In his recent letter to prospective entrepreneurs, Mark Leonard discusses the opportunities in businesses with an “earned secret”. Here’s an excerpt from the letter:
I tell this story to give two pieces of advice: 1) you don’t have to be a twenty-something year old with no dependents to start a business, and 2) it is hugely advantageous to start that business in a sector where you have an “earned secret”.
VMS Ventures will finance dozens of CSI employee entrepreneurs. We are seeking CSI employees who have demonstrated a burning desire to win, an enormous capacity for sustained effort, and an intimate knowledge of their vertical. We expect that their effort and experience has imbued them with an earned secret… knowledge of an opportunity in their industry that isn’t obvious and will allow them to be an early mover, parlaying their secret into a sustainable competitive advantage.
With the earned secret clear in your mind, we believe that your drive, intelligence, and vision will attract a small group of bright and motivated folks to join you in creating the sort of business in which you’ve always wanted to work.
So, what’s the next step? Approach your business unit manager and tell them about your idea. If the idea is attractive and small enough, they may fund it from their BU’s cash flow. If the idea requires a larger investment (either immediately or after an initial investment by the business unit) and has the potential to turn into a $10MM+ opportunity over the next decade, either you or your business unit manager are welcome to approach VMS Ventures about making an investment.
You can read the entire letter here:
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