Monday, April 09, 2007

Meeting INSEAD's most successful start-up founder

Andy Phillips founded Active Hotels, a UK start-up, in 2000. The initial business model was to get independent hotels online, and share revenues with them. He sold it 5 years later for $160M+ in cash...

This pic summarises well Andy Phillips. Very commonplace, very modest. This by no means should be taken as derogatory. It is what makes his story so amazing. (Andy is the youngest of the lot, back row.) Andy's story makes the whole entrepreneurship path worth it, because he seems so similar to other INSEAD grads. Not about a genius idea. Not about (so much) luck. It's about execution, and perseverance. He did point out his key moments: when he had to fire a member of the founding team, when he had to motivate everyone, when he changed his key partnerships and his business model. What I liked about the story: very reachable, very realistic (like, the original business plan was very academic to me, 5 Forces 3Ps type), very insightful about the Angels and VC world, and very inspiring.

This was just was I needed. The NBV course, so far, has disappointed me, because of its redundance with VOBM. Now I feel super hyped-up on entrepreneurship.

Contrast Andy, willing to admit his limits, hire a team accordingly, and get out when he thought he would damage the growth of the business, with another alumn who presented his venture on campus last week. This venture could have been a role model 2, 3, or 4 years ago. Now it would make sense to be critical of the founder's moves. He believed so much in his baby, he was such a control freak, that he did everything from day 1: coding, sales, etc... As a result, the venture never really took off, despite the founder's claim that he was prioritising his lifestyle by not wanting to grow, and worse, it lost its competitive niche position and will likely be driven out of business by a bigger player.

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At 1:41 PM , Blogger The Apprentice said...

Here's a handy tip for being able to blog from the school PCs.

Log in with your google account name. You'll get the "click this link to continue" where I'd been stuck for the past 2 weeks. However, if you right click on it and open it in a new window, you can log straight in.

The Career Casino

At 7:09 PM , Blogger DomoDomo@INSEAD said...

Hey. Thanks man. Although I try to avoid doing so on campus (for fear of being spotted)...

I really like your style.


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