inDinero’s Founder Shows How Entrepreneurship Gets Easier With Experience – with Jessica Mah

A few listeners told me that they can’t stand when I “waste” their time by asking interviewees about the companies they started as teenagers. But I keep asking because it’s interesting to see what an entrepreneur can do with severely limited resources and because I think we train for entrepreneurship by being entrepreneurs.

What you’ll see in this interview with Jessica Mah is that the companies she launched earlier in life not only helped train her to run her current startup, inDinero, but gave her the idea for the business. When she saw how challenging it was for businesses to keep track of their income and expenses, she launched inDinero, an easy way for any business to manage its money.

The FULL program


About Jessica Mah

Jessica Mah is the Co-Founder of inDinero, which helps business owners monitor the financial health of their companies.

In less than 5 minutes, inDinero will show how much you’re earning, spending, what your cash situation looks like, and more. Since inDinero understands your spending, it can also remind you of upcoming bills to pay, and warn you about low balances and unusual account activity.

Raw transcript


Mixergy’s audio transcription is done by Speechpad

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All right. Here’s the program.

Andrew Warner: Hey, everyone. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy.com, home of the ambitious upstart. And a few viewers read on TechCrunch that I made an angel investment in a company called inDinero and they asked me to talk about it.

What I decided to do is invite the founder of inDinero to talk about her business. And that’s what this interview is. I’ve got Jessica Mah here, and my goal for this interview is to ask her how she built her company and generated sales even though she had very little resources when she launched this thing. I also want to find out how she went on to raise a million dollars from angel investors and what happened before when she tried to raise money in the past. And because I first met Jessica when she launched a company in her teens, I want to ask her how she did that and what she learned from it. And there is so much more including the sales funnel, and so many other things. So we are going to pack this interview.

Jessica, welcome to Mixergy. It’s great to finally have you here.

Jessica: Thanks so much.

Andrew: What is inDinero, for people who don’t know it?

Jessica: InDinero is essentially the easiest way for any business to manage their money. And the idea started because when I was running my last business and when my co-founder was with me on that, we thought that pretty much every application meant for tracking money is just really hard to use. We looked at everything out there and we thought, “Wow. If only there was a Mint-like service, but for business owners, that would be awesome.” And so we went out and built that.

Andrew: All right. And let me tell people why I invested, why I am so passionate about what you are doing here. And I will say that I didn’t want to invest in the beginning. What I wanted to do was pretty much just give Jessica money. Here’s what happened.

Jessica: [laughs]

Andrew: I’ve had the same accounting firm for maybe ten years. They do most of my accounting. They handle, actually, they did everything for years. And then, through Mixergy, I started getting small bits of revenue here and there. A few hundred dollars here, maybe $25 there. And I had small expenses, too, like $10 for Wufoo every month, I’m a paid subscriber of that service. And I can’t have the accounting firm do that. And I thought, “You know what? If I do the books myself, I’ll get in touch with where the income is, where the expenses are. And I kind of like it. Let’s check it out.”

So, the first thing I did was I installed QuickBooks on my computer. I got the latest version and I said, “Wow. I love accounting software. I can’t wait to see what QuickBooks did.” Well, pretty much what they did is just add bloat and not much functionality to their software over the last, I guess, ten years, since I last touched it. It was so horrible, that even though they added tons of features, in fact, so many features that the first thing, you guys who use QuickBooks will know this, the first thing you see when you log into QuickBooks is a roadmap showing you where all the features are. So that you can figure out, if you are just trying to enter an invoice, how to go about finding the invoice. And then when it’s time to collect money on that invoice, there is another part of the roadmap that shows you how you can collect money and record it against the invoice. It was that terrible.

And they didn’t add features like getting data from PayPal into QuickBooks. You have to pay a third party service to do that. I think I pay something like 30 bucks for that. It’s month after month for 30 bucks. And I don’t even know how to cancel it. But that’s what I was doing. And I went online, and I tried other services and the other services looked pretty good. They were coming from smart people, but they just weren’t addressing my needs.

I want to be able to categorize, the way I could in Mint. I know in Mint, I can categorize my food purchases, so I can know how much money I’m spending on food. How much money I’m spending on movies. But none of the services that I found online was able to do that for me. I actually tried using Mint for business. I said, “Screw it. I’ll create an account in Mint, and I’ll just create my own categories in it.” And that kind of worked, but then when you go to send out invoices, you have a whole other headache.

So then Jessica calls me and she says, “Well, I’m working on this project, on inDinero.” And I say, “Oh, great. I know Jessica. She’s a developer. She’s not just a wannabe entrepreneur. She has been an entrepreneur. Not just an entrepreneur, she’s a developer. Jessica can solve this.” And somehow, Jessica, you told me. Do you remember this? You told me that your expenses are pretty lean, or that you are running this leanly. I forget how much money you had. Do you remember what you were telling me?

Jessica: Yeah. At that point, when we first chatted, I think we had less than $10,000 in our bank account. Probably closer to $5,000, I think. And our burn rate was close to nothing, because we were still in college. And we were all working when we were not going to class. So, our expenses were close to nothing.

Andrew: So, I said, “All right, Jessica. Why don’t I just write you a check. We’ll call it a loan. You don’t have to pay me interest. In fact, I will refuse to take interest. If something happens and you can pay me back, that’s terrific.”

Jessica: I thought that was . . .

Andrew: “At least you tried.” What’s up?

Jessica: I thought that was hilarious.

Andrew: I know. You laughed at me. You said no. Now, I’ve done this with other entrepreneurs, and they say yes. And they go on and everything works out. You said no. And then you came back. I think a conversation later, or maybe in that conversation, you said, “Andrew, why don’t you invest?” And at that point, I turned you down. I said, “Look. I’d rather just give you the money. I don’t want to have to figure out the whole investment process.”

I invest like a widow or an orphan. I mean, my stuff has been with the same, just like I used the same accountant for the last decade, I’ve used the same money manager for the last decade and everything is pretty conservative. And I can sleep at night and I don’t have to worry about it.

Jessica: [laughs]

Andrew: But you introduced me to somebody at Y Combinator, Y Combinator’s lawyer. I had a great conversation with him. He showed me how much I don’t know about angel investing. And I said, “You know what? If nothing else, if I just get an education out of this, it’s worth it for me. And more importantly, if I can just get Jessica to solve this freaking problem and allow me to go in and figure out where my money is going and how it is coming in without doing too much work so that I can focus on the things I care about, God bless America. That’s all I want.”

Jessica: [laughs]

Andrew: And so that is why I invested in inDinero. And man, you and I knew each other from just our blogs. I read your stuff for a long time. You heard one of my interviews a long time ago and sent me an email afterwards.

Jessica: Yeah. I’ve been following Mixergy for so long now. I remember actually, I code and while I’m coding, I’ll have an extra monitor up with a Mixergy interview. And so it was just really good background music for me.

Andrew: [laughs] Well, right on. So, let’s find out what you were doing before. So, I kind of mentioned that you had a company back in your teens. What was that company?

Jessica: So there were a few businesses. When I was 13, I started selling things on eBay. Then later on, when Rackspace was taking storm, we started selling managed hosting. And, of course, managed hosting kind of requires that you have 24/7 support and all this really fancy stuff. But we found that very few people called in for support. So, we charged more money and that worked out.

And then, the most recent thing before inDinero that I worked on was called InternshipIN.com. And the goal was to help students find internships. And we didn’t actually go into that wanting to make money. We just wanted to build a cool project and help our classmates find internships. And so, I’d just go to on campus events and I’d tell them what I was working on. And some people would say, “Oh, I’ve used your site. And, in fact, I found a few interns from it.” And that was just the most fun thing ever.

But what was really interesting was that from day one, we knew that we wouldn’t work on it for a long time. But, with inDinero, from day one that Andy and I started working on it, we thought, “Wow. We are going to make this a serious business.’ And this is just our destiny. I don’t know why we thought that.

Andrew: All right. I want to dive in this. If you’ve heard my interviews, you know that I like to go really deep into the interview. And guys, if you’ve heard my past interviews, you are going to get just as much substance out of this one. This is not going to be some kind of self-serving interview for me to make sure that you all try inDinero. Though, please, try it and give me feedback on it. Even if you don’t send it to Jessica, I’d love to hear what you think of it as she builds out the company. A little bit of time on this eBay thing. What were you selling on eBay?

Jessica: I was selling website templates, just a package of a few hundred website templates, because I thought it would be more fun than raking leaves outside. And I didn’t really think about building a business. I just thought I would do it for fun. And that just created the way for the next thing, which created the way for the next thing and I guess one thing leads to another.

Andrew: Now, you are selling on eBay. It’s got to be for fun because there is a business angle there. Don’t you think?

Jessica: Yeah, I think so. I mean, I was selling on eBay. I had my own online store. I could advertise it, which I did. And it is a lot more fun than going from house to house and doing what other teens do for their businesses.

Andrew: Great. And you know what? I love to see that, because everyone talks about citizen journalists. But I love to see citizen entrepreneurs. It’s great that every kid has a blog and more and more students are tweeting. I love that. Great. Express yourself and learn and report and think in public. But why not also build some kind of a business? It’s fun. It doesn’t cost much money.

I just watched on Jason Calacanis’ show, one of the co-founders of Reddit said, “You know, I discovered that in this economy today, you don’t have to have a lot of inventory. You don’t have to have a lot of money. If you could just build something, a digital something online, you could do it for free and you could make money on it online.” And so, he felt like he had tremendous power from that ability, the ability to create stuff online.

And it’s true. And you did too.

Jessica: Mm-hmm.

Andrew: Where did you get all these templates?

Jessica: Actually, I made a few and I bought a lot of others. And I just packaged them together and I noticed a few other people were doing it on eBay, too. So, I kind of copied them. And I thought that was fine. You know, I’m just a kid trying to make some money and see if anyone wanted to bite. And that worked for a while. I did make a few thousand dollars from that one business. But, after a while, there were just so many other copycats like me and the market just got too saturated. So, I had to renew myself and find a new business to work on.

Andrew: All right. And the hosting. Did you piggyback on RackSpace’s infrastructure? So, you were essentially reselling their service?

Jessica: No. It was actually awful, and I don’t recommend any high school or middle school student do this. But we were co-locating our own machines on our own racks in a few data centers across America. So we actually owned our own infrastructure, which I do not recommend. I’ve met so many kids who have resold servers and made decent profits. And that’s great. But when you own the infrastructure, there’s just so much more of a liability you have to deal with. And we just didn’t have the money to grow that.

Andrew: For example, what kind of issues did you face? Can you give me a specific example?

Jessica: Sure. One weekend, I remember sending a wire transfer for like $12,000 just to buy a bunch of servers. And, I mean, I’m just a middle school student. So, my dad was like, “Are you sure you want to send $12,000 of your own money to do this?” I said sure. And then every weekend we would buy a few thousand dollars in new servers with my money. And it was really stressful, because every dollar in profit, we were turning around just to buy more servers. And I think, in hindsight, we could have financed this in a better way.

Andrew: I did an interview with Hiten Shah, who is now running KISSMetrics, and he said he tried to get into the hosting business. He spent half a million dollars of his own money and didn’t get a single customer. So, it’s a tough business to be in. You made it work a little bit better than he did. How did you even get customers?

Jessica: A lot of word of mouth. I don’t think we advertised much. I mean, I think we tried. But there are just so many wannabe web hosting services out there. There still are today. And the only way was to have current customers tell their friends and expand their own businesses.

Andrew: OK. So, it was just word of mouth without doing anything. Did you do anything to encourage more word of mouth?

Jessica: Yeah, I asked for it.

Andrew: That’s it. How did you ask for it?

Jessica: A lot of people would send in for requests, and we’d help them out and in the end most of them were happy. And so we said, “Hey, we are wondering if you have any friends who are looking for a good, dedicated server.” And they’d often have friends. And if not, they often had more needs themselves, which I didn’t realize. I thought just because they are a customer, they probably send all of their business to us, which was not true. So, some of them would just buy more machines, and that was really helpful.

Andrew: So, a few entrepreneurs who I have interviewed here said that learning to make money and learning to sell and learning to build a business and learning to manage infrastructure, they are all skills that you learn by just doing it wrong a few times. And then you do it right and then you learn some things that you apply as you continue. What did you learn? What is one big take away that you learned from the hosting business that you ran?

Jessica: I think the biggest thing I learned was just how stressful it would be. And I am really happy I had that experience. Because now that I am working on inDinero, it is really stressful, but it is just reminiscent of my times back then. So, I know that it is not just me or it is not just this business. I can’t blame it on Silicon Valley and Y Combinator being stressful. It is just how businesses are. So, I made a bunch of mistakes and I’m kind of embarrassed just thinking about all the stupid things I did. But I guess I am really happy I went through it.

Andrew: You know what, it really is, no matter how many times you do it, the stress is still there. I wonder, though, if we all feel it. I was interviewing Paul Graham, you know him.

Jessica: Yeah. [laughs]

Andrew: He is an investor in your business, and he is someone who has helped you work through the product. Do you get a sense from him when you talk to him that he has stress, that he has worry?

Jessica: Maybe a little. But he is probably much more confident now. He just treats his business, I guess Y Combinator is a business . . .

Andrew: Mm-hmm.
Jessica: . . . I think as a really cool experiment. If anything else, even if Y Combinator didn’t succeed and none of the startups panned out, at least he will have a better idea on what kinds of companies and founders do well and which ones don’t. And I think inDinero is just one of those guinea pig examples.

Andrew: [laughs]

Jessica: I mean, if we do well, great. We’ll make everyone money. And if not, he’ll know all the problems we faced and how to avoid them for a future company he funds.

Andrew: All right. I have got to ask him that. I have got to ask more people who have a lot more experience launching multiple businesses how their current worry compares to their earlier worry and if they ever were able to conquer it. I’d like to think that there is a point where you can conquer it. But, I think your message is good. That you just know that it happened in the past and just because you are worrying or just because you are stressed, I should say, does not mean that you are on the wrong track or that the people who are partnering with you are bad. Stress is just something that you need to know is there.

Jessica: Yeah.

Andrew: All right. So, the internship business. What was the idea behind it?

Jessica: I’ll be a little honest and up front, that we didn’t actually mean for it to be a business. We just wanted to have fun with it. But a lot of people starting asking us, “What’s your revenue model?” And we would go back and say, “There is no revenue model. We are not building a business here. We are just doing it for fun.”

And in hindsight, we definitely could have made it into a business. We could have charged money for it. But by the time we started thinking about that, the idea for inDinero came up. And we knew from the get-go that we weren’t going to make that a business. We didn’t want to. So, that’s what we did. So I just got that out of the way.

Andrew: OK.

Jessica: And the idea for it was that Andy and I had tried to look for internships before. And it’s really tough. Just the entire process is just really annoying. So we thought, “How can we make it really easy to find an internship we like and to apply for that position?” And eventually we did help students find internships and that was the goal. Even if it was just one student, I’d be thrilled.

Andrew: OK. So, it was a matchmaking service, essentially, for internships or a help wanted site, job site for interns.

Jessica: Right.

Andrew: What about all the attention you got for it? You had a popular TechCrunch article written about you at the time. Others started talking about this kid who built a website. Your age at the time was a big topic. How did that pressure, I shouldn’t say pressure. How did that spotlight affect your decisions?

Jessica: I don’t think it affected it too much.

Andrew: Mm-hmm.
Jessica: Other than it brought a lot of people who told us we should try to make money off of it. And I didn’t feel any real pressure from that, other than this is good advice if you wanted to build a real business. We could probably charge in these many ways. And I think it really helped. Because even if we got rid of that and we weren’t making money, it just led a bunch of people to actually use the site. And that was the most important thing.

Andrew: But if people go now to InternshipIN.com, they are going to see nothing on the website. At some point, you had to take it from something to nothing. How tough was that decision, knowing that so many people had seen you launch it?

Jessica: Well, actually, it was up a few months ago. And the server went down and I managed it personally.

Andrew: OK.

Jessica: Right now, it is the fall. So, it’s down season. Not too many people use it until the spring, because people procrastinate their internship search. So, I haven’t gotten too many personal complaints about it. And I thought, “You know what? I’m building inDinero. And I want to make inDinero a really awesome business and help a bunch of other businesses. And I can’t be distracted by any side project.” Since then, I’ve just left it offline.

Andrew: And have you gotten any flack? Have people said, “Hey, it looks like this thing didn’t work out.” Or, “Look at Jessica. She tried. This thing failed. She is a failure.”

Jessica: [laughs] I haven’t gotten much of that, because the inDinero limelight kind of overtook that.

Andrew: [laughs] I see. OK. You are transitioning to it. All right. I also found that we are in a culture where we imagine still in our heads that if we close something down, that everyone is going to be pointing and saying, “Look at that loser.” But, we are in a culture that doesn’t feel that way. Instead, just feels the opposite. “Look at that guy who took a risk.” And we admire the people who have taken risks, even if it means that they have closed down their businesses. I’ve talked to lots of entrepreneurs who ended up getting funding after they took funding for a previous company that failed. It wasn’t the end of the world. It was just another step.

Jessica: Absolutely.

Andrew: OK. So, inDinero, what were the issues that you saw? Can you tell me a little bit more about the issues that you personally felt that helped you launch inDinero?

Jessica: Sure. When we first started it, we knew that it might be a little capital intensive, because we’re downloading data from a bunch of banks and credit cards and financial institutions. And we looked at Mint, and we saw that Mint was using an aggregator called Yodlee. And Yodlee costs a lot of money.

And we didn’t really know how we would fund that. But, we started looking around for incubators, like Y Combinator and TechStars and there was another grant program called Lightspeed that we eventually got $35,000 out of. And that was, I’d say, the biggest first challenge. Because if you don’t have a connection to Yodlee and if you can’t pay for it, then you don’t have a business.

So, getting that money was kind of tough, because we applied to a bunch of programs. In fact, this is the first time that I’m sharing this, and I feel perfectly comfortable being open about it. Andy and I flew out to Boulder to visit TechStars. TechStars for a day. And he and I were really set on TechStars. We didn’t care about Y Combinator. We didn’t apply to Y Combinator. And we didn’t get into TechStars. And we were really bummed out, because it was our first choice and it was our answer to all of our immediate problems. And David Cohen is awesome, and I loved it out there.

Andrew: Go ahead.

Jessica: No, it was just really, really sad.

Andrew: Why TechStars? And not Y Combinator or not any of the other programs? What was it about TechStars?

Jessica: It is hard to really put my grip on it. But it feels really personal. Boulder is beautiful. David Cohen and his crew is just really fun. And I really liked the alum. And I thought, “Wow, these guys are going to help us build out a great business, if nothing else.” So, we really wanted to do that. Y Combinator. A lot of people said, “Why don’t you apply to Y Combinator? Not just TechStars?” And in hindsight, I don’t really know why we chose that.

Andrew: OK. Did they explain why they turned you down?

Jessica: It was kind of vague. But I personally think they turned us down because we didn’t make much progress yet. We didn’t have a connection to Yodlee. We didn’t have a beautiful interface. We were still in college. We didn’t graduate yet, and that was pretty important for them. So, in hindsight, I understand why they turned us down. But, it doesn’t change the fact that, at the time, it was really sad. And just thinking about it, right now, I’m kind of sad. [laughs]

Andrew: Why? Well, actually, the sadness I understand. But can you explain how it made you look at your business, or your idea for your business?

Jessica: Yeah. I mean, it didn’t change our confidence that we could make a real business out of it. But it’s just one of those things. When you get your hopes up for something and it doesn’t pan out, it kind of bums you out a little. So, even now, if American Express calls us up, which they did, and they are like, “Hey, we should partner up with you.” It’s like, you have really got to set your hopes low because you don’t want to bum yourself out. Don’t want to feel like you got rejected from TechStars again.

Andrew: [laughs] It didn’t change your confidence at all or make you rethink your business model? Because I’ve got to tell you, if I asked David Cohen to do an interview here, and he said, “No, Andrew. I don’t want to do an interview.” I’d be thinking, “Well, what the hell is wrong with the way I’m doing my interviews?”

Jessica: [laughs]

Andrew: Maybe there is something about this that I am doing wrong, that he doesn’t want to do an interview here.

Jessica: I mean, we knew that they liked the idea. Because when we met them out in Boulder, we thought the main problem would be our progress. And our ability to really get a product going before getting into TechStars, that was the problem. And so I was pretty sure it was just our progress.

Andrew: I see now.

Jessica: Admittedly, it was mid-terms week. Like right before we were supposed to submit our application. So, we didn’t get that much done in that time.

Andrew: I see. OK. And you know what, I want to be clear that if David does turn me down, that feeling will happen for a moment. And then you go right back into it, because there are so many other people who will interview. Thankfully, David’s been really nice to me. He has not only done an interview here, but he has introduced some of his entrepreneurs.

All right. So, you don’t have Yodlee. You don’t have a site. You don’t have much progress.

Jessica: [laughs]

Andrew: What is the first thing that you do to correct all of those issues?

Jessica: We heard about this grant program from Lightspeed Venture Partners.

Andrew: Mm-hmm.

Jessica: And, I mean, the idea of taking money from VCs, to this day, is not something I feel great about. But Lightspeed was offering grant money, meaning they are not [interference] . . .

Andrew: I’m sorry, Jessica. The connection was going a little bit slow here. Can you say that again? What is Lightspeed? What is the grant that they offer?

Jessica: Sure. So, Lightspeed is a venture firm out in Silicon Valley. And every summer, they offer about ten companies free grant money. And, in our case, it was $35,000. They just wrote us the check. So we could do pretty much whatever we wanted with that money. That paid for all of our first year of Yodlee, bills out of the way. We got enough money to pay for our rent and our food for a while. So, got that problem out of the way. And we were out of school for the year, so we had an entire summer to focus on our business. And so that solved a lot of our early problems.

Andrew: Well, first of all, that is great that you can get money without having to give up any equity. You are just getting a grant. They are just handing you cash. That’s pretty awesome.

Jessica: Yeah.

Andrew: What is it about venture capitalists that, to this day, makes you feel uncomfortable?

Jessica: I’m not exactly sure. Well, actually, I have a few ideas. So I take that back. But the first thing being that there is often a misalignment in goals. They really want to bring a return to their limited partners by the end of their fund, which is typically seven years. And at inDinero, we want to build a very serious, long-term business. I want to be working on inDinero in 40 or 50 years from now. And if you don’t bring back a return to our investors, if they were venture capitalists, they would be pissed off. Now, I could take money from someone like you or an angel investor, who isn’t expecting an immediate return anytime soon. So, that’s one problem.

Another thing being I don’t like the idea of making money for people who are in it for the money. So, all of our angel investors are pretty wealthy, pretty well off. And I felt comfortable taking their money, because I felt like I could trust that they are in it equally about the money as to help the entrepreneur and really seeing a cool business grow.

And I just don’t want that looming over my head, that I have to bring money back to my VCs, you know? It is kind of weird to describe. I am kind of bumbling a little. I’m sorry about that. But I’m trying to gather my thoughts.

Andrew: No, I understand it. I’m wondering about something else, too. Professional investors are smarter investors, because they spend all day long thinking about what opportunities are out there, every term in the deal they are paying special attention to. And they are making sure it is right. They are making sure they get as much as they can. Versus angel investors. I didn’t send the agreement that you sent me over to a lawyer to read it over. I don’t even know, did I read it? I don’t even know that I read it. I said, “What’s the worst that can happen? Life is good.”

Jessica: [laughs]

Andrew: And so, because we have this, “What’s the worst that can happen? Life is good. We just want to help Jessica change the world,” attitude, you can get much better terms from us. One, because we are willing to do it because our interests are different. And two, because we aren’t as aware of the deal structure, of the opportunities, of the possibilities like professional investors. So, as an entrepreneur, you are in a much better position in negotiating and doing business with an angel investor than you are with a professional.

Jessica: That’s partly true.

Andrew: All right.

Jessica: But, I mean, I didn’t go into it thinking, “I’ll get a better valuation from angels versus VCs.” I went into it thinking, “If I could pick which person to take money from, if it was at the same valuation, I’d obviously pick the angels.” Since you are one of our investors, you would know. I send out emails asking for help all the time. And I am really thankful that I have so much help from people.

Andrew: Hey, you know what? Let’s come back to the story. I’ll pick up where we left off in a moment to find out how you built it up so fast. But I really admire how you do that. How you ask for help. How you don’t ask for help with these long, drawn out emails. Your emails are short. And I admire the way that people come through for you.

Like Dave McClure, for example. You sent out a screenshot of a blog design.

Jessica: Yeah.

Andrew: And I said, “Dave McClure is not going to care about that. Just design a blog. Go to WooThemes. Go to some other site and get it done and let’s move on.” He gave you feedback. And it wasn’t just feedback. That guy, for all his cursing and all his arrogance and all his loudmouthedness, he gave you really well thought out input.

And you are not his only investment. You are not the only person in his life. You are not the only concern. I thought, “Wow. Good on you for asking for it. And good on him for being able to and being willing to spend so much time and give you really valuable feedback.” You should be paying him, in a proper world.

Jessica: [laughs]

Andrew: You should be paying him for that kind of feedback. But that’s not the industry we are in.

Jessica: No, not at all. And, I mean, I asked a few people before I took money from Dave. “Does he help you out?” And I found that most of them would say no. And I’d ask why. And I found out that none of them ask for his help. And that is probably why.

Andrew: You know, I heard an entrepreneur who Mike Jones invested in. Listened to Mike Jones speak on stage. Mike said, “When I invest, here is who I give feedback to. You have got to email me once a week. And you have got to do this other thing. And if you do that, that is how you get the most out of me.” I was standing there in the conference room listening to him talk and listening to one of his entrepreneurs say, “Oh, you know what? I got one of the greatest angels, and he never gives me anything. Now I see why. I should be emailing him and asking him for support.”

Where do you get the guts to do that? This other guy was an experienced entrepreneur, who had known Mike Jones for a long time, who still didn’t know and didn’t have the confidence and didn’t have the willingness to go and ask for help. Where did you get this ability?

Jessica: I think it is just, what is worse? Thinking to yourself, what do I do about this? Or having to ask.

Andrew: But the worst part is having Dave McClure go, “Freaking A. Jessica Mah, again? With her email?” And he wouldn’t even say freaking A. He would say more.

Jessica: I mean, I found that most of them are really willing to help. And I know pretty much all of them personally, really well. I think you are the only person who I haven’t met in person. And that’s fine, by the way. But everyone I felt really comfortable with. And I just really don’t want a question looming over my head where I don’t know what to do.

For example, after we closed our angel round, a bunch of VCs started emailing us. “Hey, let’s grab coffee. I know you are not raising money anymore. But let’s grab coffee.” And I got dozens of these. And I wasn’t sure what to do. So, I shot out an email to all of you, and I just got a bunch of different responses. And it was really interesting. Because, if I had just sent it to one or two people, it wouldn’t really give me the help I wanted. So, I just heard everything. Some people, experienced entrepreneurs would say, “Don’t bother. It’s not w

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