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Europe’s first Growth Hacking Academy kicks off in Amsterdam

Growth hacking is becoming the most sought after skill in small businesses like startups. But startups are struggling to find talent in this area. That’s why Growth Tribe today started with its growth hacking academy, a 3-month course backed by the two universities of Amsterdam.

Next to the Universiteit van Amsterdam (UvA) en Vrije Universiteit (VU), Growth Tribe partnered with StartupAmsterdam, Amsterdam Center for Entrepreneurship (ACE), Facebook, Catawiki and VC Peak Capital.

During the courses of the Growth Hacking Academy 21 selected attendees (out of 420!) will learn “the rare combination of marketing, data and product expertise”, with real projects in fast scaling Dutch startups like Catawiki, Bloomon, Framer, Usabilla, Peecho and Deskbookers.

Selecting growth hackers

Growth Tribe selected the candidates based on skills, motivation and a final challenge called ‘Growth Hacking For Good’.

“The screening was difficult”, told Peter van Sabben, co-founder of Growth Tribe to StartupJuncture. “How do you go from 420 to the final 21? You want to test candidates execution power, their creativity and growth skills, but also if they can work with other people. We had only three weeks for the entire screening process, which consisted of five rounds.”

Van Sabben learned from it: “For the second course we will take more time for screening and optimize the screening process with additional screening rounds. We are going to make it even harder to apply, because we only want to best.”

Most of the applicants were marketers (57 percent), but also a lot of designers, coders, designers and data scientists applied. According to Growth Tribe, at least three people quit their job to follow this academy.
The academy is full time, but it offers part time courses as well for founders who still have a business to run.

Expect the unexpected

I asked Van Sabben what he wants to accomplish at the end of the programme. Turns out, he has five objectives and key results (OKR’s) in mind:

  1. 6 out of 7 startups to do a second course
  2. 90 percent would recommend the course to family and friends
  3. More than 10 experiments run for each team
  4. Accomplish serious growth goals on 50 percent of the projects
  5. Half of the students get a job after the academy

Seems reasonable, although Van Sabben acknowledged #4 is hard for the short amount of time. But this particular kind of academy couldn’t be done without attendees pushing their limits of course. “We expect to be happily surprised by the students – we expect the unexpected. The best thing about growth hacking is when you hit a huge win. I think it’s comparable to gold mining. It takes a good team, tons of effort and testing, but when you find that big nugget, it’s exhilarating.”

Image provided by Growth Tribe

Lorenz van Gool

Lorenz is co-editor-in-chief of StartupJuncture. As a freelance editor and journalist, he writes about startups, innovation and (e)-business. Loves to report from conferences. Really likes cleantech and journalism startups. You can ask him anything about dinosaurs. Twitter: @lorenzroman

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