Forces of Nature
- Aka the common thread we could find in the archetypes of the best Founders –
Not dissimilar from other Firms, we at Matrix spend a lot of time interacting with Founders, trying to become smarter at picking the best from the rest. While it would be simplistic and foolhardy to try to come up with a formula (not that it ever stopped us!), we do find it helpful to think of where a particular Founders’ strength lies on the organization building pyramid (illustration below):
Founders are sometimes missionaries starting at the top of the pyramid, others are execution machines and work their way up. Both archetypes succeed famously. There is no “one size fits all” and there are a variety of approaches – so let me focus on what we have found to be in common amongst the best Founders:
So, what about domain expertise, business modeling, commercial sense, numerate, analytical ability, customer focus etc.? Well, all are important no doubt, and no one has everything in equal measure. At Matrix, as part of our foundersfirst! philosophy, we spend more time trying to get a handle of the “intrinsic” traits of the Founder more so than their “extrinsic” abilities – the latter are seen on the resume and track record. At the early stage of investing we operate in, we find that figuring out how a Founder is built is as, if not more important than spending time on details of the business that they are trying to build! You can like them; hate them; agree with them; debate with them and think they are truly off the wagon wheel – BUT, you cannot ignore them!
They are essentially "forces of nature”.