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Zenefits founder Parker Conrad traded over-the-top growth predictions for the kind of excessive funding that gooses valuation and earns the company unicorn status.
In doing so he did exactly what Sam Altman warns against, “If a company is profitable, the founder is in control. If it’s not, investors are in control.”
Investors brought pressure (it’s what they do), so corners were cut.
Zenefits never was and still isn’t profitable and, worse still, was cutting corners when those corners are highly regulated.
Now Conrad is out and new management will pick up the pieces.
Conrad could have learned from serial entrepreneur Xenios Thrasyvoulou, who warns, “sanity is more important than vanity” when it comes to fundraising and Andrew Wilkinson’s belief that revenue-based horses have it all over funding-based unicorns.
Instead, once again, the emperor has no clothes.
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