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If the Shoe Fits: Andrew Wilkinson is a Thoroughbred

by Miki Saxon

A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read all If the Shoe Fits posts here

5726760809_bf0bf0f558_mAmongst all today’s hype about unicorns Andrew Wilkinson stands out as a beacon of light and a voice of sanity for many entrepreneurs.

Wilkinson is founder/CEO of two successful companies, Flow and MetaLab.

He launched Flow in 2011 and has been growing ever since sans outside investment.

Although he has had talks with angels and VCs over the years he has no interest in taking money and has been publicly vocal on the subject.

He talks about being a horse, instead of a unicorn.

Meanwhile, there are thousands of internet businesses out there, quietly making tens, and even hundreds of millions of dollars, who have taken the same path as In-N-Out. They don’t need to be first, second, or even tenth, in their space, and have instead chosen to focus on a small percent of a massive market. They answer to customers, not investors, and focus on making their employees, customers, and themselves happy.

While In-N-Out is Wilkinson’s model, you can look to privately held SAS for a unicorn-sized software model.

SAS was founded in 1976; in not-quite 40 years it has grown to 13,660 employees who produced $3.09 billion in 2014 from 75,000 customer sites in 139 countries.

Whether the drive stems from the demands of the investor world or the need for instant gratification, Wilkinson’s attitude is a breath of fresh air.

Raising venture money is a high risk commitment to go big or go home, and it isn’t for everyone. It certainly isn’t right for me, but neither is the surfer lifestyle business. I’m somewhere in the middle, with the Snyders of the world. I’m not a unicorn, I’m a horse.

Give it some thought or, to paraphrase an old commercial, “try it, you might like it.”

Image credit: HikingArtist

3 Responses to “If the Shoe Fits: Andrew Wilkinson is a Thoroughbred”
  1. MAPping Company Success Says:

    […] your goal is to be a horse or a unicorn, raising round after round of funding for a higher and higher valuation may do nothing […]

  2. MAPping Company Success Says:

    […] Sam Altman warns that funding is not a guarantee of success and in the next few years David Bladow, Andrew Wilkinson and dozens like them will prove that horses have the staying power that unicorns lack. […]

  3. MAPping Company Success Says:

    […] Yesterday we looked at the bootstrapped success of Tuft & Needle and before that at bootstrapping serial entrepreneur Andrew Wilkinson. […]

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