Jen O'Neal and Jeff Manheimer used their travel experiences and tech backgrounds to establish their startup. Tripping.com has since become the leading search engine for vacation rentals – offering over eight million properties in destinations worldwide. We sat down with them to discuss building a business, making tough decisions and the importance of a strong team.
What’s the best piece of advice you would give to a budding entrepreneur?
Jen: You need to make tough decisions as an entrepreneur. You do it on a daily basis, and you just get used to it after a while. But, it's really important that you can make a decision, stand behind it, and move quickly and move forward.
Jeff: In addition to that, I would say don't second guess your decision, whether it's the right or wrong answer. Just be behind it and learn from it either way.
You have to have the right people with you when you're building a company. We can't emphasize that enough.
Company culture means something different to each entrepreneur. What does it mean to you?
Jeff: I think if you have a strong team of people who enjoy working together, then it's not considered work and they're motivated to build very cool things.
Jen: You have to have the right people with you when you're building a company. We can't emphasize that enough.
Tripping.com successfully raised its Series A in 2014 and Series B in 2015. What tips would you give founders approaching raising their first round?
Jen: There’s a lot of advice we could give on fundraising. I think a lot of times entrepreneurs don't realize how intense it can be. They should plan for two to three months for the entire process to take place. And that goes from their first pitch to an investor to negotiating a terms sheet and then all the way through the due diligence process. It can be a tough process. I mean, you’ll be rejected more times than you'll hear yes. You have to develop a tough skin and be able to continue to push on.
Jeff: You definitely hear a lot of noes. But for every no, there is a yes out there. So, founders should stay motivated and focused on their mission statement and keep believing in what they do.
Any last tips for entrepreneurs?
Jen: When you're fundraising, don't just look in Silicon Valley. Our Series A was led by a terrific company out of Japan. Our Series B was led by a hedge fund in New York. And so there are lots of options out there for capital, and that's something that I think a lot of founders forget.
Jeff: It's hard building companies. I mean, we say that all the time. Someone can always replicate another business, but building a company and making sure it's sustainable and making sure that it's profitable in the long run is the hard part.
The views of the authors of these articles do not necessarily represent the views of First Republic Bank.