Kevin O’Connor is the founder of FindTheBest, a comparison engine and data driven content platform, which he established in Santa Barbara, California, in 2009. FindTheBest recently opened an office in New York City.
Kevin started his first software company in 1983, at the dawn of the PC; in 1995, at the beginning of the commercial Internet, he founded DoubleClick. DoubleClick helped put Silicon Alley on the map and sparked a network of entrepreneurs and new boom companies. Now, Kevin is working to help bring order to the chaos of the web with the comparison engine FindTheBest, recently funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers’ sFund.
Kevin has been on both sides of the VC table, founding his own VC firm O’Connor Ventures. He cut his management teeth while coaching wrestling, and has found time to pen The Map of Innovation, Creating Something Out of Nothing. Whatever spare time Kevin has, he spends surfing or skiing.
Today, we are happy to have Kevin participate in our Q&A series.
1. What made you take the entrepreneurial leap?
When I was getting out of college, there were a couple of guys named Jobs and Gates that were transforming the world. It was then I realized that how individuals could create brand new transformative companies. I don’t think I even knew ‘entrepreneur’ was even a word – I just knew tech.
2. How would you rank the following factors in determining a startup’s success: Idea, Market, Team. Please explain.
To build a great startup you have to create the best solution (product) to a huge problem (market) with a great team – can’t do it unless you have all 3.
3. What is the hardest part about being an entrepreneur?
A lot of people say ‘no’ in the beginning so you have to really believe in what you’re doing. You always wonder if you’re brilliant or delusional. You need to know which one it is!
4. What is the most rewarding part of being an entrepreneur?
For me, solving a big problem is the most rewarding part of what I do. To know you are building something of value that helps people be more productive.
5. What’s your advice for someone who is thinking about starting a business?
Focus on solving a problem and being the best at it, don’t focus on an exit strategy. If you have the top solution you’ll have lots of options so don’t limit yourself or be distracted by the exit. If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, don’t do it.
6. Where can we learn more about your company?
On FindTheBest.com we have an introduction video, job listings and a blog.