Peer networks are key to supporting scaleups - it's why we exist
November 9, 2021
We recently read the ScaleUp Insitute’s 2021 Report, which highlighted the precise challenges that lead up to creating ScaleUP Europe earlier this year.
Startups can thrive with underdeveloped but hungry talent, and they can attract inexpensive labour who will happily work the arduous hours needed to grow a company. New-to-role but hungry employees that want to learn can be an asset, as long as there’s a training ground to upskill these team members. Without proper training, the process of hiring underdeveloped talent can hit a ceiling, as once a company has matured, a skills gap can be the difference between mediocre, good or great performance.
CEOs rely on curated networks of fellow founders, support from their VCs and renowned executive coaches. They appreciate the value of upskilling themselves. The same tools and networks don’t exist for them to provide these opportunities to their employees. 50% of new-to-role leaders don’t receive any management / leadership training, so despite being promoted for being great at what they do, they don’t necessarily know how to elevate the teams around them.
The report outlined several key challenges described below that start to emerge within scaleups as they grow including:
- Leadership - Early employees who are previously excellent in their roles are now managing teams, hiring and firing, and responsible for the outputs of their department.
- Soft skills - Communication skills that work in a “move fast and break things” don’t necessarily scale.
- Scaling - The processes previously used to get the company from seed - Series B will likely be outgrown, meaning new systems must be developed to solve new problems.
These challenges, which we hear and see everyday, are precisely what ScaleUP Europe (SUE) is designed to remedy, and the stated keys to a successful peer network (attendee citation, confidentiality, needs-driven agendas, diversity in stage and sector, accountability, etc.) has been ingrained in our structure from Day 1.
Through ScaleUP Europe, department heads, managers and leads at high growth companies come together once a month for an hour of confidential action based learning. Members bring a specific challenge and share it with the group. The different backgrounds and company stages of the members means it's highly probable that someone sitting at the table has encountered a similar challenge before and is able to quickly offer their learnings. Sessions are broken by department and are currently designed to support those in growth, talent, operations, tech and product leadership positions. The frequency of the sessions gives members time to test the possible solutions the group offers, so members can report back on what worked and what did not.
Uniquely, ScaleUP Europe was created by founders and is not run as a commercial entity which means scaleups can access effective tools for employee development, for free. Within our first six months, we’re fortunate to count leaders from Olio, SeedLegals, Duffl, WeTransfer, Lendable, Florence, Copper, Wayhome and Dext as members.
Over the next year, our aim is to expand our member base, and support as many high growth companies as possible. Our name has “Europe” in it for a reason and may be an indicator of our future plans...stay tuned!