8 startup founders share their story

Angela Lin
Angela is a Data Science and English major at UC Berkeley who juggles interests in machine learning with short fiction. Outside of writing blog posts, she can be found painting Bay Area views or trying new recipes.

What’s your founding story?

Some of the biggest companies start out in the tiniest basements. And some of the greatest ideas are the simplest. Every startup story is unique and offers us a chance to learn about how their founders turned a vision into a reality. We talked with 8 founders to hear what motivated their journey and how they got to where they are today.

Andrew Grauer, Course Hero

A torn meniscus was one of the defining moments that started it all for Andrew Grauer. While in college, Andrew realized that there was a gap in the market for course specific resources for students. So after he got injured and couldn’t make it to classes, he took the leap and started working on Course Hero. He shares how their founding story is born from a place of empathy for being a student.

Andrew Lacy, Prenuvo

How is my health? This was Andrew Lacy's simple question that led to the creation of Prenuvo. During his surprisingly difficult search to find the answer, he met his now Co-Founder Dr. Attariwala, who was using innovative technology to do full body imaging. That’s when Andrew realized that this healthcare solution was something he wanted to make accessible for everyone. He describes how every day holds a new adventure and it’s as much about the journey as it is about the destination. 

Daniel Khachab, Choco

When food travels from grower to consumer, it moves through the hands of nine different parties. The lack of accountability in the food supply chain is what inspired Daniel Khachab to build Choco. He wanted to tackle big problems like climate change and inequality, and found that it always comes down to food. After 14 months of pure research to get to the roots of the problem, Choco was created as a solution. Their current focus is on the hospitality business, but Daniel’s vision for the future is a fully digitized food system. 

Dan Woods, Socotra

Dan Woods always believed that data would be completely transformative. And he saw a huge opportunity in the insurance industry: everything is fully information driven but the systems were outdated. So Dan started Socotra to build the technology that businesses needed. One thing that motivates Dan is the impact of what his team is doing: no one else is solving the problems that they’re working on. 

Brad Buda, Census

Brad Buda started out as a Software Engineer at Amazon, but joined the startup world when he met his co-founder Anton Vaynshtok. After working at several different startups, Brad realized they shared a common theme: data integration. He wanted to solve the frustration of accessing data that’s siloed in different departments, tools, and applications. One thing that’s gotten Census to where they are now is their core value that the best work is always ahead. 

Teddy Gold, 3i

After working in Venture Capital and Private Equity, Teddy Gold realized that a key part of making successful deals was having tight knit networks to source from. So Teddy, alongside his co-founders Mark Gerson and Billy Libby, built a community where investors could find like-minded people and learn from one other. Teddy talks about how the demand for 3i is growing in today’s economy when people are seeking a safe and supportive community. 

Robin Shah and Bobby Green, Thyme Care

Robin Shah spent 15 years working in the oncology space — talking with patients, families, and caregivers and listening to what they need. After getting weekly calls from friends and even friends of friends who needed answers when their loved one was told they have cancer, Robin realized that he wanted to help provide high-quality care to those without an oncologist connection. So Thyme Care was created to be that trusted insider. 

For Bobby Green, who worked as a Medical Oncologist for 15 years, he always felt that there was a gap between what patients needed and what providers were able to give. That’s why one of the core problems driving Thyme Care’s mission is: what can we do to help patients when they step outside of our office?

Founding stories and employer branding

Storytelling is one of the most important parts of employer branding. If you want people to understand who you are and why your company matters, you have to break down the walls and get personal. One storytelling strategy is to create a meaningful founding story: Why did you start the company? What experiences inspired you and what’s the mission you’re working towards? 

For potential candidates, this helps people understand your company and vision. With a strong founding story, you can attract the right people who care about the same things you do. A unique story also sets you apart from other employers hiring in the same space. For current employees, sharing the founding story can help people feel more connected to the work they’re doing and feel like they're a part of something bigger than themselves.

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At Puck, our mission is to make hiring more human. We believe that people and their stories should be at the center of your employer brand strategy. Ask us how we can help you find your people below.

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