Why This VC Isn’t Buying Into the ‘Million Dollar Idea’ Myth

April 16, 2016, 4:00 PM UTC
Tom Merton Getty Images/Caiaimage

This post originally appeared on brunchwork.

While working as an attorney in New York, Alejandro Cremades noticed that, “businesses were having a lot of trouble accessing capital, especially when they were at the seed stage.” In 2010, before the term ‘crowdfunding’ was as commonplace, Alejandro and Tanya Prive founded RockthePost, now known as Onevest.

Onevest is a platform that connect founders, investors, advisors, and influencers through technology. The company operates 1000Angels, a financing platform that connects early stage startups and high profile investors, and CoFoundersLab, one of the leading matchmaking services for founders to recruit co-founders, interns and other members of their team.

At a recent brunchwork session at WeWork, Alejandro spoke about how Onevest became a successful and transformative startup ecosystem, and what startups and investors need to know to become part of it.

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Building an ecosystem.

Creating a marketplace isn’t easy. “When you are building a marketplace, you need to understand which one is the weakest side and just tackle it,” Alejandro said.

In the early days, Alejandro believed that the key to building a strong startup funding marketplace was a large user base of investors. He soon discovered that the key was showcasing impressive startups and great founders.

“We understood that if we had amazing companies raising capital on our platform, everything will come after.”

Today, Onevest receives between 350 and 500 applications every two weeks from startups that want to raise funds. It is ushering in a new era of startup financing, having helped helped over 100 companies raise over $23 million.

The platform was named “one of the best crowdfunding sites for entrepreneurs” by Time. The fact that the site is completely free for startups is an important differentiator from other crowdfunding platforms. Instead, the company makes revenue by charging investors a membership fee.

Onevest has evolved into much more than a platform to connect entrepreneurs and investors. Their goal is to “create an ecosystem, in which we not only help in financing companies, but we help in forming them,” according to Alejandro.

In order to even reach the financing stage, entrepreneurs need to keep a few tips in mind.

1. The idea is less important than execution.

Often, entrepreneurs think that the key to business success is having a “million dollar idea,” but Alejandro disagrees.

“It’s all about execution. For us, what really matters is what [entrepreneurs] are capable of, what they’ve done, [and] what they could do in the future. The ideas are a really small percentage of it.”

2. Don’t get caught up in press.

“There [are] a lot of things that happen behind the flashes,” Alejandro said about startup media attention. “But eventually, all that hype is going to come down and all that’s going to [matter] is how fast do you become a profitable company?”

3. It’s all about the team.

Alejandro stressed that the founding team is a critical component of startup success, saying that,

“Companies, especially at an early stage, are like a bus without direction. I think that, ultimately, as a startup, if you have the right people seated in the right seats, you will be able to find that direction.

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