How I Founded a Startup September 20, 2015Posted by GuySoft in open source, Startup.
It’s my 29th birthday this week, and that sorta made me realise no one really knows what I have been doing the past 18 months, so I thought it’s time to tell you how I founded a company. Unlike the tutorials and guides I wrote here, I am not sure this would work for everyone, but it did work for me.
I have started one of my biggest and ambitious projects yet, after collaborating with people around the world bringing OctoPi to the world, I realised that something was missing from the scene of 3D design – a decent version control and collaboration tools.
This was the initial idea, as you will see things played out differently, but what was important with this idea was contagious, I got the feeling everyone I told about it wanted to join me, it was wonderful.
Assembling the team
I’ve been going around the Makerspaces in Tel-Aviv, mostly XLN and T.A.M.I, in some random workshop I came across someone who said “You should write an executive summary, I don’t mind helping you out”. I didn’t even know what an executive summary was at the time, and today it makes me realise how much I learned about fundraising during this year. I later found his name was Ari and he was between companies. We set to meet at Google Campus and write it since we both went to some ecology hackathon that was going on there.
We ended up drunk from exhaustion and pizza, scooting on chairs at the space and we also had a draft. As we wrote it, the idea spread to Ari, and he realized he that he wanted to join. I introduced him to Amit. It took a while to put our trust in Ari, less time than we expected, and today I know ShapeDo would not have reached anything without Ari’s help. Eventually we wrote a few basic agreements on paper and Ari made sure we register a company, ShapeDo was born.
We worked on a new site for 3D printing and launched, we got coverage on 3D printing industry, and the user base grew, but people were not really using the collaboration features. It turns out most people 3D printing share are simple one person designs in one afternoon projects. However, what is special about the 3D printing industry is that there is no 3D CAD tool that was built for it. So you end up meeting designers from mechanical engineering, gamers, architects, programmers and any discipline that has a 3D design program that can export the printable files. We (everything eventually becomes “we”) found that everyone wanted this kind of tool in their workplace, while in 3D printing was not as urgently needed.