Managing Setbacks and Moving Forward

How do you deal with failure or setbacks as you build a startup? We posed this question to our TVP Founders and CEOs and received some authentic and gripping advice from their journeys as entrepreneurs. Through these conversations, we heard that setbacks and failure are part of building a startup, and overcoming them is an important part of the journey. Here’s more from our founders and CEOs on managing setbacks and moving forward.

1. Sam Caucci, Founder and CEO at 1Huddle

“I have always had a ‘next play’ mentality. As a former athlete and coach, I know that you cannot perform at a high level if you hold on to yesterday.”

2. Jose Ferreira, Founder and CEO at Bakpax

“Calmly. Talk about setbacks with the team. Get the information needed to work out a solution. Discuss possible solutions with the team. Get everyone aligned and move forward.”

3. Antonio Tomarchio, Founder and CEO at Cuebiq

“When faced with a challenge, many of us may give up because we don’t have the knowledge or previous experience on how to handle the situation. However, don’t be discouraged by your lack of experience or knowledge, and bet on the untraditional. Don’t look for the familiar; think outside the box. Look for solutions in the places you usually overlook — play the game by creating your own rules for success.”

4. John Furneaux, Cofounder and CEO at Hive

“If you can’t deal with failure, don’t found a startup. Failure is a healthy and critical part of startup life. I choose the words of Winston Churchill, ‘Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.’”

5. Brock Blake, Founder and CEO at Lendio

“Failures are learning opportunities, and yes, some are much more painful than others. However, if you’re willing to step back and reflect on a failure experience, oftentimes you can see exactly where you went wrong. Ultimately, you need to focus on getting back to work and not dwelling on the past. But I also think it’s wise to invest a bit of time in identifying and acknowledging the lessons learned. These takeaways will make you a smarter entrepreneur in the future.”

6. Philip James, Founder and CEO at Penrose Hill

Setbacks happen every day. I learned how to shift my focus and go do something else. If I’m stuck somewhere, I take a break and focus on a milestone with another aspect of the business. This helps with the founder’s state of mind and gives you something new to use, that could help with the original problem.”

7. Chris Carter, Cofounder at Porter Road

“While there are certainly discouraging moments, any setback you learn from isn’t a total loss. There are times when you just have to stop, think, and reset, knowing that you’ll come back from a negative situation stronger than before.”

8. Scot Wingo, Founder and CEO at Spiffy

“The key is to manage risks. At Spiffy, we fail a little bit every day. We have A/B tests that don’t go well, product launches that are meh, press releases that no one cares about, etc. The key is the ‘little’ you learn from little failures. Big failures can compound and bring down the company. We don’t generally make ‘bet the business’ type risks unless there’s a pandemic, of course.”

9. Matt Britton, Founder and CEO at Suzy

“You learn from your failures and mistakes and learn not to make the same mistake again. Ideally, you want to understand whether the issue was unavoidable versus something that occurred as a result of flawed decision-making.”

10. Charles Bonello, Cofounder and CEO at Vivvi

“Setbacks and failures happen — you can only control how you react to them and how you learn from them. It’s ok to make mistakes; it’s not ok to make the same mistake twice. And you’d better own up to it early and often if you want to have a shred of credibility with your team or your investors.”




Tribeca Venture Partners Insights explores topics related to entrepreneurship, leadership, and technology from our TVP Partners, founders, executives and tech community.

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Tribeca Venture Partners

Tribeca Venture Partners

Multi-stage venture capital firm that partners with entrepreneurs in NYC leveraging emerging technologies to disrupt huge markets.

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