Dominic brings a wealth of expertise in scaling startups, which he shares with humility and integrity. His impact has been enormous, from building our leadership team, to creating our stock option plan, to executing on international growth.Hanno Renner,
CEO and Co-founder of Personio
What lead to your deep research into employee stock options, and writing the Rewarding Talent handbook?
DJ — Stock options and awards for employees are some of the most common questions I get when working with founders. They come up again and again, particularly in Europe. Index was founded on the vision of bringing the Silicon Valley model of investing to Europe, and a key part of that model is employee ownership. In Europe, this isn't as embedded; entrepreneurs had less knowledge about how exactly stock options worked. There was also a lack of benchmark data about what size of stock options to give, and regulations varied massively from country-to-country.
For all these reasons, there was a huge gap and a lot of uncertainty. I built up a knowledge-base over time, and a model for how to think about stock options. We saw a real opportunity to help the entire ecosystem by open-sourcing that knowledge, so I wrote a book and we made it freely available. It includes an end-to-end model for how to build your stock option plan, and it has become the go-to resource in Europe on stock options for entrepreneurs.
How is Index so well-positioned to support founders when it comes to international expansion?
DJ — Index is an extremely international team with deep roots across Europe and the U.S. The entrepreneurs we work with reflect this as well. By far, the most common route for international expansion is for U.S. companies to go to Europe and for European companies to go to the U.S. We've helped over 40 companies go in either direction, and navigated them through that critical journey. We’ve learned so much by having a native presence on both continents.
There are numerous pitfalls and challenges around culture, regulations, product localization, market structure, industry value chains, hiring, compensation, and HR. We’ve developed pattern-recognition to know what works and what does not, and ultimately help companies think through what’s right for them. In fact, I’ve also written a book about Expanding from the U.S. to Europe and I'm currently researching another one about Expanding from Europe to the U.S. These resources codify our knowledge and are freely available for entrepreneurs with global ambitions.
Across Index's portfolio, Dominic works with European founders and senior executives on talent-related issues, including select executive searches, international expansion, in-house talent operations, and functional expertise in HR areas like compensation and org design.
Dominic has published two books on scaling startups: "Expanding into Europe," a guide for U.S. entrepreneurs going international, and "Rewarding Talent," a look at stock options for European entrepreneurs. His web app, OptionPlan, has rapidly become the go-to resource for designing startup stock option plans.
Before joining Index in 2012, Dominic twice served as a chief operating officer in both New York and London. He has first-hand experience scaling companies, building executive teams, managing multi-site and international operations, and steering company culture through periods of growth, crisis, M&A, and public listings. Dominic's passion for analytics drives his decision-making, and he has a Masters in organizational psychology from Oxford.