I’m happy to officially announce that Dave Payne will be joining me and Switchyards Downtown Club as a co-founder. Read Hype’s piece on it.
While we have our hands full right now curating the building, once the doors open Dave will be mostly focused on Switchyards Studios…our more systematic efforts to create more B2C winners in Atlanta (see below for more).
So how did this come about?
When I left Scoutmob last year to start Switchyards, Dave and I decided to keep meeting weekly (as we did at Scoutmob) so that we could talk startups…our favorite topic. Frequently those coffee chats focused on how to create more solid consumer and design-focused startups in Atlanta because Scoutmob’s success was so rare locally. But these were never more than casual conversations because Dave was still running Scoutmob and I was in the early days of Switchyards.
One Friday about four months ago, Dave mentioned that he might take a step back from Scoutmob since the business was growing, profitable and had a great team in place. Knowing that there was no one better in Atlanta to join me in helping to execute on the vision of Switchyards, I threw the idea out there that maybe we should work together again.
By the end of that weekend, we had decided that we were going to put the band back together and work on growing Switchyards together.
“Successful teams that have come back together to do another startup are often successful again — not from doing the same thing over and over, but because of the human element that comes with intense shared experiences.” — David Cummings, serial entrepreneur
The task of creating more B2C winners in Atlanta is a big one and we are as suited as anyone in town to have an impact. Whether is was TechCrunch the day Scoutmob launched, Mashable calling us one of the best mobile apps of the year, MODA calling Scoutmob one of the most recognizable brands in Atlanta over the last 25 years, CNN spending time in our office or just one of our local parties, we created some magic and now we want help other B2C companies in town do the same thing.
Dave and I created one of the most recognized B2C brands in Atlanta, raised over $8M in venture capital, scaled Scoutmob to a profitable company with over $5M in revenue and (most importantly) grew an amazingly engaged user base of millions of consumers across the country.
And Scoutmob wasn’t even my first project with Dave. Dave had started a Wi-Fi company before Scoutmob called SkyBlox where I first joined him eight years ago, so this is actually our 3rd project together. While SkyBlox wasn’t successful, we launched a decent product and had many paying customers. Going from a “lifestyle business” like SkyBlox to a high-growth business like Scoutmob was an amazing learning experience and we feel we’ve seen the path before and want to help as many as possible on a similar journey locally.
This might sound strange since Dave is joining Switchyards, but he’s never been a strong proponent of having our own building. He often says “if I quit my day job tomorrow to work on a startup, an office space wouldn’t be one of my first main needs.” This is exactly the reason why I wanted Dave to join Switchyards.
What makes Dave & I so like-minded is that “co-working” (ie giving flexible office space to startups) isn’t our vision at all for Switchyards. What we care most about is creating more B2C winners in Atlanta. The first step in this process is to pull together the best, most like-minded B2C people into a community under the same roof. But that’s only the start.
Dave’s focus will be on what we’re calling Switchyards Studios. Think of all the things that startups need in their first twelve months. Dave will be laying these out and designing programs around them step-by-step.
Over the next few months you’ll be hearing more about Switchyards Studios. As Dave said recently, “putting the pieces together for Studios feels like putting the pieces together for Scoutmob right before we launched…there’s something really big here.”
As many of you know, there’s no one in town more generous with their time to startups that are just beginning. For years, he’s been reaching out to young founders that he doesn’t know just to talk through their ideas or to pitch-in and help.
I’ve been saying recently that there’s no better B2C startup advisor in town than Dave and now he’s 100% focused on working with all of the companies at Switchyards to create more B2C winners. It’s a good match.
One other thing… after eight years starting three companies together, him and I just get each other. We’re very different but we know our strengths and weaknesses and overlap on a key topic — a huge passion for creating consumer and design-led startups. We’re simpatico.