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It’s the billion dollar question: why do some entrepreneurs succeed while others fail? Does anyone have the magic answer?
For venture capital investors, at any rate, studies have shown that more than half of those interviewed consider the founding team to be the most important factor in deciding whether to invest in early-stage startups.
A new report compiled by the startup incubator Sting (Stockholm Innovation & Growth), the Karolinska Institute and Umeå Biotech Incubator reveals that there is no one profile of the perfect entrepreneur – there are several. The successful entrepreneurs who took part in tests for the report all showed some striking similarities.
They were able to take a holistic outlook, are highly logical and able to switch tracks without losing focus. They were also found to be highly creative, particularly in coming up with solutions to problems, as well as self-aware and able to perform under stress. All possessed strong verbal skills and as you might expect, plenty of grit.
Each was willing to make unpopular decisions; the report warns that while this is can be effective for leaders at higher levels, it can also make lower-level employees less happy and less committed to their work. If so, the report suggests such founders should add an additional leader with good team building skills to their teams.
For Raoul Stubbe, one of the researchers and a business Coach at Sting, this didn’t come as a complete surprise. “We always say that ‘An A team with a B idea beats a B team with an A idea.’ Human capital is the most essential component of a technology company.”
The 18 entrepreneurs who took part in the study included Andreas Liffgarden, co-founder of Soundtrack Your Brand and Johanna Björklund, founder of the unicorn Codemill (www.codemill.se). Each has had a decisive role in building at least one company with revenues of more than SEK 20mn over five years, or SEK 100mn in ten.
Named after the Spanish artist Salvador Dali, who said, “Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings,” the report is based on four key tests. These included game intelligence based on cognitive neuroscience, personality, aptitude, and profiling tests developed by the researcher Tomas Ahrens.
But how useful are such profiles? Would Sting have backed the same entrepreneurs had it relied on similar tests?
“I’m certain most of our startups would have scored highly by the Dali Project’s metrics, especially when it comes to Game Intelligence,” replies Stubbe. “The vast majority of the teams we have backed had qualities like self-awareness, creativity, and cognitive flexibility. This has helped them to break into new markets and develop strategies for getting around problems – particularly Yubico, Midsummer, Karma, and Volumental, which makes 3D body-scanners.”
The Dali report also suggests that you don’t have to be at the top of the class to be a successful startup founder – while the group’s cognitive capacity was higher than the rest of the population on average, their IQ wasn’t exceptionally high.
June 3, 2019 at 05:01AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs