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Research, research, research! Failing often and learning just as often. Budgeting and over budgeting. These are just a few of the nuggets of gold that Josh Furstoss, founder of Incued, had to share with us as we sat down to hear all about his Entrepreneur Story. 

The gold doesn’t stop there, so let’s get to digging…

What are three things  every entrepreneur should know?

The first piece of advice Josh had to offer to fellow and budding entrepreneurs was based in a matter of math… Everything is going to take twice as long as you think it will and cost twice as much too. Courtney had a chuckle at the truth of this one. Of course, Josh doesn’t say this to scare off entrepreneurs-to-be, simply to provide a realistic view of the entrepreneurial field and ensure that aspiring entrepreneurs have the right expectations. 

The next tip Josh shared may be a bit niche, due to his recent focus on cap tables, but Josh highlighted the value in and importance of incorporating your business in Delaware early on and setting up the legal framework correctly. He suggested Delaware for its favorable business laws, business-friendly legal system, and lower taxes, among other advantages. 

Finally, Josh shared his view that it’s important for entrepreneurs to focus on doing one small task or selling one specific product very well rather than having their hands in multiple cookie jars right from the start. He gives the example of Calendly, which is a fantastic product because it does exactly what it needs to do and nothing else. 

Josh believes that many entrepreneurs have giant visions and want things to happen immediately, but it's important to start small and focus on one thing for several years, then gradually expand. He advises against rushing to add more features, as more features do not necessarily make a better product. 

Bonus Tip: Josh suggests that entrepreneurs should conduct market analysis on a very specific group of people, rather than looking at the entire market. For example, rather than having a target market of “all renters,” he suggests narrowing down the market to renters in the Northeast region under a certain income level, as this would likely have a billion-dollar-plus TAM in that small area.

What problem does your business solve and who are its customers?

Josh's business, Incued, provides real-time financial data to the private markets, which represents 97% of businesses in the United States, holding about 11.7 trillion dollars in assets. The problem with this market is that there is a lack of transparency and validated data, leading to fraud and wasted investments. Josh's business aims to solve this problem by providing real-time financial data, metrics, analytics, and intelligence to help venture capital and private equity firms identify risks, invest smarter, and mitigate risk in their portfolios. 

The core market for Josh's business is venture capital, with portfolios ranging from 50 to 100 million dollars in value on the small end and two to three billion dollars on the larger end. The average company in the portfolio is a small but mighty tech startup with a value per company between 10 million and 150 or 200 million dollars. 

Incued is also beginning to expand into holding companies and family offices, bridging on some private equity investments.

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur and would you do it again?

Josh’s answer to what inspired him has its roots in his preference to working on businesses rather than in businesses. He enjoyed tinkering with things: finding ways to make them work efficiently and building them from scratch. He mentioned his dislike for working within a business and taking orders. 

Josh would much rather work behind the scenes building the business and overseeing the cogs that keep it going - possibly for longer hours - than be a cog in the business. 

Josh had a laugh responding to the question about whether he would do it again and what he would do differently, saying that with his current knowledge and experience, he would definitely start a business at a younger age and make millions. Wouldn’t we all?

He spent the last decade learning complicated things such as venture capital, private equity, and data science, which he believes would make his life easier. He also acknowledged that it's hard to make that comparison, what 12 year old has this knowledge without the life experience to back it? 

That said, if he had this knowledge earlier, he absolutely would have dropped out of high school and started a business.

If someone had given you a million dollars when you first started your business, what would you have spent it on?

If Josh had received a million-dollar injection into his business when he first started it, he would have conducted increased exhaustive product research, specifically with a more niche group of people. He would have hired additional developers slightly later and stayed focused on a sprint-based development mentality, rather than moving towards product planning and long-term strategy. 

Josh highlighted that he would have kept things very lean, without too much focus on formalizing processes. However, he acknowledged that mistakes are an inevitable part of the learning process, and would have budgeted for them accordingly. He advises other entrepreneurs to over budget with a willingness to fail, as he believes that constantly failing and learning is the key to success.

“Failing up the stairs,” is a phrase we loved from him when discussing making mistakes when metaphorizing life.

What is your proudest accomplishment as an Entrepreneur?

Funny enough, this was a tough question for Josh to answer because he finds it difficult to celebrate his wins. Even his girlfriend of nine years, he mentioned, consistently encourages him to celebrate his wins, because he doesn’t know how to, preferring to focus on the next target over basking in the glory of an achievement. He has goals that are 10 or 15 years out, which is what he really wants to achieve, and everything else along the way is just a challenge. 

While Josh acknowledges that his company is uncommon and certainly fills a much-needed gap in the market, he struggles to feel proud of himself for it. For others, it might be his most impressive accomplishment, but for him, it is the most alienating. He finds it hard to relate to people and dislikes talking about work because people don’t understand what he does.

What big goals are you looking to achieve?

Ever the forward-thinking goal-setter, Josh is hoping to achieve several goals with his company in the coming months and years. 

In the short term, he is focused on securing funds for the next fundraising round, with leads and discussions already underway. Another focus for Incued is a demo data deal with an accelerator that they have scheduled for May 30th in San Francisco. 

Josh also plans to hire more people and has a pipeline to convert a significant portion of their $3.3 million in annual revenue. He is negotiating partnerships with investment banks and hopes to secure more runway for the company. Josh also mentioned being incredibly excited to hire his co-founder full-time and reward her for her hard work.

In the long term, Josh's ultimate goal is to create a Bloomberg-style terminal for private markets and to facilitate liquidity. However, he recognizes that this will take several years to achieve and his primary focus is on building and growing his company, even if it means making personal sacrifices along the way.

The phrase “jack of all trades, and master of none,” comes to mind when we think of Josh’s first piece of advice for all entrepreneurs. It’s a pattern we see often ourselves and a very valuable nugget of gold for new business founders seeking success. 

What would your top nuggets of entrepreneurial knowledge gold be for future founders? Let us know by connecting with us today so that we can dive into your own Entrepreneur Story!

If you want more, watch Josh's episode of Amplify Your Business!


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