This is what a billionaire-dollar founder looks like before she has made it

Have you ever wondered what an up and coming billionaire would look like at the start of her journey?

By Wade Tink 

Katherine Pace is an absolute gun! As the co-founder of Elenation she has a credit list which defies logic given she has been at this game for only 2 years (see below) and during this time she has raised $630,000 in initial capital, delivered on all the investor requirements and is now racing to raise another $4m as Elenation gains traction at the intersection of health, kids and IoT.

So what tips would a billionaire-founder have for those starting out? Here are her top tips which have helped on her journey:

The best advice comes from those who have done it before

Sounds obvious but when you are building a billion-dollar company that becomes a bit of a challenge- there aren’t many in Australia who have done it. Initially, Katherine thought that advice would come from investors but instead has had to search far & wide in order to find the right people. When she does she values every piece of advice like gold.

Stay lean, stay lean, stay lean.

Elenation’s products involve manufacturing and software dev. She only had a limited bandwidth with their initial capital, so she has become the master of doing things efficiently. Emphasis on efficiency because nothing about Katherine or their products says cheap, rather just being frickin efficient. For example, Elenation has gotten this far without hiring any permanent staff but instead have been ruthless in effectively onboarding and utilising contractors to deliver their outcomes.

How to do efficiency is key

With every deliverable in the business driven by contractors, Katherine has developed a clear process to drive it effectively. She ensures there are clear outcomes, measurement as to progress, understanding of where responsibility start and stops as well as KPIs which are visible across the business.

Break down tasks

Elenation runs on two-week sprints using the efficiency model for her contractors. This keeps focus and she can add or remove resources on short notice based on results. As part of building out this process, she mapped out every task of the entire company, then organised it into roles and build the weekly schedule of which roles will meet when in order to ensure continuity. Clearly, she is a detail orientated person.

Don’t be friends with your employees

However, be willing to cry in front of your founding partners. It’s almost like she had been to military school with this piece of advice but I have heard it many times from business owners. Katherine makes the clear distinction but then goes the opposite way with Amy her co-founder.

Have a backup plan for everything

Then have a back-up to the back-up. Once again soo military! At this point, I was getting flashbacks. With respect to the engagements she has had with investors it felt like I was listening to an episode of House of Cards. Throughout she has always had a back-up so when it doesn’t turn out the operation keeps moving.

Investors are not your friends

There are three types of investors; those who stay quiet, those who want to know everything all the time mostly to fill their ego and those who have a genuine interest in helping you succeed and put in the hard yards alongside you. Having done the block in Australia she knows the space and says you need to separate the wheat from the chaff; “what’s frustrating is that what they claim is often very different from what they are, like publicly stating we invest in people when in reality they kick you solely based on business model.”

Watch this space as Katherine takes Elenation throughout Australian retail and into the US. One thing is for sure that this woman is a force to be reckoned with and we are excited to see her rocking the baseball cap for the opening pitch one day in the big apple.

 •••

Just some of Katherine’s awards include:

2017 Wildcard Winner, TechCrunch San Francisco 2017

2017 Keynote Speaker, Amazon AWS Summit, AUS and NZ

2016 Winner Best Lifestyle Technology, OTEC Global

2016 Winner Chengdu Innovate, China

2016 Winner People’s Choice, IoT, Global

2016 Most Promising IoT, Global

2016 Female Springboard Cohort, Australia

2014 Top 50 Emerging Leaders, Australia