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23 November 2013

The importance of people

For Mawsonia, the publishing company behind Global Corporate Venturing and Global University Venturing, we have been following this advice since our launch in 2010 and I am glad to now welcome Dominic Riley as our chairman.

Author: James Mawson

In a powerful presentation at Japan-based Hitotsubashi University this week, Erik Vermeulen, counsel at Netherlands-based healthcare company Philips and associate professor at its local Tilburg University, presented insights* into how the venture ecosystem is being developed around the so-called Cs model.

The tools of financial services, encouraged by governments, universities, service providers and incumbent corporations, can come together to support entrepreneurs through the six Cs: coordination, connection, conversation, community, collaboration, and co-creation.

And the successful, fast-growth entrepreneurs need to build their own ecosystem to learn how to succeed and the business to thrive.

This support ecosystem is about people. In the World Economic Forum’s review of 350,000 start-ups earlier in the decade for the report, Building Sustainable High-Growth Startup Companies: Management Systems as an Accelerator, the human resources/people/organization culture category was “by far the dominant one” in its ranking with 25.6 % of all mentions.

In the Startup Genome Report 01, a framework for understanding why start-ups succeed, the top lesson was: “Founders that learn are more successful. Start-ups that have helpful mentors, track metrics effectively, and learn from start-up thought leaders raise seven times more money and have 3.5 times better user growth.”

For Mawsonia, the publishing company behind Global Corporate Venturing and Global University Venturing, we have been following this advice since our launch in 2010 and I am glad to now welcome Dominic Riley as our chairman.

As an experienced chairman of growth-equity-backed companies and former chief executive of entrepreneurial and world-class companies, Riley brings to us a wealth of experience, insights and cultural understanding of our business.

Riley said he wanted to join Mawsonia after examining our three years of rapid growth of more than 30% in both revenues and staff per year. He said: “The space and opportunity are compelling and the team's enthusiasm was clear. As experienced publishing professionals, I back them to make this business a success.”

For Mawsonia to find such a powerful chairman requires other parts of the ecosystem to help, too. For us, executive recruitment specialist firm Intramezzo was invaluable in helping us develop the criteria for what we wanted and identifying the candidates in the short-list.

Dermot Hill, chief executive of Intramezzo, said: "This search has revealed a highly successful and experienced chairman with the venturing skills in the publishing sector who will be formative in working with the seasoned executive team and their on-going success."

But while the governance now in place for Mawsonia will only strengthen the business, the essential collaboration for us comes from the co-ordinated co-creation and connectivity of our titles’ content through our conversations with you as the innovation community.

If, as Marc Andreessen, co-founder of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, said, there are two forms of company – those that add value to the community and those that look to extract value – then we will only continue to do well if our readers and partners continue to do well through their engagement with us.

That is why our essential culture remains the same, to follow the earlier advice of Andreessen in having the right ethics, aptitude and attitude, and our founding mission derived from David Hume’s enlightened wisdom: “Truth springs from argument among good friends.”

So, please let us know how we can help you.

*Vermeulen’s insights for a European Commission expert working group paper to be published shortly stemmed from his bespoke analysis of Global Corporate Venturing’s proprietary information on the 135 fund and programme launches in a 15-month period and introduction we made to one of our readers at media group Nielsen’s corporate venturing unit, Pereg Ventures.

Copyright Mawsonia Limited 2010. Please don´t cut articles from www.globaluniversityventuring.com or the PDF and redistribute by email or post to the web without written permission.

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