Serial entrepreneur and angel investor, David Carter joined forces former Myspace exec Allen Hurff to start Zuma Ventures. Zuma is an early stage startup studio that helps form tech companies. Erik Huberman, CEO of Hawke Media, talks to Allen and David about their paths to becoming entrepreneurs, Zuma Ventures and Santa Monica.
Erik Huberman: What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
David Carter: I think I was born an entrepreneur. It seems that from an early age, I’ve been doing everything from shoveling people’s walks, mowing lawns to creating a lawn mower repair business. I think the only change is the complexity of my businesses. I would say it’s been almost built into my DNA.
Allen Hurff: My dad was an IBM-er so I knew I didn’t want to work for a big global Fortune 500 company because he would come home and talk about middle managers and middle management. I basically started playing around and tinkering at home with my own businesses. When I was 19, I created the largest dial-up service in Northern Virginia and I never looked back.
E: Tell me about Zuma Ventures.
D: Zuma Ventures is a venture studio based in Santa Monica. We’re a company that makes other companies. Internally, we look a lot like a tech company; we have a development team, go to market and operational people, typical to a technology company. We started four months ago internally, and we’re maybe a month into the process after our release.
E: How are you changing the world?
A: I think we care a lot about things like culture, result-only work environments and the motivation manifesto where you create autonomy and mastery of purpose for your workforce. It’s all about the worker; we work for the employees. They get to produce great creativity and good work.
E: Why Santa Monica?
D: I think Santa Monica right now is an amazing spot because it has basically become the center of LA tech. If you look at the ecosystem here with Hollywood, or the Universities, it seems the density of tech has been incubated within Santa Monica. What we love is that Santa Monica is a great place to live and the work environment here is amazing. We can walk down the street and have our choice of 100 different world-class restaurants and different shops. It’s a place where we can get employees from a lot of different areas and be surrounded by a lot of different communities. We think, too, that the culture here is an amazing culture. A lot of what we see in Santa Monica – and the LA Tech community – is very communal. We have a lot of companies that are sister companies of ours, so we all help each other.
E: Do you have one piece of advice for an entrepreneur starting their own business?
D: Get started. Do something. We talk a lot about things, and a lot of people end their lives with regrets about what they didn’t do. Don’t end your life with regret. It’s much better to start something, to try. You’ll definitely have failures, but you need to get started.
A: People’s opinions on how to get funded are based on how they got funded on that day, in that year, depending how the wind was blowing, and in what direction. A lot of people try to incorporate based on how everyone raised money before them and that’s not how you’re going to raise money. It’s about getting down to raising money, not integrating every opinion you hear into it. It’s about doing it, and iterating as you go.
E: What’s something you’d like to share with Santa Monica?
D: Recognize where you are. We’re in an amazing place. Participate into giving without expecting something in return; try to help your community. That atmosphere will continue to make LA an amazing place to work and live.