Minnesota tech entrepreneur Evan Carothers is a cofounder of Docalytics, a B2B startup born during Startup Weekend Twin Cities 3. The venture went on to place in the 2012 Minnesota Cup, has raised $300k, and most recently was chosen to attend a Google-hosted demo day.
Why did you pick ‘Transition’?
Deciding to make transitions is never an easy decision, and I found that few resources/stories/examples existed for other entrepreneurs to learn from local peers who have dealt with similar challenges when contemplating tough transitions. I thought it would be a great topic to explore a bit – for both my own benefit, and hopefully that of the community.
What transition(s) have you experienced?
I started writing and selling software when I was a wee lad (around age 7) and knew that I would be working in technology my whole life, but the situations and stages definitely define a list of transitions in my life. I always knew I wanted to develop software, but never quite knew just what role I was to play in the experience. The transitions that stand out the most for me though are the changes I made that involved risk – quitting one job to join another with limited personal runway, choosing to stick out hard times when rough patches hit in the growth of a company, and eventually leaving behind the employment world after investing personal funds and blood/sweat/tears to start my own venture.
What have you learned about transitioning?
As I mentioned above, the hardest (and most high-risk) transitions have proven to be the most rewarding that I have experienced. It doesn’t always manifest itself immediately, but I have yet to look back and wish I hadn’t made a transition – nor am I living with the self-guilt of wondering “what if”?
What is your advice for peer entrepreneurs considering a transition?
One thing that I have learned by going through similar, yet all a bit unique, transitions with my cofounders is that every person has a different level of risk tolerance. Just because something seems scary or insurmountable doesn’t necessarily mean that there isn’t a creative solution to find a way to make it happen. For us, that was a combination of contracting/freelancing, understanding & amazing previous employers, bootstrapping, and a whole lot of perseverance. Explore all the options out there, whether or not they appear to be on the table at that time, and know all of your options to approach the question of “how can I make this scary transition” with the knowledge to back up your decision.
Anything else you would like to add?
I truly appreciate the support, breadth of knowledge, and opportunity the local ecosystem provides for entrepreneurs and scrappy companies. The community has grown tremendously over the last few years and I am both grateful to be a part of it and thrilled to see where it goes in the future.