A week ago we officially announced that CANDL was accepted to Techstars Boulder 2017! We’ve been in the program for 7 days now, and it’s been everything we expected it to be — intense, powerful, exhausting, valuable, fun, exciting, busy, and immersive. We’re learning how to work both IN and ON our company. We’re learning how to work effectively as a team. We’re making huge progress in marketing, engineering, and business operations. We’ve met a ton of new people — mentors, investors, entrepreneurs, friends.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Not only are we building a company that can change the way people connect globally, we’re doing it in exactly the right place with a ton of support and a phenomenal network. Nicole, David, and I are humbled by the opportunity and we sincerely appreciate the support we get from the folks we’ve met out here in Colorado and our support team back on the east coast.
CANDL is based in Atlanta, but we have relocated out here in Boulder for 3 months, while Nicole and David are joining us occasionally. They came in for Week 1 so we were all together for the majority of this week.
While most of the team flew in on Sunday, Tom did the 2-day drive from Atlanta, overnighting in St. Louis (big thanks to Mike Nichols for posting me up), and then…that drive across Kansas. Wow. For anyone who hasn’t driven across Kansas, I’ll save you the suspense. It looks exactly like this for all 421 miles of I-70 in Kansas, and another 150 in Colorado.
But the destination made the journey worth it. Boulder is spectacular and we feel right at home here — save for the 10% humidity that’s making us drink a gallon of water every day. It’s cold, but “it’s a dry cold”.
Bringing the entire team here for Week 1 turned out to be a fantastic decision. We all felt right at home here and both Nicole and David were able to build some important relationships. We miss them and can’t wait until the whole team is reunited out here again soon.
I can’t say enough about our experience so far in just the first week of Techstars. We’ve learned business and personal process improvement techniques that have already increased our efficiency by an order of magnitude. The quality and level of the instruction in this program tops any MBA-level program material I’ve ever seen. In fact, I came away from one session questioning whether this material could in fact replace an MBA. I guess it depends on the MBA program, but suffice it to say I was thoroughly impressed.
More importantly, we’re immersed in a cohort with other scrappy, intelligent and driven entrepreneurs who are working together to help one another. A perfect ethos for CANDL. We’re also having quite a bit of fun while we’re at it too!
Believe it or not we’ve also accomplished a TON of engineering work this week. One of the hallmarks of Techstars is how much focus they put on making sure we are all working on the right things in the right order. Our productivity is so far off the charts from where we were before.
If we had to go home this week we’d already be a better company for the experience. I’m excited to find out just how much we’ll grow and how far we can take CANDL through the entire 13 week program.
If you ever find yourself presented with an opportunity to be a part of the Techstars community — as a mentor, advisor, investor, or entrepreneur, take it. You’ll meet the best people in the startup community around the world.