noun: a biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment.
In nature, an ecosystem can be a forest, a tundra, a prairie, or even an urban neighborhood. When it comes to innovation, experience shows that a community of interacting organizations and diverse individuals leads to greater collective results. An innovation ecosystem refers to a location — a region, city, or concentration of activity within a city — where entrepreneurs, scientists, makers, investors, and service providers work in concert to accelerate each other’s development and impact.
An innovation ecosystem supports the start of new companies and the growth of existing ones. In 2014, Steven Byler and Dan Gertrudes, cofounders of GrowthLab Financial, were both looking for a place to grow a business and the people to grow it with. They were looking for an ecosystem to grow within and to service.
“I was looking for a place to invest my time,” says Steven. “I met Dan, my business partner, at a networking event.”
“I was trying to figure out how to build a team around this concept of finance as a service,” says Dan. “I bumped into Steven and took him out for a couple of beers. The rest is history.”
The GrowthLab idea
GrowthLab provides accounting, finance, and corporate development strategy. Many small and medium-sized businesses focus on customer acquisition and product development. As they scale, they realize they need to start thinking strategically. They need long-range planning and to develop a compensation structure. GrowthLab brings rigor and cadence to that annual corporate business strategy cycle.
The company focuses on four challenges that small-to-medium-sized businesses face:
Understanding cash flow
Recognizing where the firm makes and loses money
Marketing for profit
Paying for performance