I was an alumni of one of the first Venture Forth Cohorts in 2011 when I was struggling to get my business, Electric Cab off the ground. We were the first to market in the emerging micro-transit industry so regulations had not exactly caught up with new technology. I joined the Tech Ranch community because I was basically in over my head and I finally realized how much I didn’t know about running a business, much less pioneering a new industry. After a great deal of searching I realized that Kevin’s program at Tech Ranch was the best fit for me and my business. The Venture Forth program helped me to distill my business model down into something manageable and helped me to figure out what was important for growth, and more importantly, what was just background noise that was wasting my time.
I’ll admit, I was very skeptical when I was introduced to Kevin’s team, mainly because I had already done my rounds through the accelerator/incubator community and found that they used a lot of buzzwords and recycled language that sounded great, but provided little to no value to me or my business.
The first class that I took at Tech Ranch changed my mind pretty quickly, mainly because Kevin didn’t use the same old tired language that I had already heard a dozen times before. His approach was very different, the first thing that he focused on was having everyone take a short personality test to identify our strengths so we could figure out what to build upon, I couldn’t quite grasp why we were doing this at the time, but I decided to give it a shot and I’m very glad that I did, it changed everything about the way I was trying to run my business. I discovered why I was excelling in some areas and falling dismally behind in others. In other words, I was given a opportunity to do a proverbial Ooda Loop on my business model and was given the tools to make informed decisions on how to identify our weak points and make the appropriate changes.
I’ve come back to work with Kevin after 5 years in his new Venture Builder program because now my business is poised to disrupt how the entire urban mobility market functions in the future. Kevin has been instrumental in helping me to navigate through the amazingly complex realm of software developers and technology pertaining to the Smart Cities market. Without his guidance I would have still been going in circles trying to sift through the seemingly endless pitfalls that I was trying to navigate through in building our mobile app and also making our fleet autonomous, his experience in the tech community has given him an amazing ability to separate the viable from the BS when I’m working with multiple vendors and technology partners.
We now operate the largest for-hire fleet of low speed vehicles in North America, and we’re poised and ready to eliminate buses operating in urban cores and finally solve the elusive last mile quagmire that’s been plaguing mass transit providers and preventing the wide scale adoption of the CaaS market.
I would highly recommend that anyone that’s setting out on their own in the brave new world of startups, or even those that have been in business for a while and have hit a plateau, to stop by one of Tech Ranch’s Campfire sessions to find out what the awesome community that they have created has to offer.