The goal at Eniac Ventures is to provide capital to entrepreneurs who use code to create transformational companies. Within this company is Nihal Mehta, a founding general partner, with years of entrepreneurial experience and connections to some of the world’s largest brands and companies. Mehta presented his journey at the Pittsburgh Technology Council to approximately 40 of its startup members. He provided them with his insight, inspiration and a big dose of reality.
The power of venture capital networks can be overstated, but Pittsburgh is working very hard to bring more to the area. Mehta guest speaks at business schools and organizations around the country and he shared a quote that stated, “A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.” He then stated that Eniac Ventures tries to add value to every entrepreneur it meets. They encourage everyone to try and be an entrepreneur, and he says that the most valuable quality is “the diligent will to persevere.”
“As an investor, we like entrepreneurs who have failed once as they are very resilient,” said Mehta. “They are so much more motivated and are a lot more successful in the end. Entrepreneurs that have done really well previously, are not as motivated the next time around.”
“A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.“
Mehta also mentioned that the number one pipeline problem in society today is that women appear to be left out of the IT industry. For example, he said that nine out of 10 engineers are men. And he believes the solution to this problem is to eliminate the gender gap in both science and technology. “The goal is to make computer science ‘cool’ for young women,” Mehta said.
Mehta then gave feedback about the problems he faced during his entrepreneurial career and what he would have done differently throughout the process: “The biggest mistake was hiring way before revenue, If I was to do that again, I would have a headcount that scaled to additional business.” This quote regards his efforts when starting the ‘Philly2Nite’ company.
A tip of advice that Mehta gave the audience of entrepreneurs was to make sure that product manufacturing and shipping can be handled by at least two members of your organization in case other employees quit, or the market fails. He also advised: Be sure that product market fit exists. Product market fit is when a company has really figured out the niche of their products with their customers.
To conclude his presentation, Mehta said that building a startup is very hard, especially when it comes to hiring employees. Although stress in entrepreneurship can be high, he mentioned that we release our entrepreneurial energy by doing things that are “fun.” For Mehta it’s spending quality time with his family.
Story by Rachel Shaffer.