Intentional Growth

#237: The Road Less Traveled: How Sandra Conquered Silicon Valley on Her Own Terms

#237: The Road Less Traveled: How Sandra Conquered Silicon Valley on Her Own Terms
Intentional Growth
#237: The Road Less Traveled: How Sandra Conquered Silicon Valley on Her Own Terms

Not every entrepreneur’s journey ends with them running a unicorn. Scratch that. Most don’t. On today’s show, Sandra Shpilberg and I talk about alternative funding to venture capital, switching from a service-based business model to a SaaS, as well as a host of great examples of how to make your niche work for you to achieve the entrepreneurial dream—all while making a compelling argument for entrepreneurs to foster a beginner’s mindset at all stages of your career. Tune in for a lesson in unconventional funding and the impact being intentional about how you raise funds has on the long-term.


What You Will Learn In Today's Podcast Interview

  • The three questions VC firms ask let Sandra know they weren’t going to be a good fit for her.
  • How differentiating her business in the market and going after niches her competitors deemed too dangerous brought her success.
  • What pushed her from a service to a software business and her unique take on the SaaS market.
  • Why Sandra chased recurring revenue rather than VC funding and the success she found doing a deep dive into her niche.
  • What the beginner’s mindset is, from Sandra’s book New Startup Mindset, and why it’s better than the mindset that you’re an expert since this often means you’re set in your ways.
  • The impact of over-confidence is underestimated and why you should stay humble.
  • How an executive coach helped Sandra think through the impact of two out-of-the-blue offers and what she wanted her exit to look like.
  • Customers can become more like partners as you grow, and the value of doing this for both parties.
  • Why Sandra has no seller’s remorse, despite selling early, especially in light of the pandemic.
  • The VC formula and the rarity of seeing the success it sells you.


Are You Growing The Value of Your Business

Take The 2-Minute Assessment To Get Your Intentional Growth Score™ And 1-Page Vision Board.

  • Are your company's current initiatives intentionally designed to increase the value of the business?
  • Do you know what you want from your business long term and why?
  • Do you know what your company is worth?
  • Do you know the differences between Management, Family Transitions, PE Firms, ESOPs and Strategic Buyers?
  • Does the business have a written strategic plan on how to achieve the desired normalized EBITDA and valuation?


About the Guest:

Sandra Shpilberg is the cofounder and CEO of a KOL discovery and management platform called Adnexi. Their mission is to accelerate drug development in order to benefit patients. This is her second startup after selling her first startup. In addition to being an entrepreneur, she is also the author of the bestselling and award-winning book New Startup Mindset: 10 Mindset Shifts to Build the Company of Your Dreams.



05:57 - “It began as a service. Then very quickly I realized that was just the beginning of the product-market fit for this particular need and there was more that our company could and needed to provide.” – Sandra Shpilberg

11:40 -“My customers are paying for a product that works.” – Sandra Shpilberg

13:25 - “Here’s a white man, he had to go to 70 meetings to get two. How many meetings do I have to go to?” “Instead of going to 140 meetings with venture capitalists, I’d rather go to 140 customer meetings because those customers are likely to buy my product and pay me to use it.” – Sandra Shpilberg

16:40 - “What is it that I’m trying to do here and why am I doing it? It became easier when I was intentional about what I wanted to do to that I didn’t really go convince others to give me funding in exchange for equity.” – Sandra Shpilberg

18:25 - “They were areas that our competitors deemed really difficult to work in.” – Sandra Shpilberg

22:15 - “If you’re able to come up with a premium B2B software offering, the price tag could be in the 6- or 7-digit area.” – Sandra Shpilberg

29:00 - “Having the mindset of a beginner is actually really useful.” – Sandra Shpilberg

36:50 - “It’s always good to give people the option to respond anonymously.” – Sandra Shpilberg

41:00 - “I was in the middle of the marathon.” – Sandra Shpilberg

43:49 - “By the time the third company showed up, I had pretty good clarity on what I wanted and I told them and I sold the company in year three.” – Sandra Shpilberg

47:57 - “Going into the third company, I was in a completely different position. I know what I want, I know what this is worth, and I know what you’re talking about!” – Sandra Shpilberg


Links and Resources:

Sandra Shpilberg

New Startup Mindset: 10 Mindset Shifts to Build the Company of Your Dreams

LinkedIn: Sandra Shpilberg

Twitter: @SandraShpilberg

Instagram: Sandra Shpilberg

Mastering Your Cash Flow Digital Course

ARKONA Boot Camp

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You can also reach out to me via email at [email protected], or on my LinkedIn.

Brought to you by Ryan Tansom of Intentional Growth