Hi, I’m Olivier!
As a scientist, I learned that you can neither create nor destroy matter. However, as CEO of Atumsoft, I learned that you can create time. Or, at least that’s how it’s felt for the past few months.
When Co-founder Andrew Carl suggested that we enter the AngelHack Cincinnati Hackathon, all we had was an idea. That moment was the starting gun of a three month sprint to create something that would revolutionize the modern laboratory and more importantly, the lives of those working inside of them.
First, we built the perfect team. Each member with a complementary skillset and identical drive to make something great. Then, we built the prototype that won the Cincinnati Hackathon. We were all thrilled to have taken part in the experience. We celebrated by doing what quickly became an Atumsoft tradition: we got back to work.
From there, we kicked off the HACKcelerator program and that’s when the pace really began to pick up. As the weeks blurred by, Atumsoft became incorporated, we further fleshed out our concept and, through what is likely the most valuable aspect of our early relationship with AngelHack, we met our mentor, Brian Powell. Brian, the VP of engineering at the Cincinnati startup company Strap, immediately stepped up our game by establishing weekly meetings in which we were able to have all of our questions answered.
— Brian Powell (@BGPowell) August 25, 2015
As the HACKcelerator whirred along, the program’s strengths quickly made themselves clear. At that time, Atumsoft was comprised of four people, each with demanding full time jobs contending for Atumsoft’s time. The program’s set deadlines to complete our weekly deliverables pushed each member of the team to create the most efficient and aggressive schedule possible to work on the company’s tasks. Sleeping became a rare occasion. But it wasn’t just the clearly defined goals that pushed us. The weekly speaker sessions with industry experts were also immeasurably valuable to our fledgling startup. From idea building and testing, to acquiring funding and marketing, these sessions spanned the entire spectrum of business knowledge that is still so crucial to our startup. While deep in work, October arrived and as the season began to change from hot to cold (seasons change in the East Coast!), so did Atumsoft change conversely. Things had reached fever pitch as the pressure rolled in to apply all of what we’ve been learning through our AngelHack connections and mentors. It was early October when we found out that our greatest challenge yet lays just ahead: AngelHack’s 2015 Global Demo Day.
Only now am I beginning to find the words to express our excitement after hearing that we would be heading to San Francisco to attend Global Demo Day. It was an amazing feeling to find out that our hard work did pay off! Andrew and I immediately booked our tickets and prepared to represent Atumsoft to the rest of the world, or at least the Valley.
When we arrived, I was instantly reminded of our experience at the hackathon earlier that summer in Cincinnati. The atmosphere was electrifying as each team underwent three intense days of pitch training. The camaraderie that formed between teams was almost instantaneous and not simply a byproduct of the unanimous decision to promote coffee’s status from Helpful-Energizer to Absolute-Necessity. In three days, I observed every team practicing their pitch with every other team at least once. Everyone gave real, constructive criticism and the improvements made in such a short span to each pitch was impressive. Of course Atumsoft didn’t escape unscathed from the feedback.
I must admit that it was tough to receive so much criticism on something that we had put our all into. When you work on something for so long, you tend to easily overlook its flaws. But we shook off our egos and learned as much as we could from each session. The all the teams and mentors who attended, we owe you an enormous debt of gratitude! In no particular order, we are immensely grateful for the feedback we received from mentors like Kelly Kugler, Sebastien Taveau, Joseph Avilla, Sean Hughes, and of course, our own superstar Brian Powell.
Just before the trip, Brian was named (quite accurately) the Mentor of the Year for the 2015 HACKcelerator program. As a reward, he was flown to San Francisco to witness our victories and of course, grab food and a few drinks in the evening. You know, for mentoring purposes.
Global Demo Day arrived quickly, but the three days of pitch preparation had us feeling confident and ready. As each team took the stage throughout the day to rehearse their pitch, the mounting excitement and tension was palpable. Next thing we knew, we were being called backstage. It was time for the real thing.
The transformation of each team from the day they arrived to how they were when they took the stage was incredible. Each team cheered on the others like they were their own, a demonstration of the camaraderie and mutual respect that was built in just three days. Our pitch went off without a hitch, and it became obvious that we’re not the only ones who felt that way. The prize pool this year was amazing and we came out of Global Demo Day with one of those massive checks boasting up to $100K in funding from Lab360, and office hours with Y Combinator.
As quickly as it had all started, it was over. Sitting on the plane back to Cincinnati, I reflected on the previous three months and our experience with AngelHack. I realized that this was the most learning I had done in years. I realized that this was the hardest I have ever worked in my life. And I realized how valuable this experience with AngelHack was for Atumsoft. We came out of Global Demo Day a better company, a better team and I certainly came out a different person. Atumsoft is here to eliminate wasted time in laboratories around the world and with help from AngelHack, in a short three months, we went from a living room concept to a funded startup with the tools and exposure for #StartupCincy to make this happen. The changes and growth that we’ve experienced over the past few months have been tremendous, but believe me…
We’re just getting started.
Watch Atumsoft’s live demo here.