Great 1-5 Tae! Suggestion on adding #6. There might come a time, as the company scales, when the founder, is no longer the right person for the job. In that case, the founder should want to be replaced (or change from CEO to another role, which is more often the case) for the sake of their company and their stake in it.
Great post Kaitlyn! The Unicorpses are ultimately a result of questionable valuations for all the reasons that you highlighted. I’d like to add that investor sentiment coupled with the belief that VCs make all the money on unicorns (which is true for the biz model of many top VCs, a topic deserving a blog on its own), are also responsible for driving the balloning valuations that we’ve seen in the tech space and most recently in healthcare. According to CB Insights (https://www.cbinsights.com/research-unicorn-companies), this year, the number of tech unicorns valued at 1 billion or more totals to 69 companies, that is 1.3 “unicorns” being created on average per week! The problem is that successful VC-backed tech sector IPO’s have been far and few in between. In response to that and along with LivingSocial’s and Square’s IPO, there has been a frenzy of articles in Forbes, Fortune, Business Insider, etc throughout October and November all reporting that “winter is coming” (finally!) to Silicon Valley. Apparently, according to several reporters the investor sentiment has changed to fear and everyone is waiting for the bubble to burst. It will be very interesting to see how many unicorpses we see as the pressure for downward valuation increases.
btw thanks for the good luck wishes, we will def need them 🙂
David, thanks for your great points. You are right on with Clover capitalizing a well-defined movement in the US away from unhealthy foods. The beauty industry is definitely behind in moving away from unhealthy skincare, but we believe that is not very far behind. The consumer that is educated enough to chose the healthy foods will very soon seek healthy skincare options. And they already are, several market research organizations predict the market growth of the organic/natural skincare to be in the double digits (10-14%), and to continue to outpace the overall skincare market. There is a movement in the personal care space, and RAW is positioning for it.
Great post Nancy, I think it’s very valuable that you brought up here the notion of “loyalty” and how fundamental that is to the culture of a startup, defining the relationships between the founders themselves, founders and the employees, the company and its customers, and ultimately impacting the chances of the startup’s success. We talk about strategy, the business model, cash burn and etc all the times, but rarely take the time to analyze how important loyalty is in creating and growing a business. So thanks for this!
Great post Jose, I totally agree that friction between founders & early employees sometimes becomes a fundamental challenge in scaling. I think one option to consider for the founder(s) is to structure a portion of the compensation of both founder(s) and employees in a similar manner from the very beginning. For example, if the company is an LLC, than a portion of founders equity and early employee compensation could be incentive options structured the same way, with a similar vesting schedule, preference rights and etc. That way the early employees will feel more aligned with the founders, which may result in less friction when scaling.