April 11th, 2017 I sat in the beloved Café 80 where myself, Sebastian, Matt and Alan would regularly grab a bite to eat. This happened to be one of my final days interning for Conexie and I was beginning to realize that I did not want it to end. I was really enjoying the work I was doing, the people I was interacting with and the new skills that I was tapping into. My previous internship in the States was a corporate finance position at PJM Interconnection. It was your classic office job that consisted of data input, number crunching and entry level analysis. Don’t get me wrong, I did not have a problem with what I was doing, but I began to realize that doing the same thing every day was incredibly dry. I wasn’t convincing myself that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
But let me back up a few steps. When spontaneously applying to study abroad, I chose to do an internship along with the courses I enrolled in. I figured that an international working experience would serve me well when applying for jobs. I provided the application with fields where I might like to work. My top 3 were Finance, Business Development and Marketing. I was really hoping for a finance position because at this point in my life I was expecting to go into that industry.
I was then chosen by Conexie, A start-up software/tech company based in Sydney. I was scheduled to do a phone interview with the CEO/Co-Founder, Sebastian Jacobs, a couple of days later. When I received the call I began speaking with Sebastian about the opportunity. He explained what they were doing and asked if I was interested. I expressed that I was keen to work for a start-up where my day to day activities would likely differ. I can’t remember thinking twice about whether I wanted to do it or not. It was exactly the opposite of what I had done in the past and that is what made it attractive. It was an immediate lock in my mind.
So I sit at Café 80 with the fellow Aussies, more or less by chance, wondering what I can do to stay involved with there business. I decided to ask Sebastian and Matt a very direct question. “What can I do to stay involved?” was exactly what I said. Sebastian began to say that Conexie is capable of working anywhere in the world and the United States market showed great potential. He then explained that if I wanted to be someone that would bring their business to the United States, they would fully support my attempt.
At that point my instincts, which I value very highly in making decisions, were telling me that this was exactly what I am going to do. I’m going to help a start-up grow into an international market. Sorry finance industry, I’ve found another calling.
A major part of my decision to act on what Sebastian and Matt had said to me was the thought of myself 10 years down the road sitting in a finance job that I “enjoyed” and hearing that Conexie has swept the nation, by the hands of someone else. I would be a fool to let that be remotely close to a possibility. Not to mention, the potential long-term reward, both professionally and personally heavily outweighs the inevitable short-term risks.
April 22nd, 2017 I land back in the U.S. with another summer season eagerly awaiting. I had a landscaping job that required 50 hours a week and provided me multiple early warning signs of needing knee and shoulder replacements. Being that landscaping is very mindless work, I was constantly thinking about Conexie and the opportunity that I could take advantage of. I thought and thought for weeks, along with reading a few books, one of which my partner Jon had mentioned in the first post. “Where do I start?” I kept asking myself. Where does an individual start with the opportunity to bring a fully functioning app and software to an untapped market? The thought itself was so overwhelming that it was hindering my ability to think, if that makes any sense whatsoever.
After I was able to get fully readjust to being back in the U.S., I had the bright idea of contacting the U-Imagine Center which is the entrepreneurship resource run by Maureen Cumpstone at Ursinus College (not really a bright idea considering the U-imagine Center was staring me in the face). I was also rightfully inclined to ask Jon Gerhartz and Alex Drum if they wanted to join me in the venture and be my equals. If there is one thing that I did realize pretty quickly, it was that doing this on my own and being successful would be extremely challenging. While in Sydney, Jon, Alex and I had participated in an entrepreneurship competition run by the U-Imagine Center with an App idea that Alex came up with as a result of a panic attack (Interesting story I might add). We ended up taking third in the competition and caught ourselves a decent payday. Judging by the way we worked together on that project, I knew that they would be a perfect fit for this new entrepreneurial opportunity.
So, here we stand. Active legal agreements in play and heaps of tasks to be completed as we are only just beginning with Conexie and the bright future that many believe it to have.
It is not often that one finds opportunity roughly 10,000 miles across the earth.
What a time it is to be alive!
Check out Conexie’s official video here!