image of Premature Scaling: Why It Kills Startups and How to Avoid It - Ron Benegbi, Uplinq
Monday, June 20, 2022

Premature Scaling: Why It Kills Startups and How to Avoid It - Ron Benegbi, Uplinq

Listen on

Podcast information


Episode Details

Ron Benegbi, founder and CEO of Uplinq, speaks to our co-host Sergey about what it’s like to grow a startup without unnecessary hiring sprees, inexplicably large teams, and being unintentional with how resources are allocated.

Show notes

Follow Aram Melkoumov on Linkedin for highlight clips and DMs.

Ron runs a tight ship at Uplinq and he shares how and why he does so. This interview also explores why growing a startup for the sake of an exit is a bad strategy, why you should want to hold cash in this economy, how to hire people that make a genuine impact in your growth, and the difference between thoughtful scaling and so-called ‘aggressive’ scaling.

About Ron Benegbi
Ron is the founder and CEO of Uplinq. He is a 4 time tech founder with 2 exits and one flop. Being an immigrant who moved to Canada as a child with his family in the early 70s, he knows what it’s like to start from nothing. As he puts it, he’s not cut from the cloth of overspending. He’s cut from the cloth of disciplined business operations and fiscal responsibility, and that’s how he’s currently running Uplinq.

00:00 | Who is Ron Benegbi?
00:26 | His father getting a loan to start a business
04:19 | Giving new business a shot at financing (Uplinq)
06:50 | Serving the underbanked (opportunity size)
09:38 | Thoughtful scaling vs. aggressive scaling
14:43 | Building a unicorn is a bad purpose
16:48 | Should you take money from VCs or bootstrap?
18:09 | Why hold on to cash in this market
22:52 | Hiring people that 10X your revenue
29:39 | Not hiding from failure
35:13 | Favourite thing about his co-founder
36:22 | What would you do if your company went bankrupt?
36:52 | Becoming less reactive and more mature

[11:50] “We're building a company, but we're trying to build a profitable company. So i'm not here to just raise money, and then, you know, hire 20 people and then burn cash and be in the same place six months from now. So we're here to, you know, build a product, do it right; hire in a very thoughtful programmatic way, but also give ourselves enough of a cash runway; while always having business milestones that we need to hit.”

[12:49]  “It's not that I'm not in a rush. Believe me, I have a sense of urgency every moment of the day but that has to be balanced against a thoughtful pragmatic way to build a business.”

[19:04] “I'm very very concerned about cash and cash runway. That's the number one reason all small businesses fail, regardless of whether they’re VC funded or not intact or not. And especially now with the markets being what they are with the economy turning, we have to hold on to every penny we have until we can't anymore so that's how I look at it.”

Connect with Ron Benegbi: 

What is Off the Record with Aram?

Made by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. Off the Record is about the journey. It’s about fears, doubts, wins, and devastating losses. It’s about how people kept going no matter what to build their businesses, raise cash and hire the team. Here battle-tested CEOs and VCs share how they jumped out of the airplane and tried to assemble it on the way down.I hope you like it.

Related podcasts

September 8, 2022
28:33 minutes
Koii is a new method to design communications infrastructure and build an internet owned by everyone. In this episode, our co-host Sergey Ross and Koii Network co-founder Al Morris speak about Al’s journey going from teaching career to being a founder of Koii, different hiring challenges, and what privacy looks like ten years in the future.
August 9, 2022
46:51 minutes
Mark Rickmeier, CEO at TXI, and Aram discuss the ugly side of growth. They explore what growth for the sake of growth does to employee and customer retention, why your competitors are worthy rivals that you can teach and learn from, why investing in experience pays you dividends, how being humble allows you to avoid being tunnel visioned, and how to strike a balance between time spent running a business and time spent with loved ones.
May 30, 2022
47:01 minutes
Mark Achler and Mert Hilmi Iseri join us to discuss what they learned digging through the unknown world of mergers and acquisitions while writing their book. Confidentiality, bad outcomes, and wanting to keep things private are some of the many reasons the world of mergers and acquisitions are so opaque. Throughout the conversation, we explore why to view pitching as the beginning of a relationship rather than a mere transaction, why vulnerability and empathy should be at the root of your relationship with your board, the 4 components that make acquisitions work, and why you need to get used to rejection if you plan to sell your company.

Want to learn more?

Let’s start collaborating on your most complex business problems, today.