Candl Investor Weekly Update #15 – February 3rd 2017

It’s Alive!


We made it through week #2 at Techstars Boulder, which included meeting 75+ mentors for 20 minutes each over 3 days. Wow.

This week we really came away with clarity about what we’re building and why. We’re re-writing the entire pitch deck and reframing our solution entirely differently. When we’re done, you’ll have a jaw-drop moment like we did this afternoon.

That’s the power of Techstars. Come in as a great team with a good idea. Leave as a superstar team with a brilliant idea.


  • We are specifically seeking connections to executives at Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile who can help us establish a Wholesale Reseller Agreement.
  • After meeting with 75+ mentors in 3 days, we need a nap.


  • Our goal for Week #2 was to build relationships with mentors from the Techstars network. In what is described as “Mentor Madness”, we successfully navigated 75 20-minute meetings over three days with potential mentors for CANDL. We met some phenomenal folks – industry leaders, household names, icons in industry, and down-to-earth folks with whom we really connected. Our support team has just exploded and we’re humbled and grateful for the opportunity to work with these folks.
  • We had a HUGE BREAKTHROUGH on the product positioning. We realized that what we’ve built isn’t just a better hotspot. It’s your SECURE gateway to the Internet – whether you connect to WIFI or to cellular networks. We’re basically re-writing our entire go-to-market strategy now, but we’ve just figured out how to be a category of one. VERY excited about this breakthrough.
  • CANDL hardware is alive and working. We’re testing some new user screens, and getting a solid plan in place for the network and VPN services.


  • There were some dark times during the mentor meetings. In more than a few meetings with potential mentors, we were advised to scrap our social mission and pivot into being a B2B/B2G integrator. It’s not easy hearing several people in a row tell you to take the most important part of your business out of your business. In the end, I think we’ve learned a lot about how we can better integrate our social mission into our story. We also learned how important it is to us to keep the social mission as part of our core identity.


Weekly Highlights

First off – big thanks to Dave Williams from Atlanta who visited us in Boulder this week! He even fed us pizza and wine – always favorites of ours. Thank you Dave!

One thing we noticed is how much Techstars really likes their whiteboards and sticky notes. I’ve never used them in so many exotic and useful ways.

Our Kanban Board

Our Customer Journey Flow Diagram

Our Risk & Opportunity Board

As we are in Boulder, you know, right next to the Rocky Mountains, it tends to snow here. On Thursday we got about 2-3 inches of snow and I started wondering if the office would even be open. Then I remembered we’re in Colorado, not Atlanta 🙂


I’m more of a ‘sunny and 82’ guy.

One thing that’s definitely happening here at Techstars is the cohort is coming together really well. 13 companies from around the world, pressed together into a crucible of work, learning, and sleep deprivation. What could go wrong? In all sincerity, it reminds me of my time in the military, and the friendships coming out of this program are definitely life-long. These are world-class entrepreneurs, dreamers, doers, designers, and devs.

Well, and these guys. I don’t really know what’s going on here.

Team Rodin testing out their VR technology…I think

Zach Nies dropping truth.


Closing Thought

Our mission to help connect displaced, distressed, and disconnected people is very much at the core of who we are. I left behind a great career working for a world-class company to build something that matters. We’ve brought Nicole and David onboard to help us get there. We owe it to ourselves, and to our team, to stay true to that vision.

In the middle of the dumpster-fire that is the AP/Reuters news feed these days, I came across this photo. It completely made my day. If there was ever a photo that embodied the clear message we would like to send to the people around the world who use fear, hate, and confusion to “lead”, this would be it.