Entrepreneurs should not be scared of failure, and if they do fail, they should fail fast.
This was the advice of the boss of one of London’s biggest tech success stories, Mind Candy’s Michael Acton Smith, in Westminster last night where almost 900 entrepreneurs attended the latest Evening Standard Business Connections event.
The founder of children’s virtual world Moshi Monsters told how he learnt the failure lesson the hard way after one of his previous ventures, a global online treasure hunt called Perplex City, folded.
“We burnt our way through millions of pounds of venture capital very quickly,” Acton Smith said. “It was a really valuable lesson. There’s no shame in failing, as long as you fail fast. We made the mistake of failing slowly and very expensively over several years.
“In the US failure is seen more as a kind of scar tissue and something investors overlook or almost expect to see. There’s a bit more of a stigma attached to it in the UK.”
The entrepreneur reckons the time is right for London businesses to launch.
“This is the time to be a nimble start up — a small team innovating and moving fast rather than a big, slow-moving corporation.
“I don’t think there has ever been a better time to be an entrepreneur than this moment in history. It’s a wonderful environment to be experimenting, almost like a primordial soup bubbling away waiting for the real exciting stuff to come out.”