It’s been a while since I made a post. I’ve been knee deep in a Las Vegas startup. My involvement may be serendipity. It may be part of some master plan by Devin Egan, CTO of LaunchKey. It’s likely a bit of both. Either way, I was able to stumble into help launch an Internet start up in Las Vegas that may actually succeed. If it fails, it will only be our fault. Everything required to succeed had been placed in front of us. It’s almost too easy.
Fresh off a trip to ZendCon 2012 with some co-workers at the Selling Source, I was excited about what seems to be a brave new order in the PHP community. I wanted to indulge my inner geek and immerse myself in everything tech. A few weeks later I received a free ticket for Startup Weekend with his claim that it would be an excellent networking opportunity. Ticket in hand, I headed down on a Friday night to see what it was all about.
The first night at Startup Weekend involves a little meet and greet, a little warm up exercise, and pitches. We all voted on the pitches and the pitch presenters began team building. A double dating site pitch from an energetic and engaging Adam Kramer intrigued me. I conducted a quick two minute interview and joined the team. The rest of the weekend was a whirlwind of activity which involved taking an Adam’s idea and evolving it into a viable business proposition with a working demo in less than two days.
During those two days, we had coaches helping us with revenue stream modeling, legal implications, design considerations, and crafting our final pitch. I may have slept for three or four hours the whole weekend. Some of the sleeplessness was due being truly excited about the events of the weekend. The rest was due to the monumental task of creating a working demo of a community site in two days. Most of the other teams had more developers and a seemingly more reasonable scope for their application. But we weren’t deterred. Hard work and unwavering determination resulted in a final product that took third place overall, second place for design, and gave us all the belief that we really had something that could succeed. A product people would use that would help strengthen their relationships. Coupla was born.
It’s only been just over a month now and it seems like a year. In that time we’ve received an immense amount of support from the Las Vegas community. We attended “office hours” with the likes of Aaron Battalion, Co-Founder and CTO of Living Social who helped us hone our zero-budget customer acquisition strategy. We met with Jason Mendenhall of Switch who helped us find an affordable cloud strategy that would house or systems in Las Vegas. These invaluable resource gave us the ability to bootstrap the business and not have to deal with the pressures of attaining capital to get our startup off the ground.
We’ve also been drawing on the global community to build our stable, secure, and scalable infrastructure for mere pennies. We’ve been able to get our corporate email, calendaring, shared storage, and office suite from Google for $5 dollars per user per month. We have attained world class software lifecycle, ticketing and agile project management tool in Jira/Greenhopper as well as unlimited private repositories in BitBucket hosted by Atlassian for $30 dollars per month. We set up a cloud with three instances and unlimited throughput for our application at a whopping $65 per month through Joyent. That’s right at $110 per month for world class software and services that provide everything our three person team could need. It is truly mind blowing when you think about it.
That leaves the rest to us. The three brave souls who met just over a month ago and started down the trail of their very own internet startup. If we don’t make it, it certainly won’t be because there were insurmountable challenges of infrastructure , hosting, and scalability placed before us.