Hello readers! My name is Bernard and I am the Chief Executive Officer at Chip-Down. I don’t normally contribute to our blog, but what better time for my debut than the year end? I wanted to take a moment to reflect on all of our experiences and progress thus far.
A little over a year ago this was nothing but a crazy idea. Not long after conception, I constructed the first Chip-Down prototype and boy was it ugly! Although it was ugly, it was visually stimulating enough to convey my idea and get people to believe in me. The first person to believe in me was my entrepreneurship professor in MBA School. He urged me to use my idea for his class project and continue to pursue it outside of class. That’s exactly what I did.
I brought some friends onto my team and enrolled in pitch competitions. Within 3 months we won $25,000 in funding from several competitions and we were we ready to hit the ground running.
This past summer was an important time for us. Our Chief Operating Officer, Joe, and I worked harder than we ever have in our lives. We spent countless hours talking to manufacturers, meeting with entrepreneurs in the Buffalo community for guidance, and bringing our idea to life. By the end of the summer, our closest family and friends joined us at our Kickstarter launch party. We ran a successful campaign raising over $14,000 in 36 days.
Since our Kickstarter Campaign, we have been focusing a lot on getting Chip-Down in front of the eyes of our target market and manufacturing our game. We have experienced lots of challenges along the way, but have learned a ton that will ultimately lead to the success of our business.
In September, Joe and I won a pitch competition where we gained access to Blackstone’s Techstars Training Camp in New York City. Two teams from every Blackstone Launchpad in the United States and Ireland were invited to the conference and given access to a globally recognized mentoring network. At Techstars, we also had the privilege of receiving first-hand advice from Blackstone’s CEO, Stephen Schwarzman. It was truly an incredible experience and we learned so much from the people that we met.
In November, we were invited to speak to a marketing class at Niagara-Wheatfield Senior High School and at University at Buffalo’s DECA club—an association recognized worldwide for preparing emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in various business development skills. We spoke a lot about our story and how we built our business, but really highlighted how important it is to take advantage of the resources that you have as a student. Students rarely get to hear how much it means to work hard and stay focused from other young adults they can relate to. It was a new experience for us, but something that both Joe and I thoroughly enjoyed.
Overall, this year has been filled with lots of ups and downs. We have learned a lot, experienced new things, and grown as a company. We are ready to take on 2018 with energy and focus! We hope everyone had a joyous holiday season and wish everyone a happy and healthy new year!