Startup Founder Research 2020

Founders seem to have weathered the COVID-19 pandemic better than expected, but how can we further support them? Hear what founders have to say.

Hear what founders had to say about weathering the COVID-19 pandemic and what's next.

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Innovation is critical to Australia’s economy. High-growth, innovative startups will drive future prosperity and ensure that Australia remains competitive on the world stage amid rapid technological disruption. As ecosystem advocates, investors and partners, we need to help support founders grow their companies and secure future progress.

Now in its third year, our Fitness, fulfilment and foresight report aims to find out what support founders need, so we can better help them.



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In our inaugural report in 2018, we identified that founders’ personal performance is the determining factor for the success of their business. This is even more relevant in the high intensity, high risk arena of high growth ventures.

In our follow-up report in 2019, we examined this even more closely, with some concerning findings. The majority of founders were dissatisfied with their work-life balance, with most working every day in excess of healthy guidelines for working hours.

Now, following a year of unprecedented global disruption due to COVID-19, we look further into the stresses that founders are facing, and the impact the pandemic has had on their health and wellbeing. We anticipated that mental wellness would have a more negative impact, but we were surprised to find that founders weren’t in significantly worse shape than in 2019.

The report, based on quantitative and qualitative research surveyed 120 founders. It reveals that the majority of founders remain optimistic in the short term and overall future of their startup, and average satisfaction with work-life balance has also improved. But founders are still struggling with physical fitness and view mental wellness and stress as negatively impacting their startup’s success.

At High Growth Ventures, we believe that still more needs to be done to support Australia’s startup founders when it comes to mental and physical wellbeing. Although most seem to have weathered the COVID-19 pandemic better than expected, it has and will continue to have an impact, personally and professionally.

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