From bootstrapped to funded: how this ceo landed a $150 million investment on her behalf terms
Globalization Partners founder Nicole Sahin discusses her company’s news-making transaction.
When CEO Nicole Sahin founded Globalization Partners in 2012, the global employer of record market was largely undefined and unchartered. Its closest domestic doppelganger, referred to as a PEO (professional employer organization), includes a U.S. market worth $170-plus billion. Sahin quickly bootstrapped Globalization Partners to serve clients in 175 countries, while employing 200 people in 60 countries, leading to astronomical revenue growth, with projections of $500 million in revenue this season alone.
After years of turning down investment offers, Globalization Partners announced today that it has accepted a $150 million minority investment led by Wincove Private Holdings and TDR Capital (Sands Capital also participated). The funds will be utilized to accelerate further international growth, including much investment in client service and technology development.
Sahin, who was simply featured in my own book, Disrupters: Success Strategies From Women Who Break The Mold , sat down with Entrepreneur to speak about why she finally took the plunge by accepting external funding and how she could maintain control of the business she built.
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How did you navigate unchartered territory to greatly help create a business in a fresh and disruptive industry?
Before I started Globalization Partners, I used to supply services to companies which were hiring salespeople around the world. It was a whole lot of work, investment and red tape to employ one-to-two people in a country, and clients are always afraid they’ve missed something as a result of complexity of a worldwide expansion in the more traditional method of conducting business.
When I started the business enterprise in 2012, I needed to create a best-in-class global legal platform that could enable companies to leapfrog over the original complexities of global business. It took 3 years to feel confident that I possibly could get the legal and tax issues to work in each country. I began to build and scale the platform and the team in those days.
For a long time, you were fielding calls from investors. How did you go from “no" to "maybe" to "signing the deal"?
I first considered taking funding quite a while ago, because I knew the business was at a tipping point and growing such as a rocket ship. Having people around the table who’ve “been there, done that” and may help me grow and manage the business enterprise well was always my priority. We’ve a mutual agreement that [Wincove, TDR and Sands] are buying my leadership. This involves a whole lot of trust on both sides. It motivates me never to let them down. I’d walk over hot coals before I’d disappointed my client or my team, and it’s the same with my investors.
Our lead investor, an excellent friend of mine whom I trust on an individual and a business level, decided to core principles and structured a deal in a manner that would enable me to feel confident I’ve control over the triple important thing philosophy and will do not have to put myself ready that’s out of line with my integrity – with my clients, my team or shareholders.
Reveal more about the triple important thing philosophy you merely mentioned.
My team and I’ve always said we’ve a two-folded company mission: Change what sort of world does business by rendering it easy for one to hire anyone anywhere, and prove that happy clients and employees will be the best investment in your important thing. To date, we’ve had 95 percent customer care scores, and my entire team is highly incentivized not merely to grow, but to grow with the same quality we’ve always built the business enterprise on.
My colleagues and I agreed first on various factors of the triple important thing, centered on the happiness of employees, clients and shareholders. We still need to make hard decisions, but we do them with dignity. From a human perspective, I don’t want to invest my entire life building anything I don’t feel fabulous about, and I don’t want to ask any one else to either.
What did you learn through the decision-making process that may surprise other founders?
Many entrepreneurs are scared to share with you their businesses with investors because they don’t want to stop their ideas. While caution makes sense, it’s overkill in order to avoid discussions as a way to protect your business. Investors aren’t operators; there is little risk that they create a team to execute on your own idea. There’s always the chance that they spend money on your rivals.
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What advice have you got for other CEOs considering funding who don’t want to compromise their culture and direction?
Most probably to presenting a conversation. If nothing else, the insight which can be provided is extraordinarily valuable. It’s also vital that you get clarity for yourself in what you want. Some prompting questions could be: Do you wish to run the business enterprise or sell the business enterprise? What’s vital that you you? Where are your boundaries and what exactly are you willing to quit?
It’s also important to not consent to whatever you can’t live with or that will keep you up during the night. You are in charge of your decisions in this technique. Be willing to leave, and in the event that you do, be radically clear in your decision and accept the results.