Chris Carmen  /   January 29, 2018

I recently participated in a discussion on the most important variable in making start-up and early-stage companies successful:  funding of capital or a talented leadership team.  My firm, CARMEN Commercial Real Estate Services, is a professional service provider to many early stage technology companies.  I have also personally invested in a number of startups, so I’ve had the opportunity to experience first-hand how each of these variables impacts start-ups or early-stage tech ventures.  Thus, my response didn’t require a 20-page thesis:  talented leadership always trumps capital!

While the availability of funding is always an important ingredient to the health and success of a young organization, time and time again, I’ve seen how leaders that are intelligent, have strong work ethics, are passionate about their mission, and are simply dynamic people, seem to withstand the challenges coming from every direction when operating a new venture.  Three days ago, news broke about the expansion of CIK Enterprises, and it struck me that I couldn’t think of a better example of my opinion that talent trumps capital in the world of startups.

I got to know the founders of CIK when my firm represented them in leasing their first “real” office space in 2002, when the business was operating above a small coffee shop in Danville, Indiana. I have always been so impressed with Scott Hill and Andy Medley, both of whom were in their mid 20’s when they started their first venture, Tri-Auto Enterprises.  Here are two guys who have persevered through the ups and downs of operating a small business, while remaining flexible yet focused, on their objectives.  You may not find two more talented and resourceful people.  Over the course of just a few years under Scott and Andy’s leadership, CIK Enterprises has tripled its business, employs nearly 50 people, is poised to double their workforce in the next four years, and has been selected as one of the Best Places to Work in Indiana.

Yesterday’s news about Scott and Andy’s growth focuses on the exploding area of measured marketing software.  With leaders like Scott and Andy and the CIK team they’ve assembled, I’m certain it will be a huge success… because as they have proven, talent always trumps capital.

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