Thought I’d share this. This was my demo day presentation during gener8tor’s 2013 event.
Every year, perhaps due to the holiday spirit and lifted aspirations that come with holidays, we start making resolutions and possibly predictions we hope to accomplish for 2014. I too, indulge in this activity from time to time (you should see my new fitbit force).
However, I always say that I want to improve my life and everything else that comes with it but on a more frequent basis. Just how you set business goals and objectives on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually basis, you should probably do the same for your personal aspirations.
Today is the big day for us, Optyn, and for me. I will be presenting Optyn to about 400 investors, entrepreneurs and startup enthusiasts today at #gener8torlaunch. In hindsight, I would like to share the experience of the best 3 months I’ve ever had as an entrepreneur and as a startup team.
Here’s why the last 3 months were the best most useful time we spent working and building our business:
- It was intense. It was hard. It was a lot of work. The hardest I’ve ever worked and for the people that know me, I do work hard (most of the time). But it was awesome. It was fun. It was enjoyable. It was everything you would want in a 3 month accelerator program.
- Their network is unbelievable. In our Optyn Blog, we mentioned it here but I will reiterate. The network is extensive. Yes, it’s Wisconsin and the Midwest but that is the best part. You don’t have to compete against millions of startups such as in California, and you truly get the personal touch and excitement of nice people willing to help (investors, enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, and others).
- You want to pitch your startup? No problemo. We pitched over 50 investors which were angels, angel groups, vc funds, and some pretty big names across the country. If you want the exposure they will give it to you.
- The “customer service” was unbelievable. I say customer service because gener8tor truly considers us as customers, not their investment portfolio. And that means the world to me and our team because we can be open and we can ask for things without getting the “Why?” If you need their help in any way, they will do anything they can to make it happen.
- Perfect example is that we wanted introductions to ex-executives in the space to help us validate our assumptions around the problem we are solving. Troy spend his Sunday night sending out emails and introducing me to over 10 ex-executives. These are the people who we needed to talk to and he made it happen.
- Joel spent a lot of time with Lou (Optyn’s COO) calling up customers and ask them if they could help validate the problem and the solution. Priceless.
- Jon made sure to introduce me to some of the brightest people I’ve ever spoken to and pick their brain. He was relentless in finding the best people I should be talking to…like Brian Wiegand, Paul Jadin, Michael Baum, and many others.
- Joe spent days and nights perfecting my pitch. Anytime, we needed them, they were there and many other countless occasions.
I could go on. The reality is that without gener8tor, we would not be where we are today. We would not be on the path of raising a good round. We would not be on the path of having a few good partnerships in place (EatStreet, Huterra, etc). We would just not be as far along without them.
Therefore, a huge thank you to the entire team from me and my team. We couldn’t have gotten to this point without you and you are part of this business and our story…forever.
Alen and the Optyn Team (Lou, Gaurav, and Amer)
- We got a lot of work done! MVP is ready and private beta starts next week.
- We got accepted into an accelerator, gener8tor, that we met at 1871.
- Got a seed investment!
- Met a few key people that could potentially become advisors.
- Got a lot of good and honest feedback from fellow techpreneurs.
- Met 1 more developer that joined our team!
- Met the Mayor and the Governor and the Ballmmmmmmerr!
- Saw Abby do the robot while she thought no one was watching.
- Unfortunately, played very little ping pong – no true challengers!
- Learned valuable lessons.
- Drank a lot of coffee from a lot of different places.
- Did not steal from the self-service kiosk. (This is a joke. Never crossed our minds and plus, there are cameras).
I’m kind of glad we are not in an exclusive relationship because you have so much more to give to others who need it.
I’ve recently read Brad Feld’s post about Measuring Success and I thought I’d give my thoughts on defining success as an entrepreneur.
To me, success is not absolute. Sure, you can only win or lose, especially in Sports (trust me I know), but I see it differently. To me, success should be measured in relative proportions, which is point A, start of something, and point B, the end of something. And I think this is a great way to look and define success as an entrepreneur or a startup, and eventually life.
I wanted to share some awesome free, or low-cost tools, that will get you and your startup on the right track. I use them all and they are great and most importantly they aren’t time consuming and they help you collaborate much better.
Here they are:
- Redbooth- Redbooth is great to collaborate with your team and start keeping track of your ideas, tasks, time, and more. The first 5 users are free for life.
- Heroku / Amazon AWS – Why pay for web hosting when you can get free web hosting forever? Both Heroku and Amazon AWS offer free hosting tiers so you don’t have to worry about paying for hosting until you start scaling.
So, I’ve been following, for a few reasons, some of these apps that are trying to solve the inbox overload problem. Quite frankly, I’m not impressed. I think the idea of solving inbox overload is a great idea and the problem definitely needs attention. However, I don’t think the approach is quite right.
This is my first post. Yay! I hope you are not expecting too much of me but it will be enough to keep you interested in what I have to say next. I’m not a big blogger or social network person, just because I chose to spend my time doing different things, mostly what I consider productivity. But, being a blogger or a socialite can be productive, especially if you are trying to accomplish spreading your message or name.
We all value our opinions and I think I have some cool things to say. I invite you to debate me on anything (in a nice tone please) as I believe we all benefit from questions.
Until Next time,