Naveen Jain has created a whole string of successful startups. Now with his seventh venture he is tackling a problem faced by eight billion people around the world.
On the Dealmakers Show, Jain talks about creating your legacy, the best time to start a company, his framework for starting successful companies, the three questions to ask before starting a company, and the recipe for building a $100B company.
Plus, the number one predictor of startup success, why being an expert is overrated, how food can be as powerful as medicine, how to raise $170M, and how to think about exits and acquisitions.
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The Best Time To Start A Company
Naveen Jain has now lived and operated businesses through the dot com bust, the 2008 Great Recession, COVID lockdowns, and the 2023 banking crisis.
He even took his first company public in the midst of the dot com crisis.
Naveen wants everyone to know that many of the best and most successful companies have been started in what many consider the tough times.
In fact, he says that trying to start a business in the middle of the euphoric peaks of the markets is not the right time to start. In those moments there is so much free money, that people raise enormous amounts, just to give away products. Few have a real business model at all. Which means you are competing against billions of dollars that other entrepreneurs and corporations are just willing to throw away to beat you.
He says that “the best time to really build a company is when the markets are tough. Because now you’re actually building a company that has a business model and you just have to stay focused providing tremendous value to your customers.”
It may be challenging, though he likens it to your heartbeat. The only way you know that you are alive is that you have a heartbeat which means your life is experiencing ups and downs. When your heartbeat is smooth then you are dead. Which means if you are looking for an easy life (smooth life) as an entrepreneur, you’re looking to live a life like a dead person. An entrepreneur should expect and accept these ups and downs. When it’s tough, all you have to do is hunker down and have faith that the next beat will be up.
He just warns never to become too arrogant in the up moments, as like a heartbeat up beat is followed by a downbeat which is to always remember that the winter will come after a great summer.
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The Framework For Building A Billion Dollar Company
On the Dealmakers Podcast, Jain shared the framework that he has used to create seven wildly successful companies.
It really all boils down to asking the right questions. These three questions in particular.
- Why this?
- Why now?
- Why me?
You have to have a strong why. He says that creating a 100 billion dollar company shouldn’t be the point. Rather focus on how you can solve a problem that a billion people are suffering from. If you do that, it is easy to create a 100 billion dollar company. The money will simply be a side product of what you are doing to solve their problem.
When you take this approach and are delivering value that will retain lifelong customers, you are also building a sustainable business.
Do not start with a solution or technology, and try to find a problem for it. Ask yourself what problem can I solve that will improve the lives of 1 billion people. You can create a 100 billion dollar company If you remain focused on building a product or service that will improve the lives of 1 billion people. At the end of the day, making money is simply a byproduct of improving the lives of other people.
Key To Successful Entrepreneurship – Timing!
Naveen says that the number one predictor of success for entrepreneurs is timing. In spite of what some may say, this doesn’t have to be a matter of luck.
His simple method is to look back at what has changed over the past couple of years, and forward over the next five years to see what advances in technology and parallel discoveries are allowing these problems to be approached and solved like never before.
Then you just take your really big problem and break it down into steps that you need to solve, to make the big goal achievable. Then just focus on the next problem in front of you.
In this process, he actually says that being a domain expert can be counterproductive. Instead, it can be an advantage to be an outsider. Which allows you to ask different questions, not be bound by industry assumptions, and to often just use common sense that is being overlooked.
So, while some may see your lack of ‘expert’ status as a liability, it can actually be your biggest asset.
Food As Medicine
Naveen’s latest startup is Viome. A healthtech and longevity company focused on personalized nutrition, early diagnostics, and ultimately the prevention of chronic diseases like diabetes, depression, Alzheimer’s, cancers, and more.
It’s all about a new and unique way to track what’s going on in our bodies and to prescribe the right personalized and custom-made supplements, along with other dietary recommendations.
Viome has already raised $170M for the mission and has helped over 500,000 people to take control of their own health so they can live long healthy lives.
Storytelling is everything which is something that Naveen Jain was able to master. Being able to capture the essence of what you are doing in 15 to 20 slides is the key. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here), where the most critical slides are highlighted.
Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
Listen in to the full podcast episode to find out more, including:
- How to think about exits and acquisitions
- How to build your team and lead them
- How Viome works
- Building the right board, and how to manage them well
- How to raise $170M for your startup