7 Unicorn Drive: Unlock the Secrets to a Billion Dollar Business
To scale and create a billion-dollar business requires a purposeful intention from the start, and coupled with people-centric leadership, the result is a massive success.
In early 2010, my husband, Samo, had a strong urge to work on nonprofitable ecological projects, as the climate crisis was already more than evident back then. Coming from Southeastern Europe, it was obvious that getting funds was an illusion, which is why he decided to co-fund a start-up with me and six other friends. Our strategy was to sell the company in five years and earn US$100 million after taxes. With an additional two years of earnout, we planned to be able to start working on sustainable projects in seven years.
We started with the idea of working in the mobile phone app business, as all seven of us had a computer science background. After six months of work and a few not so successful projects, we launched the Talking Tom app that instantly went viral and set the ball rolling. Following the release of more than 15 entertainment and game apps, and more than five billion users of all ages and genders across the world, we sold the company for US$1 billion in 2017, just seven years after launching.
Our purpose: “Why do want to earn this money?” was strong and gave us the energy and passion needed to build a strong, powerful team of 200 colleagues in offices all around the world. Our value-based culture, people first leadership, widely accepted manifestation techniques, and endless fun while creating the Talking Tom and Friends franchise, proved to be the right approach to take. My husband and I strongly agree that couples working closely together can move boundaries beyond the limits of the imaginable and seen. We have two kids who were involved in the business from day one, even though both were in high school back then. Our younger son was too young to be left at home while we had to travel a lot, so he switched to a home-schooling system based in Los Angeles, which he was able to do despite living in Europe. He travelled with us all around the world and still managed to finish his high school program in less than 3 years’ time. It seems like a fairy tale today, but it wasn’t easy for any of us. For my husband and I, it was a huge learning experience as we had not done anything like that before. There were certainly mistakes that we made and obstacles along the way, but we were able to overcome them all.
For the last four years, our family has been running the Login5 foundation with the following purpose (the “Why”): pure water, pure air, pure consciousness. When thinking about the long-term survival of humanity, we have got to think about our planet first. If we don’t take care of that, we don’t stand a chance. We are working to create a world where everyone is free to prosper and live with purpose and love, where we act in the interests of nature, as well as ourselves.
Our current projects focus on sustainable food production and development, as well as conscious leadership. We have a technologically advanced brain research laboratory that looks to answer the question: “Why do we like to eat what we eat?” With empirical understanding, we hope to be able to develop food that will induce “the best ever” feelings – food that is healthy for people and sustainable for the planet. In Serbia, we run a huge farm with the vision of building a model for large-scale sustainable farming. We’ll share the findings, models and software tools for free non-commercial and commercial use. We also work with universities (Harvard and Oxford), research centres, and like-minded companies around the world.
Samo and I have just published our new book, 7 Unicorn Drive, which explains our different approaches and ways to build and run a highly motivated, successful team. We combined all our best practices in the Unicorn Drive Method, which we will share in a series of programs starting in the early summer of 2021. Our aim is to build a community where entrepreneurs and leaders don’t just learn the methods we use but share their experience and knowledge with each other.