Howard Love is a startup legend founding or co-founding a total of 15 companies since 1985. Some of his most notable enterprises have been LoveToKnow, PageWise, and Flex Jobs. He recently released his new book, “The Startup J Curve” that outlines the life cycle of successful startups.
While attending Colgate University, Howard and his venture partner changed the school’s computer network to a trading system. It evolved into a technical analysis and software charting package for users of the original IBM PC. They made an okay name for themselves and later got involved in software development tools. After moving to Silicon Valley, they named the tool “Zap” and sold them in abundance. By 1996, their original charting package eventually merged with Roguewave Software and provided him with enough funds to start angel investing.
At the time, Angel investing was frowned upon and lacked structure. Howard and his partner decided to be a lot more hands on with entrepreneurs by partnering up and offering additional support. Howard would launch startups with any candidate he thought had potential. They may polish the original idea, provide substantial funding, and even lead the first round.
Howard values the character of individuals he works with because he believes the team is most important. Funding will come and go and the the idea constantly changes. Your team members on the other hand, will stay the same which is why it’s important that everyone’s compatible for the long-term.
“The Original Business Plan Never Works…But that’s Okay!”
In his 35 years of entrepreneurship, Howard understands that startups either evolve or die. The Startup J Curve describes the life cycle of successful startups. Many successful startups take time to eventually reach their peak. Popular “overnight success stories” such as Twitter and Groupon he feels are a misconception.
Howard admires the efforts of startups creating a solid business plan but looks more for the ability to pitch their idea. What he looks for in a business pitch is the team’s resourcefulness; are they able to do a lot with a little? He also wants a sharp and open mind, ambition, passion along with an undeniable energy that can sustain the growth process.
Above all, he feels that you have to like the individuals on a personal level before even considering investing time — let alone money — into their venture.
The full interview with Howard Love can be viewed here