A few years back, I was invited to invest in Calm.com — a meditation app. “Meditation app?!” I thought. And then I quickly dismissed the deal.
It’s gone on to be an absolutely massive winner. The company has grown incredibly — it’s now reportedly raising at a $2.2 billion valuation.
Missing out on an opportunity like that is a bummer. But the best thing we can do is try to learn from these mistakes. My lesson here was that no matter how weird a deal seems, always at least take a look. If I had, I’d have seen impressive growth and potential.
The other lesson here is that big ideas often seem odd at first glance. Looking back at my own history, I can see some of my biggest successes probably did look very odd to some people. FabFitFun — for example — is a subscription service that delivers quarterly packages with beauty, fitness and wellness goodies. That seems… unconventional. But it’s been a huge success. It’s probably my biggest winner to date.
Every big VC has a dozen stories about the one that got away. But the best ones still manage to make money. There are always good deals to be found in startup-land — even if you don’t recognize them at first glance. You just have to dig in a bit to find them.
So if you have time, at least take a quick look at every deal you’re invited to participate in. It doesn’t take long to get a read on whether a startup is worth taking a chance on. And you never know when you’ll find something big.