As we gear up to welcome Runway Class 7 to ScaleUpNation, we’re sharing a peek into a typical day in the Runway Program. We’ve got an incredible group of impact ventures starting this March 28. There are only a few spots left in the class, for more information please see our Runway Program page.

A Day in the Runway

But first, coffee

8:43 am – The first ventures begin to arrive at ScaleUpDistrict in Amsterdam and the coffee and camaraderie are flowing. It’s not every day that venture founders meet their counterparts at companies in exactly the same growth stage. For that reason, each break is designed for a meeting of the minds. Even early in the morning, the questions and conversations go deep:

  • How did you set up a sales team to launch in Germany?
  • What was your experience like with that VC?
  • Where did you find the right CFO?

Claim your market

9:02 am – The 15 venture management teams are ready to get busy. Morning topic: operational excellence for sales and marketing, leaving behind the opportunistic startup style to become a strategic sales machine. B2B sales expert Christophe Frère leads the teams through specific scale-up case studies and war-stories. This prompts lively discussion, then the teams dive into action mode and analyze their top customers. Conclusions from the session:

  • Four teams now know exactly what to look for in a professional sales director.
  • Three teams have a clear next step on how to close the big prospect they’ve been talking to for months.
  • One team feels comfortable that it’s time to “dump” a couple customers. They should focus their energy on a more profitable niche target group.

Diving deep, 1:1

13:35 – A successful serial entrepreneur is a needle in a haystack, a rare breed. Only ScaleUpNation has assembled a unique group of 20 veterans, who are all available to our Runway teams for discussion and insights. Over a healthy lunch, they team up to deep dive on a specific scaling challenge chosen by each venture:

  • Jaap Maljers works with one team on their medical device roadmap.
  • Jörgen Sandig asks the questions that help develop a new perspective on a machine learning agenda.
  • Alexander van Wassenaar advises on a particularly an urgent need: maintaining financial health and a healthy cash flow.

Moving your team to action

15:03 – Many teams take great pride in their start-up culture, but worry about this changing as they scale. Going from a close-knit group of pioneers to an organization with real management is a challenge. How to deal with the new dynamics, beliefs and empowerment? We’ve found tremendous power in storytelling for keeping the soul of a scale-up alive through the transition. Founders are typically already good at inspirational “pitches”. But together with maestro Robert Wolfe, they learn new storytelling formats they can use to motivate their teams to act, trust, learn, envision and reinforce culture. Then, they practice.

  • Three of the teams realize they mostly tell stories to get buy-in from externals. However, they don’t use stories effectively for inspiring action and building trust with their larger team.
  • Five of the teams decide to use this technique in their weekly meetings, especially to connect with new employees.
  • Two of the teams figure out they had a natural storyteller in their management team they didn’t expect.

And as the day draws to a close, the teams feel renewed energy and continue to share their stories on the way out. Tomorrow they will deepen their team leadership perspectives, especially on hiring, taking inspiration from casting a performance. On the enterprise side, the focus shifts to strategy and the big blue ocean ahead, now that they’re beyond start-up stage. Each session brings to life the ScaleUpNation research insights and expert perspectives. These sessions allow the management teams to step away from day-to-day operations and reflect on the company they want to build.

ScaleUpNation only invites those founders who have made it past the early start-up phase and have shown the vision, leadership, track record, and impact orientation that we know it takes to scale. Find out more about the Runway Program here.

Annie Chen

Author Annie Chen

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