How Central are the Founders to Scaleup Success?
Roland: With this book, we especially want to reach the founders of tech scaleups.
Those in charge of a startup that has "hit it" and is struggling to serve surging demand for their product. Which means the founders are struggling too. To hire enough people, to align the teams and to raise enough funds for the next stage.
"Scaleup success depends completely on the founders"
Doug: Is there a reason to target founders? Why not any scaleup leader, executive or even employee?
Roland: Of course, all these people are welcome to read our book and I am sure they will find much valuable advice. But to be completely honest: the degree of scaleup success still depends completely on the founders.
It is founders who are leading the growth company through successive scaleup stages.
It is founders, more than anyone else, who need to change their behavior as the company grows.
And it is founders who are most at risk of losing their job if the company fails to succeed in the next scaleup stage.
Doug: We are talking in particular about founders of tech companies? Ventures that have attracted outside investments from angels or venture capitalists?
Roland: Yes, the tech industry is a particular focus of this book. Of course, many of our prescriptions have helped growth companies around the world. Whether they be in construction, hospitality, business-to-business-services, you name it.
"In tech, the winner-takes-all model explains the rationality of seeking outside funding"
But what none of these industries have in common with tech is the ability to conquer an entire market. This winner-takes-all-model is what makes the payoff of investing in technology so great.
It explains why the predominant business model for tech is to seek outside funding.
It drives the much faster growth rates that the tech industry is famous for.
And it clarifies why founders of tech companies need to learn fast if they are to keep their CEO position.
Roland Siebelink regularly speaks and writes about leadership in fast-growing tech startups. You can find more of his insights, including free chapters of his book “Scaling Silicon Valley Style.”