A Crazy Idea
By nearly any definition, when I was 27, I had made it. I had a master’s degree in engineering from a top school, a great career with a good salary, benefits and advancement opportunities, a nice house I’d been able to buy in the hot Denver real estate market, a girlfriend, a dog, friends to go out with on the weekends… all of the trappings of a successful young adult.
By the time I turned 29 I had thrown it all away, quit my job, broke up with my girlfriend, moved out of my house and into my parents’ basement, gone on Medicaid and unemployment…all to chase this crazy idea that I had: A dream of building a technology startup without actually knowing anything about technology or startups.
On my last day of full-time employment, I was terrified by the prospect of not having any stable income for an undetermined amount of time, but thrilled to finally be able to give my company the time I knew it deserved. Since all of my background was in science and engineering, everything I knew about business was either from movies (The Social Network), TV shows (Shark Tank) and podcasts (StartUp), or from various mentors, advisors and consultants I’d met and worked with along the way.
My business PuppTech (though at the time it was called Go Pawsible) was created to help dog owners be able to safely leave their dog in the car so they can spend more time with their best friends and less time worrying about it.
In my mind, startups were supposed to be glamorous; investors throw more money at you than you can use, customers line up to buy your product, the press can’t get enough of you. I knew that our idea was so awesome, so groundbreaking, so “disruptive,” that it was only a matter of time before our success was guaranteed. I knew so much about my business, and our business plan and financial model were so good that we’d only need a few months to raise the money we needed to move forward and from there we’d be able to move quickly towards profitability and eventual acquisition which would make us all millionaires.
The only question was where to find these investors that would throw money at us, and the customers that would fall in love with us. I started attending and meeting with the overwhelming number of meetups, networking events, pitch competitions, advisory groups, mentoring organizations, investor clubs, funds, institutes, consultants and accelerators offering advice, help and maybe even opportunities for funding to entrepreneurs.