Learning to Fire it Up Without Burning OutAmy Brost
FireBoard Labs | Kansas City, MO
Founders Ted Conrad and Steve Briggeman are busy hustlin’. The duo used their funding from Digital Sandbox KC (April 2016) for their product FireBoard, a cloud connected digital thermometer designed to operate through your smartphone or through the web. They designed FireBoard from the ground up, excited about the entrepreneurial challenge and determined to find a smarter way to make sure your cooking is on track.
The marriage of tech and BBQ is a beautiful thing!
Everything! We’ve been in an intense phase of launching our product, promoting it, marketing it and selling it as quickly as we can. Launching a product requires coordination on all fronts, and it requires an insane amount of work.
Before Sandbox, we had financed the company entirely ourselves. We were pre-production and had a beta version of our technology running. The Sandbox funding served as validation of our idea. The capital itself helped provide a substantial portion of the first batch of production devices. At such an early stage, it was extremely helpful to have non-dilutive grants such as Sandbox because equity valuations don’t really even make sense at that point.
What inspired you to create the FireBoard?
Our inspiration was based on a belief that we could make life a little easier with better technology. Solving a simple problem with smart technology, and creating a tangible product were motivating factors. Also the challenge of launching a business was attractive.
How does the idea of a startup challenge compare to the reality?
The reality of doing a startup is it about 10-times as hard as you think it might be. And that’s after assuming that doing a startup will be hard. It’s definitely something you need to be committed to, and willing to go “all in” to see things through. If you aren’t willing to work hard it’s better not to go through the hassle of starting it in the first place.
When you hit new challenges, how do you keep from getting burnt out?
I don’t know that I’ve figured that one out. You have to know when to turn things off and unplug. Even for a weekend, or a day, or just an evening. Sometimes turning off your phone helps!
What advice do you have for other startups?
Remember the things of most value are the things that take the most amount of work. Being an entrepreneur takes dedication, hard work, and patience. It takes longer than you think to build a real company.