5Cs to Create Winning Team for a Startup

In my view, vision, capital and team are the top three important ingredients to create a world-class company from scratch. When I was building ShopClues, I did spend almost one year on these three things. While, vision and capital are super important, a hasty decision how to form a team for your startup can be very expensive mistake because in a startup, you start accelerating the building of IP and knowledge base the moment you have your team members, the day to day interactions, white board sessions, discussions over the beer or a diagram on a piece of paper. Conversely, a well thought out decision how to create a team can be very rewarding and can almost make you insulated from all ups and downs which any startup likely to see independent of ultimate success.

So, here I am sharing what 5 things I looked for while creating team for ShopClues.com and Droom.in and why these things matter. While, I am not a big fan of management consulting jargons, but here I am describing what you need to look for in a team.

1. Commitment: When you are forming a team, you got to be surrounded by people who can bring tough commitment, While, I was creating ShopClues, I lived in Silicon Valley, but I made every team member who ultimately became the rock star team at ShopClues to move to India with this long distance relationship and me is not going to work. I was also assessing if my team members would leave their day job or not and how willing they will be to working with low salaries but big upside with stocks. I feel very fortunate that I got a team that was fully committed and passed every test of mine with flying colors. And keep in my mind, the core team at ShopClues consisted of some of the best professionals on earth with very high opportunity cost.

2. Character: The character of the team member is very important. If you know a guy, and you do not mind your sister to date him or get married, is the kind of team member you want to look for. But I do not want to have gender-limited point here. So, in general character means, is the person reliable, dependable, enamored by your energies, and will stand by you thick and thin?

3. Craving: In startup you always want to team up with hungry people. In my view, you die of indigestion but not from hunger. So if any of your team member is very content, not very hungry, does not feel fire in his belly does not feel need to make an impact, not necessarily very high energy or passionate type person, you will have problems sooner or later. Conversely, if you have a team member who is very hungry, you will not have to do even a single daily or weekly one-on-one with him or her.

4. Capacity: Startup starts at the lowest common denominator but has unlimited upside. In 3 to 5 years horizon, a startup may go from: 2-5 people team to 5000, 1000 users to 100 million, and zero revenue to $1bn. So you want to look for people who have huge upside and initially they ar operating only at floor level and they have immense headroom. This aspect will start hurting you within first six months, if you are lucky to see huge initial traction but any of your team members is very limited capacity.

5. Capability: While, I will still like to give more importance to the first four Cs above, obviously, one will look for capabilities and skill sets of the person you are teaming up. While, by no means, I am under estimating the power of actual skills, education, training and prior work experience, the real rocket science in a team member for a startup remains, commitment, character, craving and capacity.

So, good luck with the team formation, team augmentation and creating a world-team for a world-class company!!

Sandeep Aggarwal is a serial entrepreneur, angle investor, Internet visionary and philanthropist. He is popularly known as the father of marketplaces in India. He has founded two marketplaces in India so far – ShopClues, India’s first managed marketplaces in 2011, which became 5th Unicorn in Consumer Internet in India and Droom, India’s first marketplace for automobiles in 2014. Sandeep likes to contribute his bit for digital India, startup, entrepreneurialism, and fund raising.
Twitter: sandeepagg

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