An Interview With Mouli Cohen, Entrepreneur and Venture Capitalist
Mouli Cohen is a successful entrepreneur who has founded and developed successful ventures in the biotechnology, high technology, digital media and entertainment sectors. Mouli has balanced his success in business with philanthropic activities, especially in healthcare for children. Over the years he has supported children’s charities, food programs, medical research, and the arts as well as education projects both in the US and abroad.
I ask the founder of Voltage Capital his thoughts on success, entrepreneurship, investment philosophies, and philanthropy.
1. So, tell us a little about yourself.
Even as a young person, I always had a very entrepreneurial mindset. I always knew that I wanted to create new concepts and new things that would help improve the way people did and thought about things. I’ve always had a very strict work ethic.
2. What are the key traits you believe that a person should possess to be able to succeed as an entrepreneur?
Never give up, and always come back. Learn from your mistakes. Be hungry – if you’re not, there will always be someone else there to eat your lunch. Without passion you have nothing. Passion is the key to succeeding in all that a person does and strives to do.
3. What are your key guiding principles in choosing a startup to invest in? Any personal philosophies?
The guiding principles around any business venture that I have chosen to be involved in have always been based around the following:
i. People – Staffing your business with people of the upmost integrity is critical to the success of any company. Without good people, you have nothing.
ii. Business Model – Ultimately it has to be a good concept.
Philosophies – loving what you do and who you do it with. Never looking at work as work. Always thinking like a key stakeholder, regardless of a person’s place in the company.
4. Share with us on your philanthropic works. Why did you decide on this?
In my opinion, philanthropy is not a choice – it is something that is mandatory. You can give back to your community in a variety of ways – not just through money. There needs to be a balance in every person’s life – in what we do, how we choose to live, and what we choose to give to others. I very much believe that philanthropy is reciprocal – when you are blessed with a lot, your responsibility to give should also be great.
5. As both an entrepreneur as well as an investor, what is your stand on getting entrepreneurs to pay to pitch to investors?
I don’t believe that anyone should ever have to “pay” to pitch their idea to anyone. I would never do this, nor would I encourage others to. If you really believe in your product, you will inevitably find a way to promote it to investors.
6. Any words of wisdom to share with aspiring or budding entrepreneurs?
Every day is a new tomorrow, a new game. Take it day by day. We live in a world which is full of untapped opportunity; take full advantage of your potential. Stretch your limits – always persevere.
You can read more on Mouli Cohen’s thoughts about entrepreneurship here.
Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.