It’s been a fun run, but a bittersweet end to Quantum Startups. I’m happy to announce that I’ll be joining Leap Motion as their new Director of Recruiting. I’ve always thought of Quantum Startups as my most successful startup - we had real revenues! - but like any Founder deciding to shut down, I’d like to share a few thoughts on why I’ve “taken the leap” to join a bigger and better startup. Well, besides not being able to resist a great (or terrible) pun of a headline.
No Founder is an island.
Working alone has been hard. The demand for startup recruiting is certainly there, but I’ve been reluctant to sign up more startups because I wanted to continue my personal level of service. The irony is that I couldn’t find another recruiter to grow the business. By PG’s definition, that’s not a startup. It’s a pretty awesome lifestyle business though. But you can only do so much alone, so I’m looking forward to being part of a larger team, and having an office, and working with some really great folks towards a hugely audacious goal.
100% of nothing.
I talk with a lot of Founders, and one reason we commonly give for starting up, or not working for someone else is that you have control and ownership of your startup. That’s all fine and well until you decide to raise money. Most startups die. I’d guess 95% die before they raise a real round (not just FFF money). So you may think you’re worth a few million, but in reality 100% of zero is still zero. The caveat is that most companies that have raised a Series A are (still!) only giving less than 1% of equity. The simple approach that I took is to only consider companies that will be worth > $1B. That list came down to just a couple startups, and it makes the search a lot easier. You can also join a seed funded startup, hoping to get more than a few points of equity, with the potential outcome of a much smaller exit.
Go big - No… Bigger!
The other benefit (or downfall) of running Quantum Startups was that I had the time and flexibility to work on a handful of side projects. Some went well enough that I put recruiting on hold and launched products. Nothing ever took off but I made some really great lifelong friends. And thankfully we never raised any money. I certainly don’t envy the Founders who have to have that conversation with their investors. I’ve worked at startups that have raised a ton of money (>$250M). I missed opportunities to work at billion dollar startups before (“What the hell is a YouTube?” - me in May 2006). But beyond the numbers, I believe Leap Motion is going to fundamentally change the world. So many claim this that it’s cliché but very few products have the potential and promise of the Leap. At least in my opinion, and in the opinion of a few other very smart and talented people that I’ve been lucky enough to meet. Leap is backed by arguably the number one VC firm in the last few years. Not everyone agrees with their methods, but damn, you can’t argue with the results (thus far).
So while I’ll miss the coffee meetings and working with Founders as they go through the early stages of growth, I’m really looking forward to the challenge of building out a complete team, from Engineering to Marketing to Customer Service. Who knows where Leap will be in 5 years, but I plan to stick around and play a part in that growth.
I want to thank all my startups for letting me be a part of their story. I’m still here to help as much as I can. It’s been a fun few years and I’m sure the next decade will be a blast!