Passion for entrepreneurship has inspired us to create Foundum. We believe in entrepreneurs as they have the greatest potential to drive, change and positively influence economies & societies.

July, 2012

Jim Collins – European Growth Summit in Barcelona

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

It’s the second year in a row that Verne Harnish and Connor Neill bring the Growth Summit to Barcelona. Last year there were great speakers and good content that you can see here. This year we had the pleasure to listen for a whole afternoon to Jim Collins – the author behind Good to Great, Built to Last, How the Might Fall and Great by Choice. Jim Collins has spent the last 25 years answering the same question from different perspectives: ‘what makes great companies tick?’. If you read his books or if you listen to one of his talks, he will answer this question for you. What did we get out of his talk? Here are the X main points that we believe entrepreneurs should keep in mind:

1. Business Performance IS People Performance

Many people forget that people run businesses. So remember that at the heart of every success or failure within the company there is a person or a group of people that are doing things right or not. Jim Collins always emphasizes the phrase ‘ get the right people on the right seats on the bus’. Understand who you want on your bus (in your company) and assign them to the right seats (right job positions). This is step 1 of every company and it is crucial.

2. Greatness = Choice + Discipline

Jim Collins is a maniac of meritocracy, discipline and the idea that ‘Good’ is the enemy of ‘Great’. The argument is that it is a choice to be a Great company. One must recognize that greatness is the end goal and decisions need to be made in order to achieve that status. In addition, a variable and state of mind that needs to be there in order to be great is Discipline – the discipline to follow the many steps that need to be taken in order to become great.

3. The X factor of great leadership

Great companies have one major thing in common – Level 5 Leaders. A Level 4 Leader is a good leader who is doing what he is doing for himself. The X factor and main differentiator between these two type of leaders is that a Level 5 Leader has ‘humility and will’:
The humility and will to be the dumbest in the room, to be interested rather than interesting, to create a great product (the company) that will last and endure past his presence. The Level 5 leader removes himself from the equation.

4. Manage for the quarter… century

Great companies have set themselves 20 – 25 year goals. Jim Collins describes this as the 20 mile run. Set your goals so that they can last for many, many years and make them achievable but challenging. For example, Southwest Airlines’ goal was to be profitable every year, and they were, even in 2001 when the terrorist attacks occurred. Why is this? Because they had the goal of being profitable and not to overstretch their resources. In 1996 Southwest Airlines had the possibility to expand into more than 40 cities in the USA. Every city in the country wanted them. But they decided to go to ONLY 4 cities. They knew that they couldn’t and shouldn’t simply look at the short term. That made them ready and solid to tackle any crisis that would have occurred in the future. Which brings us to the next point.

5. Productive Paranoia

Great leaders have something that Jim Collins describes as Productive Paranoia. They are paranoid that something catastrophic can always happen therefore they take precautionary measures. We have witnessed in history that ‘black swan’ events (events that should rarely happen) actually do happen more often than we think. So it is not about asking the question ‘if this happens then we will react this way’ but rather ‘when this will happen we will act this way’.
Always have contingency plans ready and in the case of a startup it is even more necessary as you are probably going in unexplored territories.

6. Luck & Badluck

Sometimes events happen where you have no control. It could be a natural disaster, a person you have met or an event that you randomly happen to attend. Jim Collins observed that both great companies and good companies have had more or less the same amount of luck and bad luck. Both sets of companies used the good luck in a similar manner. Jim Collins likes numbers and statistics, therefore he thinks that even though luck or bad luck cannot be controlled, what can be controlled and measured is what a company does with luck or bad luck events. The actions and outcomes on luck or bad luck events are coined as return on luck/bad luck. Jim Collins noticed that the main difference between good and great companies was not their return on good luck but rather their return on bad luck. What does this mean? This means that if something happens, a bad luck event, on a startup or corporation, what really matters is how that startup will react to the event and make the best out of the bad luck – return on bad luck.

7. Responsibilities not jobs

Lastly thinking back to people, you must understand that you, and the people around you in a company, don’t simply have jobs, they have responsibilities. Imagine the change of mindset that you can give to your employees when you make them understand that they have responsibilities towards colleagues, clients, providers and so on.

Jim Collins is all about creating great companies. The beautiful thing about his approach is that he uses statistics from thousands of companies spanning many years and at the end concludes that the difference is all about people. All the points listed above are about having the right people, in the right place with the right leader. Let’s get the right people on board and get movin’, creating the best startups we can!

Mallorca Ecosystem Launch + Mola Demo Day = Successful trip to the Spanish Isles!

Monday, July 16th, 2012

The Foundum team just returned from an amazing trip to Palma de Mallorca for the first ever Mola Demo Day and the official opening of Foundum’s second Ecosystem: Mallorca .

First, the Mola Demo Day featured some of Mallorca’s hottest entrepreneurs and their startups as they presented to a panel of expert investors.  Each team was given 5 minutes to present and then 5 minutes of Q&A from some of Spain’s most widely known VC’s and Private Investors.  Keep an eye on these startups as they grow to new heights: Emtrics, Playspace, Study2gether, Fitboo, Geniuzz, Wannataxi, and Portbooker.  Big congratulations to Playspace and Portbooker for taking the honors of “Best Presentation”!

Then it was on to some fun in the sun onboard the Barca Samba where only good food, great friends, and some extreme overboard “ship-jumping” was on the agenda.  This was not your typical ‘suit and tie’ networking event.  Young and old alike, dressed in Bermuda-style attire could do some networking as Foundum officially launched the Mallorca Ecosystem during an improvised role playing demo on the top deck of the ship.  Founders Christopher Pommerening and Daniela Arens decided it was much easier to show the crowd how the Foundum ecosystems work in person rather than describe it.  Minutes later, entrepreneurs, investors, advisors, and the Mola incubator were all up on stage demonstrating live how the entrepreneurial ecosystem is set up.  If this day was any indication, our newest ecosystem is sure to have a personality all its own.

After disembarking from the ship, some rest and relaxation was in order and lounging poolside was the perfect cure.  Once we regained our strength, it was back to “work” enjoying tapas and cocktails on a beautiful beachfront terrace of Balneario Illetas, just outside of Palma. 

We’d like to give our biggest thanks to Enrique Dubois, Paco Gimena, Melissa Sapmaz and the rest of the Mola team for hosting us and putting together such a magnificent event.  We can’t wait to watch the Mallorca Ecosystem grow!

Mallorca: Foundum’s 2nd Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

This Friday the 13th will be a memorable one but in a good way. This time, it will be remembered as the official launch of Foundum’s 2nd Ecosystem and the first ever Mola Demo Day in the beautiful island of Mallorca.

Mallorca is no longer just a holiday destination. The island is flush with serious entrepreneurs and is quickly becoming a hot zone for startup investment activity.

On the 13th of July, the Mallorca-based Accelerator Mola will invite entrepreneurs, investors and other service providers from Mallorca and other parts of Spain to present their projects and meet face-to-face to create new relationships and foster innovation.

Our team will also be there to announce the official opening of the 2nd Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Mallorca. The new ecosystem launch will be guided by our City Champions and Ambassadors of Mallorca Enrique Dubois and Melissa Sapmaz.

We are extremely excited to see our friends on the shores of Mallorca and introduce them to the rest of the global entrepreneurial ecosystem!