Unicorn Hunting

in business •  14 days ago


All the (kool) kids are busy raising £millions from venture capitalists. Burning through the cash to develop the next hot thing. Amazon, watch out! Investors salivate at the prospect of a 100x return. Then the founders rush out for more funding (cos they've run out of cash). But don't worry, the product is in the pipeline and it's looking......freakin awesome! More money is poured into the venture with the mantra:

"Don't worry about profits.....yet. Just look at Amazon. They made a loss for years and I bet you wish you'd invested in that unicorn early doors...?!
And the merry-go-round goes on and on and on:
  1. Too much capital floating around looking for a (solid) home
  2. Cash burned by new ventures
  3. No profits made
  4. Cash runs out
  5. Fund-raise or start all over again
  6. Rinse and repeat.
I was talking to a client just the other day who was tempted to follow "the kids" and seek a fund-raise to take their business to a "whole new level". Fine in principle - always good to aim high. Trouble is, this is already a solid business with a healthy profit and future. Yet the Founder was feeling entrepreneurial pressure to follow the crowd and persuade others to invest into his company and potentially take a seat on his Board and even tell him what to do...!

There was no need. This Founder just needed a little more patience. Fund-raising is hard work. And in many cases the Founder regrets it further down the line as they realise that they could have likely made it on their own, plus they now have a demanding bunch of investors thumping the desk for better results.

Seeking to be a company with unicorn status is not for everyone. We're not all cut from the same cloth - in fact, I would argue that few are cut from unicorn cloth.

Better to have a profitable, cash-rich, growing company that enthuses you and is under your control in my view.

Leave the unicorn hunting to the kids!


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Exactly. It is a lot better to build profitable businesses without the venture funds. Once those outside funds come in, control is gone and the founders vision fades away

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Yes, it can work in certain circumstances but it's becoming the default option too often these days

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Patience. Business is all about this.

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Those VC funds can not perform magic. People need to focus on making their businesses profitable on their own