Never Go it Alone: Startup Insights

At Silicon Valley Bank, we are committed to helping next-gen entrepreneurs get though the ups and downs of building a startup. We understand the balancing act of juggling urgency and long-term vision. To help you, we’ve compiled advice from startup founders, tips for hiring and managing successful teams and roadmaps for planning for growth.


Twist Bioscience CEO Emily Leproust says she doesn’t hire people who avoid problems, but people who can solve problems. Among the hardest jobs of a startup founder is to find the right talent, meld personalities and skills and then create a company culture that drives business goals. Here’s advice from startup founders on how to build a dynamic team.

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Mikkel Svane, co-founder and CEO of Zendesk, describes the challenges of scaling a company, and why startups should determine a path for growth -- every year.

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Larry Cutler, co-founder and CTO of Baobab Studios, describes how he supports employees to gain confidence to do what appears impossible.

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Jessica Green, co-founder and CTO of Phylagen, explains how she built a team of trusted co-workers and advisors who openly communicate.

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Emily Leproust, CEO of Twist Bioscience, discusses why it’s critical to build a strong team that can troubleshoot problems quickly.

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Frida Polli, founder and CEO of Pymetrics, discusses how she looks for employees and partners who want to collaborate to make a difference.


Taking a startup from idea to market takes vision and staying power. Be prepared for bumps on the road. “I think a real entrepreneur is defined not by the successes they have; it’s by how they face obstacles and challenges,” on the path to growth, advises ViewFind Founder and CEO Zheng Yu Huang. Here’s advice from startup founders and venture banking experts on financing startup growth and maximizing growth.


Raising startup funds from friends and family comes with personal risk. We talked to founders about what to consider as you juggle personal and business interests. 

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A startup's cap table tells a story around who owns what. Learn what investors often look for and how to clean things up as you raise funds and grow your company.

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Understanding the long-term implications of your startup’s capital raise is a daunting yet crucial exercise. The first step: Get smart on equity dilution.  

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Build your network before you need it. Establish relationships with investors and keep them warm with an introductory email and then an email update sent regularly. There’s a formula to both of these, so we’re providing templates you can use for your own.


Strategic help from an angel is the most valuable asset any early stage company can get.

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Larry Cutler, co-founder and CTO of Baobab Studios, talks about managing a team through the emotional ups and downs of startup life.