In April, Startup Grind Washington DC had the privilege to speak with Dr. Magid Abraham, co-founder of comScore. This event marked Startup Grind DC’s first time hosting a speaker out of 1776, DC’s newest (and very promising) co-working space. The event was certainly an interesting and eventful occasion for all those involved: interesting due to Dr. Abraham’s remarks, and eventful due to an unexpected fire alarm that temporarily moved the event to the building’s lobby, stairwells, and sidewalk (not even kidding, on the street networking definitely happened). It was certainly a Startup Grind first, but in the end, we all came away with some insightful and powerful points provided by comScore’s legendary leader.
Dr. Abraham began the discussion talking about his childhood growing up in Lebanon picking apples at his family’s orchard. He thought this experience was integral to his development as an entrepreneur, for he knew it wasn’t something he wanted to do for the rest of his life, thus he became determined to work hard and intelligently to steer his life’s path.
After leaving Lebanon, Dr. Abraham touched upon the importance of education and how it influenced his career. He reassured the crowd that even “dropouts” have potential to do great things (he mentioned his own son could be considered one of the same), provided they have the knowledge to do that.
He shared with the crowd his experience with starting an earlier company with his wife, mentioning the risks and rewards involved with working on a project with someone so close to you. To Dr. Abraham, respect plays a huge role in that relationship, as it would with any co-founder relationship. To Dr. Abraham, it’s important to care about the other person’s place in the company, while providing your share of confidence and trust.
Leading up the days of comScore’s founding, Dr. Abraham confessed that the time period had a lot to do with his decision to create comScore (during a “rational exuberance” of the time). He decided that the “Internet as a medium is going to require third party measurement for a transaction marketplace to flourish,” just as it is with radio and television ratings. He didn’t believe that comScore was a revolutionary idea, but rather a rational and logical approach to measuring the activity of Internet users, and how it translates to business for websites (and their advertisers’ interests). He went on to reinforce how comScore set out to prove the quality of unique visits, which still strongly exists in comScore’s company mission.
Then the impromptu fire drill intermission happened… Let’s all go to the lobby!
In our new “venue,” Dr. Abraham resumed his talk about the difficulties resulting from a new, more condensed marketplace – a “startup nuclear winterland.” Even after getting their first clients, Pets.com and American Express, he mentioned that comScore would not have lasted without the support of some “really strong professional” VCs that stuck around. Investors, according to Dr. Abraham, are the pathway to any company’s continued success, and it’s very important to keep those relationships healthy.
Back upstairs, Dr. Abraham’s closing thoughts touched on about how companies can produce “proof” to investors, other than paying customers. The people on your team are also a qualifying factor that goes into the decisions VCs make, so make sure you back yourself with seasoned professionals that boost investors’ confidences. Money doesn’t always determine the success of a startup, but the people behind it always do.”
Written by Cedric Craig