Serialpreneurs’ Multi-Sector Secret
In part one of this article, we learned Serialpreneurs are more likely to prioritise making a positive contribution to society. In this second part, discover why these innovators believe pursuing multiple businesses gives them more of a chance to achieve this goal.
The merits of diversification are an accepted truth in asset management, and many entrepreneurs also believe pursuing multiple business interests is the best way to succeed, both in terms of profits and helping improve society.
Daniel Gómez Iñiguez, 26, co-founded SOLBEN, which today is the largest producer of biodiesel in Mexico, when he was 17. Now majority owner of SOLBEN, the chemical engineer also started his own investment fund and is currently invested in nine companies.
“They’re very different projects. I realised if I do parallel strategies, I can achieve crazy things that surprise people and markets,” said Gómez Iñiguez.
“I love having the freedom to solve any kind of problem I come across. That’s why I’m involved in so many different sectors – for example, energy, gastronomy, politics, social media and female empowerment.”
Hiring excellent management teams has enabled the Mexican entrepreneur to follow so many diverse interests. “You should put your most intelligent and capable people in charge of human resources. I consider myself a great headhunter – it’s important to find the right people to make my visions a reality,” said Gómez Iñiguez.
“I don’t have so much to do with the operations, instead I build corporate governance structures so the companies can run by themselves. I spend most of my time getting the people and finance in place.”
The Monterrey resident’s strategy tallies with the findings of BNP Paribas’ 2017 Global Entrepreneur Report, which interviewed 2,650 Elite Entrepreneurs, of which 800 were serial entrepreneurs.
Serialpreneurs usually manage their companies in a portfolio style. According to the report, they tend to control their interests as an active contributor at board level, rather than involving themselves at the management level.
From Serial to Parallel Entrepreneur
“It’s all about having a sphere of influence,” said California-based Kamran Elahian, 62, who founded 10 tech companies that went on to have a combined market capitalisation of over $8 billion.
“At the beginning when you’re a young person and nobody knows you, you must put all your focus on making your first company successful. Then, after that success, the second one is a bit easier. I went from an individual entrepreneur to a serial entrepreneur to a parallel entrepreneur.”
He went on to co-found a venture capital fund, Global Catalyst Partners, which has invested in companies in the United States, Japan, China, India, Israel and Singapore, and a private foundation, Global Catalyst Foundation.
“I realised that I didn’t have to do things vertically myself and build armies of people; we could empower people through the Internet and communication technologies,” added Elahian.
Business founders often become Serialpreneurs because of how their early companies pan out.
“Some people get it right the first time – for example, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg – so they haven’t needed to move beyond their first ventures,” said Sramana Mitra, chief executive and founder of Californian virtual incubator and accelerator One Million by One Million (1M/1M), her fourth start-up in her entrepreneurial career that began in 1994.
“I don’t think it’s a numbers game in terms of wanting to create social change, it’s more about who you are.”
Serialpreneurs out of 2,650 Elite Entrepreneurs in BNP Paribas’ 2017 Global Entrepreneur Report