After interviewing more than 100 startups over the last two years and making 21 investments, I usually get asked what my advice would be for the budding tech entrepreneurs or young, aspiring students who have visions of one day entering the world of tech. What area they should be investing in for the future?
My answer to this question is: "Your network is your net worth." As you grow in your career, you continue to acquire skills and business acumen, but the only thing that will truly make a significant impact will be who you know and who you are connected with. As they say, "Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future."
DoorDash, a cash-burning startup, received funding from SoftBank only after early-stage investor Pejman Nozad of Pear VC essentially helped bring the two together. Nozad, who is neighbors with Jeff Housenbold, the managing director and founding managing partner at SoftBank, eventually introduced Housenbold to Tony Xu, the CEO of DoorDash.
This led to $535 million in funding from SoftBank and others, and a $1.4 billion valuation.
Pejman is a true example of how far your network can take you, regardless of whether, as in the case of Pejman, you lack money or certain degrees. But his drive and willingness to network have made him the poster child of Silicon Valley connectors.