In this series of interviews with Paul Bassat he talks about his approach to funding, based on his experience as a founder

By Paul Bassat

I was at Seek for 14 years - although we faced plenty of challenges and problems along the way - overall we had a fairly charmed run. At the time I was hungry and passionate and nothing seemed hard, but now as an investor I see just how hard the entrepreneur’s journey can be.

One of the great things about being an investor is that you get to work with many different companies. I see a significant volume of startups and the range of challenges that they face along the way. In some cases they're able to overcome them and in others they're not.

The odds of a company going from a startup to a very successful large company are quite low. The list of what can go wrong is much bigger than the list of what can go right.

A lot has to go right to be successful

To build a really successful business a lot of things need to go right. To achieve this an entrepreneur has to be laser-focused on executing their idea and taking it to the world. To bring everything together and see it through founders need substantial resilience.

Relatively few people can run businesses at both an early stage and at an enterprise level. Not everyone wants to make the sacrifices that come with growing a business. This is why a lot of people choose to exit, go at a slightly slower rate or reduce the level of risk in the business and take a more conservative approach.

When you have multiple founders, you need to have a fantastic relationship and work collaboratively together through lots of different stresses and situations. The motivations of the founders may change and getting the whole team dynamic right throughout the journey can be challenging.

Obviously, you also have to have product market fit - a product or service that people want. There has to be something special or unique about what you're offering otherwise lots of people will do it and your ability to have a really significant profitable business will be chipped away by competitors.

Paul Bassat  It Is A Huge Challenge To Develop A Business From A Startup To A Large Scale Business   Youtube

Paul Bassat on resilience

Whilst you don't necessarily need all of these things to be successful, the one thing that is essential to achieve all of them is founder resilience.

Without founder resilience a startup won’t be successful

Successful entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes and there's no particular formula or attribute that says you won’t be successful - but resilience is the exception. It is really hard to build a successful business from the startup stage without being resilient.

There are too many challenges that need to be overcome and it is really difficult to build a business. If you’re not highly resilient, the likelihood of building a successful startup is negligible.

There’s a rich tapestry of challenges that a company can face as you try to go from a startup to a significant company. No matter how many other things go right, without founder resilience the business will not be successful.


If you're interested in investing in startups, sign up to our newsletter!