November 26, 2014
Thanksgiving is a time for us to reflect on another year and be thankful. Startup life is not easy, and whenever there are opportunities to celebrate, you should take it. We asked startup founders to share what they are grateful for this year, and here a few of their responses.
“This Thanksgiving, I’m very thankful for our investors who have again showed tremendous support and belief in our product through the completion of our Series A. These funds have allowed us to bring on talented and passionate team members who have accelerated our growth and allowed us to focus on building the best personality API in the world. I’m beyond thankful that I get to spend every day with these people while we work together to achieve our goals.” Josh Spears, CoFounder of Traitify.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity to solve real problems at scale, and I’m thankful to be working alongside partners, investors, and entrepreneurs doing just that,” Stonly Baptiste, Urban.Us
“The best piece of business advice that I received was from Susannah Cantrell, my boss at Genentech. She said to me, ‘Know your audience – whether you’re presenting to an internal team, pitching to a client, or talking to a customer, you need to be able to put yourself in their shoes and tailor your message accordingly.’ This has been the best piece of advice I’ve received in my career. If I don’t understand my audience well enough to think from their perspective, I know I have more preparation and research to do. It’s a great way to guide the way you talk about your business, frame a problem, and gain an engaged and interested audience,” Jennifer Chung, Co-Founder of Kinsights.com
“We are thankful that people continue to put more thought into what they eat. Natural and organic foods continue to pick up steam as consumers make their health a greater priority. This shift has been happening for decades, but it’s now really coming into it’s own. Small and innovative food companies like Quinn Popcorn are changing the industry by creating food that is clean and simple,” Dakota-Rae of Quinn Popcorn
“The best advice I got was from a SVP of Hardware at Microsoft. He said to me, ‘Innovate or Die.’ I am really thankful for this advice, because it has helped me shape the way I run my company. I know that if I don’t keep innovating and bringing new products to market, then my corporation will not survive.” – Sari Davidson-Crevin, founder of BooginHead
“The most dynamic team of my career…16 months and running only because of the team.” Reed Berglund, CEO of FullBottle.
“The wonderful maker community all across America. Time and time again we’re humbled by the amazing stories and personalities of the makers we feature on our site. Whether it’s Jason Birchfield in Ohio, who marries tech with old world craftsmanship with his iPhone and iPad stands, to Nick Wicks of Connecticut who revived a 100 year old blacksmithing tradition in his family, every product we sell is backed by someone incredible.” Co-founder of Goods of Record
“This year we are thankful to our incredible users for making Ocho a vibrant and positive place to share our lives. Without content, a platform is just a promise. There’s beautiful art on Ocho, sure. But what we’re most excited about are the people – friends of ours, friends of yours, friends we don’t know yet, who are just authentically themselves on Ocho.” Jourdan Urbach, Co-founder of Ocho.
“I am thankful for entrepreneurs willing to sacrifice it all in order to take their startups to the next level.
Thankful for the families of our portfolio companies who make do with our CEO’s traveling Monday – Friday in order to build a great company,” Faquiry Diaz, President of Tres Mares
“The best piece of advice I received was from David Speakman, MD of Travel Counsellors PLC. David told me, ‘Always honor your integrity, as no one can ever take that from you.’ I am so thankful that he told me that, because many times along the way when things were tough, there were opportunities where we could have cut corners and done things maybe a little easier and more cost efficiently. However, my angel on my shoulder reminded me that my integrity was invaluable. I walked away from some very lucrative deals at the thought that it could impact on my integrity. It is one of BubbleBum’s core values.” Grainne Kelly, CEO of BubbleBum
“I’m thankful for my team. It’s hard to build an A+ team but we finally got the formula right in 2014. Now we know what qualities to look for in our hires so as we scale we can continue to identify and bring on rockstars.” Mona Bijoor, Founder of JOOR.
“I am most thankful for my dog, Lady the Little Pirate. She doesn’t care what hours we keep and doesn’t mind traveling between the coasts.” Kate McKeon, CEO of Prepwise Games.
“Being an entrepreneur often challenges you to remain confident even in the face of adversity and being a founder can be a lonely journey. However, I’m thankful for the family and close friends who offer their support – even when I fail – that keep me going. It’s this support that has lifted me up at my lowest points and for that, I’m so appreciative. In addition to my family and friends are my mentors, who have done so much to help me get here and the investors who first took the risk on GlamST,” Agustina Sartori, CEO of GlamST
“I am thankful for my health, my marriage, my beautiful family, my entire team at CorpNet that inspire me each and every day to be a better leader, mentor and human being. I am also thankful for learning this year that my company has established a brand for itself and that I do not need to be at the mercy of paying large advertising dollars to market my brand and my company. We are able to stand on our own two feet and survive the big-name competition!” Nellie Akalp, the founder & CEO of CorpNet.
“I’ve learned many lessons from our early during initial meetings and while building our team. We all come from varying backgrounds and though are experience is not the same, our drive, vision and end goal is. I’ve learned more than I’ve ever known in listening to Harry regarding running a public company from a finance perspective. What it takes to recruit, manage and retain a strong development team from Mike. I’ve had a creative outlet with Karl in the design and front-end prototyping phases and Steph has lead by example with management background in making sure everyone is heard, is confident and remains focused,” Matt Kaine, CMO of Reach
“This year I’m happier, healthier, more satisfied with the work I’m producing. I learned that less is more when it comes to being happy. And, I’ve found that with more of my time freed up, I can be more helpful to my friends and family. For all of this, I am immensely thankful,” Jessica Greenwalt, Founder of CrowdMed
“Never neglect the power of preparing an alternative. The first few years in your startup are really hard. You’re going to mess up a few times and occasionally pivot from your original plans. If your business depends on one single client, one single partnership or a small number of customers paying majority of the bills then it will be extremely difficult to survive if you run out of them. Therefore, having alternative plans of monetization, diversity in revenue and the flexibility with which you can get things done will be critical
for survival. A cushion of experimentation and a plan that can afford a few dumb mistakes will give you the luxury to fail a few times without putting your business at risk,” Anant Mendiratta, Founder of Workout Trends
“This holiday season, I’m thankful that TINYhr can dedicate 1% of our time giving back to the community. Volunteerism is at the core of the TINYhr’ values. Every quarter, we get together and support a great organization in our area.” David Niu, Founder of TINYhr
“I have 3 kids at home, so spending time with my family is incredibly valuable to me. As a start up founder, time is a luxury that I don’t often have because time is money, and I can’t waste either with multiple startups to run. This year I am more thankful than ever because Uskape is giving me and others the time to enjoy turkey dinner without the guilt, at least when it comes to work.” Steven Berlin, Founder of Uskape.
“This holiday season I am thankful for transparency in the workplace. We are a small team and are very open and honest with each other regarding our roles and what we are working on. I find that this makes for a productive workplace environment where everyone is supporting each other and routing for the team as a whole.” Patrick Freuler, CEO of Audicus.
“2014 has proven to be a huge year of growth (and the growing pains that come with it) for Killer Infographics. Our client mix has shifted to a larger focus on Fortune500 companies, which has led us to rethink and redesign our entire process, how we manage a project from start to finish. I am extremely thankful to my team for rolling with the punches this year, as we have grown and changed so drastically. We are all extremely excited for 2015 because we have spent 2014 reinforcing our foundation and building a company that our clients can rely on for years to come!” Amy Balliett, cofounder of Killer Infographics.
“I’m thankful for having the right people onboard and 2014 was a solid proof that I chose well. Our team reached remarkable achievements on all fronts, R&D, product development and business engagement. In times where multiple tasks accumulate, each seems more gigantic than the other, having the right individual in the right square pays off big time. It helps the CEO navigating the ship in ‘stormy water with 0 visibility’ knowing each and every member of the team got his tasks covered,” Omri Lachman, CEO of Humavox.
“I’m grateful to have executed on the vision of creating the world’s most secure digital vault that is now used by millions of people, globally. Our team is awesome and has grown with me and Craig (my partner and CTO) throughout this journey. I’ve also had the pleasure of having my ass handed to me a few times along the way – as my Dad once said, ‘Son, you never make it to the top without a good ass-beating.'” Darren Guccione, CEO of Keeper Security
“I am extremely thankful for the great strides that my global team has made in getting our platform mobile ready for both payment and product search and selection in advance of the holiday season and for the successful launch of many new country domains and for our new partner- Vitrinepix in Brazil.” Philip Rooke, CEO of Spreadshirt
“This year I am most thankful for all of the mini-meltdowns, fights, and broken procedures we’ve been through. It might sound like a strange thing to be thankful for but I am so elated (after the fact!) because it means we are learning. Each and every time something doesn’t work we are given a new opportunity to improve. We are always striving for better, faster, and more efficient results and each time their is a bump in the road it means we know how to avoid that bump next time.” Kim Kaupe, Cofounder of ZinePak
“I’m thankful that I have a small, lean team that is able to make decisions and execute extremely quickly. Once we make a strategic decision, my team is able to move at lightning speed and and start implementing the initiative right away.” Joe Auer, Founder of Skill Voyage.
“This year I am most thankful for my wife and kids for putting up with my hectic schedule and the everyday challenges that come with running a business! This year we made a huge pivot in our business and rebranded the company. It took endless hours of planning, effort, and work to execute the change and keep up with our rapid growth. There are always sacrifices made along the way, and it can often be extremely tough on families. I am so grateful to have a supportive wife, two wonderful kids, and a great family to help me through it all! ” Rob Bellefant, CEO of TechnologyAdvice
“What I’m most thankful for is the feeling that American ingenuity still exists despite the political environment that has often squelched the best efforts of start ups. It makes me proud that with a limited budget, established businesses upon which I relied provided payment plans, reduced costs or donated their services in order to support what they saw as an ingenious an potentially successful website,” Andrea Sherr, Founder of TextinaBottle.com
“I’m thankful that I get to wake up every day to work on building my dream. I’m thankful I don’t have to subject myself to miserable bureaucracy, immobility, or working toward something I don’t believe in. I’m thankful that our company is scaling, aggressively. I’m thankful we’re able to hire amazing employees,” Steve Corcoran, CEO of LawnStarter.
“I’m deeply, sincerely, passionately thankful for our user base (now over 5,000 and counting). Without them, we obviously wouldn’t exist, but it’s much more than that. In the past year I’ve formed real and meaningful bonds with people I’ve never met, who have been active users of Foundersuite and given us a ton of valuable feedback. Many have also been spokespersons and advocates for what we’re doing, and have shown their love to plugging us in to startup incubators, accelerators, and other clusters of entrepreneurs. And occasionally, they send us a nice note of how our product has helped them achieve or do something— those notes are the ‘fuel’ that keeps us going,” Nathan Beckord, CEO of Foundersuite
And here is what I’m thankful for: I’m thankful I have the opportunity to tell the story of amazing startups all over the world. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
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