How to Identify Unicorn Founders when they’re Still Early-Stage

As a Vice Chancellor at an early stage, you’re spending time with hundreds of great startups, trying to identify potential winners by thinking about market size, business model and competition. Yet, you know deeply that in the long run, it all comes down to the team and the founder (s). Many thanks to the organization for their amazing performance when we see the most successful companies in our portfolio.

However, even after 20 years in the industry, I have to admit that analyzing the team is still the most challenging part of the job. How would you rate a young first-time entrepreneur in an early-stage organization with little traction? In Creandam, over the past 18 years, we have had the privilege of working with a number of successful startups in Europe, such as Daniel One of Spotify, Sebastian Simiatkovsky of Klarner, Johannes Shield of Krie, Jacob de Gir from Aizawl and Magnus Nielsen. Iframes from Neo 4J, Christian Hacker of the Trade Republic and much more.

After a while, we realize that these incredible entrepreneurs have all shared some basic features. They all have a lot of strength, hard work, patience, perseverance and resilience. But above all, these Unicorn founders share five key features that you, as an investor, should look for when you return to the early stages.

Many people expect that a typical startup founder has a very confident and strong sales mindset. They must live up to these expectations, the best founders being humble and well aware of their weaknesses and limitations as well as the potential challenges they face in the beginning. They are interested in averaging and improving the business that is being developed and run by ordinary people.

After a while, we found out that these incredible entrepreneurs all shared some basic features. All of them show a lot of strength, hard work, patience, perseverance and resilience. In addition, these Unicorn founders all share five key features you should have as an investor when providing your first aid. Many people expect that a typical startup founder has a very confident and strong sales mindset. They must live up to these expectations, but even the best founders are humble and know their weaknesses and limitations as well as the potential challenges for their start-up.