In the technology industry, it is crucial to be agile. Losing agility is very often a significant factor in loss of market share. It is natural that as organizations expand and become more complex, agility can get lost. However, statistics show that the largest 100 companies (many growth firms) have a total of ~30,000 subsidiaries between them, and M&A has played a large role for these companies in maintaining market share (and obtaining it). To me, this appears to be a catch-22, and what is elusive to me is how to best “future-proof” your startup, structurally, to allow you the structural ability to complete M&A without losing control and agility.
Essentially, the question boils down to this:
If you were CEO of your own startup (with limited resources to work with) that aspires to be a successful, growth multi-national corporation, what would your ideal corporate structure be at the time of founding?
Without getting into specific bylaws or shareholder agreements, how would you set up your corporation to accomplish this goal? Would you have subsidiaries already in place? Would you have multiple classes of shares? Voting and non-voting? Or would you build up and create these as needed (ad-hoc)?