David Auerbach is the co-founder of Sanergy – a social enterprise making hygienic sanitation affordable and accesible in Africa’s informal settlements. It’s a huge pleasure to get David on the show, he’s been a friend and peer in the sanitation sector for many years, and I’m a true fan of Sanergy. David epitomises the relentless hustle you need to be both an entrepreneur, but also one working to disrupt a very slow moving sector in Africa. He’s an alum of MIT where he met his co-founders and he has spent time working in the US and China before calling Kenya his home. David has always been available to chat, being very approachable and an all round nice guy. So I’m excited to get into this episode with him.
On this episode, you’ll learn:
- How the Sanergy co-founders met and how their earlier experiences shaped their desire to build a scalable development venture that could impact the lives of millions of people.
- As expat founders, they marked the launch of the company when they actually moved their lives to Kenya.
- Getting on with the co-founders and liking each other, and being comfortable with how decisions are made as a team, is way more important than the merit of the skills that they bring to the table.
- How Sanergy founders did a little bit of everything in the early days, but as the business evolved, they took more specialised roles that utilise their strengths.
- How they hired team members for the senior leadership team that filled the gaps in the founders’ expertise.
- How they developed a rule of thumb that said if any one of the founders were spending more than 50% of their time on one specific function, they would hire someone how had the actual expertise to carry out that function.
- In terms of equity split between founders, it’s important to be fair – but note there’s not a “right way”. Get advice from people you trust.
- If you struggle to want to work with your co-founder, then maybe it’s not the right fit.
- The co-founders regularly meet at least twice a week, just to talk and make decisions, and work through any issues. And they don’t vote to make decisions – they talk it out, to ensure everyone is happy before moving forward.
- How to Divide an Imaginary Pie – Startup by Gimlet Media – founders equity episode
- Made to Stick by the Heath Brothers
- Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely
Get in touch with David and Sanergy: