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Summary

Super Founders uses a data-driven approach to understand what really differentiates billion-dollar start-ups from the rest - revealing that nearly everything we thought was true about them is false!

Ali Tamaseb has spent thousands of hours manually amassing what may be the largest dataset ever collected on start-ups, comparing billion-dollar start-ups with those that failed to become one - 30,000 data points on nearly every factor: number of competitors, market size, the founder’s age, his or her university’s ranking, quality of investors, fundraising time, and many, many more. And what he found looked far different than expected. Just to mention a few: 

  • Most unicorn founders had no industry experience
  • There's no disadvantage to being a solo founder or to being a nontechnical CEO
  • Less than 15 percent went through any kind of accelerator program
  • Over half had strong competitors when starting - being first to market with an idea does not actually matter

You will also hear the stories of the early days of billion-dollar start-ups firsthand. The book includes exclusive interviews with the founders/investors of Zoom, Instacart, PayPal, Nest, Github, Flatiron Health, Kite Pharma, Facebook, Stripe, Airbnb, YouTube, LinkedIn, Lyft, DoorDash, Coinbase, and Square, venture capital investors like Elad Gil, Peter Thiel, Alfred Lin from Sequoia Capital and Keith Rabois of Founders Fund, as well as previously untold stories about the early days of ByteDance (TikTok), WhatsApp, Dropbox, Discord, DiDi, Flipkart, Instagram, Careem, Peloton, and SpaceX.

Packed with counterintuitive insights and inside stories from people who have built massively successful companies, Super Founders is a paradigm-shifting and actionable guide for entrepreneurs, investors, and anyone interested in what makes a start-up successful. 

©2021 Ali Tamaseb (P)2021 PublicAffairs

Critic reviews

“This is perhaps one of the most comprehensive and well researched studies by an insightful venture capitalist ever done on startups and investments. I highly recommend it to all MBA and business students as well as everyone interested in startups and venture capital.” (Ilya Strebulaev, Professor of Finance, Stanford Graduate School of Business)

"Super Founders dissects startups from every single angle, just like the best investors do. It provides an unparalleled lens for angel investors, VCs, and startup founders to analyze startups, and includes riveting exclusive interviews for anyone interested in understanding how billion-dollar companies happen." (Keith Rabois, general partner at Founders Fund, investor in YouTube, Airbnb, Palantir, Lyft, Yelp, and LinkedIn)

"Ali debunks myths and misconceptions of great founders. His work encourages us to play our own game on our way to becoming the next Super Founder." (Alfred Lin, Partner at Sequoia Capital, investor in Airbnb, DoorDash, Houzz, and more)

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What listeners say about Super Founders

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Bit disappointed

Given the breadth of the study that underpins the book, I was expecting greater depth of insight.

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highly recommended!

Super Founders by Ali Tamaseb is truly a fantastic myth-buster about unicorn startups...the audiobook is well narrated and enjoyable too.

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Great book

Highly recommended read.
Informative and helpful, especially the sections with interviews from various founders. Excellent.

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  • An All time Amazoner!
  • 13-12-21

Great book

This is an amazing book that provides data-driven insights into building a billion dollar company. The examples, interviews, analyses are spot on.
My only suggestion is to add an “accompanying PDF” to the audible for charts.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 20-09-21

review

cool concept for a book what the content was sub par. felt the delivery was a bit boring and the content not very revealing of anything I would actually be looking for.

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  • Andrew Opala
  • 07-09-21

Summation of various insights

This book is not so much about super founders as an overview of the current investment market. Many of the insights have been known for several years. Does not touch on founder birth order, or VC follow on funding impact or hiring culture at the growth phase.

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  • Gold Darr Hood
  • 27-08-21

A useful dive into the data behind the ideal

It is very striking that most VCs say they invest in founders, but in this data driven economy, this work is one of the first deep survey explorations into the founders behind billion dollar companies. I am very appreciative of the detail, objectivity, and clear statements of assumptions and context limitations included. Most definitely worth reading/listening to whether you are an investor, founder, or curious soul.

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  • Michael Stein
  • 31-07-21

A super book

As an angel investor and budding venture capitalist, I found this book to be are full of valuable and interesting information about The most important topics relevant to starting and growing a business, especially where is the founder wants to grow the business to be valued at hundreds of millions to more than $1 billion. The audio performance by the main and secondary narrators is also quite good. I would definitely recommend this book to friends.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-05-22

Must read

The book is a must read for every new entrepreneur. It dispels so many myths that may stop you on your road to success.

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  • wayne
  • 01-05-22

clarity at its best!

very informative and insightful. if you are starting a company or presently running one you can learn a lot from this book.. love it

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  • Alex Lawrence
  • 13-04-22

Go for it

Must read to dispel myths on super founders. Go for it!!!!You will like it.

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  • Chris Marshall
  • 06-04-22

Expand your vision

As the owner of two startup companies, I find that it is easy to get lost in the weeds of daily activity and everything that I am doing. This book was phenomenal and it served to expand my vision of what possible. I’m certainly looking at ways that one of my companies can be a $1 billion startup and all of the good that could be done from that.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-04-22

Loved it!

Incredible and insightful read!

Thank you for doing the research. This plus a few entrepreneurship courses I’ve taken has been very helpful in understanding what it takes to move the needles in business.

Be Great!

Ben Kenyon