Why Entrepreneurs should focus on DAZZLE rather than count their BLESSINGS

Why Entrepreneurs should focus on DAZZLE rather than count their BLESSINGS

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Not just the silicon valley but the whole world is obsessed with billion-dollar startups in the industry.  These billion-dollar startups mostly constitute of unicorns. Before I go on and explain the difference between Unicorn and Zebra companies, let me bring your attention back to the title of the post.

Blessings, a group of Unicorns, are startups that have billion-dollars of capital and several venture capital firms backing them up. These companies work for earning more profits and focus on getting back maximum returns even if it means going public.

Dazzles, a group of Zebras, are startups which do not get or prefer to include venture capitalist. The startups that are working for more than just profitability with more focus towards working for social good.

Unlike Unicorns, Zebras are real animals. If applied in the context of startups, the world is expecting to see more businesses that add value.

Startups are now aiming at luring venture capitalists to invest in their businesses. TV shows like Shark Tank have also been one such platform that gives an entrepreneur a chance to secure funding for their business through a venture capitalist.

Mark Cuban, the host of the show, said, “Follow the green, not the dream.“ As per the US Department of Labor, women own 36% of all American businesses, meaning that female entrepreneurs are under-represented even in the manicured landscape of reality television.

The business model of Unicorns or how most startups are functioning these days is simple.

  • Startups raise piles of money from capital investors.
  • Use the money gathered by different rounds to grow aggressively.
  • With more rounds of investment, the business grows exponentially.
  • Usually, the end result of these businesses is either to sell or to go public.

The Pressing Issue

We have all seen the growth of billion-dollar startups like Facebook, Uber, and Google. The issues here that have not been addressed are – Would the silicon valley billion-dollar startups struggle with race and gender discrimination if the investors funding it weren’t homogeneous?

Here are some stats about startups and venture capital

According to analysis,

  • 82% of the industry is male.
  • Almost 60% of the industry is white males.
  • 40% of the industry comes from 2 academic institutions.

Another Analysis state,

  • 80% of the venture capital goes to only 3 states.

Forbes mentioned in their report,

  • Less than 1% of venture capital-backed founders are black.
  • Only 3% of women are backed by venture capitalists.

The Emergence of the Zebras

Zebra unite is an online community with more than 4000 value-driven entrepreneurs and investors. Founded by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, they recognized the need for a more ethical and inclusive way for startups to bud into the business world. They are countering the existing startup and venture capital culture. They believe in alternating the existing status quo which is a moral imperative.

“This is an urgent problem. For in this game, far more than money is at stake. When VC firms prize time on site over truth, a lucky few may profit, but civil society suffers. When shareholder return trumps collective well-being, democracy itself is threatened. The reality is that business models breed behavior, and at scale, that behavior can lead to far-reaching, sometimes destructive outcomes” – Mara Zepeda, Aniyia Williams, Astrid Scholz and Jennifer Brandel. These are entrepreneurs who helped start an advocacy organization, Zebra Unite in 2017.

  • Zebra companies like the actual animal are both black and white. That means, they work for both profits and societal betterment, with equal segregation to both.
  • Zebras prefer to be in groups. By banding together and preserving each other.

Internal graphicSource: Zebras Unite

How more Businesses join the Zebra Movement

Scenario 1

Entrepreneurs are finding ways to undo the money they took from a venture capitalist. The Entrepreneurs who accepted venture capitalist in the early start of the business are understanding that this path forces businesses into binary outcomes of acquisition and I.P.O or failure.

Case Study: Wistia, a video software company, understood the difference between Zebra and Unicorn companies. The founders – Chris Savage and Brendan Schwartz, used debts to pay off the investors as they had the desire to grow profits in a sustainable manner.

Scenario 2

Silicon Valley’s favourite notion “growth at all cost” has derived profit for very few for a long period of time. Most of these businesses go public before they reach the billion-dollar league. The sole objective of startups has been to gather maximum funding from venture capitalists. These businesses are designed for disruption, supremacy, and outsized investor returns. Evidence proves that venture-backed companies breed toxic culture, worker exploitation, and homogeneity both in leadership and shareholders.

With more established businesses and startups recognizing the need for stabilization. Top leaders, especially in ecommerce and supply chain management, have to derive a formula to grow sustainably and profitably. Companies should contribute to the good of society by changing their working or empowering other businesses to do so.

Case Study: Billion Dollar Roundtable is an organization that recognizes and celebrates corporations that have achieved at least $1 billion in revenue with minority or women-led suppliers. The list of companies that are a part of this movement is some of the top recognizable names such as AT&T Inc., Bank of America Corp., Chrysler Group LLC, Dell Inc., Ford Motor Co., Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft Corp., Verizon Communications Inc., and many others. This way recognizable companies are not only providing more revenue but also exposure to minority businesses.

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