An interview with Ori Eisen

The Mistake? 

I didn’t dream big enough.

In 2004, I left my day job at American Express to start a company called 41st Parameter. Yet, as a person who loves business, who reads a lot and who knows what’s going on, for some strange reason, I never went to pitch Kleiner Perkins, which at the time was considered the No. 1 venture capital firm in the world.

I went to 12 different VCs when I raised money for 41st Parameter, but I never called Kleiner Perkins. I never even tried to pitch them. I ended up raising Series A from [another firm], which is a top-tier VC, no doubt, and I went about my business.

A year goes by and the business was taking off. I went for a Series B and I felt slightly different after all the things that had happened. So, I finally went to Kleiner Perkins through a friend, who introduced me. At the end of the presentation, [a renowned investor] looked me in the eye and asked me one question: “Why didn’t you come to us before?”

My heart sank. The only reason I didn’t go was because I didn’t dream big enough.