Alexa von Tobel, the CEO of LearnVest, met Lucy Grayson Deland, COO of Paperless Post, at Harvard when they were freshmen. Daniella Yakobovsky, the cofounder of Bauble Bar, met von Tobel at Harvard Business School. While still in their twenties and living in New York City, the trio launched companies and found in their friendships a shared experience and an informal but vital advisory group. --Iris Mansour
Deland: The scariest thing is the fear of the unknown, and Alexa and I came from finance -- these stable regular jobs where you just keep showing up and getting a really nice paycheck.
Yakobovsky: Alexa was very good at talking us into taking risks. I remember she was like, "What's your biggest fear? That if it fails, you won't be able to find another job? That's ridiculous. If anything, this will make you more qualified to do even more than your private equity gig. What can you do now? Build a nice spreadsheet?"
Von Tobel: I do think that the support of other people who are in your same shoes is crucial. Having someone who can help share what they've learned frankly saves you time -- it's better than a book. Books go out of date.
Deland: I think hiring is one of those things that, no matter what your business, can really make or break things. And there are so many different mistakes you can make, from the timing of the hiring, what type of hire, the seniority of the hire ... People really don't want to share that information, and it is one of the most valuable resources you can have as a startup, that knowledge. I know that when we were starting ...
Von Tobel: ... we shared a lot of that together ...
Deland: We shared just about everything.