• 03.04.13

The Question Every Entrepreneur Has To Answer

Sequoia Capital is among the best VCs in the game. And they ask (almost) every entrepreneur one (very) important question.

The Question Every Entrepreneur Has To Answer

If you’re an entrepreneur or thinking about becoming one, you should pay attention to the questions that VCs ask, especially when it’s perhaps the biggest name on Sand Hill Road: Sequoia Capital.


Writing at PandoDaily, Jason Calacanis talks about the question he hears most frequently from Sequoia investors when they’re offering coaching and feedback to startups pitching for funding: “Why now?”

In startups, timing is everything

Calacanis says that when they get asked the question, you can see their wheels turn.

“They start reflecting on perhaps one of the most important questions in the age of the insta-startup,” he writes, “What has changed that makes this the perfect time for this startup to exist?”

Looking into recent startup successes, Calacanis counts the ways:

  • YouTube: Bandwidth costs dive, video cameras go digital, and these things called smartphones–and their Internet-ready cameras–start appearing everywhere.
  • Uber: Smartphones, again, are everywhere–and it turns out they have awesome GPS. That, and mobile apps are mature enough to not collapse all the time.
  • Twitter: Everybody gets jealous of WordPress and Blogger’s intellectualizing, but the format had too much of creative and technical barriers of entry. In 140 characters, Twitter pithily dissolved them. (Also: Remember when they called it “mini-blogging”? Cute!)
  • Dropbox: Web storage gets hella cheap and rises in quality, and broadband, once the domain of the nerds, richies, and the companies they work at, becomes broadly available.

The question, then, is what are the whys happening now? If you know, tell us in the comments. Or start a company. Or both.

Pitching Sequoia? Here’s the big question you’ll need to answer.

Drake Baer covers leadership for Fast Company. You can pitch him on Twitter.


[Image: Flickr user Rolf Venema]

About the author

Drake Baer was a contributing writer at Fast Company, where he covered work culture. He's the co-author of Everything Connects, a book about how intrapersonal, interpersonal, and organizational psychology shape innovation.