How Startups Plan For Billion-Dollar Success

You can’t copy someone else’s strategy and expect the same results

Joe Procopio
6 min readDec 14, 2020


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Don’t fall for the lure of the billion-dollar IPO.

If you are, like me, watching all these jaw-dropping entrances into the public markets and looking for common denominators that you can apply to building your own company, there aren’t any.

Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve already raked in a few million dollars of capital, the strategies, models, and methods that are going to launch you to your next level haven’t been invented yet. You can’t follow someone else’s playbook and expect the same results, not even some fractional equivalent of their success.

I’ve been building companies, products, and tech for over 20 years, and I can assure you there isn’t one set of singular strategies that makes the difference between a startup’s success and failure. I’ve never gotten to the same place the same way twice.

You need to write your own playbook for your own billion-dollar success. Let’s talk about how to do that.

Step away from the S1

I just spent three years working shoulder-to-shoulder with a brilliant entrepreneur who has taken one company public, has a couple more outsized exits, and is currently running one of the more innovative startups I’ve ever been involved with.

One of the things he likes to do is pore over pitch decks from companies who have raised loads of money, and also S1 filings from companies who have IPOd. He breaks those documents down, looking for interesting strategies, models, statistics, and trends.

I’ve started doing the same thing. These can be really eye-opening exercises that can help you formulate how the money side of the universe sees the opportunity side of the universe — or how the fuel gets into the tank.

But one thing he doesn’t do, I won’t do, and I encourage you not to do, is apply those exact same strategies or models that worked in concert with those exact same statistics and trends. Just because DoorDash was able to cash in on the pandemic doesn’t mean anyone can, or should, no matter what their numbers say about the explosive growth of home delivery.



Joe Procopio

I'm a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. NLG pioneer. Building & GROWERS. Write at and More at