CEOs must learn to let go and continually reinvent themselves
Today's entrepreneur is Anthemos Georgiades, the CEO and co-founder of Zumper, a marketplace for landlords and renters.
Zumper is the largest residential rental startup in the U.S.,with $90 million raised and over 10 million visits each month. The company's mission is to make renting an apartment as easy as booking a hotel.
Before Zumper, Anthemos worked for The Boston Consulting Group in London and NYC, and as an Economic Advisor on the 2010 British election.
He has a BA from Oxford, an MPhil from Cambridge, and an MBA with Distinction from Harvard Business School.
I am a(n):
Companies I've founded or co-founded:
Companies I work or worked for:
Achievements (products built, personal awards won):
Leading Zumper as CEO. SF Business Times 40 under 40
If you are an entrepreneur, why?
I started Zumper to solve the problems I’d had looking for an apartment during multiple city moves in my 20’s. I never realized I wanted to be a CEO until the problem found me, and now there’s no way back.
My favorite startups:
Airbnb, Blueshift, Pattern Brands
Why did you start your current company?
Zumper was created out of pure frustration with the rental process. After camping out overnight to find an apartment, I believed there had to be a better way to close an apartment. Our mission at Zumper is to make renting an apartment as easy as booking a hotel.
What's most frustrating and rewarding about entrepreneurship/innovation?
Frustrating: As you scale, your role as CEO changes and it becomes far less about product design or branding, and much more about setting the right direction for the company and employees as well as solving issues that roll up to you along the way.
As the CEO, you are uniquely positioned to solve these problems given your investment in the company but there comes a time when you realize the challenges you face are much more than just obsessing over the vision of the company - your product, employees, and users are now too heavily relying on your problem solving as well.
Rewarding: Watching your team grow and develop into phenomenal leaders and contributors. Also, hearing that you have changed the lives of your users.
What's the No. 1 mistake entrepreneurs make?
Being too focused on their competition. For the first few years, your competition is yourselves and your ability to focus.
What are the top three lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?
1. Resilience over everything. Most startups fail. Every startup that succeeds goes through very difficult patches. Being resilient during the really tough times - whether it’s a tough fundraising round or a quarterly dip in numbers - is incredibly important. Hiring for IQ is table stakes, but hiring for resilience and perseverance is what builds winners.
2. Grow headcount thoughtfully. Culture is king, it’s the thing that keeps the best people at the best companies. It’s what helps you find meaning in what you do. So, hire carefully. It’s the single biggest lever you have to positively evolve your culture as your organization grows.
3. CEOs must learn to let go and continually reinvent themselves. Back in the early days, as the CEO you have a critical influence on every interaction, every decision, every cultural signal. You want to make sure everyone is getting on well and that your team feels heard. As more senior hires are made and more rounds of funding added, you learn to trust the amazing people you hired to do their jobs well and focus your energy to where you think you could provide the most value.
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Zumper makes renting an apartment as easy as booking a hotel. With over 11 million visits per month, Zumper is the largest startup in the residential rental industry.
Joined Vator onAnthemos Georgiades is the CEO and Co-Founder of Zumper. Zumper is the largest, privately-held residential rental platform in the United States that is making renting an apartment as easy as booking a hotel.