November 5, 2012
Tom Davidson will be a featured speaker at DCWEEK. He is the cofounder and CEO of EverFi, which helps teach and test students in critical life skills. DCWEEK is a week-long festival co-produced by Tech Cocktail and iStrategyLabs. Get your tickets here.
Tech Cocktail: How has EverFi evolved since you began, and what is the big vision?
Tom Davidson: We’re trying to completely change the trajectory of the lives of hundreds of thousands of students. The evolution has been fairly dramatic. We started with 11 students in a small town in Alabama. We’ve certified over 4.5 million kids since then. It is a pretty massive network.
Tech Cocktail: Tell us about a defining moment or a crucial decision for EverFi.
Davidson: I think it was very early on when I needed to sleep on a couch in a hotel lobby in North Carolina because we had maxed out our credit cards on product builds. We hadn’t made payroll for two months. It was defining for our company. Defining for my marriage as well. God bless our spouses. Two days later we raised $11 million. And I can say with authority we liked the $11 million part better.
Tech Cocktail: What’s one major lesson that you would share with other entrepreneurs?
Davidson: It is super easy to start a company. Very difficult to build a business. They are very different things. Starting a company takes sending an email to the Delaware incorporation office. Building a business with real customers, employees, products takes years and is decidedly NOT an email to Delaware.
Tech Cocktail: What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur?
Davidson: I like the fact that 50 percent of my day I can control, and 50 percent I can’t. I love that. It is also so much fun watching my teammates here at EverFi talk about the business with authority. They know a lot more about what we’re doing than I do at this point, and I’m grateful for that.
Tech Cocktail: What makes the DC startup scene unique?
Davidson: Regardless of any outside idea that DC is broken politically, it is a town that focuses on pretty important things. There is a seriousness to DC and the issues that people tackle. I think that runs through the veins of the startup community here. When I think of companies like 2U, Personal, HelloWallet, Ruck.us – those guys are doing really important and serious things in education, finance, politics, privacy, and other areas. They are not running flash sales for your dog.
Tech Cocktail: What are you most looking forward to at DCWEEK?
Davidson: I keep hearing about these strong new companies in DC and I frankly don’t get out much. I want to see what people are tackling in our tech community right now, and I would really like to be challenged about what we’re building and if we need to be thinking differently about our company. You only really get that from hearing about other people who are starting and running different things.
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