"It's up to those of us in the room to come together and make the Charleston startup community thrive"
These were the final words of advice that Matt Gough, CEO of Echovate, told a sold out crowd at the March Startup Grind event. Everyone in the room nodded their heads in agreement, and for the first time, I saw people begin to understand the power of community.
Throughout the fireside chat, we learned that the power of community and the power of building a successful team are two of the core principles that Matt works to uphold everyday.
As a serial entrepreneur who recently moved from a mid-market city in New York, Matt understands the importance of community in an up-and-coming startup hub like Charleston.
"You can't be scared to leverage your community...people are so gracious with their time. They want to help out and to see you be successful. Conversevely, you've got to be willing to help."
Matt's view on community aligns with our Startup Grind value of help each other first - something that drives the Startup Grind community all around the world. Since coming to Charleston, Matt has made it a point to introduce himself to the community and offer to help based on his prior experiences.
"Successful entrepreneurs don't wait for good things to happen, they hustle to make their own luck."
Matt is taking a slow, methodical approach to building a world-class team. His story of building a world-class board of advisors clearly demonstrates his commitment to only working with the best.
When Matt was just starting Echovate he wanted to get A-list advisors to help think through the difficult issues he knew were ahead. Instead of looking at his existing network to see who was available, he blindly emailed and LinkedIn messaged the most successful people in his industry. Some people said no, other's said yes, and Matt ended up with his dream board of advisors. But he didn't stop there - not only did Matt get advisors, he also got investors. The board of advisors believed in Matt and Echovate enough to invest in the company.
When starting a co- creating your board first and make them investors, give them a little skin in the game - Melissa Wildstein @matchstickgroup
Recently, Matt made his next big move and brought on a world-class technical co-founder, Tim Wolf. The story of how they met perfectly showcased how investing in community can help build a world-class team.
When Matt moved to Charleston he met with as many people as possible to ask how we could help and provide value to the Charleston startup ecosystem. Matt selflessly helped others first, and by doing so, proved that he was a person that other's wanted to be around. Through one of these meetings, Matt was introduced to Tim, who ultimately decided to join Matt on his quest to build the best solution to help small businesses hire and retain employees.
Throughout the event Matt offered practical advice that everyone in the audience could immediately learn from. If you're reading this post and asking yourself what you can do to improve your company, my best advice is to go out there and make you're own luck. Write emails (or send LinkedIn messages) to your dream board of advisors. Go set up meetings and offer to help others in our community. You never know if your world-class board of advisors and next all-star employee are waiting for you to reach out!
Join us on April 23 to meet your local startup colleagues and learn from Nate DaPore, CEO of PeopleMatter. Tickets are limited and you can get them here: Charleston Startup Grind Tickets