However, it’s important to think beyond the headline figures. Capital availability and the attractiveness of the market to investors is a function of supply and demand. If only one or two VC firms are active in a given market and the supply-demand ratio is out of balance, then investors will move away from the market and demand more supply. A British startup, therefore, needs to convince more VCs to get to the next stage of funding if it wants to expand. This means building an audience, getting to a critical mass, and then winning funding.
The structure of a startup is another area that investors factor into the decision-making process. A soft sell to your VCs will be that they need to see a full-time chief executive, plus senior leadership, and it’s true that no CEO or head of marketing alone can build a successful business. But if you really want to focus on growth, you’ll only be able to do so by scaling your headcount. Founders and their co-founders inevitably see themselves as full-time CEOs. This is true even if they are still working in other roles at their day jobs.
As the CEO approached his mid-40s, King was looking to build a 'War Chest' of talent. Headcount grew by nearly 40% in 2016, but still only managed to reach 320 employees, which was still about half the size of the London team in 2014. King grew a culture of hard work, discipline and a willingness to play the long game. He understood the importance of hiring people who 'believed in the vision', and that self-sufficiency was essential: The company set up a Director Development programme so that the best early employees could be fast-tracked into management and leadership roles. A key focus of King's leadership has been the importance of developing a 'knowledge economy'.
King's success reflects the importance of a strong, centralised European leadership team, and of a strong, visionary US Chief. The US team is largely European, but it's not the norm. We're seeing a lot more US-based tech startups setting up in Europe, and the UK is a hotbed of interest and opportunity. The reason for this is simple: It's the easiest and cheapest place to build a tech business in Europe. The UK has a legacy of technical and tech talent, and is home to the largest concentration of venture capital funds in Europe. There's a lot of interest in this area, and the UK has the best ecosystem of accelerators and incubators for tech startups. If you're a US-based tech startup, the UK is the place to be.
David Johnson initially launched Numbers in the US, building its brand and revenue before launching in the UK. It is an example of the Seattle-based startup that is now popular in the UK – another variant of the Anchor archetype. 827ec27edc