Sep 30, 2020
Callum Laing on Chaos to Creation Confessions: What do you do when you lose it all?
With my business partner, Jeremy, we had come up with an idea to solve a problem for small business...
Find out about their ambitious idea - Agglomerate - to help small businesses group together to create a publicly listed company.
From an investor's standpoint, you've got half the world's economy locked up in small businesses like us
There's this weird situation where you've got half the world's economy that's off limits to the trillions of dollars in the finance markets.
Plenty of people create things - books, courses or businesses - Callum & Jeremy actually created a business class, an asset class.
The thing with creative ideas is they're always brilliant when you first have them, and then you have to test them against the market.
And you smack your head against the wall until something breaks. And hopefully, it's not my head.
The more you do it, and the more failures you have, the more you realise that the failures aren't fatal.
When it didn't work out we had to go back to our bigger why to keep us motivated.
For the first Agglomeration the market cap went from 14 million to 300 million euros in 100 days... and then we kind of came unglued...
Hair raising rollercoaster of bringing a group of companies together, listing on the European NASDAQ, the market cap going from 14 million to 300 million euros in 100 days, being shafted by a financier in New York whobought shares and then dumped them on the stock market
As far as we know, this bloke have never previously broken the law.
You discover that trying to prosecute white collar crime over international borders is nearly impossible.
the biggest mistake we made was, and this was down to a lack of experience was everyone advised us that what we should do is get ourselves off the board and put some old grey hairs on the board and restore investor confidence.
it was an incredibly painful, hideously expensive lesson to go through
Most sane people will think: Okay, maybe that wasn't the right thing to do. Maybe it was a bad idea. You guys didn't do that. What happened? What did you do next?
It solved a problem. We realised that if we didn't do it, it probably wasn't going to get done.
The advantage of so much stuff going wrong so quickly was that we got 10 years worth of lessons compressed into a very short, excruciatingly painful period.
Callum would have preferred to learn those lessons without "getting kicked in the nuts"
So we listed in Frankfurt, coming up two years ago, so sort of November 2018. And we have now added, as of last week, I think we're up to 17 companies in the in the group, we've got a combined revenue of 100 million dollars, $10 million of EBIT, we issued our dividends after the first year. So there was 110 companies listed in Europe last year, and by various different metrics were in the top three fastest growth for revenue and profit, and one of only five to issue a dividend.
The problem is, when you're doing something that hasn't been done before, there isn't really anyone that can can advise you.
The opposite of that is waiting for everything to be perfect before you do it. And the reality is, it's never going to be perfect. So better to get out, learn the lessons, iterate and move on.
Entrepreneurs record three, three or four minute answer to the question, what's the biggest challenge that you're overcoming your journey and what did you learn from it?
The Bigger Why: I've been an entrepreneur for 25 years, and I keep bouncing around different industries and kind of looking for what would be the perfect thing. And I realised, that's not the way to do it. For me, it's to find, who I want to be working with. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/chaosification/message