What defines a great business? What key questions should founders focus their attention on? How do we most efficiently start to plan our future wealth, today? In episode #1 of interview show Beer with an Entrepreneur Daniel Kjellsson meet Spaceship CEO and co-founder Paul Bennetts.
Spaceship is the Australian superannuation fund challenger with “tech at its core” – is taking on the A$2.3 trillion Australian super industry market with a diversified portfolio carrying the likes of Alphabet, Apple, Facebook, Netflix and Tencent.
CEO Paul Bennetts was previously Investment Director at AirTree Ventures, an early and growth stage venture capital firm based in Sydney.
Daniel Kjellsson: Paul, how did this whole thing start?
Paul Bennetts: Wow! Big question. I grew up in Queensland and did a Bachelor of Business at QT. I was working at a computer store during my last year in University and during my time there I felt like I really understood the fundamentals of that business, the store. How it all worked together, how to talk to customers and things like that. So when I finished University I thought ‘stuff it – why don’t I try to do this for myself?’
You started buying parts, building computers, selling them
Yeah. I found a little store that used to have a computer store in there. I was able to move in with all the infrastructure in place. I just had to buy some stock and have a go. It was a wonderful thing because there is no better way to really understand the economics of a business than to be out there trying to compete with people in the market; competing with the guy across the road, trying to win a customer off him and understand how you think about inventory, pricing and things like that.
How old are you at this time?
20 years old.
Starting there and fast-forwarding through a career at Goldman Sachs, a role at a $500M family office, AirTree Ventures and ultimately Spaceship – what have you learned about starting and growing a business?
I think what’s missing from a lot of founders is that you don’t generally think enough about what your small business will look like when it’s a very large business. Generally I see a lot of founders not understanding what a good business looks like at the end of the map. Because that decides what they should be doing now, at a very small scale right?
And thinking about it from an investor’s point of view – everyone’s on a journey right? I love photography, for example. One of the things they teach you is that you have to take 1,000 photos before you take a great one. It takes a really long time to just kind of figure it out. Well, every single person you meet is on such a journey. I sit down with people today and I imagine where this person and this idea might be in two years – and I talk to them like that.
Beer with an Entrepreneur is proudly supported by Hahn SuperDry. Show anchor Daniel Kjellsson is wearing Oscar Wylee glasses, a t-shirt from Citizen Wolf and a Halda Race Pilot. Beer with an entrepreneur is filmed at WeWork Pyrmont, Sydney, Australia.