I am often asked why some startups succeed in a world where most fail. Conventional wisdom is that three quarters of venture-backed startups fail and that under half of businesses make it to their fifth year. Why is consequential success as a new company builder so elusive and difficult? What are the big factors that are within one’s control to improve the odds of success as a founder/founding team member? Although there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, this article shares insights and patterns of success I have observed during two decades of early-stage technology venture investing in Silicon Valley. We also highlight a term we coined: the Clear Triangle and the traits of the three foundational members of a winning startup team.