Three entrepreneurs who successfully raised money for their companies underscore the importance of hard work, of course — and making friends and playing nice.
FOUNDERS: Adora Cheung, 30, and her brother Aaron Cheung, 25
STARTED IN: Mountain View, Calif., July 2012
THE BUSINESS: Now based in San Francisco, Homejoy's website connects more than 100,000 house cleaners with customers in about 30 cities in the U.S. and Canada
MONEY RAISED: $40 million
BIG BACKER: Max Levchin, co-founder of PayPal
Coming out of the University of Rochester, which had no entrepreneurial community that she was aware of, Adora Cheung wanted to learn how startups work. She joined a Bay Area company, Slide, which was started by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin.
— IMPRESS THEM: Slide didn't have many employees when Cheung came on board. "I got to work closely with Max, and he came to know a lot of how I work. He and I work on a very similar sleep schedule," she says. They would find themselves talking shop at 4 a.m.
— FOLLOWING FRIENDS: After Cheung left Slide, she and her brother spent three-and-a-half years trying to come up with a business. They participated in the Y Combinator accelerator program, which helps startups launch. Friends who had been through the program recommended it.
— KEEP IN TOUCH: The Cheungs were in debt and needed money for Homejoy. Levchin was the first investor. "It was very helpful that Max knows me and I think he trusts me. He saw numbers that were going up and to the right. He gave us a bit of money," Cheung says. After that, other investors wanted in.
FOUNDERS: Former Georgetown University schoolmates Nicolas Jammet, 28; Jonathan Neman, 29; and Nathaniel Ru, 28
STARTED IN: Washington, D.C., August 2007
THE BUSINESS: Twenty-two shops and 600 employees selling salads, wraps, soups and juices, in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and Maryland and Virginia