Having focused on Fintech for almost 20 years, we’ve seen many ambitious startups grow to become industry-defining leaders and been lucky enough to help them build their teams along the way, including the likes of PayPal.
We might not have a crystal ball, but over the years there are a couple of key things that make a startup stand out as having true unicorn potential.
If your first reaction to a new product or service is “how does that not exist already?”, it’s a good sign they’re onto something big.
Whether it’s something that vastly improves an existing product or service or an innovation that fills a gap in the market, a great concept is the foundational characteristic of any potential unicorn.
The next thing to look at is the people responsible for turning that great concept into a business: the leadership team.
Low turnover at senior levels and a clearly articulated vision are must-haves when spotting future unicorns.
Dig into the background and experience of those in leadership roles. People with expertise and proven experience in both the sector and a startup environment will be best placed to help businesses navigate challenges and successfully scale.
If the idea and the team meet the mark, the next proof of unicorn potential is in the numbers.
A dazzling balance sheet one financial year might help secure that next funding round, but businesses with true long-term potential will show sustained growth over a number of years.
Depending on the product or service, this might be growth in the number of users, the number of markets the business operates in, as well as factors like market share or even an active community on social media.
Problems with cash flow and funding is one of the main reasons startups fail.
Reputable funding does more than giving the business a short-term cash boost. Having big-name investors on board acts as a form of social proof, encouraging others to invest and shoring up a startup’s longer-term funding pipeline.
It may seem simple, but one of the biggest indications of a startup’s potential is that they’re still around. Surviving year one is a big milestone, but the majority (70%) of businesses fail between years two and five.
Passing the five-year mark isn’t a guarantee of long-term success, but it gives you confidence that the business can weather changing conditions and continue to grow.
Finding your future unicorn
Whether you’re looking for the team to lay the foundations for future unicorn status or you’re on the hunt for the perfect role at the next big name in Fintech, Finiti can help.
We’re a boutique agency specialising in sales roles within Fintech. Our carefully curated talent network means we match opportunities and people based on much more than CVs and past experience.