As Netcore prepares for an IPO in the next 12 months in its 25th year, I have started to think a lot more about the long future. What is the best path to creating a “built to last” company, an “enduring, great company”, an institution that outlasts the founder (in this case, me)? Over the past few months, I have had multiple conversations with bankers, PE firms, potential acquisition targets, and our internal teams. While the discussions continue, I thought it would be good to start sharing what I have learnt and my current thinking.
In January, I wrote:
Somewhere during the lockdown days of 2020, the idea of “building to last” started taking hold. For the first time in my life, I had started thinking of the long future. IndiaWorld had lasted five years before I decided to sell. Netcore’s first decade when I was involved was a period of low growth. In Netcore’s second decade when it grew, I was in a different world as a political and prosperity entrepreneur.
I was now thinking about what next for Netcore. We had done all the hard work in getting past the obstacles that young companies face to grow. Why give it up now? Why not continue building? As long as we could maintain a good growth rate, why not keep it going? If so, how could we do it? What did it take a company that could not just survive and thrive for a long time?
It was then that I had come across Jim Collins’ book, “Beyond Entrepreneurship 2.0.” I wrote: “As the world of Jim Collins’ writings enveloped me, I decided that I will do what it takes to make Netcore an enduring great company. In our third decade of existence, I would lay the foundation for the future – an ambition beyond wealth for myself; an institution with a purpose; a greatness with longevity. It would not be an easy journey, but one I was ready for. I had to also persuade our leadership team and everyone else that it would be a journey worth undertaking. Even as we focused on the weekly, monthly and quarterly, we would start laying the foundation for making Netcore an enduring great company.”
Over the next three months, the Netcore leadership team read and discussed the works of Jim Collins to understand better and develop a common vocabulary for building an enduring, great company. I ended the January series thus: “In the tech industry that Netcore operates in, it is not easy to survive and thrive against both global giants and nimble startups. My hope is that the very process of setting off on the path to greatness will make us a better people and a better company. And in our small way, it would be a nice homage to Jim Collins and Bill Lazier for their teachings if we can go beyond entrepreneurship to craft Netcore 2.0.”