Sam Zaid has started several startups. His most recent venture has already attracted hundreds of millions of dollars in funding, and could change how we use and own cars, while having a massive positive impact on the environment.
During our interview on the DealMakers Podcast, Zaid shared how he got into tech startups, his early full cycle journeys, tips on when to raise money and how to time your venture, as well as dealing with a 99% rejection rate.
Sam Zaid was originally born in York. The original York in the United Kingdom.
His father was an electrical engineer and traveling professor. That meant they moved around a lot when he was young. They spent time in the Middle East, Europe, Canada, and eventually he came to the US.
From a young age that taught him how to make new friends, get used to new ways of doing things and new systems and adapt. A great foundation for all entrepreneurs.
His father was also a big believer in the future role of computers. He would build his own and borrow Macs from work. Sam and his brother would fight over who would get to use it to play games.
This was his first inspiration to get into computer programming. He wrote a little program he called locksie-lockout to lock his brother out of the computer, so that he could get more game time.
He says that not only inspired him with the freedom to create things and make your own rules, but with the power computers had. Having this ability that few others did felt like a super power, and he fell in love with it.
Entrepreneurs Don’t Fit In As Cogs In The Machine
Sam tried to get a job as a bagger at the local grocery store. They wouldn’t hire him. Which actually turned out to be a very good thing.
At 14 years old he was recruited as a professional computer programmer.
Still, he went on to pursue his education and add to his knowledge by studying engineering and physics at university.
This landed him a job working as a photonics engineer, working on the fiber optic components that make the backbone of the internet.
This role was at a big Fortune 100 company. Though, while he liked the work, he realized the big corporate environment wasn’t for him. He saw too many people around him just there to punch the clock, and who were really unattached to the outcome of their work.
Sam craved working on something with purpose, and with a team that really cared about what they were doing. The type of environment in which you are passionate about working 12 or 14 hours a day. He found that in software startups.
Full Cycle Entrepreneurship
Zaid’s first real startup venture was Apption. A big data AI startup that served the companies he didn’t want to work directly for as a time card punching employee.
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