Scale, as anyone starting a business realises, is a key, if not the key to growth and success.
Even in IT-related commerce, achieving scale from a New Zealand base is pretty darn difficult.
Enter, drum-roll please, Free Range Farm – a startup helping startups start up and stay up.
It’s the brainchild of Linc Gasking and Josh Feast, and its goal is to help entrepreneurs grow 1,000 Kiwi startups.
Gasking’s been a bit of a serial entrepreneur himself, and helped launch Chalkle, a community-based learning/teaching platform, started in Wellington and now going nationwide by linking up with local libraries.
Part of the rationale behind FRF is grouped offerings of what will often be businesses focused on solving global problems, have a better story and offer when seeking advice, talking to would-be investors and dovetailing into others’ networks to spread around the world.
Aligning itself with a social enterprise philosophy, FRF’s advisors are Derek Sivers, Suzanne Snively, Preya McMahon and John Harthorne.
Feast, a Kiwi, is mostly based in Boston – so right from its own beginnings, FRF has an international outlook.
A just announced development, and large increase in FRF’s virtual footprint is the association it now has with Los Angeles based Larta Institute.
Larta’s web-stated mission is to:
‘help regions around the world maximize the commercial potential of publicly funded R&D by supporting entrepreneurs in their commercialization efforts and nurturing the innovation system’.
Larta is also a private, non-profit professional services firm, so, that seems like a pretty good fit for Free Range Farms as well.
FRF will take a small clip of the ticket for successful hatching of their free range startups, though, given its values (as seen here, below), there’s a fair degree of collectivism of spirit.
FRF, is also in the process of looking for suitable commercial accommodation for its mix of just starting, in-development and cranking up and going businesses – most of whom Gasking feels will want to be in close proximity to each other for the synergies of such closeness (based on the notion that new ideas are created in the spaces between people. See an expansion on this idea in this sticK blog).
This strikes sticK as being an excellent initiative.
The startup world can be lonely and extremely poorly sign-posted. Having others alongside who have travelled the same paths, and indeed with whom you might be able to hitch a lift is eminently sensible for a place like New Zealand.
FRF’s given themselves some ambitious numbers in looking to grow 1,000 startups – and even if only a small percentage really take off, it will all be fantastic for the business acumen, financial fortunes and spinoff benefits of local companies doing good for themselves and the rest of the world.
So far Free Range Farm has 104 startups under its wing – and, at the risk of a bad pun, you could call it organic growth even!