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Cleversafe Founder Chris Gladwin at Chicago Founders’ Stories @ 1871 (VIDEO)

04/18/2014

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Cleversafe founder Chris Gladwin summed up why he started the company with this profound vision: “to store the world’s data”. And he’s not afraid of the size of its proposition.

As the world’s data use has grown, so has Chris’ proposition. Check out some of the highlights Chris shared during our February Chicago Founders’ Stories event, or view the full video interview below.

“[MIT] Changed Me”

Have you ever met a twelve-year-old who optimized their paper route based on density? You have now. Even at a young age, Chris’ mind focused on big things (check out the discussion at 08:30). He’ll tell you himself that when he attended MIT as an undergrad, he wasn’t aware of the value that his schooling would bring him. “I really didn’t realize until after I’d left, in some ways, how transformational that was for me. It changed me into a person that really had perspective, and marketable skills, and could do these kinds of things like build a system to store all the data in the world.”

“You don’t just wake up one day and know how to do that. A lot of people had to teach you a lot of things to get to that point.”

An Industry in Transformation

In the beginning years of Cleversafe, the team knew that wireless network computers were the way of the future. The company was selling more wireless network computers than its contemporaries were selling wired. “The fundamental proposition was the industry was going through a change,” Chris said (see the segment at 18:50).

But one thing that’s true is that you can never push your market. “Do not be too far ahead of the product. You can have a product and a technology that’s just light years ahead of everyone and just better, but if the market is not ready to take it and adopt it, it doesn’t matter. And you can’t really push the market that much.”

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There’s Always Another 90%

Cleversafe’s early days were filled with two things: focus groups, and Chris’ own coding to show that the concept could actually work. But even after passing those points, there were miles of ups and downs on the road to Cleversafe’s success. “You can get a bunch of really smart people, and they’ll scope out the problem and make a project plan…and what happens is, you get 90% of the way done, according to your plan, and at that point of the time, you see the second 90%…and that’s a challenge.” It’s being able to push through this “second 90%”, and even the “third 90%” that arises after that, that makes the difference for a young company.

This year, Cleversafe celebrates its first decade of operation. And if you didn’t guess it already, Chris’ vision for Cleversafe 10 years from now is extensive. “What’s going to happen in the next ten years is the amount of data that the world’s going to create and store is 100 times what it is today,” he says. “The systems and the methods that that industry has used up until now are really going to fall apart, and so Cleversafe and potentially companies who do what we’ve done are going to become leaders (43:30).”

Check out these highlights and other words from Chris in the full video below:

We hope you enjoyed this interview with Chris, and look forward to the next Chicago Founders’ Stories @1871 with OkCupid founder Sam Yagan onApril 28th! Click here to sign up for the event now. We’re expecting a sold-out crowd so reserve your ticket early.

37 Signals/Basecamp Founder Jason Fried at Chicago Founders’ Stories @ 1871 (VIDEO)

04/08/2014

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Chicago Founders’ Stories with Jason Fried was one of the most riveting sessions yet.  Here are a few highlights (full video below):

How He Got Started

Jason first become interested in design at a young age after looking at the glossy annual reports shipped to his father, a stock trader. Interestingly the first payment he ever received for software he created came by surprise in an envelope from Germany and kicked off a career of building great businesses his own way.

“You don’t have to give stuff away for free all the time”

Jason’s first epiphany came at a young age when he created a version of FileMaker Pro called AudioFile that he offered up for optional payment — and shortly afterward received a $20 bill sent to him from a customer in Germany.

“That was the first time I realized I could make something — and I could charge for it,” he said. “It taught me a very valuable lesson. You don’t have to give stuff away for free all the time, people are happy to pay for things they enjoy and they like.”

Working and creating for yourself

After taking on a graphic design job after college, Jason “realized pretty quickly I wasn’t built to…work for somebody else.” Thus began his dive into the world of entrepreneurship.

As any founder knows, your final product won’t survive if it doesn’t satisfy your market. But creating for yourself and creating for your market are not mutually exclusive. “If you’re building something for somebody else, you’re always guessing — you’re trying to read their mind, things get lost in translation, you have to feel through someone else and that’s very hard to do.”

But Basecamp was different. “Basecamp was for me,” he said. That way, “you just know when it’s good enough.”

What your parents told you about sharing

If two things really inspire Jason, they’re visual and operational simplicity, and open and honest sharing.

“I’ve always been inspired by chefs. Great chefs have cookbooks. And in the cookbooks are their recipes. They’re not afraid of someone taking their cookbook and opening a restaurant next to them and putting them out of business. What they’re afraid of is not being known, and not being recognized, and not being appreciated. So by writing cookbooks they can get their food out there, and, in fact, more people pay attention to their restaurant. Chefs share their recipes. Not all of them, but many of them. And I always think about how we can write our own cookbook.”

Check out the full video below for these conversations, plus Jason’s thoughts on finding a great partner, where the name “37Signals” came from, and two things he learned from Jeff Bezos:


We hope you enjoyed this interview with Jason, and look forward to the next Chicago Founders’ Stories @1871 with OkCupid founder Sam Yagan on April 28th! Click here to sign up for the event now. We’re expecting a sold out crowd so reserve your ticket early.

Pat Ryan is a business and social entrepreneur who has created several high growth software companies as well as several innovative urban education initiatives as a social entrepreneur. Pat’s first company, FirstLook, was recognized by Inc Magazine in 2008 as the #4 fastest growing software company in the U.S. in its Inc 500 rankings – the highest ranking ever for a Chicago based software company. Pat is also the Founder of MAX as well as the Founder and CEO of INCISENT Labs, a platform and incubator for innovative, industry-changing technologies that spin out into high growth companies. MAX was created in INCISENT Labs where Pat and a team are currently incubating their latest start-up. Pat blogs at Coolerbythelake.com and can be reached on Twitter @PatRyanChicago.

“Opening Acts” featuring Rocketmiles Founder Jay Hoffman (VIDEO)

03/31/2014

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Travelers, listen up: Jay Hoffman has a way to get you on vacation faster. We had a great time chatting with Jay as our “Opening Acts” guest to introduce his new company, Rocketmiles. On select evenings, we interview exciting new startups during Opening Acts while people are grabbing beer and pizza before Chicago Founders’ Stories @1871.

Rocketmiles is an online platform that helps people earn more miles when they stay in select hotels. In a sort of “MileagePlus meets Groupon” combination, business travelers can leverage their hours on the road and stock up on miles with their hotel choice.

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According to Jay, the typical Rocketmiles user is a business traveler who logs between 6 and 12 trips per year. Those customers can earn an additional 60,000-70,000 miles if they’re staying at a hotel once a month. “That’s enough for two people to make it down to Florida,” Jay says.

On the corporate side, Rocketmiles purchases hotel rooms at a discounted rate and returns a portion of that incentive to the consumer. “The hotels are able to generate demand without publicly discounting their price.”

Check out the short video below to learn a little more about Rocketmiles’s quick growth since its launch in April 2013:

Opening Acts – RocketMiles from Chicago Founder's Stories on Vimeo.

Pat Ryan is a business and social entrepreneur who has created several high growth software companies as well as several innovative urban education initiatives as a social entrepreneur. Pat’s first company, FirstLook, was recognized by Inc Magazine in 2008 as the #4 fastest growing software company in the U.S. in its Inc 500 rankings – the highest ranking ever for a Chicago based software company. Pat is also the Founder of MAX as well as the Founder and CEO of INCISENT Labs, a platform and incubator for innovative, industry-changing technologies that spin out into high growth companies. MAX was created in INCISENT Labs where Pat and a team are currently incubating their latest start-up. Pat blogs at Coolerbythelake.com and can be reached on Twitter @PatRyanChicago.

BigMachines Founder Godard Abel at Chicago Founders’ Stories @ 1871 (VIDEO)

02/18/2014

How do you build a $500 million business? With BigMachines’ recent sale to Oracle for nearly that much, we knew we’d have a lot of fun sitting down with founder Godard Abel. Having built the company from the ground up, Godard gave us great insight about his company’s exponential growth during the dotcom era, the decisions that saved his creation after the bubble burst, and his own feelings about the ingredients for success. Check out the full video below.

It’s Not Scrap Metal

BigMachines is a cloud software company that helps businesses provide complex ordering configurations to its customers through a seamless online process. “I used to get a lot of phone calls from guys selling scrap metal,” Godard laughed, referring to the industrial nature of the company’s name. In fact, people often asked why he didn’t change it. “But we had a long-time sales rep who said that once people remembered [the name], they remembered it.” So it just stuck.

The idea came about after seeing the sales process Godard’s own father would have to go through in the pump business. He searched for a solution that even small companies could use in order to sell configurations of products without needing an enormous and technically savvy sales team, and developed his creation with the efforts of four co-founders.

Launching in the Dotcom Era

BigMachines took shape in 2000, shortly after Godard graduated from Stanford Business School and right during the dotcom bubble. “I definitely think we thought that we were the kings of the world,” he admitted. “It was so infectious…it was hard not to be infected by it. At that time, if you had any entrepreneurial bone in your body, you just said, ‘I want to be part of startups.’ And I definitely got caught up in that.” After visiting a friend of his father over Thanksgiving, he met up with the friend’s brother, the entrepreneur and investor John Sculley.

The Challenge of Product-Market Fit

Despite a seemingly effortless beginning, BigMachines had a few challenges in its early years. “We were selling a cloud product, and the world wasn’t ready for the cloud. Secondly, we were targeting manufacturers, which in hindsight was the worst vertical to pick. They were very conservative…so we didn’t find a lot of those early adopters…we were a dotcom and in March 2000 people were like, ‘When are you going to retire?’ and a year later people were like, ‘When are you going to go bankrupt?’” People were afraid of investing in a company that would crash with the dotcom burst, and BigMachines had to make a lot of changes to its model in order to survive the market swings.

Lessons Learned

Over a decade years later, Godard is taking some lessons from his success with BigMachines to his new company, G2Crowd:

  • Focus on your early customers. “Listen to them and see what works for them. We did that, and ultimately that set the foundation for making it successful.”
  • Spend your money slowly. “I think the first lesson is everyone talks learn startups now…as a venture capitalist, three of your 30 [investments] are big winners, you’re going to do well with your fund. But as an entrepreneur, you only have one bullet. As an entrepreneur, your level of certainty on the right time to step on the gas has to be a lot higher.”
  • Have a killer team. “The main good thing we did was…having a team with heart and that’s passionate, and smart and doesn’t quit…you almost can’t lose. I think that’s the best thing we did. We have so many awesome team members here, and that’s what I think is fun and gratifying, and that’s what made it work and that’s what we’re doing again. That’s what I believe in more than ever.”
  • Be persistent. “I almost think you can’t lose if you’re smart, hungry and give yourself enough time…With a smart, persevering team, it’s gonna work.”

Why Chicago is Great

We love to ask our founders about why they picked Chicago to work. Here’s what Godard had to say:

“The main [advantage that Chicago has] is that there’s great talent…if you look at talent as ‘Hey, I just need smart hungry, fun-loving people,’ then Chicago is unmatched. And I think the whole Midwestern ethic is a big strength. We’ll stick with a startup for a year if it’s not going public yet. And the cost structure is better. If you’re going to bootstrap or fund your own business, it’s easier to do it here.”

Check out this and more in the video below:

 

We hope you enjoyed this interview with Godard, and look forward to the next Chicago Founders’ Stories @1871 with Basecamp (formerly 37Signals) founder Jason Fried on February 27th! Click here to sign up for the event now. We’ll learn about why 37Signals made the jump and what it means for Chicago and the tech community.

Pat Ryan is a business and social entrepreneur who has created several high growth software companies as well as several innovative urban education initiatives as a social entrepreneur. Pat’s first company, FirstLook, was recognized by Inc Magazine in 2008 as the #4 fastest growing software company in the U.S. in its Inc 500 rankings – the highest ranking ever for a Chicago based software company. Pat is also the Founder of MAX as well as the Founder and CEO of INCISENT Labs, a platform and incubator for innovative, industry-changing technologies that spin out into high growth companies. MAX was created in INCISENT Labs where Pat and a team are currently incubating their latest start-up. Pat blogs at Coolerbythelake.com and can be reached on Twitter @PatRyanChicago.

“Opening Acts” featuring Kapow Events Founder Marc Halpin (VIDEO)

02/07/2014

Ready to jump out of an airplane with your best client? That’s exactly what Marc Halpin, Founder of Kapow Events, plans for his clients and their guests. We had a great time chatting with Marc as our fourth “Opening Acts” guest to introduce his new company. On select evenings, we interview exciting new startups during Opening Acts while people are grabbing beer and pizza before Chicago Founders’ Stories @1871.

From an adventurous airplane dive to more relaxed activities like whiskey tastings and private retail events, Kapow is all about helping companies engage with their clients in a more meaningful way. “The clients we have, not surprisingly, really want to spend time with their clients and want to build their business,” Marc says. “To the extent that we can help them do that, we’re addressing something universal. And it’s in a fun package.”

Check out the video below for our quick conversation with Marc and to learn about what inspired him to start Kapow, how he’s leveraged his failures over the past two years, and what he expects for Kapow’s future in Chicago:

Pat Ryan is a business and social entrepreneur who has created several high growth software companies as well as several innovative urban education initiatives as a social entrepreneur. Pat’s first company, FirstLook, was recognized by Inc Magazine in 2008 as the #4 fastest growing software company in the U.S. in its Inc 500 rankings – the highest ranking ever for a Chicago based software company. Pat is also the Founder of MAX as well as the Founder and CEO of INCISENT Labs, a platform and incubator for innovative, industry-changing technologies that spin out into high growth companies. MAX was created in INCISENT Labs where Pat and a team are currently incubating their latest start-up. Pat blogs at Coolerbythelake.com and can be reached on Twitter @PatRyanChicago.

1871 CEO Howard Tullman at Chicago Founders’ Stories @ 1871 (VIDEO)

01/30/2014

We had a great time sitting down with Howard Tullman, the new CEO of 1871 and an accomplished entrepreneur and venture capitalist. He’s held the title of CEO of a number of companies, including Tunes.com, CCC Information Services, and Cobalt Group — and that’s just the beginning of the list. And believe it or not, his first ten years in the professional world years were actually spent practicing law.

Though we wouldn’t have argued if Howard spent the whole evening telling us the intricate details about every one of his ventures, we did keep it to a select few, and he regaled us with stories of brilliant success, monumental challenges, and his endless love for big ideas. You can see the video of the whole evening below.

To give you a taste, here are five tips straight from the source. It’s why we love Founders’ Stories: you just can’t get great ideas like these anywhere else.

1. You don’t need to invest capital to have “skin in the game”.

As Howard broke into the auto insurance technology business, he was asked to give a lot — his time, his “sweat equity”, and, later, his cash. But he doesn’t think that you need all three in order to have a stake in a company. “It was a huge and very important thing to say, ‘I’m just not doing that. I don’t think I have to mortgage my future and everything else to start a business.’”

2. Don’t underestimate the value of hard work.

When asked what Howard looks for as a sign of success in young entrepreneurs, he believes that endless passion and a strong work ethic are most important. “Hard work eventually wins over just about everything, including native brilliant and fabulous ideas. We always say ‘we may not have outsmarted everybody, but we can outwork them.”

3. Reach further.

Howard’s move to 1871 seems fitting with his serial enterprises. But the buck doesn’t stop here. Even a community as innovative as the one that hosts our Founders’ Stories events has room to grow.  “I think 1871 is one of the most important things that Chicago can be focused on right now. We’ve become an attraction, we’ve become a place, and I really feel…that if we stopped, if we rested on our laurels…that we’d lose our primacy and we wouldn’t be a special place. And I think that 1871 is a completely special place.”

Be a great storyteller. Push the market. And “if you don’t think things should get better, then you shouldn’t be an entrepreneur.”

4. Look ahead.

One of the interesting aspects of Howard’s time at Tunes.com, is that it started as one idea (a source for concert webcasts) and ended up as something completely different (a provider of online digital music). “The real content was not the webcast. The real content was the digital music and all the information associated with that.”

When an idea starts to move in a different direction, move with it. Seek out demand. “The real magic of being an entrepreneur is you barely remember yesterday because you’re so focused on tomorrow.”

5. There is no such thing as ‘failure’.

In some ways, Howard Tullman has never failed (nor have any of us). “Whatever mistakes we made – as long as we learn from them, and as long as we didn’t take advantage of people or treat people poorly, I don’t think it’s a failure. It’s an analytical process and you learn from every single thing, every single day.” Even failures bring us new sets of applications that we can use for future ideas. Hungry for more words of wisdom? Check out the recording of the video here:

Chicago Founders Stories: Howard Tullman from Chicago Founder's Stories on Vimeo.

We hope you enjoyed this interview with Howard, and look forward to the next Chicago Founders’ Stories @1871 with BigMachines founder Godard Abel, TONIGHT (January 30)! Click here to sign up for the event now. We’ll learn about his rise to success as he recently sold the company to Oracle for a pricetag of almost $500 million.

Pat Ryan is a business and social entrepreneur who has created several high growth software companies as well as several innovative urban education initiatives as a social entrepreneur. Pat’s first company, FirstLook, was recognized by Inc Magazine in 2008 as the #4 fastest growing software company in the U.S. in its Inc 500 rankings – the highest ranking ever for a Chicago based software company. Pat is also the Founder of MAX as well as the Founder and CEO of INCISENT Labs, a platform and incubator for innovative, industry-changing technologies that spin out into high growth companies. MAX was created in INCISENT Labs where Pat and a team are currently incubating their latest start-up. Pat blogs at Coolerbythelake.com and can be reached on Twitter @PatRyanChicago.

“Opening Acts” featuring Pangea Founder Rahier Rahman (VIDEO)

08/20/2013

We were pleased to have Rahier Rahman, Co-Founder of Pangea as our third “Opening Acts” guest to introduce his new start-up. We interview exciting new startups during Opening Acts while people are grabbing beer and pizza before Chicago Founders’ Stories @1871.

Rahier Rahman is the Founder and CEO of Pangea, is a social impact startup enabling consumers to send money to anyone from anywhere at any time using the web, mobile and retail. The goal is to make money transfer easier, cheaper and more convenient than the traditional options. Pangea charges a consistent fee, no matter how much or where you want to send money.

In this short video, Rahier explains his idea came about when he was working in the prepaid space and was exposed to the infrastructure that existed. He saw most systems were disconnected and envisioned a world that could connect systems, facilitate collaboration and move funds across a network. In the future, Rahier says he wants to continue to build on the product while maintaining its current mission of helping people.  Disclosure: I am an inventor in Pangea through Chicago Ventures.

Pat Ryan is a business and social entrepreneur who has created several high growth software companies as well as several innovative urban education initiatives as a social entrepreneur. Pat’s first company, FirstLook, was recognized by Inc Magazine in 2008 as the #4 fastest growing software company in the U.S. in its Inc 500 rankings – the highest ranking ever for a Chicago based software company. Pat is also the Founder of MAX as well as the Founder and CEO of INCISENT Labs, a platform and incubator for innovative, industry-changing technologies that spin out into high growth companies. MAX was created in INCISENT Labs where Pat and a team are currently incubating their latest start-up. Pat is also a lead investor and Investment Committee member of Chicago Ventures, Chicago’s leading seed stage focused venture capital firm. Pat blogs at Coolerbythelake.com and can be reached on Twitter @PatRyanChicago.

Meet the founder of Chicago’s Fastest Growing Cloud Software Company

08/14/2013

Fieldglass founder, Jai Shekhawat, shared his journey and lessons at July’s Chicago Founders’ Stories @ 1871. We had another sold out crowd join us @ 1871 for pizza, beer, and to hear Jai share his story and the incredible wisdom he has gained in building Fieldglass.

This is the eleventh installment of Founders’ Stories. If you would like to check out any of the prior videos from past events, you can see them here: Braintree Founder Bryan Johnson, Open Table Founder Chuck Templeton, Grub Hub Founders Matt Maloney and Mike Evans, Belly Founder Logan LaHive, Context Media Founders Rishi and Shradha, Siri Founder Dag Kittlaus, Starter League Founders Neal Sales-Griffin and Mike McGee, Centro Founder Shawn Riegsecker, SAVO Founder John Aiello, or Trunk Club Founder Brian Spaly.

Jai is the CEO and Co-founder of Fieldglass, which makes the world’s most widely used Cloud platform for the procurement of contract labor and services. Under his leadership, the Fieldglass platform has grown globally with users in 70+ countries, multiple languages and currencies and over $20 billion in annual spend. He is Ernst & Young’s 2012 Midwest “Entrepreneur of the Year” as well as the current recipient of the Peter Yessne Staffing Innovator Award, recognized for pioneering the Vendor Management Software (VMS) space. In 2010, Madison Dearborn Partners made a significant investment in Fieldglass, valuing the firm in excess of $220m.

My INCISENT Labs teammates and I have really enjoyed partnering and sponsoring all of the Chicago Founders’ Stories @ 1871. Since the event sold out, we recorded it and are putting it online for those who couldn’t make it. In the video, Jai shares the importance is first about the problem, not the product, how to pitch the problem, the difficulties of discovering a market fit in the B2B industry, and the challenges and lessons learned of scaling a business.

We hope you enjoyed this interview with Jai, and look forward to the next Chicago Founders’ Stories @1871.

Pat Ryan is a business and social entrepreneur who has created several high growth software companies as well as several innovative urban education initiatives as a social entrepreneur. Pat’s first company, FirstLook, was recognized by Inc Magazine in 2008 as the #4 fastest growing software company in the U.S. in its Inc 500 rankings – the highest ranking ever for a Chicago based software company. Pat is also the Founder of MAX as well as the Founder and CEO of INCISENT Labs, a platform and incubator for innovative, industry-changing technologies that spin out into high growth companies. MAX was created in INCISENT Labs where Pat and a team are currently incubating their latest start-up. Pat blogs at Coolerbythelake.com and can be reached on Twitter @INCISENTLabs.

“Opening Acts” featuring Shiftgig Founder Eddie Lou (VIDEO)

07/01/2013

We were pleased to have Eddie Lou, Co-Founder of Shiftgig as our second “Opening Acts” guest to share the story of this hot new start-up. Opening Acts is an interview series that takes place before we start the monthly Chicago Founders’ Stories interviews and introduces exciting new start-ups.

Shiftgig is kind of a “Linked-In for Service Jobs”, specifically in the service and hospitality industries. Shiftgig helps job candidates and hiring managers connect with each other and get positions filled while saving time and money by streamlining the hiring process and delivering high-quality candidates. Eddie shares exciting news on Shiftgig’s progress in this short video:

Trunk Club Founder Brian Spaly at Chicago Founders’ Stories @ 1871 (VIDEO)

06/27/2013

We had a lot of fun with Trunk Club founder, Brian Spaly at June’s Chicago Founders’ Stories @ 1871. We had another sold out crowd join us @ 1871 for pizza, beer, and to hear Brian’s incredible and entertaining story.

This is the tenth installment of Founders’ Stories and one to remember. If you would like to check out any of the prior videos from past events, you can see them here: Braintree Founder Bryan Johnson, Open Table Founder Chuck Templeton, Grub Hub Founders Matt Maloney and Mike Evans, Belly Founder Logan LaHive, Context Media Founders Rishi and Shradha, Siri Founder Dag Kittlaus, Starter League Founders Neal Sales-Griffin and Mike McGee, Centro Founder Shawn Riegsecker, or SAVO Founder John Aiello.

Brian is founder of Trunk Club, a clothing service for men as well as the Founder of Bonobos, a men’s pants company. Trunk Club combines top brands, expert service, and unparalleled convenience to deliver a highly personalized experience that helps guys look their best and saves them time. Stylists on the Trunk Club Team hand-selects a trunk of items based on each customer’s needs and tastes. Customers keep what they love and send the rest right back.

Brian’s career started when he found out he had the same problem most people do when buying pants – they don’t fit well – they may fit well on the waist but are too tight on their thighs and vice versa. It was then when his girlfriend taught him how to sew and he began tailoring his own pants to fit properly. Working in finance, Brian couldn’t find a creative outlet and discovered his growing interest in fashion. He began business school and put his idea out there by teaming up with other students on a research project that focused on men’s pants. From there, Bonobos was born. Under the leadership of Brian and his former Stanford roommate Andy, Bonobos was named one of the fifty hottest brands in America by AdAge. In 2009, despite their success, Brian and Andy had different visions and thought it was best if there was only one leader. Within a month, an investor called Brian and asked him if he’d be interested in taking over the Trunk Club brand which he brought to Chicago and reinvented.

My INCISENT Labs teammates and I have really enjoyed partnering and sponsoring all of the Chicago Founders’ Stories @ 1871. Since the event sold out, we recorded it and are putting it online for those who couldn’t make it. In the video, Brian goes more in depth of scaling a business, finding the right product fit and how he visions Trunk Club to be the world’s outfitter out of Chicago.

We hope you enjoyed this interview with Brian, and look forward to the July 11th Chicago Founders’ Stories @1871 with Fieldglass Founder Jai Shekhawat where we will learn about how he built a $220 million software company here in Chicago.

Pat Ryan is a business and social entrepreneur who has created several high growth software companies as well as several innovative urban education initiatives as a social entrepreneur. Pat’s first company, FirstLook, was recognized by Inc Magazine in 2008 as the #4 fastest growing software company in the U.S. in its Inc 500 rankings – the highest ranking ever for a Chicago based software company. Pat is also the Founder of MAX as well as the Founder and CEO of INCISENT Labs, a platform and incubator for innovative, industry-changing technologies that spin out into high growth companies. MAX was created in INCISENT Labs where Pat and a team are currently incubating their latest start-up. Pat blogs at Coolerbythelake.com and can be reached on Twitter @INCISENTLabs.

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Chicago Founders' Stories

Pat hosts Chicago Founders' Stories, a monthly live discussion with successful founders on their journey and lessons learned.


Grub Hub Founders Matt Maloney and Mike Evans
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Open Table Founder Chuck Templeton
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Braintree Founder Bryan Johnson
View the Video
Belly Founder Logan LaHive
View the Video
Context Media Founders Rishi and Shadhra
View the Video
Siri Founder Dag Kittlaus
View the Video
Starter League Founders Neal Sales-Griffin and Mike McGee
View the Video
Centro Founder Shawn Riegsecker
View the Video
SAVO Founder John Aiello
View the Video
Trunk Club Founder Brian Spaly
View the Video