Sorry for excessive metaphors related to trees, but it just seemed so fitting.
You see, for almost a year, Sachin (the other founder of Cog Tree) and I have spent every moment of our free time to the path of starting this company. We felt quite nomadic during that time — we would leave our full-time jobs at the end of the day and meet at wi-fi cafes scattered across New York City. We were heartbroken when our favorite cafe, Gramstand, closed. I still miss getting a ginger mint honey iced tea and plowing through some work at 7pm.
For part of this time at the early stages of our company, Sachin lived in Brooklyn and I in Long Island. Later, he moved to the financial district and I moved to Astoria, Queens. Even when we settled in our apartments, we were always moving — always coming up with places to meet, always working remotely, always hopping on a subway or searching for a new wi-fi spot to work.
For the first few months of this, we brainstormed ideas and did research. When we landed on the kernel of an idea we liked, we started hacking on a prototype. And when we liked the results from that prototype, we applied to startup incubator programs. Doing all of this while still maintaining a full-time job was demanding and definitely had adverse affects on our personal lives. Our families complained of never receiving phone calls from us. Our significant others got used to our distracted, “in the zone” looks as we focused on our computer screen.
April was a milestone month for us. We finally had the balls to quit our full-time jobs. We were ready to bootstrap this company with consulting money from part-time work. But then, we were pleasantly surprised to learn we had gotten accepted by DreamIt Ventures in Philadelphia. For three months, we would have the opportunity to work — full-time! in a real office! — on our company. We would even be able to hire a third developer to join us on-site for the summer. Truly a dream come true.
Last week, we finally moved down to Philadelphia, and Cog Tree moved into its shiny new office in the Philadelphia Science Center. We’re now working side-by-side with nine other talented companies, and even living with the founders of two of them — Matt, Becki and Burak from Trendsta and Jack from Scribnia. Our team also grew significantly, with one new full-time developer and two part-time ones.
Last week felt like the first week of real, sustained work on our project. Rather than multi-tasking and squeezing in a few minutes here and there to work on our business, we were focused and determined. We brainstormed ideas, surveyed users, hacked on code, and crafted an outline of our first deliverable product. It felt great. And it’s just going to get better as we move through the summer.
If you want to keep track of what we’re up to, definitely sign up for our mailing list at http://cogtree.com.