Anthemos Georgiades (or Anth, for short), is the founder and CEO of Zumper, an apartment rental platform based out of San Francisco that he founded in his second year at Harvard Business School in 2012.
If anybody knows anything about running a rapidly growing company, it’s Anth. Consider this: Despite being founded less than 10 years ago, Zumper now boasts over 250 employees, 75 million active users, and 17 million site/app visits per month, making it the largest residential rental platform in North America. Since founding Zumper, Anth has raised over $150M in Venture Capital funds from a roster of VCs that would likely make many of his Silicon Valley CEO peers envious, including Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock, Kleiner Perkins, and Blackstone, among others.
Since it’s founding, Zumper has regularly grown revenue at triple-digit growth rates, and has grown both organically and inorganically, most notably with its acquisition of PadMapper in 2016.
Prior to founding Zumper, Anth was a Management Consultant at the Boston Consulting Group, and an Economic Advisor on the 2010 British Election. Anth received his MBA (with distinction) from Harvard Business School in 2012 (where he received the Robert F. Jasse Award for entrepreneurship & leadership), his MPhil from the University of Cambridge in 2007, and his BA from Oxford University in 2005, where he was awarded the Seymour Scholarship.
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Specific Questions and When They’re Asked
- (3:31) What do most CEOs (who have never run a high growth company) not understand about the realities of managing rapid growth?
- (6:11) Why do you think you’ve been successful in transitioning your own role from that of founder (responsible for everything) to CEO (responsible for very specific things)?
- (10:15) How have you thought about the tradeoff between i) capital to fuel growth and ii) minimizing dilution of your own personal ownership interest in the company?
- (13:54) When it comes to taking external capital, entrepreneurs often must choose between being either “rich” or “king”. Which was/is your preference, and why?
- (17:19) How have you decided how much capital you should be raising at any given time?
Organic v. Inorganic Growth
- (23:19) When the Padmapper acquisition opportunity presented itself as a possibility in 2016, how and why you decide that it would be a logical way for Zumper to pursue growth?
- (26:03) How did you know (or at least suspect) that Zumper, as a relatively young company with more than enough on its plate already, was ready to acquire PadMapper?
- What are a few of your biggest mistakes related to the acquisition that you would do all over again if given the opportunity to do so?
- (30:24) If the opportunity to acquire PadMapper presented itself again, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently if given the opportunity to do so again?
- (31:43) For CEOs considering growing via M&A: Is there anything that they can do now to avoid making some of the mistakes that you made during your acquisition process?
- (34:27) How are you thinking about organic vs. inorganic growth today?
- (39:31) As companies grow, systems/tools/processes tend to break down. What are some of the more memorable breakdowns that you recall, and what did you learn from them?
- (43:26) Did your company “outgrow” some of its early hires? If so, how did you deal with the reality of having to move on from people who helped you grow so rapidly?
- (48:40) Was there something in particular that you looked for in your early hires to see whether or not these people had the ability to rapidly scale alongside the company?
- (52:29) As a first time CEO, have you ever felt “out of your element” running a company that is continually passing new size thresholds? If so, how do you manage those types of feelings?
- (1:03:04) What types of routines, habits, or practices have you developed to ensure that you’re running this marathon called entrepreneurship in a healthy and sustainable way?
- (1:11:54) You recently hired a very experienced executive to be your President and COO, a very difficult hire for a lot of Entrepreneurs to make. When considering this hire, what worried you the most? What did you consider as some of the possible pros or cons of making it?
- (1:16:24) If you could scream one thing from the proverbial mountaintops, and every Entrepreneur and CEO could hear and fully digest what you say, what would you say and why?
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