funds is to make sure your business has the fundamentals in-tact and that you’re prepared well. Adam relays a horrific story of when he went to meet up with a VC fund in Silicon Valley and after driving 2 hours to get there, was knocked back after 2 minutes!
He admits that he was severely under prepared and did not know his business well-enough and the investors saw right through him. As a result, he advises that those pitching to investors not let them run the meeting, instead you need to be in-charge of where the conversation heads.
With regards to raising capital, he advises to leave it as late as possible. If you can have a million dollars in revenue when you go to investors, than you are in the box seat. Otherwise, make sure you ask for appropriate capital in line with where your business stands and where you wish to take it.
Reminiscingly, he mentions that when he first wanted to raise funds, there was no one to approach so he had to go the US. However, some 1 to 2 years later he was able to completely raise funds from Australian investors. He notes that many places in the world are catching up when it comes to startup ecosystems and Australia is one of those places.
A common trend noticed is that there are many young founders coming up with brilliant ideas, but don’t really have a business model to monetize. Therefore, they are coming up with a brilliant app, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have an idea that you can transform into a business.
Focus on the business model and that will hold you in good stead. If you have a sales based business model, you must be able to justify the amount you are charging. Also, don’t forget to network well but don’t spend too much time doing so. Last, but not least, remember to hire cleverly and outsource as much as you can.
Oh yeah, don’t forget to use freelancers!
We thank Mr Adam Stone for his wonderful insight into the life of a young serial entrepreneur.
You can find him at:
Listen to the full podcast below: