Women Taking Entrepreneurship to the Next Level: Meet ABC Family’s Startup U CoStar Sequoia Blodgett
Photo Credit: Luc-Richard Photography
Becoming an entrepreneur is never a one night process OR one day success for that matter. Some fail when the first sight of trouble comes, never regaining their strength to continue in the journey.
Entrepreneurship takes extreme dedication and yes money!
One business mogul who has perfected the craft of generating a vast amount of money from investments is Sequoia Blodgett, from ABC’s Family Reality TV Show, “Startup U” .
Bloggers and journalists from all over the world were formally invited to a press conference in efforts to ask Sequoia many questions on how she got started, what moves should new entrepreneurs take in building their brand successfully, as well as how to manage time and the financial concerns that many entrepreneurs have when first getting started.
So how did Blodgett get started you may wonder? It all started at Draper University! Draper University is located in Silicon Valley, the southern San Francisco Bay Area, California. Silicon Valley is the home of many start up and global technological companies including Google, Facebook, and Apple, which is why Draper University fits right in.
Tim Draper , a venture capital investor and founder of BizWorld.org, a non-profit for children to learn the skills of entrepreneurship, is also the founder of Draper University. Tim Draper has funded start up companies such as Skype, Tesla, Hotmail and even Sequoia Blodgett’s “7AM”, a mobile business app that focuses on promoting positive intimate relationships.
Before Blodgett got her start at Draper University, she shared with the group of bloggers that she worked in the entertainment industry.
“I worked with a commercial and music video director for 9 years and directed some really interesting and cool pop videos for artists, such as Jacob Latimore and Justin Bieber. In May of last year, I got really, really sick and I was hospitalized. I was trying to figure out what was wrong specifically, but nobody knew. I had MRI’s done. A neurologist came and did brain scans, but they couldn’t figure it anything out. So I started to reflect and think to myself, ‘if this was the end’ because I was that sick. Would I be excited about the legacy that I’ve left?”, Blodgett revealed.
” Would I be excited about creating really great visuals? Not necessarily having the impact to the extent that I wanted, I was super, super excited about life coaching, personal development, and self-help. I was really passionate about that stage, but haven’t really explored it too much. So as I healed and got better I ended up moving in a different direction completely and started a business at the time called, “Love Uncut” which later was changed to 7AM. This business is an online marketplace all about personal development and relationship advice. In that process I found out about Draper University.”
The idea of developing an intimate relationship app came from her fascination with life coaching and the psychology behind human relationships. After completing the program at Draper University, she received a small angel investment and was the only person in her class to lock in a solid deal. Draper then also gave her money upfront and agreed to match another investor.
In the interview Blodgett shared her opinion on whether or not it is important for a young entrepreneur to save for a start up cost or find investors that see the value in the business product . ” Saving is important but it’s not as important as finding investors to fund your business.”
One of the 3 most important areas in leadership that Tim Draper instilled in Sequoia includes seeing failure in another light. “One of the biggest things I would say that Tim has instilled is that failure is not a negative thing. And that’s really interesting because in Silicon Valley, failure is praised. So anywhere else, you fail, you’re going to feel this kind of stigma, but at Silicon Valley, it’s like, “YES YOU FAILED!” That means you’re seasoned. It means you’ve done well. It’s really interesting because the perspective is completely different, ” Sequoia says.
“Just take action steps. No matter what, just go out and do it. That goes back to failure. Just try it and do it. Talking about it is one thing. Having an idea, you have to execute the idea. Have you done any work? What is your traction? What have you actually done? That’s what the VC wants to know. Have fun. Tim has a big personality. Nothing scares him. This is his normal everyday life. He just goes out and does it. This is an incredible attribute to have.”
Here are a few other exclusive interview questions Sequoia was asked :
You’re now walking in your victory with the launch of 7AM. Do you think you would be where you are today had you not been accepted into Draper University?
No. (She laughs) Not at all. Honestly, being in the entertainment industry was the mindset that I had, I probably would still be counting the payment. What Draper gives you is access, resources, and a network. Whereas starting a company by yourself already is a very daunting task, but having the eco- system that we have and the support system that we have, I can literally pop downstairs and I’m surrounded by a million incredible minds that I would never ever have access to because I came from a really different industry. Specifically with Tim Draper, I forget about how powerful Tim Draper is sometimes. I wonder if he can introduce me to XYZ. Tim can make an introduction to anybody in Silicon Valley. When Tim sends an email out, it comes back the next day. That is just how much power he has. No, there is no way in the world I would be where I am today, if it wasn’t for Draper University.
When helping other rising entrepreneurs at Draper University, what challenges did you face?
There’s a lot of people who want to talk about what they want to do, but don’t do it. For example, like at Startup U, you’ll see all of these individuals having these great ideas, but not the skill set to do it to execute it nor talk to those who do have the skill set to execute it.
When is it time to get a Venture Capitalist?
When people are buying, and you already have a consumer base. Venture Capitalist’s always look at the traction of the product. In most cases you may want to get an Angel Investor, which come before the traction. Just remember when raising capital it sometimes takes away from the product.