Showing how research works, to grow impact

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Tobias Schoep Grow Impact
Tobias Schoep founder and GM of Grow Impact.

Tobias Schoep, the founder, and general manager of Grow Impact is clearing the path for researchers and their stakeholders to navigate the long, winding, and complex research journey together.

Grow Impact is a business-to-business software as a service platform, that allows researchers to communicate their progress in a way that is readily accessible and relevant to stakeholders, such as funding bodies, government, industry, philanthropists, and the community.

After successfully completing the Plus Eight Accelerator in 2020 and being approached by the largest research organisations in Australia, Grow Impact is definitely making an impression and is set to change the way research milestones are communicated.

Untitled Perth got to sit down with Dr. Tobias, who is a researcher, academic and thought leader in the research space in Australia. We chatted about the motivations behind Grow Impact, the similarities between research and startups, what he does for a great work/life balance…

When creating Grow Impact Tobias drew on his years of experience as a researcher and his deep understanding of the difficulties researchers face when trying to communicate progress over an extended period.

The challenge with research is that it takes a really long time, so you might be talking 10 or 15 years, and a lot of money. Sometimes, depending on the problem, we’re talking millions and millions of dollars, you have multiple stakeholders and investors putting into that research journey over time and they want to know where their money is going.

Tobias Schoep

The potential for Grow Impact is huge. Grow Impact is solving a problem that research organisations all around the world face and Tobias and his team are already considering global expansion. However, not just into medical or academic organisations but moving into different sectors that also need to manage long, drawn-out, incremental journeys.

“When you start to think about the types of problems that we’re solving – those 10- or 15-year journeys and those journeys may not always be linear and need evidence of progress. Those are all very similar across all different realms of research development. Whether it’s an industrial organisation, or within a construction company or engineering firm. So, our long term goal is to, I suppose, share it more broadly beyond just your research organisations to all those organisations that need to understand how those big projects are tracking.”

All this talk of solving problems, tracking progress, reaching milestones, and appeasing funders, starts to bear stark similarities to the language used in many a startup’s journey.

At first glance the resemblance between research and startups may not seem that obvious but doing a second take, they follow very similar methodologies.

When asking Tobias about the difference between academia/research and startups he noted that

“I see academics as really small business owners so they’re usually responsible for finding their own salary and their own grant funding and if they don’t deliver on their milestones or don’t deliver on their funding to produce productive outcomes. They often have the possibility of losing their team and perhaps even their own position. So, you can see some fairly, I suppose, clear analogies between what we do here in the startup world. Which is growing a business and creating sustainability and what someone is doing in managing a research team. Where they have essentially a bucket of seed funding and they need to grow from there into something that’s going to be sustainable as a program and throughout their career.”

The constant pressure from having to constantly deliver results is enough to burn anyone out. It’s also well noted that depression in entrepreneurs is extremely common. This is why finding a nice work/life balance is key to a happy, successful life.

As Tobias puts it

“Have a bit of fire in your belly but know when to draw the line and create balance. Balance gives you time to be creative and to actually build new and interesting things and that’s what will make you happy, spend time with your family and get good balance.”