What is the secret to success at a startup? I am convinced (and so are a lot of other people) that the team is the #1 success factor. Trust among team members is a critical element. The ability to argue productively is a critical element. Respect among team members is a critical element. Team issues account for most of the troubling days in my VC work. Quoting Mike Moritz from Sequoia Capital, “Judging people is more difficult than judging a market or a product. Markets rarely deliver big surprises. People will always produce surprises.”
A CEO of one of the companies in our CVF portfolio today sent me a post entitled “What Makes a Great Cleantech Team”. Check it out here. It contains some conclusions based on what I would call semi-rigorous (not academia quality) research. The summary, “Great founders hail from every age, background, and school. What differentiates winning teams is their relationships. Successful cleantech companies tend to be bands of brothers and sisters – including the core inventor – that come together on their own, form a complete team, and have a leader fit for the long haul. In contrast, here’s the recipe for a failure: Find an interesting technology, assemble a team of competent people around it who didn’t previously know one another, and don’t worry about bringing the original inventor along.”
I don’t think is at all limited to cleantech.
You will likely enjoy the post. To me, the trust and respect among founders who know each other prior to starting a company is a huge leg up towards achieving success.
Not always easy to find the right people!