As you might suspect, we talk a lot about entrepreneurs around the NextView offices, which bring us to this week’s installment of our Friday Fun-ism series. Our investment team here frequently actively discusses what qualities make a founder a top .01% of all entrepreneurs with the potential to start a uniquely transformative company. Do they have have a superpower that perfectly aligns with getting the venture off of the ground? Are they authentic, in that they’re the perfect person for this role & company that they have an unfair advantage as a result?
Another positive attribute of some founders which we’ve been discussing more recently is one’s ability to “defy gravity.” Gravity is a just given fact of our reality. And like gravity, entrepreneurs face a given set of facts about their venture, the market landscape, and all of the reality that is encompassed. Yet, some founders have a remarkable and uncanny ability to supersede that reality to make near-impossible things happen despite the existing facts on the ground. These founders can seemingly fly above the rest of us stuck on the ground.
My partners and I most often talk about defying gravity in the context of fundraising. Some of the founders in our portfolio have an exceptional ability to raise additional capital (and at loftier valuations) remarkably ahead of where the underlying metrics of the business current would yield. Through the art of storytelling with a dash of charisma, these CEOs can raise subsequent founds of financing in a way that even the most talented founders cannot. But the ability to defy gravity can manifest itself in other places too, like in selling product to customers (ahead of what full vision of the product is actually built), or in recruiting additional hires.
Some might argue that what goes up must come down. And yes, we’ve seen that reality must eventually catch up so that all facts sync. But to take the flying analogy further, the most skillful founders recognize that gravity eventually does pull downward, and so they are deliberate about gliding the plane towards a smooth landing rather than a crashing one.
The ability to defy gravity is neither necessary nor sufficient to be a great founder. But as we’ve experience first-hand at NextView, it certainly helps a lot.