Ashwin Navin, Co-founder and President of Bit Torrent, talks about founding teams--where they come from and how to form them. Navin suggests that founding teams emerge from relationships developed in school or work and that founding teams work best when the team members have complimentary skills. In addition, Navin emphasizes the quality of students and colleagues in Silicon Valley and suggests that students take the opportunity to experiment with new business opportunities.
Bit Torrent: Why Investors Invest
Ashwin Navin, Co-founder and President of Bit Torrent, alludes to a theory by Bob Cringely about the three stages of a company - Commandos, Infantry and Military Police. Navin suggests that startup success relies on successfully identifying and executing on the demands of each phase, as well as transitioning between phases, by bringing in the right team members for each stage of the company.
Ping Li, Partner at Accel, talks about how they evaluated Bit Torrent as a potential venture capital investment. Li suggests that Bit Torrent possessed three things which led to the eventual investment: 1) Deep, distinctive technology and a really meaningful problem, 2) A strong team that had proved a legitimate business model and 3) Shared vision about the future potential of the company.
Ping Li, Partner at Accel, argues that open source can be an effective business model for some startups although not all startups. Li argues that the key value of an open source model is not the collective input of a broad contributor base--the reality is that the application creator almost always puts in a great deal more effort creating the application than the community. Rather, the value of an open source model is free distribution across a broad base of contributors and users without costly sales forces or overhead. However, monetization of an open source model is a little different as it requires offering optional value-add features that users may want.