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It takes guts, determination, and a healthy dose of optimism to attempt building a startup of your own. And even with that passion to innovate, inspired by a dedication to change or improve the way we do things, the unfortunate reality is that most startups fail.

So the big question is why? And more importantly, what’s the difference between those that fail and those that succeed? What’s the secret to success?

Bruce Cleveland is a Founding Partner of Wildcat Venture Partners and author of the book Traversing the Traction Gap. What compelled Bruce to write his book was to answer that very question around why the startup failure rate was so high and what entrepreneurs could do about it. He’s seen first-hand what’s required to take an idea from startup to category leader, with over three decades of experience building early and growth-stage companies in Silicon Valley before becoming a venture capitalist. And as an investor, he’s been involved with some exciting companies, including Marketo, C3, and Vlocity. 


In this episode, Bruce shares:

  • Why many startups fail and how “market-engineering” separates the winners from the losers.
  • What the Traction Gap Framework is and the important milestones and pillars that make up the approach.
  • The necessity to have a market-first mindset and ways to capture that all-important Market IQ.


Learn more, and find the complete show notes, at




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