Secrets of fast growth from unicorn startups

Founders and CEOs crave fast growth, typically above all else.

Which means large funding rounds and eye-popping valuations, infusions of high expertise, bandwidth to deal with extra strategic duties, in addition to the all-important runway to construct nice merchandise, get them to a bigger market and scale the corporate to unicorn standing of over $1 billion and past.

However earlier than you may attain that, you and your ragtag workforce should overcome nice odds and obstacles.


There’s discovering product-market match, recruiting your core workforce, managing your meager funds successfully, discovering your first few prospects, creating recurring income, getting earned media, amongst others.

And maybe above all, in a sea of ever-changing priorities and pivots, there’s realizing what to deal with.

Few (if any) true entrepreneurs take a straight path to success. Failures, errors, and pivots are unavoidable in constructing a profitable enterprise.

In fact, solely a small percentage of startups are capable of catch the wave of fast growth and lift a Sequence A spherical. An even much smaller percentage (2.5%) reaches unicorn standing.

So, what are the secrets and techniques of these founders who overcame nice odds, incorrect turns, and plenty of lifeless ends to push by means of to success? And what have they finished throughout COVID-19 to get by means of the worst type of disruption, to proceed, even speed up growth?

I spoke with three CEOs of corporations that achieved unicorn standing and a “unicorn whisperer” for my Commander-in-Chief podcast to learn the way they did it.

Right here’s what they shared.


Ronni Zehavi, CEO of HiBob

“In the event you have a look and observe the bulk of the success tales there’s one factor that repeats itself in all of them. All of them speak about tradition. You hear it repeatedly, as soon as the sport is over and [they’re] a giant success. You don’t hear a lot about it once you’re climbing the greasy pole.

I’ve been by means of three crises: 2000, 2009, and final yr. You must encompass your self with superb folks higher than you who might be the CEO of what they do, who can problem you. You [have to be] humble and mentally robust sufficient to pay attention as a result of CEOs are alone. To stability your life, it’s worthwhile to pause, take day off, zoom out. In the event you’re not surrounded by robust folks, you’ll be misplaced. You’ll be pulled down on a regular basis and also you received’t have the ability to breathe.”

Omer Keilaf, CEO of Innoviz

“One of the issues for startups is, after they create the core DNA [of their business], it will get diluted after they develop. When you’ve gotten a powerful core, no outdoors power can change it. It turns into like a magnet.

Assume that you could be not know something. The primary three to 4 months, you’re simply going to study. The issue we wished to resolve was three to 4 orders of magnitude harder than we thought. My military unit’s motto is, ‘Expertise, dedication, and keenness make the not possible, potential.’ There have been so many occasions once we have been going through an not possible state of affairs and located a solution to resolve it. This can be a bit addictive. Within the final six months, we’ve had eight to 10 individuals who left the corporate, then got here again. Folks miss the corporate, the eagerness. After I see that zeal is maintained, it’s crucial factor on the earth.

In phrases of coping with COVID-19, we proceed to work from our workplaces, however let folks resolve to work from residence in the event that they want. One of probably the most significant modifications we’ve made is deciding to construct our next-generation manufacturing line at our headquarters, moderately than overseas (Germany). This enables us to run quicker.”

Adam Singolda, CEO of Taboola

“The primary 4 and a half to 5 years there was no income. We virtually shut down 3 times. It was very laborious work to outlive. In the present day, we have now 18 workplaces around the globe, with $1 billion in income. That’s what’s formed our tradition since.

The very first individuals who select [to work for you] don’t select your imaginative and prescient or your organization. They select you. What really issues is the tradition you identify within the very starting. For us, our secret sauce is how we take into consideration folks. Now we have 1,700 workers now, 1,700 co-founders. I need to be open and clear to let anybody ask something.

In phrases of adapting throughout COVID-19, we’re dedicated to a hybrid mannequin the place it is sensible. I do suppose that longer-term, it’s important to carry folks collectively in particular person moderately than on one other Zoom hyperlink. Now we have what I contemplate one of the best workplaces within the coronary heart of New York Metropolis for the random inspiration and innovation it promotes.

To draw expertise within the new [remote work] world, we’ve invested in employer branding to speak our values, why we do what we do, and why it issues. Distant work will even be the very best factor lately to foster variety. We are able to now rent from anyplace, which opens up extra alternatives to those that would possibly by no means have utilized earlier than.”

Hillel Fuld, tech marketer, and startup adviser

“It’s good enterprise to assist others win enterprise. Like a candle. When a candle offers hearth to a different candle, it loses nothing. However when you don’t give your hearth like a candle, you’ll burn out. After I focus my time and sources on worth creation (advertising and marketing, getting press) and never monetization, after I exceed expectations time and again and over, I create delight. After I come again after delighting an organization, now we are able to do enterprise.


The idea of ‘We don’t must earn cash proper now,’ works. In the event you don’t put money into growth, you’ll by no means attain profitability. One of the primary workers at Fb approached Mark Zuckerberg with a enterprise concept. Zuckerberg wrote ‘growth’ on the whiteboard. He stated, ‘If we have now 2.5 billion customers, we’ll discover a solution to monetize.’ So construct your product, then align your model with it.”

Yuri Kruman is the CEO of HR, Talent & Systems Consulting, an govt coach, keynote speaker, and creator of Be Your Personal Commander-in-Chief.