Chris Morton is the CEO and founder of Lyst, a fashion aggregation and discovery app, and universal checkout cart. Before launching Lyst, Morton was part of our investment team here at Balderton Capital. Chris talks to Ben Goldsmith about building a team from 3-150 people, and about the decision he made to take the business through a massive pivot.
0020 Chris has taken Lyst from 3 cofounders in London, to a team of 150 spread across continents.
0100 Chris explains that fluidity and informality were key to hiring at an early stage. Of course, this has changed over time and now Lyst have recruited a Head of Talent to bring order to the proceedings. But Chris is proud that they can still hire at speed.
0305 Question: Do early entrepreneurs need to have a 1/2/5/10 year plan for hiring? Chris advocates hiring for today, not tomorrow; as the concept of what 'tomorrow' is going to be can change.
0450 Sometimes the earliest hires that an entrepreneur makes can't scale with the team, because these people are best at launching companies. This isn't a black mark, it's just the way scaling works. But Chris does advocate managing changes to your business actively, rather than being passively pushed about by them.
0700 Question: What is the effect of raising large sums of money on team growth? Chris explains that he advocates a process of SCALING RAPIDLY and then 'FIXING' any feathers that may have been ruffled during this process.
0930 A piece of advice Chris has for other entrepreneurs: don't use the size of your team as a measurement of success.
1200 50% of Chris' team at Lyst are engineers or data scientists. Chris explains how, as a non-technical founder, he maintains and grows such a specialised team.
1600 Question: How important is a technical cofounder?
1800 Chris is a rare thing: an investor turned entrepreneur. Chris dives into how his experience at Balderton helped when it came to raising money.
2110 Lyst went through a huge pivot - Chris explains how he convinced his team, his investors, and other stakeholders that this huge change was the right thing to do.
2535 Another big tip from Chris: When you make a huge 'bet the business'-type decision, such as a large pivot, you can't always be as data-driven as you would like. Of course, use all of the data around you, but don't be afraid to listen to your gut: finding a mix of conviction and data is key.
2830 Chris talks about why it's useful for entrepreneurs to be challenged by their investors.