Starting a successful startup is a dream for many aspiring entrepreneurs, but few manage to turn their dreams into reality. The story of Aditya and Saawan, two undergrads from a college in Minneapolis, is a remarkable example of how determination, passion, and a shared vision can lead to the creation of a thriving venture studio.
What started as a frustration with the traditional education system turned into a successful bootstrapped business that has helped numerous entrepreneurs turn their ideas into profitable technology businesses.
In this article, we will explore how Aditya and Saawan started Fountane Inc, the challenges they faced, and the lessons they learned along the way. We will also provide tips on how to start your own startup based on their inspiring journey.
What is Fountane, and how did the Founders meet?
Fountane Inc is a venture studio that helps entrepreneurs turn their ideas into profitable technology businesses. Unlike traditional venture capital firms, Fountane Inc is not just a source of funding but a partner that provides a wide range of services, including product development, marketing, and sales.
The company is based in Minneapolis, US, and was founded in 2017 by Aditya and Saawan, two undergrads who wanted to create a different kind of company that focused on innovation, collaboration, and social impact.
Their journey began at their college in Minneapolis, where they met during their freshman year. Initially, they never spoke much, but during their sophomore year, their vibe clicked, and they became good friends.
Coming from an entrepreneurial family, Saawan always had a passion for tech and business. He has been into case studies and business organizations since high school. Aditya, on the other hand, was a very proactive guy and had a lot of connections. What they both had in common was: their frustration with the education system. This frustration made them the business partners they are today.
What does it take to start a Startup? (Examples from Fountane)
Identifying a problem and finding a solution
The first step in starting a startup is identifying a problem that needs solving. This can be anything from a small inconvenience to a significant issue. Once you have identified a problem, the next step is to find a solution. This could be a product or service that can solve the problem.
Aditya and Saawan identified their frustration with the traditional education system as a problem that needed solving. They were against the societal norm of studying books and doing a job for 40 years. They then found a solution by starting a venture studio that could help others who felt the same way.
Creating a business plan
A business plan is essential for any startup. It outlines your vision, goals, and strategies to achieve them. Aditya and Saawan created a business plan that included their vision for Fountane Inc and how they planned to achieve it.
Their plan included starting a service-based company that took on small projects during the initial days. Eventually, they went on to build a team, taking on bigger projects and launching multiple startups from their venture studio.
Building a team
A successful startup requires a team with different skills and expertise. Initially, Fountane started by hiring part-timers and contractors to develop and design products. When the business took off, they started hiring full-time employees who shared their vision and could contribute to the growth of their startup.
Today, Fountane has more than 40 full-time employees. The idea of working at Fountane is that every employee works on the same level with an entrepreneurial mindset. They ought to own the project they work on. Fountane believes in a flat hierarchy among the employees.
Raising capital is essential to fund your startup. There are several ways to raise capital, such as bootstrapping, crowdfunding, or seeking investment from venture capitalists.
Aditya and Saawan started their venture studio as a bootstrapped business, which means they started the company with very little cost. They used the money to pay developers and designers and took up small projects to build a resume and test if they could survive the first few years.
During the third year of business, they started making profits, and today, after 6 years of operation, Fountane has grown manifolds.
Launching your startup
The norm is to launch a startup only once you have a team, a business plan, and capital. However, Aditya and Saawan defied this convention and launched Fountane Inc. with nothing but an idea and themselves.
They started working on their idea from day one and planned everything along the way. They began with a non-full-time team and limited capital. Since then, they have successfully built various startups, including Impowered, TrunkDrop, and many more.
Their aim is to create an ecosystem that supports entrepreneurs in creating impactful initiatives. This goal drives them to keep working and improving.
Lessons to learn from Fountane:
Innovation and Social Impact are Key to Success
Fountane Inc. stands out from other venture studios by putting innovation and social impact at the center of their business. Their passion for creating change in the traditional education system led them to start their venture studio. This focus has helped them create a unique identity and differentiate themselves from competitors.
Networking and Collaboration are Essential
Aditya and Saawan’s experience shows the importance of networking and collaboration. They both had different strengths and areas of expertise, which they combined to start Fountane Inc. By collaborating with others, they were able to build a team that shared their vision and helped them achieve their goals.
Starting Small Can Lead to Big Success
Fountane Inc. started as a bootstrapped business, meaning they started with a very limited cost. This allowed them to test the market and build a reputation before seeking investment. Starting small can be an effective way to minimize risks and test the waters before expanding.
Flexibility and Adaptability are Essential
Fountane’s journey highlights the importance of being flexible and adaptable. They started Fountane Inc. with nothing but an idea and themselves, but they were able to adapt to the market, build a team, and launch multiple startups successfully. By being open to change and pivoting when necessary, they were able to build a thriving business.
Empowering Employees is Key to Growth
Fountane Inc.’s culture is centered around empowering employees and giving them ownership of their projects. This has created a sense of ownership and accountability among the employees, leading to a more productive and motivated team. By trusting their employees and creating a flat hierarchy, Fountane has been able to attract and retain top talent, leading to sustained growth over the years.
Starting a startup can be a challenging journey, but with the right mindset, determination, and willingness to learn from mistakes, it can be a rewarding experience. Aditya and Saawan’s story with Fountane Inc. provides some valuable lessons that aspiring entrepreneurs can learn from.
By following the steps mentioned in this article and keeping a clear vision and focus, you can turn your dreams into a reality and create a successful startup that can make a difference in the world. Remember, it’s important to keep learning, adapting, and evolving as your startup grows and faces new challenges. But they key is to STAY FUELED.