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
Dominic works with Index-backed founders on organisational and people issues. This includes building leadership teams, international expansion, compensation, culture, and org design.
Dominic has written three books on scaling startups: Two are guides to international expansion - Expanding into Europe, and Expanding to the US. The third, Rewarding Talent, is the playbook for European entrepreneurs using stock options, and is accompanied by OptionPlan, a web app that has become the go-to resource for designing employee 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 teams, managing international operations, and steering company culture through periods of growth, crisis, M&A, and public listings. Dominic's passion for data drives his decision-making. He has a Masters in organisational psychology from Oxford.
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 two books on internationalisation, Expanding into Europe and Expanding to the US. These resources codify our knowledge and are freely available for entrepreneurs with global ambitions.