Interview With Jamie McCroskery
Describe your product or service:
“Bluebird is a software platform that makes it easy to measure, improve, and communicate the sustainability of your products, allowing you to grow revenue by confidently telling your sustainability story.”
Describe your company values and mission:
“We're in business to decarbonize the consumer products industry. Because we're empowering companies to prevent carbon emissions & communicate those efforts to their customers — something that's totally new and impact-led — we believe in challenging conventional wisdom and working with urgency, passion, and impact. There's a bunch more detail in [our] 'how we work together' page.”
How are you funded? I.e. venture capital, angel investors, etc.
“We're a public benefit corporation that's funded by VC and angels.”
How big is your team? Tell us a little about them (I.e. co-founders, freelancers, etc.)
“We have seven folks now, spanning technology, sustainability, and brand/supply chain — more specifically, the Bluebird team comes from Unilever, Google, Dropbox, and Patagonia.”
Did you always want to start your own business? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
“I've always been sort of a non-conformist with a desire to make a real impact on the environment and people's health. Founding a company seemed like an inevitable thing to do.”
How did you come up with your startup idea? How did you decide to actually act on the idea? What gave you confidence that you were on the right track?
“I could write a whole book on this, but luckily, I was a product manager at dropbox and glossier which means my full-time job was to come up with, vet, and execute on ideas. I had been playing around with a bunch of ideas to explore the climate space, pivoted a ton, and started to get traction in the form of letters from companies that gave me some proof there was a market there. Ultimately though, it was a ton of talking to customers and learning!”
How did you come up with your company name? Did you have other names you considered?
“Bluebird references the term 'Bluebird Day' — the blue skies that dominate after a winter storm. It's rooted in nature (the whole point of the company!) and signifies a new beginning, a better way. Plus it gives me the warm and fuzzies.”
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What is the greatest challenge you faced in starting your business, and how did you overcome it?
“Finding cofounders was a very difficult and emotional journey. Like most things in startup land, it came down to open-mindedness, persistence, and leveraging whatever resources you have to make things happen (in this case, meet people). As part of that exercise in talking to customers and experts, I met my first co-founder.”
Who is your product or service made for? Who is your target market?
What's your marketing strategy?
“This is a hard one to answer in a one-liner. Because brands look to each other and are tightly networked, we rely on getting logos that create pressure for other brands to do the same.”
How did you acquire your first 100 customers?
What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?
What's your favorite book on entrepreneurship?
What is something that surprised you about entrepreneurship?
“They said it would be hard, but it's harder than I thought. But, there are tons and tons of supporters along the way that really want you to succeed.”
How do you achieve work/life balance as a founder?
“Bake [it] into company culture very very hard. For example, we want our employees to work with urgency, and that only happens if they're charged and able to bring their best selves to work. So, we allow people to do whatever they need to do — for example, taking off afternoons, taking off Fridays to go skiing, living in nature — all of which is why we're distributed and flexible.”
How do you stay motivated?
“Talking to customers. Looking at climate data.”
Did you have to develop any habits that helped lead you to success? If so, what are they?
“A desire to talk to others.”
What are you most proud of as an entrepreneur?
“Building a one-of-a-kind team that truly cares about one another and what we're doing.”
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