From Founder to Startup Enabler

14 years.

Today marks my 14th professional anniversary.

What a journey.

I look back at my top 3 achievements and I am pretty proud of myself:

  1. Founded and sold two SaaS companies (Momenteo, Propulse);
  2. Freelanced for awesome clients (Connect&Go, Nestlé, AXA, CBS, AMF);
  3. Worked for world-class companies (IBM, Microsoft)

I must admit that I had it rough after I sold my last company. I thought it would be easier to let go. I felt empty for a couple of weeks. Some kind of void that you can't fill with all the money in the world.

But something unexpected happened.

A friend of mine introduced me to the CEO of a unique company in my city, and after a couple of good chats with that CEO, I knew I wanted to work with that man. And so I joined his world-class scaleup as their CTO.

What a year. One of the most intense, interesting, inspiring and educative year I ever had. I had the pleasure, fun, and privilege to work with people I admire. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

But then, during last summer, I started to mentor young entrepreneurs. And as every epiphany moment, I had a glimpse of my soul and what drives me to push forward. When I finally got home that night, I couldn't sleep at all.

I took one of my sharpies and started to write on my windows (I am lucky enough to have around 150 square foot of windows in my living room/office). After much drawings and guessing and whatnot, I saved the last window for something meaningful.

I started to write down those words, without even knowing what I wanted to do: What drives me? I underlined the word "me" like 7 times before starting to write something on that list.

  1. Generating ideas and building prototypes
  2. Designing a business around an idea
  3. Structuring and growing a SaaS company

Strangely, "Working at someone else's business" was not on that list.

I decided I wanted to work as a freelancer again. But for very different reasons than what pushed me to do so in the past.

Freedom.

Not an "I can do whatever I want, whenever I want because I am a millennial" type of freedom.

Freedom as in "no strings attached". I can say the truth to my clients because I have the luxury of carefully choosing the projects I want to work on. If a client is not ready to hear what I have to say (also called "opinion"), then that is not a client I want to work with. And that's okay, they probably do not want to work with me either.

In the process of joining a local group of angel investors, their mantra spoke to me (freely translated from French): "To invest and be involved". That's what I want to do. Yes, of course, capital is always needed. But I want to do more than that: I want to help other entrepreneurs build their dreams.

I want to help a particular kind of entrepreneur, the one who's got the passion, cleverness, grit, and drive, but cannot find a trusted technical co-founder. More than just a technical know-how, I want to provide them with a canvas on how to build their SaaS business.

I don't want to work for them. I don't want to invest money for the sole purpose of financial investment. I don't want to be a subcontractor. I want to partner with them. Bring to the table my technical and SaaS expertise at a fair price, including risks and rewards on both sides of the table. I want to be there to help them focus on growing their business, not tackling the technical part.

I want them to succeed.

I want to become a startup enabler.

For the record, this is intended as a follow-up to my "From Freelancer to Founder" stories: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/from-freelancer-founder-episode-1-dominic-goulet/