Five Lessons Learned from Max Farrell and Andrew Kirpalani, Co-Founders of WorkHound
Max Farrell and Andrew Kirpalani, Co-Founders of WorkHound, were the speakers at the April Square One DSM Startup Stories event. WorkHound is a worker engagement platform built to help trucking companies engage and retain their drivers. Farrell and Kirpalani talked about how their prior experiences working for startup companies have helped them in building WorkHound, as well as how they have learned to work together as co-founders.
Key Presentation Takeaways
Throw Yourself Into the Business
Farrell and Kirpalani joined an accelerator in Omaha to build the business with little more than notes and ideas. That ended up being beneficial for the company, as they were able to spend 90 days working on nothing else but their business, figuring out if it could work and if they could work together as business partners.
Find a Business Partner with Complementary Skills
One of the reasons the partnership worked is because Kirpalani brought a computer engineering background, and Farrell brought a sales background.
Get Involved in Your Vertical Industry
To make more connections in the trucking industry, Farrell and Kirpalani joined an accelerator focused on transportation and logistics in Chattanooga, Tenn. They likened the experience as being similar to what insurance and financial services companies get when going through the Global Insurance Accelerator in Greater Des Moines (DSM).
Help Customers Solve Problems
Using past business experience, the co-founders were diligent about building solutions and products that were consistent and that solved problems for many customers — rather than customizing projects for individual customers. They realized they weren’t a custom shop, and weren’t equipped to be. Likewise, they were diligent about only promising to sell what they could deliver.
Get Back Up
Nearly all entrepreneurs are smart and work hard. What separates the successful entrepreneurs? In Kirpalani’s opinion, it is the ability to “get punched in the face,” get up, get punched again and keep getting up. Even when things are difficult, continue to come to work every day and move the needle forward.
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As executive director of entrepreneurial initiatives of the Greater Des Moines Partnership, Mike Colwell leads works with startups to build their business model, financial model, marketing strategies and capitalization plan. He is also co-manager of Plains Angels, a group of Iowa-based Midwest angel investors. Mike spends his days coaching, mentoring, consulting and asking tough questions to help entrepreneurs reach their full potential. Mike assists with business strategy, business planning, business plan execution, business model development and capital acquisition strategies.