Team, Traction, Trajectory: The 3 T’s to building a successful startup
by Andrew Weinman, Founder & Co-CEO, Happly
Building a business from the ground-up can be both rewarding and challenging. For the past two decades, my professional life has been dedicated to taking bright ideas and transforming them into successful businesses, globally. Along the way, I have experienced the highs of business success and battled through a few challenges. Having been in the fortunate position to have some pretty smart people around me, I have learnt there are three critical steps to start up success: The 3 T’s – team, traction, and trajectory.
Returning to Australia, I had an idea. What if we could revolutionise the moving process from one of life’s most stressful experiences, taking hundreds of hours, to mere minutes through smart technology? In my youth, I had been lucky to experience the easy-breezy nature of an executive-style move with my family, as my father was head-hunted to run a company in Sydney. That was 20+ years ago and, to date, this smooth moving journey had been limited to white collar executives, or the mega wealthy, through hiring costly moving coordinators. We had the technology to master moving for every Australian, saving time, money, and headaches, but weren’t utilising it.
In that moment, Happly was born.
Despite previous entrepreneurial experience, I had never founded a tech startup. I had the idea but I knew to be successful, focusing on the 3 T’s – team, traction, and trajectory – would be make or break. Here’s how the 3 T’s helped Happly and why I believe they could help your startup be successful too.
- Teamwork, because there’s no ‘I’ in startup
Finding the right people to bring the Happly vision to life has been critical. Without our amazing team, Happly would not exist. As a Founder, I believe in surrounding yourself with A-grade people, who have a track record of success, who you look up to, and whose experience and advice you can lean on (and hopefully leverage) to build your own knowledge and skill set.
At Happly, we’ve been fortunate to have a team who are all incredibly passionate and dedicated to the work we are doing and treat the business and customers like their own. Welcoming my Co-CEO, Jeremy Rosen (Co-Founder and former Co-CEO of TAXIBOX) to the business has been integral to building both a successful business and positive team culture. Jeremy’s skillset and ways of working are complementary to my own. His extensive knowledge of the moving business, high-level digital acumen, and proven success at using technology to disrupt traditional industries has been a game changer. While it may not be common for a tech startup to have Co-CEOs, this has been a big part of our early success and it is certainly worth considering if a bespoke business model could also work for you.
Furthermore, we welcomed our superstar CTO, Matt Adams, who had previously been in the Proptech world and who had proven himself as a smart, value-aligned executive. This laid a rock-solid foundation to further expand our team leading up to our market launch.
While it may sound corny, from my experience teamwork always makes the dream work. Surrounding yourself with the right people is the lifeblood of a startup.
- Traction to build momentum
For startups, time, money, and resources are often limited. Being strategic and purposeful in seeking out opportunities and executing on business priorities has been a key learning.
For Happly, having a strong technical foundation was key. Finding the right people, who are highly skilled and trustworthy, to build this was the hard part. However, once we had the right team behind our technology, the rubber really hit the road. We rapidly gained traction, developing our technology platform and digital experience, with the team’s creativity building something unique. Welcoming Jeremy and Matt accelerated our momentum, which enabled me to focus on other critical components of the business.
We had the market fit, we had the technology, and we had the right people. However, to truly gain traction we needed investment in our vision. We have been fortunate to welcome investors and advisers with experience across business, finance, property, and technology who offer us counsel and have helped us build our network of partnerships and customers. They have complete belief in what we are creating and have invested $1.75 million to ensure we have the runway to bring our startup vision to life and deliver a best-in-class platform for all Australians.
- Trajectory, your pathway to success
Having a vision is what brings a business to life. However, clear goals and objectives is what keeps it on a successful trajectory. While not glamorous, learning to be laser sharp on measurement and business metrics is critical.
At Happly, we have clear metrics around customer satisfaction, platform interactions, and partnership development. We strive to create a better version of our company each day. We know precisely what we need to achieve next week, in six months, and even in three years. We also understand the partnerships needed to get us there. By clarifying our vision we can seek out the people and businesses who share our goal – to disrupt the moving industry – and who we can partner with in the long term, with aligned commercial and cultural fit.
Learning to measure our success and track clear KPIs has been instrumental in bringing our company to life. Having clear oversight of business trajectory is a key ingredient to startup success.
As a startup Founder, there have been many lessons learnt throughout my career. The 3 T’s – team, traction, trajectory – have continuously been the core elements that have made vision a reality. Bringing together the right people, working collectively to build business momentum, and tracking progress can amplify and accelerate a startup, while also helping the team to execute with a shared passion, vision, and purpose. It has certainly helped me, could it help your business find startup success too?