Investing in the next generation of startup builders – why Folklore is curating learning experiences to develop in-demand skills
Folklore not only invests in the great success stories of our time, but also the people who are building them.
When we saw an opportunity to level-up specific role-related skills that are in high demand within startups, we designed Chapters.
Kicking off in January 2022 with our inaugural People Chapter for aspiring people experience leaders, Chapters have evolved into immersive learning experiences that upskill operators and founders alike. 3 Chapters, 27 live sessions and 250 new community members later, what has made these courses so special – and why are we expanding Chapters in 2023?
First up – we noticed that as our startup ecosystem expands, and companies seek to retain and upskill talent, a noticeable skills squeeze is being experienced across our local talent pool. Chapters develop important skills and create pathways for great people into startup roles. Not only does they bring great talent into our community, but we have also had founders participating in Chapters to grow their own capabilities as they build venture backed companies (over 50% of our program members).
Second – we noticed a gap in the market for educational programs that are tailored to the opportunities and challenges that startups encounter. Launching or operating a startup is a unique experience, and the skill set (and mindset) required is not something you learn at university. Our coaches have hailed from the likes of Linktree, Webflow, Afterpay, Netflix, Eucalyptus, Airwallex and Up Bank to share their first-hand, real-world startup insights and thought leadership.
And third – diversity makes us better, but isn’t always a top priority for VCs when it comes to building a pipeline of talented founders and operators. Folklore decided to fully subsidise Chapters as we built the format and constructed a great experience for all, no matter their background. While many Chapters members and coaches share an interest in working for a startup, we couldn’t be prouder to see just how different their backgrounds are. In our Design Chapter alone, 60% of members identify as women and over 70% as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour). We can’t wait to continue to drive this impact through future programs for the ecosystem.
A little more about this year’s Chapters –
Curating a Chapter around people and culture was number one on our roadmap, because getting the team right can fuel a startup’s trajectory – but the traditional HR model does not lend itself easily to startups that are growing at a rapid pace. Not only does each early hire have a huge impact, but as teams scale, startups can encounter issues relating to people processes, leadership, environment and culture. People Chapter was designed to address the shortage of talented operators who are able to look at these challenges through a holistic "people experience" lens. Over the course of 4 weeks, 30 aspiring people leaders maneuvered through the full remit of the employee experience – from being a talent magnet, to nurturing the environment that enables people to reach their potential, to scaling startups for hyper growth.
"People Chapter set me up so well for my new job. I was feeling unsure about what to expect in my new role and what success looks like, but the program helped me to tackle some of those early projects and challenges with confidence." – Cristabel Gekas, people leader
With the success of this first Chapter, we launched Growth Chapter in June, where more than 100 operators and founders learned to skyrocket startups to success. Given that growth is the main objective of a startup after product market fit – and that it’s not always the best product that wins (it’s the one everybody uses), the ability to set startups up for rapid growth is unsurprisingly more valued than ever in ANZ. Growth Chapter covered everything from identifying, acquiring and retaining customers, to data-driven growth strategies and approaches to product-led growth.
“Growth Chapter was an insightful and practical learning experience, packed with unique opportunities to meet with the best growth operators in the country. We have greatly improved our processes around how we plan, measure and learn from our growth activities. The program has also encouraged us to reduce the resources we dedicate to our "business as usual" marketing, and be even bolder in our growth experiments” – Camille Socquet-Clerc, Founder of Bloom
Last for 2022, but certainly not least, Design Chapter began in November for more than 100 founders and budding designers. Design was next up because put simply, identity and design can make or break a business and its relationship with customers. Not only do startups need designers, but founders need to be well-versed in design thinking and methodologies so that they’re building user-centric products from day one. And so we decided to fill a gap in the market and offer an introduction to design thinking; including how you put your customer needs first, build for inclusivity, set up a design system, run a design sprint, and decide when to ‘ship it.’
“Folklore Ventures's Design Chapter was a game changer for thinking about how we work internally on building our product from here. The coaches were excellent, and brought experience and insights which have already improved our business" – Josh Phillips, Co-Founder of Creo and August Group
What’s next for Chapters?
Though our first series of Chapters have officially come to an end, our community continues on. Not only will we keep connecting and supporting our alumni, but we’ll be opening Chapters into new areas in 2023.
Is there a Chapter you’d like to see us bring to life next? Join our waitlist to let us know and keep up to date.
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