Candl Investor Weekly Update #14 – January 27th 2017

CANDL & Techstars #BFFs

Week #1 of Techstars Boulder 2017 is in the books, and we’ve had an awesome week!


Needs

  • Please feel free to share and amplify our press release regarding CANDL joining Techstars Boulder 2017.
  • I encourage you to join our email list, like our Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter.
  • We are seeking connections to telecommunications carriers and MVNOs, as well as folks who can help make some of these introductions. We’d like to sign several carriers to wholesale data agreements – the more wholesale relationships we have the better our margins when we begin operations.
  • We’d like to meet with anyone who has experience launching a hardware product on Kickstarter or Indiegogo.

Successes

  • It goes without saying that Week 1 of Techstars has been phenomenal for us. We have literally accelerated by an order of magnitude!
  • We had a very positive get-to-know-you call with Airbnb, who is interested in providing a connectivity solution for their international travelers. We are going to visit them in March and provide a demo at their offices.
  • We’ve adopted a ton of new processes as part of the Techstars philosophy, including Lean, Agile, etc. We’re working at a frantic pace and getting the important things done.
  • We had a breakthrough on the hardware side. We have control of the device operating system and are loading the CANDL-specific user interface on it now.
  • During some preliminary testing we realized just how much better our device is compared to the other two global hotspot competitors. Even we were surprised at the results. We’re going to conduct more scientific versions of these tests.
  • Our investor pipeline has grown substantially since we’ve arrived in Boulder. We had more investor meetings this week than we did in the past month!
  • Over the past two weeks we’ve really gelled as a team. We’re all excited, optimistic, and driven to stick the landing.

Challenges

  • We’ve closed 20% of our $600K raise. We need to close the bulk of our raise before we launch in April. Some interested investors are waiting until we’re generating revenue before they invest, so we’re unpacking that chicken-and-egg conundrum now. We may launch a software-only product to generate revenue ahead of our hotspot launch, but that could be a pretty big detour.
  • We’re starting to re-think our approach to the product launch. Initially we were going to launch a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter or Indiegogo, but we’ve seen some big failures and a mob mentality in the comments sections of other hardware campaigns. We’re not really sure what our product launch is going to look like right now, but it will likely be tied to demo day and look something like Revolar’s launch or goTenna’s launch. We could probably use some help on the product launch.
  • We’ve been coding against a prototype hotspot for a month now. We were supposed to have the production-grade versions by now, and the supplier has been slow to respond on when we’ll get them. We’re all over them about it, but they don’t really feel our urgency.

 


We made it to Boulder! 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.

Kansas. Pretty much all of it.

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.

The Flatirons – Our view from the office

The entire CANDL team came out to Boulder for the first week of Techstars. This turned out to be a fantastic decision. The entire team felt right at home here and both Nicole and David were able to build some important relationships. We miss them and can’t wait till the whole team is reunited out here again soon.

Week #1 @ Techstars

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.

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!

The Techstars Boulder Managing Directors & Associates. Groovy baby.

Believe it or not we’ve also accomplished a TON of engineering work this week. Our preliminary tests indicate that not only is our device far more secure and easy to use than anything on the market, it’s also far more reliable and MUCH faster. More to come on those metrics soon.

CANDL Go – running 10x faster than that crappy competitor unit

 


Closing Thought

Week 1 at Techstars has been exactly what we thought it would 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.

If you ever find yourself presented with an opportunity to be a part of the Techstars community – as a mentor, advisor, or entrepreneur, take it. You’ll meet the best people in the startup community around the world.