‘Smart’ Mattress Company Eight Raises $5 Million Series A To Track Your Sleep
At one of Ajay Agarwal’s portfolio companies, Gainsight, CEO Nick Mehta has started hosting industry-wide conferences to share his corporate culture.
Every entrepreneur knows starting a business is very hard. However, what many entrepreneurs find is that growing a business is even harder.
What I’ve learned from my 20 years working inside startups and in venture capital is that founders typically face a common set of challenges as their early stage company shifts into growth mode.
Given my experience here are tips for how founders can proactively manage and mitigate these classic “growing pains”.
Shift From Optimizing Around Innovation To Optimizing For Repeatability
Early stage startups are designed to optimize for innovation. This is reflected in the organizational structure that is very flat; the culture, which is chaotic with a desire to throw lots of things at the wall to see what sticks; and the early employees who are insanely smart and like to work on hard problems.
When a startup begins to grow, a founder must find ways to shift the balance away from focusing exclusively on innovation to thinking about repeatability and scalability.
What does this involve? First, founders must allocate portions of engineering and product development on features that help improve on-boarding, implementation, and customer training versus just on new, cool innovative capabilities. Second, companies have to design training processes that allow large numbers of new employees to get up to speed quickly without relying on direct apprenticeship from the founder. Third, at this stage, it’s important to implement standard metrics and reporting across the company so that employees who don’t interact with the founder day-to-day can clearly understand…