I have been at this startup thing for over a dozen years now. Working in, on and with early stage companies has been great. Often when I meet someone for the first time the, “what do you do?” question arises. The next question is, “any I have heard of?” The reality is that while quite of few of the startups I have had the pleasure to be associated with continue to operate, I have not had any IPOs and there are no household names on the list either. While money has never been the motivation, the love of solving puzzles and the infectious passion of founders plays that role, it is an easily understood scoring system for others.
This past Fall I was fortunate enough to be selected by Idea Village as the EIR for a pilot program focusing on food product startups. A great group of very early entrepreneurs following their passion. For 9 weeks we worked on marketing, packaging, distribution, partners and presentations. I raced to adopt best practice concepts for tech startups to physical products and together we raced towards demo day. After a stressful day that included a food court, allowing a large group of food related experts and supporter a chance to taste product and meet the ‘treps, and presentations, to an esteemed panel of judges that would have looked at home on a Food Network program, the program was done.
That day the group presented me and my co-EIR with a simple heartfelt card and a huge bottle of tequila 🙂 Like all ‘treps this group had suffered through the ups and downs that are inherent in startups. While winners needed to be chosen, in our eyes they were all winners. And for me personally, I remembered, yet again, why it is that I continue to do this startup thing.
To the 2013 Food Challenge cohort and all the founders, angels, VC’s and startup supporters I have had the pleasure of working alongside these past 12 years, thank you. Thank you for allowing me to spend over a decade having something I never thought of as a job and doing something that never felt like work. I am humbled by your passion and grateful for efforts. If I, in any small way, was additive to your journey, it pales in comparison to what you all have added to mine.
Stay Calm and ‘Trep On