ceo meaning in business for startups

A New CEO for your Startup

In many cases, one of the founders usually became the CEO of the startup and scaled with it; that was not my case; there is no good or bad answer about this; it will depend on each entrepreneur. I always like to build startups/companies that do not rely on me, so from the beginning of Tekton, I was always looking for a new CEO. When we talk about a CEO meaning in business, it is the chief executive officer, the individual responsible for leading and managing the company.

This journey started several years ago, almost at the beginning of Tekton, because I was the CEO not by choice; I was the CEO by need. In a way, for me, the essential part of building a startup is to create good quality products and to make them long-lasting; this means that the company should be more significant than the founder if that is the case. Understanding the CEO meaning in business is crucial to achieving this.

I tried for many years to recruit an executive team. As you might realize, I didn’t have much luck, which could be due to various reasons, from not knowing what I wanted, not making a proper selection process, and the maturity of the company and myself.

Long story short, I mentor several universities and accelerators, offering guidance on various aspects of entrepreneurship, including the “CEO meaning in business.” During one of my mentoring sessions, I met Lorena Ortiz de Zevallos. She was not part of the program per se. She was invited because of the need for tech orientation. In the end, her StartUp didn’t work out, and then we had lunch; I still don’t remember how we approached the subject of looking for a CEO, and suddenly she said I could do it!! Initially, I was not sure, but I said let’s talk….

After all my bad experiences hiring non-technical people, I was sure I wanted it to be as close to 100% as possible before hiring. My process was the following:

Every founder is no requeried to be the CEO o C-Level of their startup.

First Phase

  • Meeting with my partner and COO.
  • Meeting with a crucial advisor/Board Member.

Second Phase

  • Meeting with Key people of the company (Rock Stars)
  • Dinner with several employees of the company to provide feedback.

After all these meetings -that took longer than expected-, we decided to move forward. I think she got three months before moving from her old job. To make this work, I applied something different. I had her participate in several key company meetings, even before joining Tekton officially, so she was already learning about technology, our way of doing things, and getting acquainted with the company. I think this was a key differentiator.

It’s been three years since she took charge, and I can honestly say it’s been a rollercoaster (just as happens in all great and solid relationships), from going through emotional stress (mostly on my end) to having lots of fun and amazing experiences together. I’m glad everything worked fine, and it still does, but I must admit there were so many things that could go wrong. Some of my fears with the new CEO were:

  • Not adopting the culture of Tekton.
  • Tekton’s culture changing into something different than I expected
  • Not being able to work with the people at the company
  • Quit after 3 or 4 months (Tekton is excellent, but we have a lot of things to improve)
  • Not being able to learn technology as fast as needed it
  • Not be clear on the vesting agreement we had
Those who know me understand my unique thinking process. Here are my tips for a successful transition:
  • Set clear expectations on both ends, including your work preferences.
  • Spend as much time as you feel they need you close. I spent six months working very close to her so she could clarify any doubts or concerns, do an adequate knowledge transfer and give her confidence.
  • Give them some space to verify if they are ready for the real world. I left the office for almost nine months to make sure everything was working as I expected. This gave me an idea for how things would be like in the future. That’s the only way, for me, to gauge the company’s future prospects.
  • Have monthly checkpoints to follow up on their progress.
  • Last but not least, I took the time to understand what her motivations are so I could keep her focus towards that. This made a huge difference.

This article is probably the first part of a series of articles so I can continue explaining the journey.

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About Me

About Me

I'm a crazy entrepreneur with a computer science background; I love to create startups and help entrepreneurs worldwide; my motto is: Fail, fail again, fail better!