Andrew Wilkinson doesn’t want to be a unicorn. In Why I want to be In-N-Out Burger, not McDonalds, Wilkinson describes how he’d rather his business is a sleek racehorse rather than a beautiful, mythical creature.
One of the misunderstandings in the current startup mania is the motivation of founders and proprietors; many haven’t gone into business with the aim of flipping the company to a rich sugar daddy for a billion dollars.
In his great presentation “Fuck You, Pay Me” – essential viewing for anyone starting a business – San Francisco designer Mike Montiero describes “We wanted to pick and choose the clients we were gonna work with and we wanted to be responsible for what we’re putting out in the world.”
For businesses like Montiero’s and Wilkinson, having a venture capital investor looking over their shoulder would be as bad as working for a corporation; ceding control of your work is exactly the reason they started their businesses in the first place.
While the Silicon Valley venture capital model is valid for high growth businesses that need capital to scale quickly, most ventures don’t need those sort of large cash injections early in their development – for many, a million dollar cheque from a VC could prove to be a disaster.
There’s myriad reasons why someone starts a venture and all of them pre-date the current startup mania, it’s why every business is different in its own way.