As a young team building a rapidly growing company, the LovePop team is constantly taking on new challenges and stretching its boundaries into unknown territory. As you can imagine, guidance from experienced hands at company-building is worth its weight in gold. When we applied for the FOUNDER.org Class of 2015, we thought we were competing for an investment, but we were completely wrong.
Arrival in Paris
Touchdown Paris, for the first quarterly conference of the FOUNDER.org Class of 2015! The first day we met 11 amazing companies from the Class of 2014. Unu is bringing the electric scooter to Europe in style. Adbm is making underwater industry friendlier to marine wildlife. SproutsIO is bringing personal produce into the home and workplace. Depict is creating a market for digital artwork...in a very creative way. And the people building these companies are the most talented bunch I've ever seen, and so excited to share what they've learned. Here a few lessons from them:
- Admit your mistakes quickly...and correct them
- Take the time to step back and look at the bigger picture
- Don't just innovate on product, but also on the business model
- Take full advantage of the FOUNDER.org program by really investing time into it.
With FOUNDER.org classmates in Paris
The FOUNDER.org team then took us through the eight dimensions of company-building, with healthy doses of practical anecdotes from the last year's class and real-world wisdom from Michael Baum and the team that built Splunk. Gold. We learned about our team's thinking styles, how to tell a compelling pitch, and how to represent ourselves and our company. As part of the pitch contest, we got a ton of practice and coaching from our Class of 2014 classmates at drawing people into the alternate world of LovePop. A world where giving a gift stops being a hectic, last-minute task and instead is meaningful, seamless, personal, and contains a little bit of magic. We learned how to evoke that little bit of magic as a beautiful, intricate paper sculpture emerging from a flat card and explain how applying modern laser cutting technology (and our years of experience and attention to detail from designing and building ships) to the ancient art of paper kirigami makes this magic possible. Our classmates loved the cards, and after the third coffee break where we got swamped with people buying the cards to take home to their friends and loved ones, I barely had any samples left. No surprise, people really loved the Full Bouquet and Treasure Galleon.
Pitching our vision at FOUNDER.orgBut by far the most valuable thing was ------- getting to know the amazing founding teams of all 50 companies in the FOUNDER.org Class of 2015. I'm not sure how (actually I think it was a lot of leg-work by the FOUNDER.org team), but they've assembled such a talented group of energetic young people with world-changing visions that I think even Einstein would have been humbled in this company. They are starting companies to bring our planet into balance with aqua farming (EdenWorks and Cryoocyte) and coffee waste recycling (bio-bean).
They are making the industrial worksite safer by predicting machinery failure (Bearing Analytics) and developing inexpensive ear protection that saves worker's hearing without compromising the ability to communicate (Restored Hearing). Every new person I met had an amazing story and was pumped to help each other on their journeys. And that community is absolutely the most valuable prize that we didn't even realize was on the table when we joined FOUNDER.org.
FOUNDER.org Class of 2015!!!
We are so excited to join this community and encourage all the other FOUNDER.org teams to reach out if we can helpful to your company building journey.