Insights, advice and mentorship from people leaders to help navigate the challenging & rewarding "messy middle" between Product-Market Fit & IPO

Introducing "Startup to Scaleup" – Navigating the Messy Middle Between Product-Market Fit and IPO

Updated: Dec 9, 2020


A former Chief People Officer once remarked in a call "Being a Chief People Officer at a hypergrowth company is a near impossible job; honestly, the role is so big that it's almost destined to fail."


Hypergrowth — the period of intense, accelerated growth post product-market fit and pre-IPO — is challenging for all corners of the company, but the demands and learning curve are acutely steep for people leaders. Between constantly fighting employee fires, coaching inexperienced and stretched-thin leaders, and moving HR from spreadsheets to scalable systems, it's hard to find time to be a strategic partner to the CEO.


"Startup to Scaleup" is an effort to help make this journey easier, to provide insights and advice from people who have gone through it before (or are going through it now). People leaders at hypergrowth companies aren't alone — they don't need to always reinvent the wheel, and should be able to easily collaborate and commiserate with others a few steps ahead on the journey.


Every week we'll release a new interview with a different people leader about their experiences and lessons learned during their own hypergrowth journey. Each interview will be followed by a free, live, off-the-record Zoom discussion with the people expert so readers can ask their own questions. These conversations won't be large webinars but intimate best practices discussions limited to ten people.


To start, we're launching four conversations with four people experts on four distinct and essential HR topics.



How to Build a People Function That Scales With the Company

Thu. 12/17 | 10:00a PT


w/ Leslie Kurkjian Crowe

Talent Partner @ Bain Capital

Leslie was the VP of People at MuleSoft and Chief People Officer at TripActions. She's no stranger to hypergrowth – she helped grow MuleSoft from 650 to 1500 people in two years and grew TripActions from 400 to 1200 people in 13 months.


RSVP for the Live, Small Group Discussion >




Career Development: What Startups Can Learn From Corporations

Fri. 1/22 | 11:00a PT


w/ Davina Mazaroli

Head of People, Sidewalk Labs (a Division of Alphabet)

Prior to Sidewalk Labs, Davina was the VP of People at AbInBev where she oversaw performance management and talent development for an 18,000 person organization. She's taken lessons learned about operating at scale and brought them to the startup world.


RSVP for the Live, Small Group Discussion >



Airbnb in Hypergrowth: What It Was Like and How Employees Thrived

Wed. 1/27 | 10:00a PT


w/ Kate Shaw

Head of Learning, Airbnb

Prior to Sidewalk Labs, Davina was the VP of People at AbInBev where she oversaw performance management and talent development for an 18,000 person organization. She's taken lessons learned about operating at scale and brought them to the startup world.

RSVP for the Live, Small Group Discussion >



How to Prevent & Address Burnout During Scale-Up

Fri. 1/15 | 10:00a PT


w/ Nikole Yinger

Founder, Early/Mid

Prior to starting her own people consultancy, Nikole helped shepherd Airbnb's people teams from PMF to IPO. Nikole had a daunting brush with burnout early in her career, inspiring her to get a license in psychotherapy & join Airbnb to help build more sustainable people cultures.



RSVP for the Live, Small Group Discussion >



Throughout Q1 we will release new interviews every week with more people leaders on different growth-related HR topics. To receive emails about upcoming articles and RSVP for live, small group conversations, sign up for the newsletter below.


While being a CPO for a hypergrowth company is certainly challenging, we hope that with the right advice, teammates and partners, it's not entirely impossible. We're here to help, and hope to see you in conversations soon!


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