On Indiakaj in Copenhagen sits a small group of people rethinking entrepreneurship as we know it – they’re going to make an entrepreneurship formula.
Identifying patterns and utilizing standardized processes
The company factory Founders has used the first three years to identify the processes that are important for the success of a business. So far, Founders has co-founded five companies, but the objective is to create four new companies each year.
“You can optimize the company’s probability of success by using processes, structures and models. That is the fundamental thesis by Founders. You can become good at building businesses, when you do it many times. You begin to see patterns,” explains Simon Sylvest, co-founder and partner at Founders.
Sylvest explains how developing the business model of Pipetop, one of their portfolio startups, made them realise that it was crucial to ask the market not only whether or not they wanted the solution, but also, by asking the right questions and getting the honest responses, figuring out if they needed the solution enough for Founders and Pipetop to build it.
“Based on the lessons from Pipetop we now use a partially standardised interview process when exploring whether or not to start a new business,” explains Sylvest
Formulas don’t equal unimaginative and boring rules and regulations
It is popular to be an entrepreneur and the stereotype is young, colourful, fast and fun and far from defined by processes, standardisation and hierarchy. The entrepreneurial dream also often includes to become successful and create a massive turnover – but this requires a larger organisation, and not least a lot organising.
Simon Sylvest also emphasises that entrepreneurship is not an art form, and that it may well be rationalised and maybe even put on formula without extracting the adventure of entrepreneurship.
“It can be fun. It need not be inane. Actually, there is much more need for structure in a small company than there is over at Maersk. When starting a business you are doing it all in the dark, but it doesn’t need to be like that,” says Simon Sylvest.
Although Founders are trying to increase the chances of success for entrepreneurial companies, statistics tells that two thirds of startups will fail. Therefore it is important to keep a high frequency of projects coming through the Founders process.
A Founders-company must go through the Founder process of between 12 and 15 months after which the company should be able to fend for themselves.
For Founders, it is not a success in itself to create a company where there is opportunity for a profitable exit in x number of years. The success lies in creating a company that solves a problem and are able to create a steady income and a stable job, as Sylvest expresses it:
“We are building companies, not exit strategies”
Founders has co-founded car-sharing platform Minbildinbil, which has just been bought by the Dutch competitor SnappCar, as well as two companies that received investment within the last six months; the storage service GoBox and Son of a Tailor, who is behind the largest crowdfunding campaign for fashion startups.
Meet Simon Sylvest at TechBBQ May 20 – get your ticket here