Adam Lyons on Being Scrappy, Mark Cuban and Mentorship – Interview

March 17, 2017

3:30 pm

Being scrappy is a trait that every startup founder needs to embrace to find different ways to solve problems while building one’s business. Adam Lyons, cofounder of The Zebra, said in our Tech.Co interview that being scrappy is at the heart of their culture.

“I think it’s critical, you’re going to get told no a lot, you’re going to look at a problem the same way everyone has looked at it, and if you’re not scrappy or think outside the box, then you’re never going to figure it out,” Adam said.

Adam is the atypical tech founder. He didn’t go straight into an ivy league or have ties to Silicon Valley. In fact, he was a high school drop-out who eventually found his way back to Temple college and land a position working at Lloyds of London and fell in love with insurance.

Adam wanted to find a solution for consumers to find car insurance online and built The Zebra, the Kayak for auto insurance, and has provided 3.5 million drivers with customized quotes and has relationships with over 40 top insurance companies.

Being scrappy helped him land the attention of Mark Cuban and Mark Maples who placed an additional $17M into the company, bringing their total investment to over $21M. Adam also attributes his success to having solid mentors, including Mark Cuban, that help him maneuver through a heavily regulated industry.

In my interview, Adam talks about the need to stay scrappy, building a company in a regulated sector to build The Zebra, the importance of relationship, and advice to startups raising capital.

Austin has a city motto of “Keep Austin Weird.”  In that spirit, I asked Adam about how he keeps it weird and in doing so stays true to himself.

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Tishin is a technology journalist and correspondent. She has written for TechCrunch, Demand Studios and Fitness, and has regular network segments on local Phoenix affiliate stations. She holds a Master's degree in Clinical and Sport psychology, and has covered many areas of technology ranging from 3D printing and game development to neurotech and funding for over 15 years.