Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sean Sheppard, Managing Partner of U+, located in San Francisco, CA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

U+ is a Corporate Venture Builder that provides stage-relevant InnovationOps teams with Startup DNA to deliver new business ideas to scalable revenue. We focus on commercialization, product, design, tech, and adoption across the innovation lifecycle. With our all-in-house team, we have brought 100+ successful businesses to market, creating over $1 billion in new value for Fortune 1000s in the past 13 years. Our customers include Bridgestone, Cisco, HSBC, T-Mobile, RBC, Aldar, Swiss Re, and Mozilla.

Tell us about yourself

I am a serial entrepreneur with 3 exits, Venture Capitalist, and a Managing Partner at Corporate Venture Builder U+. Also, a globally recognized thought leader with over 30 years of experience bringing new products to market, including as a five-times sales founder with three exits. In addition to helping hundreds of startups find product-market fit and predictable revenue models, I help global multinationals to identify new applications for their existing technology portfolio, bring new products to market with profitable business models, and organize and train self-managing early product-stage sales and marketing teams.

I was named as One of the Top Sales Influencers You Should Be Following On Social Media. Also, an active mentor, advisor, and guest lecturer at global startup accelerators, innovation conferences, and colleges and universities, including NASDAQ, 500 Startups, Y Combinator, Galvanize, Alchemist, GSVLabs, London Business School, and the Owen School of Business at Vanderbilt University.

I am now committed to working with countries, companies, entrepreneurs, and those who want to work with them on building startup ecosystems to find product-market fit and developing the next generation of leaders for the innovation economy. What motivates me is making the world a better place through the adoption of new technologies.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I've started and sold three companies that still exist today. And many of the people who have worked for me are making a positive impact on the world in similar ways.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

The emotional roller coaster you're on nearly every day can have a negative impact on family, friends, and those who rely on you in your business. Managing that dynamic is a daily struggle.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Find something you're deeply passionate about and excited to wake up every day and pursue with endless enthusiasm.
  2. Adopt a growth mindset by being a learn-it-all and not a know-it-all with the goal of being a better person and business owner today than you were yesterday.
  3. Sales solve most problems for a business owner. Focus on sales because nothing happens in business until someone sells something.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Trust your gut and play the long game. Transactions are fleeting, but relationships are forever. Be an honest broker and never compromise your integrity for the sale. And always put your people first.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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