Since we started in the beginning of 2011 our course has been like hanging out in an amusement park. It is both thrilling and playful: from hanging on the roller coaster and getting investments from our angels to filling up our spaceship with rocket fuel. That’s the life of many startups. They pass through the different recurrent cycles of excitement, doubt, struggle, joy, delusion, growth and thrill.
We have been inspired by the lean startup approach from Eric Ries: learn quickly what works, and discard what doesn’t. It is a good way to save time and increase the potential to make your startup a success. We have also learned in these last 20 months that the big leaps are made with events that occur when you least expect them and take advantage of them. It is like the quote from Aldous Huxley that Heidi Groshelle, our PR uses as a baseline: “Experience is not what happens to you; it is what you do with what happens to you.”
This note is a big THANK YOU message to all the people we have encountered up till now and who have invested their time or their money and who generously have given us ideas, advice and intros. We thank the ones who have said YES, the ones who have said NO and the ones to whom we have said NO. It is also addressed to our community of users beta testing our product everyday and to our power users who are sending donations to support our vision.
We have listed below all the good unexpected surprises we have had since our launch. Although we are planning and setting short and long term goals, we still don’t know what next big event will lead us to another leap forward.
- Wifi Tethering app for Android: we launched it using an open source code and added our brand. It marked the launch of our business. One month later we checked the number of installations and despite the fact that it was meant to be a test and used only by technical people we realized that we already had 10,000 users. 12 months later we were close to 1 million users without any marketing.
- AngelList: it has been a great resource for the early stages of our startup when we were looking to raise our first angel money. Thanks Naval, thanks Nivi for creating AngelList and fueling the startup ecosystem with fresh new entrepreneurs and angels. You have been supportive and helpful since the very first day and we are very grateful.
- AndroidOpen: was the first time we shared our vision publicly and showed a demo of our first prototype. The level of interest was a welcome surprise and we won the startup competition.
- Techcrunch Disrupt NYC and Open Garden mesh: was a positive experience. We recommend this event to all early stage startups to bootstrap their visibility and funding. Arrington is so fucking direct: he is the same in life as on stage. Despite putting pressure on me when he said “Don’t fuck it up!” just before I went on stage for our presentation, he is great guy! We were lucky that day to be picked up by one of the sponsors and previous winners, Getaround, and designated “Most Innovative Startup”. Thank you Jessica, for your great intuition. You made our day. By participating in Disrupt and winning that award, we basically hacked the whole event. We were already finalists but that move was the big win. BIG THANKS to Eric Eldon, Heather Harde for your advice during our last minute rehearsals and Frederic Lardinois for your consistent follow up and availability. A special thanks to Fred Wilson who was on the panel of judges and posted on his blog about us: “My favorite was Open Garden. By a long shot. Because what they are doing is the most worthy of the conference name, Disrupt.”
- Massive press coverage: what followed Techcrunch Disrupt was massive. We hired Heidi, our PR, surfed the wave and got published in +70 articles around the globe within a few weeks. Among them: USAtoday, TechnologyReview, Businessweek, Gigaom, El Pais, Le Figaro
- Google IO participation and GooglePlay featured app: the Android developer team has been extremely demanding of efforts from our side, but also active supporters of our vision and mobile application. Working with them was great and we are waiting for the next opportunity to start again. BIG THANKS to Billy and all his team.
- Seed round: it took us a year to get the $2 million dollars we were looking for. Allan Green our super angel who closed the round read about us in Businessweek, reached out and we closed the deal in a record time. BIG THANKS to our lawyers at Orrick: Augie Rakow and John Bautista for your follow up, dilligence and availability to make the deal happen.
If you are a developer or if you know a friend developer interested in peer-to-peer networking and what it brings for mobile, check out our recruiting page and our company website. We are also looking for a Product Manager able to make contributions to the design and evolution of our Open Garden application. We are a team of experienced people that work to change the world of communications for the better. We would love to meet and share our passion with you.
Big THANK YOU to our angels for helping Open Garden to grow:
to the VCs and angels we met:
@HowardHartenbaum @AndrewRappaport @DavidBlumberg @AnkurJain @NenadMarovac @KevinSpain @EvanStrauss @DrorBerman @JohnAson @KarlJacob @MarkJacobstein @JaiChoi @Toivo @VikasGupta @RezaHussein @AaronPatzer @MattiasLjungman @NiklasZennstrom @IndyGuha @MichaelHorrowitz @JeromeCamp @JustinCamp @KevinNegus @SaarGur @AlexanderNiehenke @FabriceGrinda @AshmeetSidana @AnamitraBanerji @KarimFaris @Guirec @ChrisHoward @SteveHooper @GadyNemorovsky @RobertFanini @ @christopheRaynaud @Ouriel @JasonHoffman @JonathanFeiber @KalVepuri @ShoaibMakani @ShirishSataye @PaulVeradittakit @NunoGoncalvesPedro @SalmanUlah @SeanDempsey @PeterHsing @BradBurnham @AndyWeissman @SteveSchlafman @MatthewOcko @NicolasElBaze @VincentWorms @SaeedAmidi @FahriDiner @RobertDavoli @MarkTortorella @JohnMandile @PaulFlanagan @AlexFinkelstein @AndrewParker @BijanSabet @DavidHaber @MoKoyfman @NabeelHyatt @SantoPoliti @ToddDagres @KevinCarter @VictorBelfor @JeanBourcereau
to the bloggers and writers who wrote about Open Garden:
@MartinVarsavsky @RyanKim @MaryleneDelbourgDelphis @FredericLardinois @RafeNeedleman @OlgaKharif @RachelMetz @Kidela @KateKnibbs @NicoleCozma @StevenMusil @EdwardBaig @LiamSpradlin @AndyGreen @NatashaBaker @DelphineCuny @SophieAmsili @AudreyOeillet @LaiaReventos @LauraPavesi and the many other bloggers and journalists who spread the news about Open Garden beta launch.
Special thanks to:
@GonZifroni @StephaneRoulland @JasonStrader @LionelButtin @RaduCautis @JackWeixel @JasonSenn @TrondUrdhal @RonPalmeri @MortenLund @NickHancock @JPRangaswami @RandyCarlson @OttKaukver @RobinChan @JamesBlom @ArthurDamm @KamadAlGharabally @EricLagier @BorisBogatin
the private beta testers:
@RussTeicheira @DavidForslund @DavidAndrus @TaylorTagliarini @LarryEwald @LeslieParish @BobCarbo @MikeHubschman @ScottCooke @PaulYoon @MichaelWells @RobertDall @EdwardOnda
and to all the ones we forgot to mention but with who we are sharing our passion.