Why your network needs other networks

“It’s not what you know – it’s who you know.”

In scaleups and in the technology space, that old saying remains incredibly true. The research shows that most companies hire, grow, and even find investors through the personal networks of their founding teams. That’s because people build companies, and people rely on each other.

The earliest stages of the scaleup journey are about recruiting those people. The first hands on deck, the friends and family round of financing, the sales opportunities from your college and university connections or from your existing career. That’s the initial MVP of your scaleup’s network.

Not every network is perfect however. You might have a strong network of technical people, developers and engineers, but lack the right network of angel investors, venture capitalists or fund managers. You might have a whole CRM full of financial backers, and not know a single marketing expert to deploy their funds to grow your company. The missing pieces and the blind spots become incredibly valuable at that point.

One of the missing pieces we see is in overseas networks
Working with global growth companies, we often come into contact with founders who have incredibly healthy domestic networks, that have allowed them to fund and create their product and reach their first customers. The scaleups we work with are prepped and ready for scale, and they’ve gathered amazing people around them. The weak links in their networks are in overseas contacts who can help them find backers, teams and partnerships on the ground in places like the United States.

Building those connections on your own isn’t just difficult, it’s time consuming. It can take years of exploratory work and relationship nurturing before you can even ask for a solid introduction to a useful contact, let alone be given someone’s full endorsement. In the tech space, that’s time you simply don’t have. Facing that need to grow your connections at scale and at speed means that making use of other folks’ networks becomes a crucial function of your operations.

A network built on curation
We open up our network through a careful curation and vetting process. The connections we have trust that process, and trust that the scaleups we bring through our pipeline to meet with are promising, legitimate, tested and (perhaps most importantly) align with our values in a way that aligns with the values of our network.

It takes the guesswork out of the networking process, and it means that you are starting from a stronger position; you’re not just an email introduction from a random LinkedIn member, you’re someone that we are standing behind.

The most basic currency that a scaleup founder has is their trust; the trust their first employees place in them, and the trust their funding represents. You have to recognise, own and build on the trust and strength of every single network that you can access, tapping into people who have different circles of connections, and building human bridges where your scaleup is missing the right people.