Why we withdrew from Open Start Up

Hello there,

Normally I reserve this blog for more personal musings. But this post has to do with the company I am working at, GapJumpers and the media attention we have been getting the last few days.

Last week, the final winners of the UDD Ventures incubator contest were announced. We, along with three other start ups, were picked out of 200 applications (for a more detailed overview of all the winners please click here).

Yay us..or so we thought..

As they say; after the good news, comes the paperwork.

The requirements put in place and and plan we had set out to achieve are not compatible with the co-financing structure as proposed by UDD Ventures and CORFO.

Given the current structure to much of our time would be diverted to finding more capital to receive their commitment.

Instead of focusing on that, we will keep focus on scaling our product, client roster and team.

So that is why we’ve informed UDD Ventures that we are withdrawing GapJumpers from the final budget and approval process.

We are grateful for the selection, but the best thing for our company at this point is to keep the focus on our team, product and clients.

Just so we are clear: we are open to venture capital, however we won’t agree to tranched investment/ financing. This is not to say it can’t work for some, just that in our experience we have learned it doesn’t work for us.

Sometimes deals don’t work out, even with the best of intentions. And when that realization sets in, it is best to act fast and be open about why.

We wish the other three winners all the best as they develop their companies.. and if you are looking for a better way to screen applicants, give us a buzz..

Anyways

As always..

Team GapJumpers.

family friends and lovers…Family

Unable to move on, we tend to move forward. That is us. We don’t always find the right the way to express ourselves. We tend to drag past issues up. Over and over again.

Now we are not dumb. You see, we know how we are wired. We know once we look back, we can’t stop. So we counter. By doing. Doing anything that doesn’t allow us to sit still and just talk.

Perhaps it is wrong. But to honestly express ourselves, while not pointing fingers… not there yet. So sometimes the best thing to do, is to just do things.

I understand the feelings going through her. Losing people has been a constant in her life. From a mother who passed away when she was just a girl, to her dad later on, to putting her husband to rest 5 years ago.

And now she is losing the one thing she felt kept us connected. The apartment. A physical point of return, that keeps the option open that whatever I am doing is temporary. A latest in a long line of actions that takes me to places near and far…and back.

I’ve tried telling that they are just things, objects that to me are just functional and don’t tie or untie me from people, merely from places. 

Again, if we were to have this discussion head on, it would end in ways neither one of us wants. So for the last two weeks we’ve been clearing out the place. Together.

From the furniture to books to plates. Putting it in boxes, marking it, shipping it to friends, placing it in storage.

And along the way at times when we feel good enough to do so, we talk. When wrapping plates she brought back memories of the first dinner I held, which allows me to talk about how things are done where I am now.

The books she puts in boxes, serve as nice entry points to explain what it is I do, and why I do it the way I do. And slowly we reach an new point. A new reality, which we have to accept. We don’t have to like it, but we have to accept. Like I said. We tend not to move on from things, we mostly just move forward.

Where it leads us I don’t know. Moving on and letting go of some issues would do us all good. Perhaps we are a bit closer to that point, perhaps not.

But wherever we move, however we move; through broken promises and broken hearts, we’ll move together.

Maybe not the best of friends, maybe not always in the same part of the world, but nevertheless as family for sure.

 

new rites of passage

Back in the day things were, on paper at least, more black and white.

Finish high school, go through military service and/or college, marry, kids, your own house. You could at to it experiencing sex, drugs and independent travel.

All clear outward looking signs that you’ve moved out of one phase to a next, more mature phase.

All very class based as well. Whatever class others or you say you belong to, this classification expects you to own certain things, do certain things

And today? How to start viewing yourself (and be viewed by others) in a more mature way, if the milestones used to measuring are no longer reliable or realistic?

No more draft, moving out on your own is out of reach for the majority of the world’s youth. Titles and education no longer signal expertise.

More and more information available at an earlier and earlier age, the blurring lines between the parent/child relationship.

For me, in this current world, more and more personal, direct, physical events are becoming new rites of passage:

  • physical violence
  • your own business
  • personal bankruptcy
  • abortion
  • custody battles
  • chronic (mental) illness
  • voluntary isolation

There might be some other, older events, that are relevant. The above ones (for starters) feel, to me, like updated, more relevant milestones that tell more about maturity then anything else.

anyways..

as always,

NH

 

manage the mania

“Well we hustle out of a sense of, hopelessness, sort of a desperation
Through that desperation, we ‘come addicted” Can I live Jay-z

6:00 am. Two meetings were on the agenda that morning. One with a potential client who was ready to sign a contract, the other with a potential partner who is sceptical about working with us.

The potential client did not become a client. Having misread the proposal, they decided not to pay the actual amount quoted. We’re out the door in 15 minutes. What the Fuck..

They, to embarrassed to admit to a simple mistake, try and get us to leave as fast as possible. “Change of priorities” is the blatant lie being told to our face.

We, having another meeting waiting for in 20 minutes due to poor scheduling, lie as well when we tell them and ourselves that we wil call them to reschedule and save the deal. Fuck em really.. on to the next

The reluctant partner, after long talks, made even more difficult by their fluent Spanish and our fluent English, finally agreed to work with us. In principal. No idea what that means.

On the way back another call about a potential meeting, while getting emails about technical problems with the site.

“Don’t forget to..” we tell each other as we start rattling of a list of to do’s: meet lawyer about funding, employee contracts, work visa’s renewal, grocery shopping that day, oh and at some point we have to start learning proper Spanish.

12:30, time to eat something. Stopping at a coffeeshop to have a late breakfast, my bag get’s stolen. Passport, company papers, reading glasses and a laptop charger: gone.

Cancel of the rest of the day’s meetings and activities and add to the top of the list of things to do: Embassy paperwork, police paperwork, Chamber of commerce paperwork. Plus finding a new laptop bag. I fucking love that bag.

8:45pm. Home. Without a bag, new client, full understanding of what the potential partner told us, passport and my fucking bag.. no time to dwell on this as tomorrow is almost around the corner.

My mind keeps racing, from the to-do-list for tomorrow, to wanting to call up the client who misread to proposal, to a million other things related and unrelated to my day. And that fucking bag, I am not kidding; I fucking love that bag.

1:30 am Need to go to sleep at some point. Perhaps tonight it will come easier.

3:30 am Guess not.

6:00 am Alarm.

Manage the mania.

 

Every now and then a trigger still has to be pulled

“Q: Well, I’ll hazard I can do more damage on my laptop sitting in my pajamas before my first cup of Earl Grey than you can do in a year in the field.
Bond: Oh, so why do you need me?
Q: Every now and then a trigger still has to be pulled.”

I’ve figured out what my job is: whatever else it takes to ensure success. Not product development, not marketing, not selling, not building partnerships, not hiring talent. none of that.

Those, and many more things need to be done. And at our start up of course everybody is involved in most aspects.

But none of them encapsulate, what the role of the founder really is: on top of everything else, it is doing whatever else it takes to survive long enough so that the company can actually grow based on great product development, marketing, sales, partnerships and talent.

Whatever else it takes has meant: firing people, re-re-negotiating contracts to get more favourable terms, painting skies bluer than they are, bugging (blagging?) people into meeting you and your product, shamelessly exploiting favours and goodwill, pushing staff and suppliers to meet (sometimes crazy) deadlines with minimal resources.

Perhaps I was seduced by the enormous amount of start up success stories: do what you love, just build something great, go viral, get funded, amazing exit. Happy ever after.

While of course all these stories mention hard work, long nights and being resourceful,  it is always somewhat sugar coated and a given.

Those things are the entry fee. The not so glossy bits are the price you pay to find out how badly you really want it once you are in.

It’s understandable that not many entrepreneurs talk about those things, because well..who really wants to know how the steak got on plate.

And yet even the most awesome free range, artisanal cut, prepared by a superstar chef, got there somehow.

anyways,

as always

NH

Rituals: Dish Washing

Stress relief can come in many shapes and forms. From sports, reading, hanging out with friends, sex.

And while all the above feature in my repertoire, there is an additional one that does it for me. Washing dishes.

Seeing a full sink of plates, knives, forks, pots, pans and glasses slowly empty up, seems to bring down my breathing, slow down my thinking and allows for me to just find a moment of piece during these hectic days as we launch GapJumpers.

Figuring out where to start first: plates or glasses (it is plates as glass is done last as not to leave watermarks as it dries).

Finding the right temperature of water; warm enough to make sure things get clean, not to warm or cold as to break the flow of washing by having to adjust midway.

And arranging the sink. Have a look at the picture. As you can see the knives and forks are in this basket that is hanging above a bucket. The perfect spot to have them dry without messing up the entire sink with water. Took a while to figure that spot out.

It is import to have rituals; moments that allow you to just step back and breath out at a normal pace. Feel a bit more human, not just entrepreneur, employer, or some other title..

Dishes. yeah…

Anyways..

As always..

perspective

So today was as shit a day as I’ve had the last three months. For various reasons, most beyond my control (thought that never stops me from me losing my temper).

So after a dinner, walking back from Vitacura towards Bilbao con Amopolas (which I still am writing wrong after all this time), I was at this stoplight and a car cut us off. One of those expensive looking fuckers, of which the brand alludes me at the moment. As I was staring the driver down, I mumbled ‘I wonder what it is like to be that privileged’.

And as I turn my head to see is there is more traffic, I see the following (clik to zoom in) :
.

The hills surrounding Santiago, Chile. I am looking at the hills surrounding Santiago, Chile on a sweet summer evening. Looking at the hills surrounding Santiago, Chile, where I am residing, working on a start up, funded by amongst others the government of Chile.

Has it been a fucking cake walk? No. I’ve actually had some of the most crap experiences in recent memory, while here. Will it become any easier? No. Judging by the amount of work and growing up still to do, I can’t imagine it will be smoother than it has been so far.

Does that excuse me for acting like a proper spoiled asshole and not noticing that I lucked into a pretty sweet gig? No.

The hills surrounding Santiago, Chile. I know pretty fucking well what it is like to be privileged.

Anyways..

As Always..