Zoona

Tag: Mike Quinn

The Importance of Picking the Right Investors

As a startup, having the right partners and investors is critical, and it can help you weather the inevitable crises that will come your way. During the latter part of 2015, Zoona faced one such crisis – when African and emerging market currencies plummeted.

Zoona benefitted from having the right partners – the Omidyar Network and Accion – on board. Our CEO, Mike Quinn (@ZoonaMike) – shares some insights on why it’s critical to pick the right investors.

This Crisis Shows Why It’s Critical to Pick the Right Investors

In August 2015, I returned from two weeks of family vacation where I went completely offline for the first time in my working career and didn’t check a single email. I was feeling relaxed with a nice cash runway, a new Chief Operations Officer hired, and an aligned board that had approved our expansion plan to enter two new markets.

How To Unleash Founder Magic

This Blog post was written for The Unreasonable Blog was first published there on 25 September 2015. You can read the original post by clicking on this link.

There’s a common start-up fable that goes like this:

Entrepreneurs start company. Company becomes successful and attracts investment. Investors become board members and advise entrepreneurs to hire “experienced” managers with big CVs to take on functional roles like “marketing.” Company becomes “corporatized,” and entrepreneurs feel like outsiders in their own company. Entrepreneurs see the writing on the wall, become defensive, and try to hold onto control. Conflict escalates and company struggles to grow. Entrepreneurs leave company—often by force and with a lot of regret. Company survives but becomes mediocre and never realizes its original vision.

Sound familiar? You may have heard of a term (probably from investors and academics) called “Founder’s Syndrome” that describes a start-up’s inability to break through because of founders not ceding control fast enough and stalling growth.

This term unfairly pushes all the blame on the entrepreneur—ever heard of “Investor’s Syndrome”?

What is actually going on here is a failure by all parties to understand, appreciate, and purposefully unleash the “Founder Magic” that all entrepreneurs possess.

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CEO UPDATE: Zoona hosts Board members in Malawi

12,760 kilometres (7,929 mi) and 16,465 kilometres (10,231 mi).

These are the distances covered by Zoona Directors Monica Brand (Accion Frontier Investments Group) and Arjuna Costa (Omidyar Network) – from Washington DC and San Francisco respectively – to take part in our Zoona South Africa Board’s first ever visit to Malawi.

The journey for our South Africa based directors – Brad Magrath, Brett Magrath, Justin Stanford, and our Chairman Charles Niehaus – was just a short hop from Cape Town to Lilongwe.

Whatever the distance travelled – we were all very excited to see Zoona in action in our newest market. Zoona has been in Malawi for 10 months – and what a great 10 months it has been!

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