Wednesday, July 3, 2013

How Three Entrepreneurs Bounced Back From Failure

We learn as much from our failures as we do from our successes. That has long been a truth in business as well as in life. Here are some prime examples of entrepreneurs who bounced back from failure.

Nihal Mehta

Nihal Mehta is the founder and CEO Local Response. This is a ad-tech firm working out of New York whose primary focus is on social media targeted ads. Anyone who has been in the tech industry is bound to have a failure or two on their portfolio. Mehta's first tech venture folded in 1999. However, he was able to hold onto the programming assets and merge them into a new company that was eventually sold to Omnicon Group. After that he started up Buzzd, which was a real-time mobile city guide. The initial funding was for $4 million. Unfortunately, Buzzd was ahead of its time and never really caught on with consumers.

Instead of going under, Mehta regrouped and recapitalized the entire financial structure of the company. This gave him a much needed cash boost to rebrand as Local Response, and had him poised for the Smartphone revolution that would come a few months later.

The big lesson was finding a way to stay active. "I learned this the hard way--it was six years from my first company to my first exit," Mehta told "Building products isn't easy, but if you keep working hard, keep throwing things at the wall, you will find a way."

Kathryn Minshew

Kathryn Minshew is CEO and co-founder of the Manhattan-based, The Muse. This is a career-development platform that is chock full of resourceful original content, interactive job boards and insightful company profiles. In 2010, Minshew launched Pretty Young Professionals which was geared as a networking site for professional women. A year later the redesigned site attracted 20,000 young women and that's when the trouble started with her partners.

Everyone had a different idea of where the company should go next. Instead of working through, they decided to split up with an equity and intellectual property agreement being formed on a handshake and notepaper without lawyers. Mistake. Minshew took what she learned to start the Muse, which recently posted an impressive 2 million users over 160 countries. Her take away was to formalize partnerships at every step of the way with proper legal representatives. A shrewd business lawyer will see potential pitfalls.

"It's so important to find people who share your values and ethics," she told "There are a lot of things you can paper over, and having different sets of opinions is valuable, but not when it comes down to code of conduct."

Frank Jadhavji

Frank Jadhavji is the co-founder and current CEO of, which is described as "a flash-deal site specializing in consumer electronics and appliances." Dealing in actual products had Jadhavji setting up a company warehouse. The first shipment to arrive was stolen. The big problem was that inventory was already sold to waiting online customers and the way out was hunkering down in crisis management. This meant expediting insurance claims and reaching out to the customers to make them away of the situation. 

This was a classic case of "anything that can go wrong, will!" Jadhavji suggests hiring a management team who can handle a crisis with swift action.