S2 Episode 1: Perseverance and Passion: The Keys to Scaling with Godard Abel of G2

Startup Growth Stories

Jan 19 2023 • 40 mins

About This Episode:

Today I’m joined by my guest Godard Abel, CEO and Co-Founder of G2 - the world's largest and most trusted software marketplace. More than 60 million people annually — including employees at all of the Fortune 500 companies — use G2 to make smarter software decisions based on authentic peer reviews. Godard is a serial entrepreneur. He led multiple companies through to exit including BigMachines, which was acquired by Oracle for around $400 million and SteelBrick, which was acquired by Salesforce for north of $300 million.

In this episode, you’ll hear how Godard found inspiration and an entrepreneurial drive from his father and grandfather when he started BigMachines, some of the hard lessons he learned as he scaled up and financed his companies, and a little bit about his experience taking on a “conscious leadership” coach and how that has shaped his leadership methodology.

Startup Growth Stories is hosted by Don Muir, CEO and Co-Founder of Arc Technologies. In each weekly episode of this podcast, you'll hear from first-time, bootstrapped, and unicorn founders around how they secured their first customers, convinced their first employees to join, and grew their business. Founders and industry insiders share their greatest successes (and failures) and the things they learned along the way. In the final minutes of each episode, guests get vulnerable - they share very personal stories about the impact of their work on their well-being, their relationships, and their families.

In this episode, you’ll hear:

[0:55] Godard describes himself in three words or less: Conscious Entrepreneur

[01:26] Godard’s biggest inspiration is Marc Benioff from Salesforce

[02:33] The backstory of Godard’s father/grandfather and their business

[04:00] Talking with his father about business, working in the plant

[05:10] “Sleeping under a bridge in Paris” was always the fallback if his Dad’s business failed. He loved France!

[05:40] John Sculley of Pepsi and David Sculley of Heinz Ketchup/in Silicon Valley, became angel investors. The internet boom, Dell, Amazon, and helping his dad with custom configurations selling pumps online

[10:44] After selling BigMachines for millions - key learning was perseverance

[13:35] Advice for today’s founders – wishes he cut staff sooner from 70 to 20. Get efficient faster. “Flee to the front.” Focus on customers and sales. Keep the positive energy and passion to keep selling, even when you're depressed.

[17:20] Vulnerability - Godard was eating/drinking too much, had premature twins, life was overwhelming.A coach and conscious leadership helped.

[21:27] what’s the right time to get a coach? As soon as possible, join YPO and EO – peer forums can help you like therapy

[23:00] Building your company rooted around the theme of trust –true caring and culture gives purpose to employees

[26:00] How the source of capital impacts your structure and motivations - bootstrapping is easier to grow slowly, having investors starts the clock – want returns in 3,5,7 years

[29:25] Reasons your second and third companies are easier – self-finance, people believe you with one successful exit under your belt, and there’s an aura of success

[30:47] The “entrepreneurial family” that Godard prefers to keep working with, how he hires or helps fund them. All of them like to do their own thing in a startup environment