A key part of growing an ed-tech company is connecting with, supporting, and being supported by others. If viewed as a continuum, our startup Communication APPtitude is clearly ahead of some and still learning from others on this journey. We firmly believe we are stronger together–and this is particularly so here in Baltimore, where ed-tech is expanding.
This process of scaling a company is not for the faint of heart. Knowing we can depend on others, and share what we have learned along the way, can be the wind in our sails to keep us on course.
I will never forget the first ed-tech happy hour I attended three years ago. Everything was outside my comfort zone. We had just joined the Towson University Incubator and our value prop was still a 10-minute story that traversed the globe before landing. We had five apps on the iPad App Store, with revenue trickling in.
I had no idea what to expect—would others at the ed-tech happy hour know more than me? Probably. All these names to remember! Who was who in this new world we entered? How to spend time listening to others, but not get bogged down in conversations that might take me away from synergies elsewhere? Venturing out to network can be intimidating at first.
Do it anyway. I did.
Three years later, I still have some of these same questions and concerns when I attend networking events. I have learned, however, to quickly identify synergies. Our value proposition is down to 15 to 30 seconds. I know many more people (or at least their names) who are positioned to help us in various ways, and I am far more confident in approaching them.
The game-changer has been learning from personal experience that when you have something of your own to offer—advice, a willing ear, a funding opportunity, a connection for someone else–it feels pretty great.
From being on the “giving end,” I understand that most people, including those who may have access to funding, or have high-level positions likely find it thrilling to play a part in guiding the next cool company to success.