5 Quick Startup Case Studies to Help You Get Started

To keep this as informative as possible - let's keep the intro short.

I interviewed five founders and asked how they got started - nothing hand-wavey, just the first three realistic steps they took. Here's what I've compiled.

‍Case Study #1: Revival Chili

Industry: Food / Social Good

Founder: Jordan Robarge

Jordan Robarge started Revival Chili to help re-entering citizens coming out of jail learn entrepreneurship and find employment. It's a restaurant and food truck that conducts a series of programs outside of its work schedule.

The first three things Jordan did to get started were:

  1. Start making chili for catering events out of college, honing the craft and experimenting with the food product.
  2. Tell everyone about the idea and asked for feedback, suggestions, and resources to improve the idea. He interviewed other food truck owners while he did this.
  3. Start getting certifications to sell food and began applying to incubators.

Resources Jordan used:

Here's a video I made of the interview!

‍Case Study #2: Meterfeeder

Industry: Parking

Founder: Jim Gibbs

Jim Gibbs started MeterFeeder because he was frustrated with parking his car, and he knew it had to be an issue for governments too. Meter Feeder is a smart-parking technology that makes tracking, paying, and just dealing with parking easier for the local government and for you.

The first three things Jim did to get started were:

  1. Build a prototype of the idea in a local hackathon, and won $10,000! That's a great start, for sure.
  2. Talk to local municipalities about their parking problems over and over and over until they finally considered his solution.
  3. Focused all his effort on making sure the app worked and that people knew it existed.

Resources Jim used:

Here's a video I made of the interview!

‍Case Study #3: Piper Creative

Industry: Video and Branding

Founder: Hannah Phillips

Hannah, along with her partner in crime, Aaron Watson, started Piper Creative because they saw an opportunity locally to improve advertising and personal brands. Piper is a creative agency in Pittsburgh that had quite the unique start - and they evolved several times to eventually land on helping clients create LinkedIn content.

The first three things Hannah did to get started were:

  1. Agonize over the name of the company they were going to create.
  2. Push the news out to both hers and Aaron's networks, saying "We're starting an agency, and here's how we can help you!"
  3. Start taking meetings from interested parties, and stayed flexible on their initial product offerings to get their first bit of business.

Resources Hannah used:

Here's a video I made of the interview!

‍Case Study #4: BlocHealth

Industry: Hospital Recruiting Tech

Founder: Jared Taylor

Jared's company started out as a nurse staffing company but started to have issues with larger client deals. Eventually, they pivoted because they saw larger opportunities in solving those same problems for other staffing agencies!

The first three things Jared did to get started were:

  1. Aggressively build his network in the medical space - both with professionals and organizations. Started placing people.
  2. The verification for the roles they hired took too long for a large client, and they lost the deal, so they decided to pivot.
  3. Put a posting up on AngelList looking for a technical cofounder. Worked with them for 6 months remotely, and then they came on full-time.

Resources Jared used:

Here's a video I made of the interview!

‍Case Study #5: Pack Up + Go

Industry: Travel

Founder: Lilian Rafson

Lilian was traveling abroad and learned of a new type of travel that hadn't been introduced to the U.S. yet: Suprise Travel. Pack Up + Go plans amazing travel experiences, but the catch is you don't know where you're going until the day of your departure.

The first three things Lilian did to get started were:

  1. After she got the idea, she interviewed everyone in her hostiles, wrote down all her ideas, and skyped her mentors back home for advice on the product.
  2. Agonized over the name, working as well as she could around existing trademarks and taken domain names. Then finally made a website on Squarespace and had a few designer friends help her create a logo.
  3. Send out a blast email to all her professional contacts, asking for support. She ended up getting an interview on a local radio station, and eventually an article in Business Insider, which launched her business off.

Resources Lilian used:

Here's a video I made of the interview!

It seems like the one common thing we can take away from this is that talking to everyone you know about your idea, and building a list of mentors, are great starts to whatever idea you have.

This article was formed from a video series I run on LinkedIn, #StartupCaseStudy. If you have other suggestions for interviews, I would love to hear them! Just email me at maxmirho@gmail.com

Hope this was helpful. :)

Max Mirho
written by Max Mirho

host of EntrepreNerd