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An ecosystem in its simplest form can be defined as a community or group of living organisms that interact with each other within a specific environment. When this term is applied to startups though, many stakeholders and leaders can lose sight of the inherently delicate nature of an ecosystem, as well as what it takes to establish a startup community that is truly enduring and durably resilient.

Entrepreneur, investor, and bestselling author Brad Feld (Co-Founder & Partner of Foundry Group, Co-Founder of Techstars) offers startup founders and leaders key insights and solutions into this community-building phenomena. In his new book 'The Startup Community Way' Brad advises that approaching the concept of 'creating' startups ecosystems is best done through appling the lens of complexity theory. 

From this perspective, key actors and leaders within startup communities learn that there is no formulaic step-by-step process to success, but rather that the desired ecosystem complexity arises free from measures of control, and truly thrives through multipolar influences and valuable cross-collaborative interactions. 

In this video, Jonathan Greechan (Co-Founder of Founder Institute) discusses this topic in detail with Brad Feld, covering key concepts from his book and drawing on his unique expertise as a renowned startup ecosystems builder.

Key Highlights: 

  • Using “complexity theory” as a means for understanding startup ecosystems 
  • Common mistakes startup leaders make in developing startup communities
  • The difference between a startup community and an entrepreneurial ecosystem
  • The dynamics of phase shift transformations within startup communities
  • The ramifications of competing vs. collaborating within a startup ecosystem
  • How to avoid the measurement trap and identify key value metrics of durable startups
  • Covid-19 risks and opportunities that startups face as we approach 2021

Top Take Away: 

Brad discusses how embracing the new normal of remote work can be genuinely transformative, and provide an essential ingredient to a thriving startup ecosystem:

The most powerful startup communities are the ones that have lots of linkages into them and out of them. So if you’re a startup community and you’re not connected to anywhere else or to anyone else, you’re going to stagnate. But if you’re in a startup community, either physically or virtually, you’ll extend your network …and have an intuitive feel for this phenomena that is happening very very quickly.

To join the Founder Institute for future live, interactive free online events like this one, see our full list of upcoming events at

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