Candl Investor Weekly Update #20 – March 10th 2017

 

Happy International Women’s Day! #IWD2017 Madison Kerndt – @mkerndt


Ask For Help

20-Second Ask (IMPORTANT!) – Please VOTE for CANDL in the Veteran Small Business Award from Streetshares! We’re currently in 4th Place, but if we win we are donating 50% of the $5,000 cash prize to an awesome grassroots non-profit who helps refugees with phone credits. They focus on helping refugees who are homeless or in camps with no financial support. Have your family vote. Tell your neighbors to vote. Post it on Facebook. Let’s #givefirst!

Successes

1. We have closed $475K of our $300K Pre-Seed round! We’re still in conversations with a few more investors right now about potentially oversubscribing even further. The round closes THIS WEEKEND, so for those of you who have documents out for signature, I will be calling on you today and tomorrow to put ink to paper ASAP. If I haven’t heard from you by 8PM EST (5PM PST) Sunday and you don’t have a signed document to me, you may not be a part of this round. As always if you have questions or concerns email me.

2. We’ve officially engaged Cooley LLP to file our patent(s). It looks like we will have the provisionals filed in time for Demo Day.

3. We conducted several empathy interviews and met with several telecom executives to help refocus our business model. We’re on the right track with what we’re building…

Challenges

1. The fundraising effort has taken Tom completely away from product and marketing, which is fine, but it’s forced us to think a bit about how we hire going forward. Luckily we have some pretty awesome candidates in mind once we’re funded. Funding is a full-time job, and based on the trajectory we see CANDL going from here, it’s likely Tom will stay committed and focused to fundraising for a while.

2. We’re still working on figuring out our KPIs. We’re in a weird place right now having just uncovered a whole new business model, but we’re slowly getting wrapped around it.

Action Plan

1. Closing the equity round ASAP so we can move on to the next step (Tom)

2. Filing the patent(s) with Cooley (my co-founder)

3. First rough draft of Demo Day presentation is due on Monday (Tom)

4. We’re now starting to think through our product development and marketing launch plans (Nicole)


 

Weekly Highlights

CANDL “808”

Once a week, one company in the program is responsible for hosting an event called the “808”. Long a tradition in Techstars that has morphed over the years (they used to be “1010s”), an 808 is an all-hands meeting of all the companies to share good news, gratitudes, failures, asks for help, and – most importantly – partake of either success or fail juice depending on whether or not we met our weekly objectives as a company.

They’re called “808s” because they start at 8:08PM. They used to start at 10:10, but we’re just too old for that.

Each company chooses a theme for the event. Week #1 the Techstars team chose a “retro” theme wearing ’70s outfits. One company chose a Game of Thrones theme, another a Ski Resort theme.

We chose a travel theme!

Techstars International Airport & the First Class (Success) Lounge

Our event planner-in-residence Nicole went absolutely all-out on the event! We had printed tickets for each person attending. The companies drinking success juice were treated to First Class Lounge seats, while companies drinking fail juice had to wait to ‘board’ and were carted into the coach section.


All Aboard for the CANDL 808 Travel Event. 

Nicole even provided Captain hats for the co-founder and Tom, while Madison and she served drinks and pretzels to the passengers. We definitely had fun with the event!

In-Flight WIFI provided by CANDL of course.

By the way – it was awesome to have Nicole in town for this event. We miss having David in town, but looking forward to him joining us soon too!


Techstars Boulder 2017 Retreat

Right smack in the middle of the Techstars Boulder 2017 program, we had a rare escape from the intensity and high-energy environment of our “new normal” for a 48-hour retreat near Estes Park, Colorado.

Techstars Boulder 2017 Retreat

We arrived at 4PM on Friday afternoon and dove straight into really deep conversations about the things that holds us back as entrepreneurs and co-founders. Candidly, my-cofounder and I have had our moments of discord and frustration with one another. This retreat provided a safe and supportive environment for us to work through those issues.

Turns out we both really just want to help each other, and we’re both equally deeply committed to putting a huge dent in the universe with CANDL. For no other reason, the ability to clear the air with each other made this weekend worth it.

Rocky Mountain National Forest – Wow.

The rest of the weekend was absolutely spectacular. Great guest speakers, a fantastic gestalt mindset amongst all the founders, epic games of Werewolf, and bonding at a level you’d expect from a Techstars retreat. There was even a late-night (1AM) hot-tub conversation with 12 of us sharing our founder stories. Luckily no photos survived that event.

If Techstars itself wasn’t enough to forge life-long relationships, this retreat definitely helped to solidify the friendships and support lines for those of us who were able to attend. Won’t forget this weekend anytime soon.

The Techstars Boulder 2017 Retreat. BFFs

 


Closing Thought

CANDL Supports #IWD2017 

On Wednesday of this week, women around the world united in solidarity and removed themselves from the workforce, or wore red, or marked International Women’s Day in one way or another. Here at Techstars Boulder, ALL of the women sat out for a day, and then attended a march in downtown Boulder.

Our social mission is to help reconnect disconnected and displaced people around the world. But truthfully our mission extends much further than that. There is a 30% gender disparity in people who have access to the Internet around the world.

This statue of a young girl staring down the Wall Street Bull that appeared overnight on Wednesday speaks volumes of the fight women still have around the world. We recognize the importance of women in society and in our families, and stand proudly side by side with the women who fight on a daily basis with unseen and unspoken biases.

Cheers,
-tom