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If the Shoe Fits: Parker Conrad and Zenefits

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_mZenefits 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.

Image credit: HikingArtist

One Response to “If the Shoe Fits: Parker Conrad and Zenefits”
  1. Ajo FodNo Gravatar Says:

    This kind of overvaluation happens every few years. I bet this is just one of many unicorn dreams waiting to be busted.

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