CANDL Investor Weekly Update #26 – April 21st, 2017

Techstars Boulder 2017 Demo Day!


Ask For Help

CANDL Seed Round! – We are preparing to open a new funding round for CANDL! If you are interested in learning more about this round, please email us at investors@candl.co or email me directly at tom@candl.co.

Introductions to Seed Stage Investors – Starting in mid-May, we will be conducting a roadshow to raise the funding needed to launch the CANDL Carrier Store at CES in January. We are actively seeking introductions to seed-stage investors interested in helping us dramatically change how travelers get connected by removing the SIM card from the equation.

Successes

1. I can’t describe how amazing Demo Day was for us! We met with about 50 investors at a morning pre-screening event and came away with 11 follow-up meetings with active, engaged, and interested investors. The evening event at the Boulder Theatre was amazing – we closed the evening with our presentation and really got the crowd fired up! You can watch the video here.

2. We successfully completed the Techstars Boulder 2017 program and are now officially Techstars Alumni! We will spend a week cleaning up a few things, follow up with several investor meetings in Boulder / Denver, head back to Atlanta, and get back to work building the Carrier Store.

Challenges

This is a transition week for us. Relocating back to Atlanta, following up with a number of investors, converting Techstars mentors into long-term mentors/advisors, retrospective on the Techstars program, establishing a new cadence as a post-Techstars company, etc.

Our audacious goal is now defined. We want to launch publicly at CES in January 2018. That gives us 7 months to fundraise, build, and launch a world-changing product.

Now that we’ve announced what we’re building publicly, the clock is ticking to stay in front of the wave we are creating.

Action Plan

1. Follow-up meetings Monday-Thursday in Denver/Boulder

2. Transition back to Atlanta

3. Prepare Seed Round documentation

4. Interview potential engineering and marketing hires


 

Weekly Highlights

Demo Day Part I

We started the day at a private screening event with about 50 investors. Each of the 13 companies in the Techstars Boulder 2017 cohort rotated through four conference rooms and gave our presentations. Following the round-robin of presentations, we had a social mixer/lunch where the entrepreneurs and investors could connect.

I’m excited to say we made 11 connections from that event with new investors! We’ll be following up with those intros with meetings over the next few weeks.

We Made It! Candl & Monday BFFs #TSDemoDay

Demo Day Part II

Talk about a peak experience! Our Demo Day Showcase experience was a once-in-a-lifetime moment for Jason and me – and the rest of the team at CANDL. Being on stage in front of 1200 people, closing out the evening, and getting the crowd worked up into a froth over changing how SIM cards work was about as close to perfection as it gets.

Brad Bernthal from CU Boulder gave an amazing introduction for us. I can’t thank him enough for helping us along our journey through Techstars and for being willing to give our intro. Thank you Brad!

Special thanks has to go out to a few people who really helped us bring this thing together. Mindy Nies spent a ton of time helping us get the presentation just right. Bradley Sherwood and the Mighty 8th crew delivered with amazing graphics and design help for the slides. David Mandell tore apart my pitch one week before Demo Day and made it 200% better. Kelly Coyne and Nicole Cox went way beyond the normal call of duty and helped us deliver some special thank-you’s to several folks and get our follow-up documentation just right.

Of course the whole Techstars crew were amazing in their support as well. Natty and Julie kept the show moving forward, Zach and Max made the AV work seamlessly, Amy Drach made sure everyone had what they needed, and Madison, Spencer, Matt and Mac (and a ton of other folks) made sure we were in the right place at the right time. Thank you to all of you for pulling this together with us!

You can watch the entire evening showcase here, or you can watch our pitch here.

I’ve talked about this before. Two bucket list items for me are to give a Techstars Demo Day presentation and a TED Talk. One of those is now crossed off.

The feedback from the audience was tremendous. People are genuinely excited about what we’re building at CANDL. We’ve come so far in such a short amount of time, and I really love the trajectory we’re on now.

Closing the Techstars Chapter, Opening a New Chapter

The last week of Techstars was a bit of everything. At times I was over it and just wanted to go home and sit on my own sofa back in Atlanta for a few hours. At other times I was wishing I could stop time and preserve these precious moments forever. Jason and I somehow managed not to fall apart through the incredible stress we were under this past week. We’ve come so far from where we were when we started Techstars…

I think about Techstars much like how I think about Army Basic Training. It’s an immersive, all-in experience that teaches you the basics of what you need to know to be a highly-functioning member of your community and to build great, long-lasting teams that can change the world. You couldn’t pay me a million bucks to take the experience away from me, but I don’t know if you could pay me a million bucks to do it again either 🙂

Some of the best people I know.

 


 

Closing Thought: The Next Chapter. 

 

Building The World’s First Carrier Store. 

At Techstars, they warned us that we’d suffer from a Techstars hangover. And it makes sense – I’ve felt it before after Basic Training, unique deployments, special projects, my MBA program, etc. Techstars is an artificial experience in that we come together, work intensely on one thing for 3 months, and go back home with what we’ve learned.

That being said, I’m incredibly excited about what comes next for CANDL. Techstars was fantastic and they pointed our ship in the right direction. But Jason and I are ready to leave the harbor and go build something great.

We plan to take the next two weeks to prepare for the next phase of CANDL. We’ll be doing a lot of retrospective, strategic planning, and hiring. We’ll make some announcements about changes to our team – and some very special additions we’re exciting to make.

One big change will be the frequency and purpose of this newsletter. It’s been fun blogging our journey through Techstars, but it takes a lot of effort keeping it up.

Going forward, we will send monthly updates out to our investors as well as special announcements when necessary or appropriate. Those will be more like other updates and will include metrics and financials not shared on these messages.

For our non-investor supporters, I will send out a monthly update similar to these newsletters. You’ll have the back-story, color, and pulse of what’s happening inside CANDL. These are still confidential newsletters and more access than is publicly available, so please keep them in confidence. But we have so many supporters we want to make sure you remain connected to our journey.

Finally, thank you to all of you who have been so supportive to the entire team at CANDL. We’re going to build something great that changes the world for the better, and you are all a part of this great journey with us.

Cheers,
-tom