Spring always brings change to Texas. Bluebonnets are blooming, new businesses are bursting onto the scene and one tech accelerator founder is leaving to attend a coding bootcamp in New York City.
Motive founder John Backes and his wife, Amber, discuss what that means for the accelerator, their family and The Startup Family Podcast.
Amber Backes, founder of The Startup Family Podcast:
A few weeks ago John, you posted an article on Medium titled, “Motive is taking a hiatus for 2016.” That feels like an abrupt change from where we were planning at the end of 2015. Can you share a little more about how that change came about?
John Backes, co-founder of The Motive Accelerator :
For the last year, I’ve been evangelizing the world as to the fabulous environment that Dallas is for startups, particularly those related to real estate technology. Just like any ecosystem, we are dependent on the factors that make our community. As oil and gas prices plummeted in late 2015, it became an unwise move to fund a spring cohort. If my article is too long there are short memes included.
AB: That’s a big change. How are the Motive companies doing? Should we be worried? Is this permanent?
JB: Even though Motive hit a fundraising snag this year, the Motive companies are doing great. Skyrise just closed a huge deal. Leaseful and Casalova’s metrics look amazing. Dwelo was the first out of the gate to raise a significant round, closing their first priced round with Conservice, a major strategic in their space. I couldn’t be happier with how they are doing.
Motive is not shutting down. We’re taking a year off to see how the market improves.
This bootcamp is a short intense 13 week training that will bring me to a whole new level as a startup community member and mentor.
AB: What are you plans for the rest of the year? A creative mind like yours does not sit idle for long.
JB: I have decided to spend the spring/summer learning to code at a coding bootcamp. I had been looking at a computer science degree for sometime, but as a startup family the timing has not been right. This bootcamp is a short intense 13 week training that will bring me to a whole new level as a startup community member and mentor. So I leave for New York on mid-April.
AB: It might come as a surprise to some that we chose to look at schools outside of Dallas considering our love and believe in the city. There are fantastic coding bootcamps right here in the city. The choice to leave was multilayered. Ultimately, when all the factors were combined we found the best fit in Fullstack Academy. Why did you choose that one?
JB: I narrowed my choices down to programs where I thought I could build a lot of relationships quickly, that had really good alumni testimonials, and seemed to have a very rigorous program.
AB: You’ve been out of school a long time, what was it like to apply to a program like this?
JB: Fullstack had a very rigorous application process and a somewhat intimidating video interview that included a time problem solving exercise with one of the founders of the bootcamp.
JB: That’s what I will be doing this spring/summer, perhaps you would like to share what the rest of our startup family during that time.
AB: This has been a big year for the Startup Family Podcast we have found our rhythm telling the story of entrepreneurs, innovators and small business owners who are family oriented but also passionate about creating a better world for themselves and others. We will continue releasing an episode each week for the remainder of this season.
JB: Tell me more about the “Startup Family Podcast.” What is that? There are hundreds of resources on how to build a startup – do we really need another startup podcast?
AB: “Startup Family” is a term I caught onto early in our transition into the entrepreneurial community.
Like you said, there are a ton of resources on how to build a startup, but very little advice for the supportive partner. In 2013 I started a mommy blog about our story of buying into the Dallas startup scene as a unit. It had some success but what we really wanted to do was build a community for family oriented risk takers.
JB: How did you come up with the idea of a podcast?
Through our interviews, we’ve found that a huge percentage of entrepreneurial families have a lot of support.
AB: The idea was birth out of a series I was asked to write about local startup families. After the first in-person interview I realized that the conversation was meatier than what I could put into a short write-up. Each week I am stunned at the wisdom our guests share with us.
JB: So, let’s be honest. Do you think we can really balance to do all of this?
AB: Through our interviews, we’ve found that a huge percentage of entrepreneurial families have a lot of support. We are very fortunate that we’ve had prior successes and family support that allow us the flexibility to regroup. Consistently, startup families report to us that without that support, founding a startup is very difficult. That’s why I consider “support network” to be one of the keys to startup family success. That network being not only our family and friends but also the amazing startup community here in the DFW area. It is my vision for the podcast to build another layer of that network as an online community of startup families.
As spring gives way to summer one begins see the glimpse of fruit from these changes and risks but it not until “fall” arrives that anyone will know if the risks they take in the springtime were worth it.
The vision of The Startup Familes Podcast in chronicling the lives of startup families such as the Backes’ & others is to help others sow into broken ground and avoid the mistakes of the past. Previous episodes can be found in iTunes or downloaded at www.startupfamilies.org.
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