Silicon Valley Insights with Kemar Newell

Looking for insider tips on the Y Combinator selection process? Or simply the best place to grab a pair of rare, limited-edition designer sneakers? Then you are not going to want to miss the next installment of our next Silicon Valley Insights series, which will be held for the first time at the event space in our newly opened Karlin offices on June 23 and — also for the first time — in Brno on June 24.

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Flying in from California to host this exclusive evening, STRV CEO David Semerad will be sitting down with Kemar Newell, a former engineer for Google and Apple, who walked away from IT’s top dogs to launch his own startup — Flip, sort of the eBay for sneaker fanatics looking to sell and buy one-of-a-kind collectables by, for example, Nike or Kanye West.

Kemar will discuss and answer questions about Flip’s journey from idea to market-ready product, including a successful stint with the prestigious San Francisco-based accelerator Y Combinator.

Following the fireside chat and questions from the audience, we will be hosting an afterparty at our seventh-floor Scrollbar, where you can enjoy a couple beers, food from and a bit of networking. Oh, and amazing views from our wrap-around terrace! The location of the afterparty in Brno will be announced soon.

If you can't wait to hear what kind of advice Kemar has to share, we have visited him in LA and asked a few questions in advance.

David Semerad and Kemar Newell in Los Angeles

You jumped from working with Google and Apple to running your own successful startup in less than a decade. How did you do it? Did this journey unravel the way you envisioned when you first started out?

I've always had the entrepreneurial itch but needed to have a better understanding of how Silicon Valley worked. I've always loved the products and vision of Apple. Making the move to Google felt like the natural step in my journey to seek a difference in company culture and global impact.

How did Y Combinator help shape your first startup experience?

It was an invaluable experience that accelerated what I would have done in six to seven months to less than three months. The advice and support of my batch mates helped to shape the direction and keep me accountable.

The YC selection process is grueling. What do you think made Flip stand out against the other startups competing for a coveted spot?

I'm not certain if there is just one thing here, but rather a combination of signals that could prove increased chance of success. I'm very passionate about the problem we're solving, and there is a huge market that I've had firsthand experience in.

What kind of advice or insights would you give to a young entrepreneur hoping to make it big on the Silicon Valley startup scene?

Don't wait on permission to do things and it's all about being able to survive almost anything... just like a cockroach.