Scott Lynn isn’t any typical CEO. Regardless of his relative youth in comparison with different profitable execs, he’s already achieved unicorn standing with Masterworks, an artwork funding platform that’s disrupting a market lengthy dominated by the ultra-rich.
However how did he do it? Properly, Lynn didn’t precisely take a standard path to success. He solid his personal approach as a younger founder, drawing from his life experiences and enterprise philosophy.
On this weblog publish, we’ll spotlight three key classes that every one younger CEOs can take away from Lynn’s method. Take into account it a masterclass from an A pupil who aced Entrepreneurship 101 proper out the gate.
What Is Masterworks?
Earlier than we dive into the teachings, let’s present some context on Lynn’s firm, Masterworks. Primarily, it’s an investing platform that’s made the intellectual world of high-quality artwork accessible to common of us such as you and me.
Traditionally, blue-chip paintings has solely been accessible to the rich few who can afford to drop hundreds of thousands at Christie’s auctions. However Lynn envisioned a approach for on a regular basis traders to get a chunk of the pie. Because of this, he pioneered a fractional possession mannequin on this asset class, permitting folks to purchase shares in iconic work by artists like Banksy and Warhol.
It’s protected to say the idea was a smash hit. Masterworks has introduced in over $110 million in funding, achieved unicorn standing in simply two years, and democratized entry to an unique market, having onboarded over 800,000 customers to the platform since its founding. Fairly spectacular stuff.
Given his success, Lynn serves as a job mannequin for the following technology of savvy startup founders. Learn on to uncover his secrets and techniques and begin channeling your interior prodigy CEO.
Develop into a Market Disruptor
The artwork acquisition world had operated kind of in the identical approach for hundreds of years, catering completely to rich patrons via high-end auctions, non-public gross sales and galleries. However Lynn noticed a possibility to open up this unique membership.
As he’s famous, “The artwork market created this whole infrastructure of not being accessible. If you happen to stroll right into a gallery in Chelsea, in case you stroll right into a gallery uptown in New York Metropolis, more often than not folks don’t even come up and speak to you. It’s only a bizarre trade that caters to the handful of ultra-wealthy folks.”
Lynn aimed to interrupt down these obstacles to entry. He pioneered a fractional possession mannequin, permitting on a regular basis traders to purchase shares of iconic artworks. As Lynn explains, “We’re taking these work and these objects that lots of people have by no means even seen earlier than and simply making it extra accessible.”
His revolutionary platform democratized an trade stubbornly resistant to alter. Now, folks can spend money on a Basquiat or Monet portray for as little as $20. His perseverance has paid off. By figuring out an exclusionary market begging for disruption, Lynn paved the best way for a radically new investing platform.
The takeaway? Don’t settle for the established order, and as a substitute search for gaps the place you may innovate.
Lead from the Entrance Strains
Many founders step again from day-to-day operations as their startups develop. Not Lynn. He maintains a hands-on, collaborative method, working shoulder-to-shoulder with workers.
Because of the tradition and flat organizational hierarchy that the workforce at Masterworks has maintained, Lynn and different executives are totally engaged, even desirous to get their fingers soiled.
As Jordan Goldstein, Head of Expertise Acquisition at Masterworks, notes, “They’re not afraid to roll up their sleeves and become involved within the nitty-gritty alongside the remainder of the workforce. No activity is taken into account too huge or too small for anybody right here. All of us work in individual day by day, so we’re a fairly tight-knit group. I’d say everyone seems to be mates inside and outdoors of the workplace.”
This units the tone for Masterworks’ startup tradition. Staff are equally motivated to chip in wherever wanted. It’s one motive why so many interns and entry-level hires have rapidly risen up the ranks. As Goldstein explains, “One-third of our administration workforce began at Masterworks as a person contributor.”
So, what’s the lesson? Undertake Lynn’s hands-on method if you wish to encourage groups and unify your startup’s imaginative and prescient.
Double Down on What Works
Let’s be actual – getting a startup off the bottom is hard. Lynn knew he was onto one thing with Masterworks, however grinding it out within the early days was no cakewalk. Nonetheless, he doubled down on his imaginative and prescient as a substitute of getting discouraged. Lynn simply had a intestine feeling that his fractional possession mannequin may shake up the unique artwork market.
And that conviction has paid off. As Masterworks began gaining buzz, Lynn went all in on scaling it up. He knew you’ve gotta put full religion in your finest concepts if you wish to obtain exponential progress. Now, with Masterworks solidly established, Lynn is trying to new frontiers. He lately invested $30 million to accumulate the long-lasting Woolworth Constructing penthouse in New York, a trophy actual property buy befitting a profitable luxe trade government.
Whereas Lynn doesn’t plan to supply fractional shares of the property itself (or not but, at the least), it represents his willingness to make daring performs in new markets as soon as he validates an thought. The penthouse was initially priced at $110 million, and because the actual property market rebounds, the house is prone to admire in worth, which means that identical to he does with blue-chip work, it’s attainable a high-ROI resale is within the works right here.
Right here’s the important thing takeaway: While you’ve received a successful thought, go all in. As Lynn mentioned, “It took us a 12 months and a half to get the primary funding car via the SEC. At this time, we’re launching one in every of these automobiles each week.” Journey your most promising wave so far as it’ll take you.
For aspiring CEOs, Lynn offers a masterclass on shaking up outdated industries and tapping new markets. Again your imaginative and prescient, roll up your sleeves alongside your workforce, and take confirmed ideas into uncharted territory. Comply with his lead, and also you may simply be the following younger entrepreneur to grasp the artwork of constructing a unicorn.