CEO for High Growth Tech Start-up

Practice

Technology/CEO


Challenge


This founder-lead start-up technology company first attracted attention with two international awards for innovation. Soon afterwards it attracted two rounds of funding and made considerable progress in nurturing relationships with several early adopter clients.

As key customers began using the technology, the Board of Directors concluded that the time was right to bring on-board a seasoned CEO to help the company realize its full potential. Not wants to lose the firm’s brilliant founder the firm needed to find someone who could manage both the business and the transitional/relationship issues which would ensue.


Action


Consultants from our technology practice met with each of the board members, the founder and several other key stakeholders.

From these discussions it became clear that the founder would need to play a key role in endorsing any new hire and it was recommended that he be included as part of the selection committee. A profile was crafted by the StoneWood consultants, highlighting key issues for consideration, and then sent for ratification by the selection committee.

It was recommended that the successful candidate be a proven early stage CEO with a demonstrable track record of driving company growth from zero to at least $10mm in revenues. It was also deemed important that the successful candidate bring domain experience, key relationships and personality attributes most likely to fit with the founder. Finally, given the stage of the organization it was considered an unreasonable risk to locate the CEO anywhere other than the company’s city of business.

The StoneWood team identified 25 start-up CEOs with the specific track record, domain experience, and personality sought by the board of Directors. This group was refined to eight as a number of candidates were unwilling or unable to consider relocation. After extensive interviews and preliminary reference checks a total of five were presented for the consideration of the client.


Result


The client was ultimately drawn to a local candidate with two prior startup successes and a record of nurturing positive relationships with founders. Though the individual’s domain experience was less relevant than several others, his style, record of adaptability and geographical location tipped the scales in his favor.

The new CEO applied his extensive experience to leveraging the firm’s early success and began to successfully build and scale the organization.