As a 20-year “big company” guy who is taking some interest in entrepreneurship and has been told countless times that it’s better to start young and fresh, I found this article from Micah Rosenbloom on the contrary very supportive. Great motivational read!
Micah is a seed stage investor at Founder Collective and writes about his reasons to fund entrepreneurs with (a little) big-company experience.
My key take-aways:
- VCs don’t often invest in career big company execs, but VCs also don’t discount the value of a founder’s experience at a large corporation
- Big-company experience will become very relevant for a founder once the startup has achieved traction, with revenues and number of employees growing, so essentially when its really on its way to become a new “big company”
- 3 key skills emerge as being the most useful at this stage: long-range planning, structured decision making and political persuation
- Long range planning is about your ability to see further than 12-month (the usual horizon for a startup) and to develop a vision at 5 to 10 years
- Structured decision making is about your capacity to focus on the decisive topics that will have real impact for the company, analyse the data available, and build a consensus decision, all that in a formal process that optimises the use of time and resources
- Political persuation is about your strenght to convince large crowds and being able to reach out and get support through a wide range of groups, ages, backgrounds, places
- a series of additional skills may also become handy: HR 101 (hiring and firing), financial controls (budgeting, dashboard), selling to big accounts (understanding the decision making rationale) and making the most of B-players (as scale grows, so your likelihood to hire sub part employees)