Plated Co-founder Josh Hix shares his startup wisdom with student entrepreneurs in the first live episode of Give First. Listen for insights about how this self-described introvert learned to become an inspiring leader. Plus: when not to take a big valuation. 

Plated Co-founder Josh Hix knows about leading a growing team. He remembers taking the company through Techstars New York City in 2013, coming into the program with about seven people, and leaving with closer to 37. The company was up to 1300 employees by the time it sold to Albertsons for a reported $200 million in 2017. 

Leadership was a skill Josh had to learn. “I have always been an introverted engineer,” he says. He was comfortable with the management aspects of leading the company, but he came to realize that this wasn’t enough. “The leadership part is inspiring people and helping them connect to the mission at an emotional level,” Josh says. This was the part he had to learn, and the process wasn’t always easy: “As a geeky engineer, it feels irrational. But sometimes people need that. It was something that I had to learn to value and then learn to do.”

Listen for more about how Josh grew into his role as a leader, plus a fascinating conversation between Josh and David Cohen about valuations and VCs. 

This live episode of Give First was recorded at LaunchPad Propel, a conference for student entrepreneurs hosted by Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars

Listen for Josh’s take on…

Startup near death experiences:

“Everybody has challenges. I think that’s important. If anybody tells you that their startup didn’t have at least a few near death experiences, they’re probably lying — or it just hasn’t happened yet.”

What happens without mentorship:

Josh on what went wrong with an earlier company: “The complete lack of mentorship or of people that could be mentors was a huge reason that my company never got huge.”

You don’t have to take that valuation:

“Just because somebody offers you an insane valuation doesn’t mean you should take it. You probably shouldn’t take it. It comes with consequences down the road.”

Bonus! David Cohen’s advice to a student entrepreneur about how to pitch to VCs:

David Cohen: “I think the most important thing is to be yourself and be who you are as an entrepreneur. Make sure you have a real story and real belief around how you can become a sustainable business and not just be dependent on that capital.”

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