Kendrick Nguyen, CEO of Republic, answers questions about being an American business owner and immigrant.
What was the most challenging aspect of being an American business owner who was born in another country?
People around the world migrate to the United States partly because we’re such a business-friendly society, so being an immigrant is generally not a hinderance. In fact, nearly 50 percent of businesses in some states are owned by immigrants. In my experience though, growing up without any relative or family friend who was a venture capitalist or a successful tech founder meant I had to try harder to build my own network, safety net and confidence before launching a tech startup.
What’s one aspect of doing business in America that is different from anywhere else in the world?
That it’s not just possible, but quite common for immigrants of all backgrounds to come to America, make a living, build up a safety net, launch a company and grow it into a successful business. We celebrate entrepreneurship of all types like no other country that I’ve been to.
What are some of the most common qualities held by successful entrepreneurs?
Resilience, pragmatism, commitment and ability to get things done.
What are some important qualities of start-ups that investors look for before choosing to invest?
Does it aim to solve a real-world problem? Does the team have what it takes to execute on the vision and win the race? How will the company monetize and how big is the market the company seeks to capture?
What is one question that every investor will ask an entrepreneur before investing in them and their business?
Aside from valuation and investment terms, I think the one question every entrepreneur should answer is why, of all the choices in life, he or she chooses to commit to building this business. If the answer is to be cool or to get rich, don’t invest.
What steps do you recommend entrepreneurs take to better obtain and manage their capital?
Perfecting your sales pitch, not getting discouraged by rejections, and grinding until you meet your daily/weekly/monthly goals are crucial for any fundraising process. As for managing capital, my only advice is to treat the capital you raised from investors with respect, with accountability, and as though it’s the final and only pool of capital you’ll ever have to grow your business.