Stubbs Alderton & Markiles and the Preccelerator Program are proud to announce the launch of their Startup Superhero Video Series – featuring SA&M Attorneys, Preccelerator Mentors, and entrepreneurs on topics specific to entrepreneurship and lessons learned throughout the journey.
This week we’re featuring Preccelerator alumni Andrew Cheeseman, as he talks about “Empathy in Entrepreneurship.”
Andrew is a proven leader in both sales and marketing in startups and large organizations PLUS a successful startup with an exit. He is passionate about turning customers’ experiences into revenue and retention. He has deep experience in the software market and loves to build relationships. Andrew’s gift is to inspire leaders to innovate. Combining creativity, leadership, and technology, he also develops game-changing solutions and products with and for industry leaders. Andrew grows businesses through innovation, partnerships, and sales, to create profitable new revenue. He creates vision, influences stakeholders to secure funds, and organizes teams to drive business. He instigates growth through product and market innovation, and through building internal and external networks.
Speaker: Andrew Cheeseman
Moderator: Heidi Hubbeling
Startup Superhero Series – Empathy in Entpreneurship
Heidi: So, we want to talk a little bit about your entrepreneurial journey today. What made you take the wild leap into entrepreneurship?
Andrew: Well, I had been interested in being a creator of things for a long time. Also, I am interested in impact, areas that have a lot of impact. My particular passions are for mind, body, health and community and connectiveness. I was really excited about creating things that could incorporate all these together.
Heidi: What are some of your favorite things? What do you really love about it?
Andrew: Apart from those things, the creation the impact and the passions – I have some interests as well. I love people and what you can do with connecting people. I love creating systems. My belief is that you can’t really grow unless you can delegate. You can’t really delegate unless you have system in place. I just love that stuff.
Heidi: I think it’s one of those lessons that we all learn. It’s one of those things that can direct us to successes, the organizations and being able to create those systems in place to get you to that next level. Let’s talk a little bit about Team(You). Talk to us about what Team(You) is and along the journey with Team(You), what was your proudest moment?
Andrew: Team(You) is a system that addresses one of the issues that is happening in schools. Its widespread. The problem is around learning and apathy and teacher retention. These are all interrelated. Team(You) is a system that addresses those, by creating a culture of empathy vs. apathy. It’s a software based system where students earn points for things like empathy and kindness and service. You asked about what are my most proudest, moments. I think my proudest moment was when we got our first school up and running. Just seeing those points roll in. Realizing, whereas the norm in the industry is about 15% user adoption we had 98% user adoption, we are very proud of that.
Heidi: You guys really entered a time in the market, where you could really make a difference. It was before there was legislation involved that required incentive based learning as a positive reinforcement. You really had an impact from the start.
Andrew: Exactly, it was. In fact, we – as of the end last semester, had 30,000 students enrolled who were collectively engaged in the system for 2.2 million hours per month.
Heidi: Wow, that is very exciting. So, you had those successes. Along your full entrepreneurial journey what’s an important lesson that you learned? What is something you can give back as a lesson of wisdom for other entrepreneurs?
Andrew: I think the biggest lesson is this lesson around empathy. My company is based on empathy which gave me a particular lens to look at, not just my customers, but the actual business. What I came to realize is how deep the importance of empathy is. Not only for customers, of course and understanding what their journey is, but also for employees. Empathy for developers, meaning when I develop something new for the software, I am thinking of everyone who will have to interact with that change. Customer service, investors, empathy for everybody whose involved. I think the big learning, ultimately, is if you look at business through the lens of empathy you can discover things that you never knew existed. It’s one of many lenses of course, but empathy is the interesting learning that I got from this experience.
Heidi: Yeah, I think that’s so important, even when it comes to practical aspects such as product development, you mention how users are going to use the platform. Empathy on the side of investors or on the side of other strategic partners that you’re going to have. Other team members, right? Your core employees, I think that, that is such a foundational characteristic.
Andrew: It is and just to take the customer service example, empathy for the customer service staff is critical. Done the right way, if we position the customer service the right way to customers, investors, partners, and everybody else means that, that role other than just a supporting role becomes the critical role. That means that job is really satisfying because you are executing and carrying out a really important role. It only happens for empathy in that role or people in that role.
Heidi: Finally, going back to the Preccelerator. You were early, early on in the Preccelerator Program. What is one of the biggest values that a program like the Preccelerator has had for you?
Andrew: There are, of course many different values. From a place to have meetings, to the expert legal advice, but I would say probably the biggest one is the impact that mentors have had on me. I have had some amazing feedback and support from some of the mentors.
Heidi: Yes, they are a core value of this program, it wouldn’t work without them. We really appreciate you being here.
To learn more about the Preccelerator Program, contact Heidi Hubbeling at firstname.lastname@example.org.