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Creating a product the market wants is key to startup success
July 14, 2016

fashion designer

Thinking about starting your own business?

“Great innovation comes from identifying real problems and finding solutions,” says Juan Sabater, a partner at Valor Equity with over 20 years of private equity investing and investment banking experience.

Juan_SabaterSabater recently held a live Facebook chat with the YLAI (Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative) Network on the challenges of starting a company and how to overcome them.

“[B]ringing great people together who believe they have a purpose” is the first step to creating a successful startup, he said. Next, create “a product that is differentiated and the market wants. If you can solve these two problems you can create a great product.”

Sabater, who was born in Puerto Rico and moved to New York in his teens, sought to gain business experience after studying law at Stanford University in California and serving in the U.S. Army ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corp) program. He was a managing director with Goldman Sachs and later became an early investor and co-chairman of the Board of Augeo Affinity Marketing, Inc., based in Minnesota.

During the Facebook chat, Sabater advised on several startup topics, including preparing effective pitches for potential investors and donors.

A participant in Haiti asked Sabater how to successfully raise money for his youth organization via the internet.

An entrepreneur from Guatemala asked for ideas on expanding services offered by his internet cafe.

Other participants asked how they could foster stronger entrepreneurial environments in their countries.

Vladimir, who wants to create more green jobs in renewable energies in Colombia, asked how to improve the entrepreneurial environment in Colombia. Sabater answered, “Developing an entrepreneurial culture is hard and takes time, and we are all ambassadors for the development of that culture. In Colombia there is a great tradition of small businesses and you need to leverage that tradition to introduce entrepreneurs to the opportunities that can arise from sustainable and green enterprises. In the U.S. we do that by first showing people the economic potential; how you can create a great company. Then we get people excited about the mission of the company. Third, we educate people on the problem we are solving. And last, we tell people about the returns that can be achieved. This leads to funding."

Sabater also reassured participants that they were on the right path to success.

For more tips on starting a business, see 5 tips for starting a business and Boost your chances of startup success with these experts’ advice.