LA Startup Goes from 0 to 100mph In Three Months – FORBES 8/13/12
Transforming the advertising you see all around you is Enplug. The team behind this Silicon Beach startup fell together quickly and has ramped up from idea to product to sales in less than 3 months. Here are 7 things to note about B2B startup Enplug.
The Enplug team was born from a crash of fortuitous event. After David conceptualized Enplug with Navdeep, a high-school classmate, he searched for additional co-founders. As chance would have it, David was introduced to Nanxi Liu on a vacation trip to Hong Kong. She signed on board immediately. On David’s flight back to LA from meeting Nanxi, David was ready to sit down when a young man accidentally stepped on his feet. After apologizing for the mishap, the young man sat down and introduced himself as Zach. Small talk eventually led to entrepreneurial conversation. The next day, Zach and his roommate, Alex Ross, officially became part of the Enplug family.
3 of the 5 co-founders are college drop-outs, but their backgrounds stray from the characteristic computer programmer profile. Alex, the lead programmer, studied Chinese in college. David was a former professional poker player and ironically, Enplug’s CFO. Nanxi, the CEO, was previously CEO of a company developing polymers for vaccines. “My skillset is building things. Give me an exciting idea and I will figure out a way to make it succeed,” says Nanxi on why she joined Enplug.
Separate work and personal life? Nope, co-founders Nanxi, Alex, David, Navdeep, and Zach all moved into a three bedroom apartment in downtown Los Angeles to purposely blur the lifestyle divide. Brushing their teeth next to each other in the morning and cooking dinner for one another, the team literally wakes up and falls asleep to Enplug. They transformed their living room into an office area lined with 5 desks splattered with computer monitors. “The best part of living together is I can roll out of bed and work in my pajamas. The bad part is we share one bathroom.” Navdeep jokes.
Enplug is tackling outdated digital signage technology. They have built an interactive, realtime, and wireless TV network that allows brands and customers to communicate via smartphone in venues equipped with Enplug Intelligent TVs.
Speed is King
Forming in late May, the team moved in together two weeks later, had contracts to install the Enplug TV in over 2,000 venues in three weeks, and had 6-figure revenue contracts with advertisers after a month. Two months later, the toddler startup was the digital TV screen providers at the Los Angeles Auto Convention- which had over 10,000 people in attendance.
Living in LA, Enplug is an example that Silicon Valley does not have to be the default location for startups. And if you don’t want to work from home, community can be found at workspots like: Coloft, Blank Spaces, or the Hub LA.
Woman in Tech
As CEO, Nanxi leads a team of 4 male co-founders and 3 male employees. Nanxi knows how to code, too, and the team is very supportive of the growingGirls in Tech and Girls Who Code movement. Asked what it’s like to have a female lead the male-dominated team, Alex said, “being a girl versus not being a girl isn’t particularly a factor we consider. We just do what feels right.”
Special thanks to Nanxi Liu!
Direct link: http://www.forbes.com/sites/samanthasmith/2012/08/13/la-startup-goes-from-0-to-100mph-in-three-months/