Learning to let go to grow: lessons from a Partner at Notion Capital

As you well-know, here at Scaleup Valley, we’re obsessed with ensuring that the CEO doesn’t become the bottleneck of their company.

We are constantly asking CEOs of different sized companies how they overcome this challenge – but recently on the Scaleup Valley podcast, we decided to take a different approach.

Instead, we asked a Partner at Europe’s leading SaaS Venture Capital what they think CEOs and leadership teams need to do to foster growth through each stage of the scale up journey.

Stephen Millard, Partner at Notion Capital, has helped Notion invest in some of the fastest growing European SaaS companies, including a few familiar names that you’ll recognize from the ScaleUp Valley podcast like Mews Systems, GoCardless, and Unbabel.

Listen to all of his advice on the ninety-third episode of the Scaleup Valley podcast or read my highlights below!

Invest in what you, the CEO, provide your company

Millard has spent the last 30 years working with companies on achieving growth – some his own and some belonging to others – and he admitted that he feels like he’s getting there.

Having joined Notion four years ago, he’s been able to work closely with CEOs within the B2B SaaS industry scale their businesses, and his main advice, from the investor perspective, were two-fold.

Firstly, as the CEO, you must invest in the quality of your mind. What does he mean by this?

Millard gave us the example of the CEO of Unbabel, Vasco Pedro, who just raised $60 million in Series C funding with Notion behind them. He believes that Pedro has mastered the art of understanding how he, himself, makes decisions, which includes “learning to let go to grow.”

This helps him better utilize his strengths and underplay his weaknesses by giving way to the other members of the leadership – something that helps great CEOs stand out from the rest.

But his next piece of advice is where we’d like to focus our attention.

Hiring for your next stage

Millard put a large focus on the importance of looking towards the next stage of growth.

If the leadership team is standing in a room, and everyone is in the biggest jobs of their lives – that’s a problem. You have to be able to ask: Who has experience scaling to our next goal? And then ensure that there are people in the room who have that experience.

This is something that we hear time and time again from the CEOs that we work with. It’s a difficult challenge once you reach a certain stage of growth, but it’s crucial if you’d like to see a healthy path to success.

Do you agree with his advice? How well do you execute it in your leadership team?

Let us know, then check out his full episode of the podcast here.

Finally, keep listening and keep scaling!

Mike Dias