For me this last year, Capital Factory has been about embracing Mentorship. The pace of innovation today is quickening, and it’s a riveting time to mentor across multiple companies.
When my company Social Dynamx was acquired last Fall by Lithium Technologies, I spent some time looking inside of myself, wondering what I should do next. I didn’t know (I still don't) if I wanted to focus all my energies on building one company again. But I knew I wanted to spend some time giving back. As an entrepreneur, my first love has always been the early stages of a start-up.
So I met with my friend Bryan Menell who was working on his own start-up at the time. Bryan and I had known each other from ’97 when I first came to Austin to be Vignette’s founding VP of Sales and Bryan had founded Perficient. When we talked, I had been living on a plane for the last three years and did not know a lot of Austin's early stage entrepreneurs. His first suggestion was that I needed to meet Josh Baer at Capital Factory.
I remember that first meeting -- Josh had scheduled it for some weird timeframe like 1:20 – 1:50 or something. I didn’t know anything then about Capital Factory’s system, or Office Hours! But I could see that Josh was tapping into something unique, and that the flow and energy was invigorating. I was hooked.
Being able to come alongside someone in their journey, to help with strategy, introductions, first customers, to help them believe in themselves, is for me super gratifying. To potentially change the world for someone, through a single introduction, or by sharing funding information you’ve taken for granted for years... Someone believed in me once, and it's important we pay that forward. We’re all here because of someone else. Capital Factory enables the cross-pollination that is good for entrepreneurs, but it's good for Mentors too.
The Capital Factory entrepreneurs I’ve met and worked with are a key part of what makes me so bullish on this City’s future. Even more important, I’m always impressed at their humanity, how they go out of their way to help each other. This is Austin's tech future. They’ve taught me a lot about Mentoring this past year, and I’m still learning.