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Founder Led Business - Part 2
50 Founder-Ler Small Caps on the ASX
In last week’s article (link here), I shared my perspective on why I like founder-led companies. I’m hardly the first to write about this, and as a founder, you shouldn’t expect anything different from me.
It's worth noting the insights shared by one of our readers,. Like myself, Damien is a founder with extensive experience working with and observing numerous other founders in his multi-decade long career. He distilled his observations of successful founders into these 9 key characteristics:
Outcome-Focused: They prioritise outcomes over ego.
Money as a Scorecard: They view money as a measure of success, not the primary goal.
Results-Oriented: They emphasise results over mere activity.
Clear Thinkers: They exhibit clear and rational thinking.
Optimism and Resilience: They embrace positivity and effectively combat negativity.
Unwavering Persistence: They display unwavering determination.
Timing and Innovation: They don’t attribute every once of success to their brilliance, instead recognising the significance of being at the right place at the right time with the right idea. This is a frequently underestimated factor.
Accountability: They take responsibility and embrace accountability.
Fearless in Financial Challenges: They demonstrate fearlessness in the face of financial difficulties, often putting their own compensation last and receiving less than their staff.
I found these insights so valuable that I felt compelled to spotlight them. Thanks to Damien for contributing and adding value.
This week, we turn the spotlight to 50 founder-led businesses on the smaller end of the ASX. Let's go.
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How I went about this
I kept things fairly simple here.
Initial Watchlist Assessment: I looked at my wider watchlist, ran through it quickly, making a note of companies that I knew were led by the founder(s).
Validation Process: For companies I wasn’t entirely sure, I double-checked. I spent a few minutes only cross-checking with the sources I could find.
Acknowledgment and Apology : In the course of my research, I’m sure I made errors, and I apologise for any inaccuracies. Please write a comment below if you spot any mistakes.
Step - Make a note of Founder-Led Companies
The first surprise I had when I ran through this exercise was to find that founder-led businesses occupied a majority of my watchlist.
This discovery, though surprising at first glance, makes sense when you consider that many of these companies are relatively young and, hopefully, on a trajectory of rapid growth.
I’ve included the sheet for you to download below. Here’s a quick snapshot of 20 Founder-Led businesses:
The Owner-Operator vs. the Founder
In 2011, Charif El-Ansari was working as the Head of Business Development for Google's Southeast Asia branch in Singapore. During his impressive career ascent, the entrepreneurship bug was growing on him. He wanted to start a business of his own, do his own thing. His desire to chart his own path led him to explore angel investing, eventually leading him to meet the team at Dropsuite. He was the first investor in the company, and became the CEO while the company was in its infancy.
At big companies, managerial decisions and processes might hinder the speed to implement new ideas.
Instead of becoming impatient for things to be done, I joined Dropsuite as CEO; an avenue to build a strong and committed team, and to focus on the user and partners, not solely on the products.
Charif El-Ansari is not the original founder of Dropsuite. His actions, as evident in interviews, results presentations, and, most notably, in the company's impressive execution, reflect an attitude and approach akin to that of a founder.
When we factor in his decade-long experience in the industry, the distinction between the individual who conceived the initial idea and the one who has diligently developed it beyond the product-market fit becomes less relevant.
In my view, Charif embodies the essence of a founder. That’s why I’ve included Dropsuite on the list.
Find work that is meaningful. That can mostly be found within small companies and startups. Never underestimate the importance of tenacity, grit, and luck when you start your own company.
Source: Investor Turned CEO Charif El-Ansari On How Dropsuite Helps SMEs Protect Their Digital Assets (link here)
Step 2 - Add Growth
Step 2 here is to take the list, and add the recent full year results.
Here’s a snapshot of 25 with good results for which I’ve done this here:
Get the list, and add to it
👉 As I promised above, if you want the sheet I used, feel free to access it here.
Additionally, while you're at it, please leave a comment in the section below with any businesses that I may have missed. I'll make sure to add those to the sheet.
In the next few parts of this series, I close this up with my thoughts on what investing like a founder means.
Thank you for reading folks, and enjoy this Sunday.
All great companies started as small companies. The smaller the company the more important the CEO, founder, management becomes. The smaller the company the more hats the founder is forced to wear which amplifies his or her impact on the business. Bad decisions can destroy a small company. Great decisions have a compounding effect on a small company.
If you don’t believe that founders and management are important to small companies like microcaps, just wait a little longer. You will.
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