Candl Investor Weekly Update #22 – March 24th, 2017

WE WON! THANK YOU!


Ask For Help

 

Carrier & MVNO Relationships – If you have relationships with former or current executives at the carriers (T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, as well as Cricket, MetroPCS, Boost, etc.) we’d love to talk with you.

Successes

1.We Won! A HUGE thanks to everyone who voted for us in the Streetshares Foundation Veteran Business Contest. It came down to the wire and every vote counted. We won First Prize – $5,000 – by just 3 votes. Here was the official vote count:

2. We’ve informed the Phone Credits for Refugees Group that we will be donating 50% of our award from the Streetshares competition to help refugees top up their phone credits. We encourage you to check out their group and make a donation of your own if you’d like to help some of the most vulnerable people in the world have a moment of solace by calling home.

3. We’re very proud to announce that Global Accelerator Network Ventures (GAN) has officially invested $100K in CANDL as part of our pre-seed round! Pat Reilly and Reilly Flynn are world-class investors and mentors and we’re honored to count them among our earliest investors. They have already opened doors to carriers and industry experts for us. Thank you guys!

 

Challenges

We may not present our new business idea at Demo Day. We’re really struggling with how much we can talk about our new technology and business. The concern is around how much to share now vs. when we will actually launch. We likely won’t launch commercially for another 9 months, so announcing what we’re doing now (i.e. during Demo Day) gives competitors time to race in front of us, and (more importantly) dilutes the PR value of our coming out announcement at launch.

Presenting at Demo Day is literally on my bucket list. But the opportunity cost may be too high if we are really building a $100M+ business. We are really struggling with this right now, and I will be talking with many of you about this directly over the next week.

Action Plan

1. Collect signatures and checks from the Pre-Seed Round (Tom)

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

3. Improve Financial Model (Tom, the co-founder, Kelly, Nicole)

4. Refine GTM Strategy (Kelly, Nicole, the co-founder, Tom)

5. Prepare prototype for Demo Day (David, the co-founder)


 

Weekly Highlights

 

Yeay StreetShares!

The biggest highlight from this week was learning that we won the $5K award from StreetShares. In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t a lot of money, but because we decided to donate 50% to help refugees get connected, we’ve now made an important down payment on a long-term promise to make connectivity a fundamental human right. 

 


Click to see our Thank You Video (we wound up cutting the version with beers).

 

 

HOW TO PITCH, B*TCH

Nicole Glaros has likely had more influence on how Techstars Demo Day presentations look and feel than any other person. Of the nearly 1,000 Techstars Demo Day presentations, she’s personally influenced more than half, and her advice and template have been integrated by nearly every single Techstars company.

Nicole encourages us to “be f**king interesting” and to make sure we build an emotional relationship with the audience in the first 10 seconds, or you might lose them forever. She said that smartphones are your competition during a presentation – if you see phones go up front of faces, you’ve started to lose the audience.

“Be F**king Interesting”

 

 

VETCON 2017
My co-founder and I attended the first ever VETCON conference in Silicon Valley this week. VETCON is a conference for military veterans who are entrepreneurs, investors, or active military members interested in getting involved in the startup community after their service.

Special thanks to one of our earliest backers – Vet-Tech – for putting up a $10K grand prize for the pitch competition. There’s some great veteran-founded companies out there. It was really heartwarming to see so many friendly faces from my Patriot Boot Camp experience last summer. The veteran entrepreneur community  is really beginning to come together at events like this, and we’re proud to be a part of it!


VETCON 2017

Ian Faison – the Ringleader and unstoppable force behind VETCON (and great friend of CANDL).

 


 

Closing Thought: Culture. 

 

 

Techstars Culture. 

When my co-founder and I first started talking about building a company together nearly a year ago, we agreed that we wanted to be exceedingly thoughtful about our culture. We sat on my back porch and lamented the cultural failures of our previous companies, and said we’d build something better.

I’ve seen first hand what happens when you don’t carefully curate your company’s culture, and we won’t be repeating those mistakes.

At Techstars Boulder we met Zach Nies and Ryan Martens, two executives who worked at Rally Software. They taught us how to build a thoughtful, healthy, and scalable culture. Zach especially spent countless hours working with my co-founder and me – and the rest of the cohort – on how to build a framework that creates a diverse, open, and constructive culture.

We’ve taken those teachings to heart, and plan to work with Zach and others for a long time to make sure we’re always building the right culture.

We’ve identified several new hires whom we’ll announce immediately following Techstars. I’m excited to say that we chose people based on how awesome they are and how close to the cultural ideal we have in mind for CANDL and not anything else. And amazingly the majority of our next hires are strong, confident women.

LadyCoders & Equili – encouraging women to get involved in tech.

We can’t wait to announce these new hires in the coming months. We believe you’ll agree with us that we’ve identified superstar executives, coders, designers, engineers, and marketers to help take CANDL to the next level both as a business and as a culture.

And in many ways, our culture will both define and reflect how successful we’ll be.

Cheers,
-tom