Michael Crickmore, a seasoned corporate founder, boasts a prolific entrepreneurial journey spanning over 15 ventures across diverse sectors, from the future of mobility to international government and advisory roles. Commencing his career as an entrepreneur in Hong Kong, Michael navigated roles at Ernst and Young in London. Here, he delved into management consulting, specifically focusing on the Future of Mobility, contributing to pivotal projects during Brexit in the Department for International Trade and NHS’s ongoing staffing crisis.
As the second employee at FoundersLane London, later acquired by CreativeDock, Michael played a crucial role in leading new ventures with international clients. His notable co-founding achievement includes Rekab in Saudi Arabia. This venture achieved an impressive milestone of 3.5 million rides in the first 18 months, boasting a remarkable 27% compounded monthly growth rate and a valuation surpassing US$60 million after just 12 months.
In January 2023, Michael founded Fvtvre in Saudi Arabia, marking the initiation of groundbreaking ventures such as PropX in PropTech and DecisionX in FinTech. Holding an undergraduate degree in Business Studies with a focus on Strategy and Accounting from Lancaster University, including a year abroad in Hong Kong, Michael further fortified his expertise with a Master’s Degree in International Business Strategy from Hult International Business School, spanning London and New York. With a wealth of experience and a track record of successful ventures, Michael continues to be a trailblazer in entrepreneurship and corporate leadership.
Leadership Excellence and Impactful Ventures
In various leadership roles, Michael consistently demonstrates a versatile skill set, excelling in team leadership, fundraising, and strategy and partnership development and execution. As a team leader, he effectively guides ventures, fostering collaboration and innovation among team members.
His fundraising proficiency is highlighted by successfully establishing ventures like Rekab and Fvtvre, showcasing his ability to secure financial backing for ambitious projects. Michael’s strategic acumen is evident in developing and executing partnerships that contribute to the growth and sustainability of ventures under his purview.
Notably, Michael receives recognition for his entrepreneurial prowess and leadership. The accolade of “Most Innovative Venture Building Firm 2023” in Saudi Arabia at the Private Equity and Venture Capital Awards highlights his commitment to innovation and excellence in the venture-building space. Additionally, the acknowledgment of “Best Fintech Banking Start-Up in MENA 2023” by the Global Financial Markets Review is a testament to his success in steering ventures toward excellence in the competitive fintech landscape.
Michael’s achievements extend beyond accolades, encapsulating the tangible impact of his ventures. The remarkable growth of Rekab, a leading ride-sharing platform in Saudi Arabia, showcases his ability to drive ventures to substantial success. Rekab has been providing mobility to major events in the Kingdom such as Formula 1, the International Boxing Federation, and Leap, directly hiring one of the largest fleets of female drivers for female passengers.
Through sharing rides with multiple passengers, Rekab has avoided CO2 emissions that are the equivalent of 1,400 fully loaded flights between London and New York. Rekab has also delivered a 1350% ROCE for its corporate investors, maintained a feedback score of 4.7 out of 5 (highest in the industry), and employed over 700 Saudis providing stable employment vs the gig economy. Michael’s vision and leadership have made Rekab a game-changer in the transportation sector and a catalyst for social and environmental change in Saudi Arabia.
Furthermore, the launch of Fvtvre with groundbreaking ventures like PropX and DecisionX further solidified his position as an influential figure in shaping the future of technology and finance in Saudi Arabia.
Strategic Venture Ecosystem Aligned with Vision 2030
Future is a dynamic venture studio with full integration. It is renowned for its capacity to generate, build, and fund ventures from the pre-seed stage to early commercial validation. Committed to creating 3-4 strategic ventures annually in FinTech, PropTech, Consumer, and Social Impact, Fvtvre places itself at the forefront of innovation in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 objectives.
The company features a compact yet highly skilled team of 12 core members, each with extensive experience in developing ventures across global corporates, fast-growing startups, and industry-leading scale-ups. This team encompasses a comprehensive range of vertical and functional expertise needed for designing, launching, and scaling startups. The hybrid composition of local and international talent reflects Fvtvre’s dedication to capitalizing on the diverse opportunities presented by Vision 2030, demonstrating a commitment to global best practices alongside local insights.
Navigating Cultural Barriers and Overcoming Resistance
As a non-Saudi leader with different working cultures and languages, Michael adopted a multifaceted approach. Firstly, effective communication and relationship-building played a crucial role. By encouraging open dialogue and understanding, he reduced resistance and illustrated the value of diverse leadership in achieving Vision 2030 objectives. Additionally, Michael implemented strategic initiatives to demonstrate the benefits of foreign leadership, emphasizing his global perspectives and expertise. This included highlighting successful case studies and leveraging his track record in ventures such as Rekab and Fvtvre.
In dealing with senior-level talent shortages, Michael explored innovative recruitment strategies. This involved targeted initiatives to develop local talent through training programs, and expanding the pool of qualified Saudi professionals. Simultaneously, international recruitment may have been necessary to address the scarcity, requiring him to navigate potential cultural differences and integrate diverse perspectives into the organizational fabric.
Foundational Principles of Fvtvre’s Collaborative and Innovative Framework
The team at Fvtvre operates within a clear framework that encourages collaboration, transparency, and innovation. Before starting any venture, roundtable discussions and a co-founder agreement lay the groundwork, aligning team members on expectations, incentives, and collaborative methods. These processes establish a fair mechanism for rewards and tools to address deviations from work and collaboration standards.
Democratized communication ensures that every team member understands the broader vision, emphasizing the significance of their contributions. Cultivating leaders rather than mere managers helps the organization maintain flat hierarchies, empowering everyone to actively participate in shaping business strategy and plans.
The “Fail fast and learn” culture encourages risk-taking and experimentation, steering away from the punitive approach to failures that often hampers innovation in large corporations. Embedded trust is a cornerstone, allowing flexibility in work hours and locations, with success measured through milestone achievements rather than strict hourly tracking.
Moreover, Michael keeps the team motivated and productive by employing an equity-sharing model that extends incentives to every team member. This approach aligns individual success with the overall growth and success of the business, fostering a collective sense of ownership and commitment. Emphasizing results-driven KPIs and promoting a culture of trust and collaboration, Michael ensures that the team remains motivated, innovative, and aligned with the company’s overarching vision.
Strategic Networking for Young Leaders in Saudi Arabia
Michael emphasizes the importance of networks as a crucial source of success for young leaders aspiring to make a difference in Saudi Arabia. Whether establishing connections with established industry leaders or tapping into consumer networks eagerly awaiting innovative Saudi-made solutions, Michael advises young leaders to prioritize building meaningful relationships.
For those aspiring to make an impact, Michael encourages cultivating connections with influential figures within the industry. Seeking out mentors, engaging with industry leaders, and collaborating with potential partners can provide valuable guidance and open doors to impactful opportunities. However, it is essential to ensure that when reaching out to an industry leader or potential collaborator, one approaches the interaction with respect, preparedness, and a clear understanding of how the connection can be mutually beneficial.
Understanding the local landscape is another key piece of advice. Young leaders should invest time in gaining insights into market dynamics, cultural nuances, and consumer preferences unique to Saudi Arabia. This understanding is crucial for tailoring solutions that align with the Vision 2030 objectives and resonate with the Saudi audience.
Additionally, Michael recommends identifying ambassadors for one’s vision. Influential individuals who can introduce and endorse a young leader’s business can significantly enhance credibility and reach within the market. Prioritizing relationship-building, understanding the local context, and actively participating in the business ecosystem can help young leaders position themselves for success in contributing to Saudi Arabia’s transformative Vision 2030.
“Networks are the most critical source of success, whether that is having a network with established leaders in the market or a network of latent consumers who are waiting for a new solution.”