Ideas are like fish. You can't make them. You have to catch them. Caroline and I baited our hooks a year ago and can now proudly say we have a sizable snapper on the other end of the lure. Now to execute! We founded our company, Carbon38, at the Women 2.0 Startup Weekend last November. Getting off that plane at SFO, dressed in lululemon to pitch to the SF Tech community, marked our first foray into the business of startups. Now almost eleven months later we are four weeks into our tenure at StartEngine, an LA accelerator, after countless pivots, staff shake-ups and investor meetings. Through thick and thin we have held fast to each other and the idea of giving the fitness industry a makeover.
Caroline and I have always believed that buying a SoulCycle class is like buying Chanel lipstick. I might want to carry the $3,000 Chanel Ligne Cambon Shopping Tote but at $32, my lips can shine and I can feel chic popping the glossy double 'C' embossed tube of lipstick into my makeup pouch at a much more attainable price tag. Same goes for Soul. For the price of a lipstick I can hop on a bike, rock and ride and torch calories behind Jake Gyllenhaal and feel part of something elite, even if my chauffer is not waiting for me on 17th and Union Square West. If Carbon38 can rebrand the gym into something aspirational, we might be able to get a lot more people perspiring.
Cut to our offices at Wilshire and the 405 in Los Angeles. Caroline and I have been working battleship style for almost a month now as we close in on our product. But first order of business has been assembling our team. As two fit females in a predominantly sedentary male-dominated startup scene, we do stick out. However that might be because I have a tendency break into 'Gangham style' at 32 hour intervals. Given that Caroline and I have known each other since 10th grade, have danced together at Miami City Ballet, studied at Harvard and worked in New York for the 13 years since our first meeting, expanding our unit has been the steepest challenge to date. And since we are a tech startup, engineers are a must, but it has been a trial finding a ruby on rails ninja who also likes vinyasa and kale chips.
We came up with the brilliant idea of teaching midnight yoga at a recent Hackathon out of UCLA. Charles Bergmann, founder of ProNoise, organized the HackOlympics, gathering 70 'hackers' into a small, un-air conditioned space at Originate Labs. Armed with a killer playlist, lululemon leggings and some awesome cloud space-branded T-Shirts, Caroline and I led the mass of wired engineers through a series of hip releases and forearm stretches. Needless to say we had 20 emails in our inbox by Monday inquiring about Carbon38 job opportunities. Like shooting fish in a barrel; we are finally the cool kids.