Kevin Lenane is the CEO of Veenome and has lead the video indexing company to over 100M impressions indexed/month. Veenome's customers include ad networks, video publishers and intelligence organizations. Veenome has won the Paley Center’s "Next Big Thing 2012" and received 1st place at the BB&T 2012 Business Invitational. Kevin has raised 1.4M in seed capital with investors from Google, Tesla, Chegg and Ecosystem VC. Follow him @kevinlenane.
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
Keep many pots on the stove. Whether I'm selling or fundraising, I know how important it is to not get too focused on one particular deal or investor. So many things are beyond the control of the seller. Therefore the seller really needs to continually be filling the bottom of their funnel with potential buyers, especially when everything seems gold.
What's the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
I'd say mountain-top product vision is probably the thing we learned from the most. It's nice to think of yourself as Steve Jobs, but if you focus on what your customers are asking for while resisting what the startup froth indicates, you'll generally develop a product that will sell.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
I try to answer all emails from the night before and then reach out to at least three new targeted biz dev leads before anyone else gets into the office.
What’s your best financial or cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Don't measure the growth, size or success of your business by headcount. The fact that you have 20 employees just means you are spending ~200,000/month to most educated investors.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Try to test out your product thoroughly before you take the full plunge. Also try to not get sucked into the idea of what being an "entrepreneur" means. We are all business owners and the business/team is what matters, not the "I."
What's your definition of success? How will you know when you've finally "succeeded" in your business?
When we have helped enhance the video advertising industry by providing video meta-data at scale across the entire ad ecosystem such that buyers and sellers are at their happiest, we will have succeeded.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.