5 Tips to Building a Strong Startup Team

January 14, 2021 By Kaitlin Aquino

Having a quality product or service is only one piece of the puzzle to startup success. Another equally essential piece of that puzzle is hiring the right people to tackle the countless obstacles of starting and scaling a business.

A few of UCI Beall Applied Innovation’s Innovation Advisors and successful Wayfinder startups share their insights for building strong teams.

1. Thomas Berryman
Innovation Advisor, CEO and co-founder of Privy

“I prefer folks who have been in a startup already, especially one that was not a big blowout success. If they’re eager to do another, that speaks volumes about their understanding of what it takes. I want to hear not so much about their achievements and more about where they encountered challenges or outright failure, and how they dealt with this. Anyone coming into a startup has to be comfortable with a high level of risk. There’s a high likelihood of the company ultimately failing.”

Berryman co-founded women’s health company Privy, urology tech company Genyx Medical, and currently serves as an Innovation Advisor at UCI Beall Applied Innovation.

2. AG Tools
Martha Montoya, CEO and co-founder

“Those joining the AG Tools team must have] passion for humankind. I need team members that understand we are making a difference for society through our farmers and therefore they are willing to research, read, ask, make mistakes, recognize them and move on; [it is] more important not to think about hours worked but projects delivered.”

AG Tools is an online dashboard that helps streamline the agricultural supply chain through providing data analytics to farmers, buyers and shippers.

3. Parisa Khosropour
Innovation Advisor, president Transplant Diagnostics, Thermo Fisher Scientific

“Building a startup team is never an easy task; it is a long and bumpy road. Leaders of a startup team need to wear multiple hats, look for individuals who can quickly adapt to any situation, focus on solutions and achieve desired results.”

Khosropour is president of Transplant Diagnostics, a division of Thermo Fisher Scientific with a mission to improve the quality of life for transplant patients.

4. VolunteerCrowd
Amy von Kaenel, CEO and founder

“Our strong contributing team members are intellectually curious, collaborative communicators and have a strong work ethic. They relish new challenges and intuitively know how to use their resources to drive results.”

VolunteerCrowd is an online service and mobile app that helps students find academic-related volunteer opportunities and create a transcript of volunteer projects to impress colleges and employers.

5. JeniVision
Jenny Wang, CEO and co-founder

“[The best hires are] highly motivated, efficient and productive, with the ability of problem-solving, innovative thinking and calculated risk-taking.”

JeniVision is a biopharmaceutical company that finds treatments for eye and skin diseases by designing new, innovative drug therapies.

Learn more about Applied Innovation’s Wayfinder program and Innovation Advisor network.

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