Startup investor rule #1: act fast | Margaret Rice-Jones


In terms of changing tack a little bit what’s the investment that you’re most most proud of and why? That’s always a really difficult one. Because actually there’s great things in the majority of the ones that I’ve done but I guess ultimately it probably has to be the Skyscanner experience, really. In the sense that very rarely do you get to take a company through the scaling journey that they did of going from about 200 people to about 800 people when I left and through that kind of family growth and in a global marketplace. Those are the ones that when you start out with a very, very small company everybody dreams that one day that’s the company you’re going to be. And you don’t often actually get to see that happen. Partly because I think a number of companies here soar a bit too early. And don’t keep going on that journey long enough. They’ll sell out much earlier in the story and don’t ever see their dreams become what they really could do. Well, the question written here is what is your biggest regret? I guess it was framing in terms of are there things you would have done differently in hindsight or given it we’re speaking both to potentially founders of company or somebody thinking about becoming investor, what advice can you give them? I mean, I think it’s almost always not acting fast enough when actually you know that something isn’t quite right. There is an individual that isn’t quite right in the team anymore or a situation that isn’t quite right. You know if I was to look at probably the biggest regret although, I won’t go into the exact details of it, it was that there was a situation when I knew a decision that was being taken wasn’t right really. I think he might doubt but because I was busy doing other things, I sort of kind of half ignored it and thought, you know, I’ll get to that in a couple of weeks time and actually it came back and beat the organisation. Whether or not have changed anything, if I’d really dug in at the time, I don’t know. Maybe I could, maybe I couldn’t. But, you know, actually, I learned that when you actually see something and you know deep down that actually that’s not right, don’t let it fester. You need to deal with it. Whether it’s an individual and and their response to something or the relationship with somebody else, or it’s actually a business commercial type decision that somebody’s taking or not taking, because it’s often a decision that someone else is putting off and actually, they really need to face into the fact that they maybe need to change, track a little bit, or actually they’ve kind of overspent a bit and their spending has got ahead of where they really are commercially, and they need to bring those two things back in in line a little bit. It’s just not acting as fast as in hindsight now I should have acted And has that changed for you now? Do you always, if you sense something, do you always try and deal with it? I do, yes. I’ve tried to learn from that. It’s not always easy to sense when exactly it’s the right time But yeah, I generally yeah. I don’t really try a little more forcefully to who to address those things now than perhaps I did a few years ago

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