Forward Fortnightly Archive: Startup growth and sustainability

October 4, 2021

As part of our exploration into building inclusive and diverse teams, we’re focusing on startup growth and sustainability. 

Our inspiration comes from Hemant Taneja and Ken Chenault who ask, are you building a startup that will last? Growth is still crucial for founders, and investors (see here for Paul Graham’s immortal words on that). But an organisation that can adapt, innovate and scale-up is key to creating lasting value. 

A higher purpose for hyper-growth. 

In our previous article, we touched on Simon Sinek’s thoughts in Start with Why. Building a company that reaches for a higher purpose than revenue growth not only leads to better products. It’s also key to sustaining growth, especially as a company enters a scale-up phase. Read Amplitude’s insights on sustaining an incredible culture through hyper growth and how shared beliefs, combined with diverse mindsets can become the engine room for sustainable growth. 

But how to keep pushing forward? 

Few startups make it to a unicorn-level exit as a one trick pony. They need to adapt. To innovate. And that takes leadership and a workforce that can cope. The key to success, as we see it, is a growth mindset. Psychologist Carol Dweck set out to answer a simple question with her research - why some people reach their creative potential in business, while other equally talented peers do not. Her research concluded that a “growth mindset” that embraces the idea that their own abilities can expand over time are much more able to grow, develop and succeed. An organisation that encourages it - and combines it with an inclusive and diverse team will likely make better, more informed and considered decisions that shape their future. Want more? Dig into This impact report from The Neuroleadership Institute on how a growth mindset can support an organisation through disruption. 

Empowering leadership. 

Scaling takes more than great leadership. It takes empowerment. Psychological safety. In this report, McKinsey outlined that when employees feel comfortable to challenge the status quo, organisations innovate quicker, unlock the benefits of diversity and adapt well to change. But in the post-pandemic world - where many more of us work remotely than ever before, there are more challenges to face. Read this for an insight into how GitLab - one of the largest 100% remote companies has built a culture that scales. 

Taking action. 

Get stuck into this topic with TechNation’s excellent Inclusivity and Diversity Toolkit. You’ll learn how to establish policies. Use them in your fundraising case. And integrate them into everything you do from recruitment to product development. 

Get funding and support. Forward Partners is a great place to start. Our investors take founding team diversity and inclusivity very seriously (it’s a key component of our investability criteria). Talk to the team by applying to office hours here

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October 4, 2021