Last week will be a historic moment for StartSomeGood, one way or another. One chapter has ended and a new one is beginning, pregnant with possibility, fraught with danger. Alex is leaving, has left, StartSomeGood.
Only recently I wrote about how much I valued having a co-founder with StartSomeGood but now, to my enormous sadness, found myself writing a blog post last week to say goodbye and good luck to that same co-founder. Alex is currently based in Stockholm, Sweden and wants to get more involved in something on the ground there. He’s also burnt out from being the only full-timer working on StartSomeGood for the past three years and from the juggling of too many responsibilities during this time. He’s been amazing to work with to this point and I’m going to miss him, but life must go on.
We are now midway through a transitional period with new leaders joining the team and existing team members stepping up to replace Alex. I introduced a couple of those key people in last week’s post. Brendan Rigby, who raised money for his initiative WhyDev last year, joined our Venture Support team in June and is stepping up to become Director of this team.
We also have, for the first time, a Chief Technical Officer, one with incredible experience both technically and entrepreneurially. Renata van Diest spent 9 years as a senior engineer at Microsoft before moving to London to get her MBA from London School of Economics. She will continue to be based in London and will start with us in a couple of weeks. We’re incredible lucky to have her and it’s very validating and encouraging for her to recognise the potential we have and be prepared to dive in and help us realise that potential.
While Alex leave is a personal sadness to me because he’s a friend and a really enjoyed working with him, it is also a significant business challenge.
We are still a small bootstrapped start-up, fuelled by the passion, commitment and optimism of our team. Alex has always been incredible at motivating our team, making new people on every level feel included an respected and keeping everyone focused on serving changemakers. The worst-case scenario for something like this is that it drains the motivation and optimism of the team, that we slow down, that we start letting more and more things fall through the cracks in terms of implementation.
But as with any challenge it is also an opportunity, for us as an organisation and for the entrepreneurs joining our team. Without Alex leaving we wouldn’t have gone looking for new co-founders, and wouldn’t have found and connected with Renata. We wouldn’t have recruited Brendan with an eye to promoting him to Director, and he wouldn’t be busy proving us right by doing an incredible job.
I want to be clear, Alex isn’t leaving because he’s given up on the business. If we were going to give up the time to do so might have been a year ago, after almost two years of hard work and no real growth. But since relaunching the site in March this year we’ve been moving strongly in the right direction, and with several great new features and partnerships to roll out over the coming months we’re as confident as we’ve ever been.
Here’s what that growth looks like in terms of funds pledged:
And here’s the growth in the number of individual pledges:
So the business opportunity is incredibly strong and we’re working hard to become the world’s favourite platform for crowdfunding social impact.
Alex leaving is also a chance to re-thinking our priorities in terms of our team and the positions we create. Alex had three main roles, overseeing development of the site, managing the Venture Success team and handling much of our operations. (No wonder he burnt out! This was clearly a mistake and too much). So we’ve been recruiting replacements for each role. Our focus on bringing in new leadership and capacity has resulted in leaders for our tech and Venture Support.
So now I’m looking for a business partner to oversee our operations.
I am, as many of you know, not the most detail-oriented person in the world. I am good at getting things going, great at articulating a vision and getting people excited about it, a strong networker, partnership-builder and entrepreneurial leader. But to really succeed I’ve always needed a partner who brings greater experience, focus and understand to the operational side of whatever we’re working on.
That’s who I’m looking for now.
I’m looking for someone who loves to dive into the details and work out the most effective way of doing something. Who is smart, entrepreneurial and driven, able to figure out what they need to know and learn everything about it, and who has the communications skills to then explain it. Someone who is looking to create a positive impact with their life and is excited about the potential of social enterprise and crowdfunding to change the world. They will manage our accountants and lawyers, staying up-to-date with the legal implications of our business model and managing risk and compliance. They will oversee HR and develop and manage business relationships with vendors. They will refine and redesign our processes as necessary to allow us to operate in a more efficient and impactful way as we grow. They will need to be comfortable with the inherent risk and rapid evolution of a startup.
This isn’t a full-time role. We are open to differing levels of commitment however based around your other commitments, starting with as little as 8 hours/week. This would be equivalent to what Alex was previously able to give it amongst his other roles. StartSomeGood has core team members in Sydney, Melbourne, London, California and Washington DC. There’s some advantage in you being in one of those places (especially Sydney, where I am and where we maintain an office) but for the right person it’s not a deal breaker.
For the right person this could be a co-founder-type role. We want someone who will be a true partner and co-owner in the business as we navigate our way towards sustainability and epic impact. Note that this is primarily a sweat equity position.
If this sounds like someone you know please send them to this post. If this sounds like you please get in touch: tom(at)startsomegood.com.
And as always: onwards and upwards!