Founder leaders are built, not born.
by Jane Reddin
Tech founders, you are a rare breed. A breed so captivating, I’ve spent 25 years fuelled by my insatiable curiosity to try and understand your psyche. I’m passionate about spending the next 25 years helping you, founders, become future leaders.
What have I learned? That the best founder leaders are built, not born. That having an entrepreneurial mindset, alone, is not enough to succeed. That founders aren’t always natural leaders, and leaders do not always make the best founders.
As early stage investors, we are predicting potential
As investors, when we look at founders through this lens – a lens that centres on predicting human potential for leading during hypergrowth – it switches up how we source and select our deals.
While no two founders are the same, my work with you over the decades has uncovered common threads intrinsically and empirically linked to scaling success. Threads that knit into different tapestry silhouettes; our team call these founder leader archetypes.
It’s not ‘one size fits all’
There are a number of founder leader archetypes, which require different types of development, in order to reach their leadership potential. We believe that any entrepreneur can achieve their potential, no matter where they come from. Our deliberately developmental leadership programme is designed to tackle the specific challenges faced by early-stage tech founders, and it’s also not ‘one size fits all’.
During every interaction with you, throughout pitching process, due diligence and in deep dive sessions, we’re asking ourselves these key questions:
- Will you grow?
- Can you inspire and lead?
- Will you achieve the extraordinary?
- And, for all of the above, at what pace?
The Albion 6Cs
Our proprietary framework for founder leader mastery is called The Albion 6Cs, when we measure the scaling factors: Commitment, Change Agility, Contagious Conviction, Coachability, Collaboration and Credibility:
- Commitment to results: Are you hungry to move at pace, ambitious, resourceful, focused and disciplined?
- Change agility: Can you adapt correctly under pressure, with a relentless resilience to develop and learn from mistakes?
- Contagious conviction: Are you persuasive, with an inner confidence to inspire belief?
- Coachability: Do you continuously seek feedback, are you emotionally mature, self-aware and hungry to both listen and adapt?
- Collaboration: Do you trust and empower others, with the EQ to create psychological safety, whilst balancing appreciation and challenge?
- Credibility: Do you have deep expertise, knowledge of your market landscape and the clock speed to continuously stay ahead?
Every founder we back must demonstrate core investable traits: vision and focus, grit, outsized inspiring belief, learning mindset, EQ and exceptionalism. Read more about investable traits here
Founder feedback; spikes shadows and supports
In the beginning, you need to be able to measure your strengths and you also want to know that you’re working on the right stuff.
Our work with co-founder teams not only reveals an index of natural strengths, but it demonstrates the raw ingredients that make you fit to be a leadership team for your specific startup. It reveals “Founder Spikes” and for our founders who’ve been through our discovery process, it’s a joy to hear that they feel seen and that we’ve given them some practical “no regrets” development moves. The example below shows excerpts from a recent founder discovery report.
Our discovery reveals potential blindspots, which we call “Founder Shadows” and they represent watch-outs, which, when overplayed or underdone, may slow down or derail company growth.
We use these “Spikes and Shadows” to establish a view of scaling accelerators, and scaling brakes; to establish the probability that a startup will grow, and scaling risks that could slow it down. The indices can be linked because your leadership preferences and behaviours have a powerful and dominant effect on the growth of your company.
Thirdly, we generate “Founder Supports”; development plans that help you build on what’s already there, and optimize your team to unlock what’s not.
What’s your development slope?
In the context of the Albion 6Cs framework, you need to be able to see yourself objectively, you want to feel understood and you seek to grow in ways which are right for you.
In short, you need to develop in an exceptional way.
Ultimately, we’re looking to establish a predictive picture of your development slope. To understand how steep your growth trajectory can be as a founder leader, to see if you have the potential to achieve the extraordinary, to inspire and lead and to grow. Fast.
We are paying it forward
In the UK, less than 10% of founder CEOs lead their company to exit. (based on AlbionVC analysis)
Our belief is that, if we can support your development journey as a leader, we’ll increase your longevity to lead a hyperscaling company through to a successful $bn exit.
To be clear, we’re not saying that it’s never the right decision for a founder to move stage left, during the scaling journey. Our purpose is to help founders expand their capability envelope and for some, particularly deeptech, companies, when we can only get there with the founder in situ, we avert an existential crisis.
We’re there to help
Sitting at the helm of a scaling start-up is like learning ‘leadership on speed.’ Founders, you will face a new set of leadership challenges every six months between Seed and Series B. You’ll likely experience information overload on leadership, which isn’t creating the clarity you need to make the best decisions for your own ‘no regrets’ next moves.
To successfully tackle these modal shifts, you must set the development of your own leadership toolkit, to track ahead of company growth. We’re here to make this a transformational experience for you.
Our deep expertise in scaling B2B software and healthtech companies means that we’ve got a tremendous wealth of know-how, on tap. We’re curating this, to help accelerate growth during every year of your life as an AlbionVC Founder team.
Developmental feedback sits right at the core of our programme and it’s most certainly not for the faint hearted. However, it is designed to be non-judgemental and to help you become a better version of yourself, as a founder leader. During this intense process, our team is on hand to curate highly personalized coaching and mentoring plans.
Join the conversation
Founders interested to learn more about where you sit within The Albion 6Cs can take part in a groundbreaking study.
Right now, we are looking for a group of founders to work with me, to trial the tool. We are looking for UK HQ founders, currently leading a team of 10-20 people, building a B2B Software or Healthtech company.
Join this movement. Become part of the community who unlock how to become a founder leader of the future, no matter where you come from.
Sign up here
Example case study here & below