A Real Startup Founder Pt 2 of 4

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Then what was the tipping point that you're like, Okay, there's so much demand, I gotta do this. You know, the one advice I would give people is to move faster. Okay? Because in the beginning, I didn't do a startup to do a startup. Let's, let's make that perfectly clear. Okay, I did a start up because we discovered this thing. And the world has to have it. Okay. It has to have it. And the only people who know how to do it are the people who did it. So we have to do it. And I think that's the only reason to do a startup. how insanely difficult to do that if you have something that you must share with the world. Wow. So that's how it came about. And so to be honest, I realized this has to be a start up almost right away. Yeah, the moment I came up with an idea, and then we had the early prototype after about three months, I started using it. I remember this amazing day, when, how long ago was this? Just, what, three years ago?

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Three years ago? Yeah, okay, go forward.

0:56

Yeah, okay. And I remember that evening, David and I were, by the way after that. We had Chris joined the startup as a founder, but this was very, very early was Chris roll white. Why bring him in. He was my students. And he started he got involved in festival research projects super early, okay, kept the project alive, kept to the growing until we finally decided to start up. So he got in on the ground. Okay. So three years ago, a group of three people came together because of all this demand for a paper that they wrote to actually make it a reality, basically. Yeah, but it was a project for two years. It was a research project at the moment that I realized it has to be a startup was when we had it. We had this very, very early prototype of Elisa and all it did back then. Which is amazing. And nobody's ever ever been able to do it before is to take lyrics. Yeah, any lyrics in English? Okay, and create vocal melodies for them. Well, let's say you type in it is so great to hang out with Sean that sounds a glaring exactly, okay, then it will give you a melody like, it's so great to hang out with Shawn, right. Or that's how I would assign.

2:00

So we got this original version, right? Yeah. And it was terrible. It was in a sense of, there was no user interface with displaying no to normal notation. It we had, like, number of corresponding to each node, and I took it down to my piano and barely managed to read Okay, to create that melody. Okay. But suddenly, I could write songs. Okay. And which I could never before I tried for three years, and I couldn't

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solve the problem that you had. Yeah. Okay. And you knew other people would have the same problem? Yes. So. So team of three right now you're in Florida. When did you said to come to Silicon Valley? Why come to Silicon Valley? Why not go to Waterloo or someplace else?

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That's right. I actually spent a year living in Silicon Valley before, what were you doing? I was I was actually a postdoc

2:48

at UC San Diego, and I commuted every week. Sounds like an amazing University, those alumni from the university probably top notch,

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they are excellent. It was really one of the best years of my life, living in Los Gatos and flying every every week to San Diego. And the whole year I tried to figure out why do I prefer Los Gatos or San Diego and I couldn't decide the whole year

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I mean UCSD alumni for the record. Okay,

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that's right. I knew that. Okay. So.

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So you were in Silicon Valley for a year teams in Florida, and you convinced them to move here. Why it's more it's so expensive here, compared to Florida,

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it took a while It took a while to bring everybody over here. Actually, Chris just recently joined us, he already finished his master that Georgia Tech. Ok.

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And now we're all finally here. It was a process, you know, everybody had to get jobs here at first, because you know, the startup you don't make any money at first. Okay, so if everyone's working, how are you able to do your startup? Was it people had nine to five, and then you guys worked at nights and weekends? How do you guys plan to actually move forward? What was kind of the process was

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a research project for two years. So we did it on the side for a while. And then we decided that he stopped publishing papers about it. Okay,

3:56

and start actually what actually happened to us as an investment board. Okay, tell me about that. Well, how did you get that meeting with the investor has you get the funding? And what would that process look like, you know, think of a brand new startup, the advice you can give them for that,

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you know,

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my advice would be, don't wait for that investor. That actually would be my advice. My problem was, I didn't know how to start. There were no people in my life doing startups, okay. My parents are not business people. It's not, you know, I really don't come from the kind of background where you'd imagine me becoming a CEO. It was a very foreign concept.

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And so I wanted to a few times we were thinking about six months into the research project that occurred to us to do a startup out of it. Okay. And we sort of tried to form it and it didn't completely catch on and we moved on why didn't catch on there wasn't a CEO or a leader of the group for didn't really I think we weren't ready. I think that was we just we didn't have that.

4:56

No, I don't know. I mean, I don't want to make up reasons. That point somehow it didn't stick. It's we knew we wanted to continue working on it. But it just stayed at the Richard project. And we didn't even officially decided to not do it a startup we just sort of, we had the synergy for a while. And I sort of dissipate it for a bit. And then I kept thinking about it more and more, I met up with this wonderful woman, her name is see mom helps helps a lot of women with branding and following their dreams. And she told me that I should go for it. If I'm thinking about it. That was kind of beautiful meeting. Okay. And then she invited me I give a lot of talks and panels and I gave them gave a panel talk at Silicon Valley, it's already in Silicon Valley of the professor already here and see, introduce me to somebody is there an investment group, okay,

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and I gave them my card and I wasn't sure if there were ever gonna call me back it was very ad hoc when compared to the kind of serious fundraising we've been doing recently to this investor group was just a bunch of people in a room and then you present it wasn't just a dinner was it was

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so ad hoc. We got in a way, if you look for so lucky. It was literally a quick introduction after my panel. Okay, I see my introduced me to this person. I'm not even sure if she really knew them. She said, he is Maya. She has an amazing idea for a startup. Yeah, I gave him a card and send a few weeks later. It was a big gap. he emailed me Yeah. Which is really amazing, given how busy investors are. Yeah. And then we met up and then he said, he'll introduce me to some early stage investors. Okay, he introduced

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me to exactly one investor, kilowatt capital and they made it an early investment. Before we talked about that investment. I just wanted to mention that if you want more information on the testers, and a whole startup ecosystem here, please visit Silicon Valley successes, calm and information will be there and more so.