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There are moments in life when you step up. Starting you’re own business is one of the biggest. It’s rare to find the few who will and rarer still to find a mentor who has. Jamie has and in Unicorn Tears he shows us how to avoid failure and crush it in business.

— Matt Church, founder of ThoughtLeaders, author of
Next: thriving in the decade of disruption

Unicorn Tears has it all; why businesses fail, how to succeed, and how to enjoy the journey. All presented by one of the countries most respected entrepreneurs and investors. This is a must read.

— Jack Delosa, CEO and founder of The Entourage

If you are a startup, thinking about becoming one, or simply interested in the idea of entrepreneurialism and how to maximise your chances of success, as opposed to becoming one of the 92 per cent that fails, then Jamie’s book, Unicorn Tears, is a must-read.  Jam-packed with how to’s and ideas, and supported with his own stories and those of others, Unicorn Tears, is essential reading for anyone serious about startup success.

— Janine Garner, speaker, mentor, author of It’s Who You Know

We live in a world where expertise is all too readily claimed and the academic world has become, well, a little bit ‘academic’. This is what makes Jamie Pride’s observations so valuable — his knowledge and wisdom has been earned through experience in real world conditions with numerous startups. He makes me want to be a better entrepreneur — and every time we speak, he helps me do just that.

— Dan Gregory, CEO, The Impossible Institute

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For Sam, Phoebe, Harrison and Imogen



Unicorn: a technology startup company that reaches a $1 billion market value as determined by private or public investment.

Unicorn tears: the 92 per cent of technology startups that fail within the first three years of launch.


Jamie Pride is a serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist on a mission to help build better founders and a better venture capital ecosystem to support them.

As an entrepreneur, Jamie sold his first startup, Velteo, to New York–based system integrator Bluewolf, and has founded six technology startups. As an investor, he has raised more than $16 million in funding for startups via private and public markets, including completing an IPO on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2015.

He has more than 20 years’ experience with international technology and digital media organisations, including leading and senior positions with Deloitte Digital,, Red Hat, Veritas and Cisco Systems.

Jamie is also a sought-after public speaker and regularly comments on startups, entrepreneurship, venture capital, disruptive innovation and design thinking.

He is the managing partner at Phi Digital Ventures, an early-stage, social impact venture fund that seeks to invest in Australian companies looking to change the world. He is also the co-founder of The Founder Lab, an educational institution for entrepreneurs that seeks to build and support better founders.

Having worked extensively as both an entrepreneur and an investor he has a unique insight into what it takes to make a startup successful and what it takes to get funded.


Over the past 20 years I have founded and funded numerous technology startups. During that time I have seen a clear pattern emerging: startup failure has become an accepted industry norm, and it has an impact that reaches far beyond financial loss to investors. Having experienced my own journey of failure as a founder more than once, I have felt the very real, deep, personal impact of that failure on me, my family and my colleagues.

As I sat at home, licking my wounds from my most recent startup failure, the thought of writing this book took hold — and it soon became an obsession for me. I started talking to founders, and what they shared with me didn’t surprise me at all. Many of the first-time founders I spoke to were lost, with no map to guide them; even the more experienced founders, burnt out or stressed out, felt alone, isolated, with nowhere to turn for support. I was determined to write a book on startup failure by a founder for founders.

I quickly discovered that startup failure is ingrained in the eco­system. Concepts such as ‘fail fast’, misunderstood and misapplied, are thrown around without much thought. The traditional venture capitalist approach to failure is to place a lot of bets on the understanding that, while most ventures will fail, a very few may turn out to be ‘unicorns’ and return vast profits that will make up for all the losses. It is a very wasteful approach.

The financial waste in failed startups is fairly widely understood; less recognised is the largely unspoken issue of human waste. I’ve seen the dark side of startups: 49 per cent of founders in one survey reported some kind of mental health issue. By their own admission, more than 30 per cent of founders have experienced depression while 27 per cent have suffered serious anxiety. Founders are fatigued!

But isn’t the startup game meant to be fun, exciting and glamorous? Don’t we keep seeing successful startup founders smiling on the front pages of the business press, having completed their latest triumphant capital raising or IPO? The culture of ‘I’m crushing it’ makes it hard for founders to admit they are struggling.

The irony is that most startup failure is preventable. In its simplest form, startup failure is often a consequence of ‘self-harm’: rather than crumbling in the face of overwhelming external competition, startups typically implode. This is good news, because it means you can do something about it!

There is a better way. In this book you will learn:

So why should you listen to me? What do I know about startups? Well, in short, I’ve made a lot of mistakes so you don’t have to. I have gone through the personal pain of startup failure. I’ve felt the sting of losing investors’ money and the embarrassment and stress of large-scale public failure. And I’m still here. I can teach you the lessons I’ve learned firsthand.

Not only am I a founder, but I am also a venture capitalist. This gives me a unique perspective. I have sat on both sides of the table and have insights into how each player in the game thinks. I truly love what I do, and I am on a mission to help build better founders and a better venture capital ecosystem to support them.

You might say I am a misfit. I hope you can identify with that. Most founders I know are nonconformists. They don’t thrive in the corporate world. They are passionately committed to bringing their ideas into the world, but they are struggling. It doesn’t have to be that way. Founding a startup should be one of the most rewarding, exciting and challenging things you do in your life. I hope reading this book will help you enjoy those rewards and avoid your own unicorn tears.