Growth Masterclass – another great trip to Silicon Valley

Last week another group of entrepreneurs arrived back from WP’s High Growth Foundation trip to Silicon Valley. The feedback again was absolutely brilliant and we look forward to sharing the insights over the coming weeks. The core themes of creating an ambitious innovative culture, leadership/team excellence, the power of taking action, focus, belief and embracing a no fear mindset came strongly through from the West Coast global brands – inspiring to say the least. Not only did we hear motivational stories of success – more importantly we heard it from the founders themselves.

Here are some of the companies we met:


Keiretsu Forum is an investment community of accredited private equity investors, venture capitalists and corporate/institutional investors. Forum members invest in high-quality, diverse investment opportunities.  They are a worldwide network of capital, resources and deal flow with chapters right across the USA, plus Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai, Barcelona, Madrid, Paris and London.  “Keiretsu” definition Keiretsu is a Japanese term describing a group of affiliated corporations with broad power and reach. Keiretsu Forum is described as a conglomeration of individuals or small companies that are organised around private equity funding for mutual benefit. Keiretsu Forum believes that through a holistic approach that includes interlocking relationships with partners and key resources, they can offer an association that produces the highest quality deal-flow and investment opportunities.


A construction and technical builder company that specialises in highly complex and sustainable projects.  Founded in 1990, it succeeded in attracting business to such an extent that by 1998 it had a turnover of $1.5 billion and now turns over in excess of $2 billion.  With core values of integrity, enjoyment, uniqueness and ever forward it’s no wonder that the best engineers in the world want to work with DPR.


A world leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software.  Autodesk turns over in excess of $2.25 billion dollars, has over 7,500 employees worldwide, products are available in 17 languages and over the past 18 years, all winners of the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects in film have used Autodesk software.


Founded in 2001 Obscura Digital works with some of the world’s biggest brands and top advertising agencies creating new forms of interactive and digital marketing.  They develop  hardware and software systems needed for this.  Recently they have worked with companies as diverse as BMW, 3M, Google, Hardrock Cafe and Levi Strauss.


Founded in May 2001 to meet the unique and varied needs of small and middle market businesses from across many industries, and at all stages –-from inception to IPO and beyond – with an emphasis on corporate banking and emerging technology companies.  By the end of 2010 Bridge Bank had total assets in excess of  $1.029 billion.


Founded in 1982, Symantec is a Fortune 500 company with a turnover well in excess of $6.5 billion. The company has evolved to become one of the worlds largest software companies, with more than 18,500 employees in over 50 countries.  They provide security, storage and systems management solutions for customers all over the world.


As the 2nd oldest business school in the United States, the Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley is one of the world’s leading producers of new ideas and knowledge in all areas of business.  The university has in excess of 2,200 undergraduate and graduate students each year who come from around the world to study in one of its six degree programmes.


Beginning in 1996 Google’s mission is to “Organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”.  Since Google was founded in 1998, they’ve grown to serve hundreds of thousands of users and customers around the world.


Originally founded in 1999 and now with a small but highly skilled staff of just 35, Whipsaw has been selected by  Fast Company magazine as one of the worlds’ top 5 most innovative design companies. Founder, Dan Harden is principal and chief designer at Whipsaw whose clients  include, Nike, Dell, Pioneer, Colgate and Intel.


Linkedin is the business orientated social networking site, Founded in 2002 and launched in May 2003 at the end of their first month of operation, Linkedin had a total of 4,500 members in their network.  Linkedin now has over 100 million members in over 200 countries.  A new member joins approximately every second and Executives from all Fortune 500 companies are Linkedin members.  By 2010 revenues had increased to over $250 million.

What we need to do next is get UK enterprise policy makers on this journey – collectively we can learn some tricks on building our own UK giants – a mission that I intend to relentlessly pursue! Forget gazelles I have now moved on to gorilla’s !


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