Arcady Sosinov’s startup is changing the mobility experience, and perhaps just about everything else about how we live and work too.
During our interview on the DealMakers podcast, Arcady Sosinov shared his adventure of creating, funding, and scaling a company. Including when to make the leap into entrepreneurship, essential tips on choosing and structuring your founding team and investors, and how to find the strength to keep going, even when your company runs out of cash. Plus, the future of mobility and how incredible the impact of electric mobility really is.
Land Of Opportunities: The American Dream
It takes courage, belief, and an enormous amount of hard work and an entrepreneurial spirit, but Arcady Sosinov and his family have proven that the American Dream is still alive, well, and functioning, if you are willing to put in the effort.
Arcady’s family is from a small town just 50 km away from Chernobyl. In fact, his mother was still pregnant with him when the historic Chernobyl power plant disaster happened.
As soon as they could his family escaped to St. Petersburg, where Arcady was born. No small feat during this period of the Soviet Union where there was really no freedom of mobility at all.
They ended up going back and growing up next to that power plant until the Soviet Union dissolved. It was right around then when his family was accepted as refugees into the US and ended up in New York.
Three generations of the family crammed into a tiny one-bedroom NYC apartment. As with most immigrant families, they were focused on doing well in education and working as hard as possible.
It worked out, and in addition to Arcady’s success story, his sister received her Ph.D. from Yale.
This was all an incredibly formative experience for Sosinov. One that definitely helped set him up for entrepreneurship and having the right mindset to do it. He saw his family leave absolutely everything behind and just go for it when they had the opportunity to come to the US. They were willing to take the risk.
Just as importantly, he gained their work ethic. He says since the age of 14 he has never not had a job or business. As soon as he was old enough, his mother would drive him to the local country club at 4:30 in the morning so he could put in 8-9 hours of work carrying golf bags. Then he would go home and give his family all of his earnings.
How To Know When To Make The Leap
How do you know when to take the leap of faith and launch into all of the uncertainty of entrepreneurship?
After college Sosinov found himself developing trading and accounting software for the Bank of New York Mellon, and a Boston-based hedge fund.
He continued to work on programming data analytics, implementation, and theories of investing in energy and utility fields.
Eventually, one of these companies moved him out to the San Francisco Bay Area. Being intellectually curious and wanting to flex, challenge, and maximize those mental muscles he joined Berkeley’s MBA program. He ended up simultaneously working a full-time job, doing his MBA, and launching his startup, all at the same time.
His business idea began evolving as a project in a class at Berkeley. He describes it as almost an incubator or accelerator program, where you have teachers who are experienced in business and investing.
He launched FreeWire during this time. One of his professors, angel investor Steve Blank offered him $50,000 to pursue the idea. He told the chairman of the hedge fund he was working for about it, and he also became an investor. These were the proof points that compelled him to go all-in on this venture full time.
Choosing & Structuring Your Founding Team
From getting funded to just making things work, most of your success in a startup is about the founding team. It is incredibly important to choose the right cofounders and structure things well.
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