PCH Driven: What Serial Entrepreneur and Angel Investor Spencer Rascoff Looks for in a Founder

Jaime Williams
­Jamie Williams is the host of the “PCH Driven” podcast, a show about Southern California entrepreneurs, innovators and its driven leaders on their road to success. The series celebrates and reveals the wonders of the human spirit and explores the motivations behind what drives us.

In this episode of the PCH Driven podcast, Spencer Rascoff shares what drives him as the co-founder and former CEO of Zillow; and co-founder of Hotwire, dot.LA, Recon and his VC firm 75 & Sunny.


Rascoff talks about the future of real estate, how having a diverse staff can help companies make smarter decisions, how he chooses which startups he invests in and offers advice on recruiting talent and building out teams for startups.

He also shares some candid feelings about how the tragic death of his brother when he was 15 changed how he viewed the world, and spurred his ambition and drive.

"I would need a psychiatrist to determine if it's because I was trying to achieve what he might have gone on to achieve, which he wasn't able to, or [whether] I was trying to make him proud," Rascoff says. "I have observed in myself that it was a motivator and continues to be."

That drive, in part, led Rascoff to Goldman Sachs and, from there, to TPG Capital, where he got the opportunity, at the age of 23, to run a discount travel startup alongside some of the firm's largest clients, many of which happened to be airliners. They called it Hotwire.

"And you know, I was far too young for that level of responsibility," Rascoff says. "I always like the quote, 'luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity'. So yes, I was lucky to be there. But I was also prepared. And I found myself in a situation of opportunity and, and took a big risk by leaving the private equity firm to go do this startup."

Rascoff talks about what he looks for in entrepreneurs, especially young founders starting their first company. Beyond looking for good product people or technologists, Rascoff says he looks for proof of passion — along with some earlier success they've had.

"The best situation is if they've had a taste of success, but haven't knocked it out of the park yet," he says. "Someone with a chip on their shoulder, someone with something to prove."

Founders, he says, will need that drive if they're going to "jump through walls" they'll eventually face, and succeed. Beyond that, he's looking for ideas that go beyond successful companies -- ideas that can be scalable, if they're to receive funding.

"I, as an angel investor, have to believe that there's a potential multibillion-dollar exit," he says."There are some things that are good ideas, but they're just not fundable. But it doesn't mean that you shouldn't pursue it as an individual. And I think that a lot of founders don't understand that distinction."

Click the playhead to hear more of the conversation, and subscribe to PCH Driven on Apple, Stitcher, Spotify, iHeart, Google or wherever you get your podcasts.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Cadence

El Pollo Loco Tests 'Air Loco' Drone Delivery Despite Concerns

Emma Betuel
Emma Betuel is a science and health reporter. Her work has appeared in Inverse, Future Human, and Texas Monthly, among others publications.

For the last five months, orders of grilled chicken have zipped through the skies of Costa Mesa.

In June, restaurant chain El Pollo Loco launched a drone delivery program in the city of about 113,000, which also serves as the site for its corporate headquarters. While other companies have piloted drone programs that deliver to pickup sites, El Pollo Loco was aiming to become one of the first to deliver food to backyards.

Read more Show less

PCH Driven: Entrepreneur Sophia Rascoff on Recon Food and How Social Media Is Evolving

Jaime Williams
­Jamie Williams is the host of the “PCH Driven” podcast, a show about Southern California entrepreneurs, innovators and its driven leaders on their road to success. The series celebrates and reveals the wonders of the human spirit and explores the motivations behind what drives us.

At the age of 16, Sophia Rascoff is one of the youngest entrepreneurs to launch a social media app. Her love for cooking and food inspired Recon Foods, an app that brings food lovers together.

On this episode of PCH Driven, Rascoff discusses being a co-founder of the app Recon Foods and how Gen Z is changing social media.

Read more Show less

Netflix's First Gaming Studio Is Heavy on Dialog. That May Be On Purpose.

Ian Carlos Campbell
Ian Campbell is a writer based in Southern California. He covered news for The Verge as part of the inaugural class of the Vox Media Fellowship. He currently freelances and works part-time writing reviews for Input Magazine.

Netflix’s newest gaming studio started more than seven years ago when Sean Krankel got laid off from Disney.

Krankel worked in design at Disney Interactive and Vivendi Universal Games. While his cousin and friend Adam Hines wrote at the storied adventure game developer Telltale Games on projects like “The Wolf Among Us” and “Tales from the Borderlands.”

Both were looking for something new, and when Krankel lost his job, they decided to create Night School, a Glendale-based studio that would try to do things with storytelling that other studios hadn’t.

Read more Show less
https://twitter.com/soupsthename
https://www.linkedin.com/in/ian-campbell-39980890/
RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS
LA TECH JOBS
interchangeLA
Trending