Interview With Jake Stevens
Describe your product or service:
“CrowdCandy allows anyone, anywhere in the world to invest in high-growth startups.”
Describe your company values and mission:
“95% of the world can't invest in startups. CrowdCandy's goal is global financial literacy and inclusivity.”
How are you funded? I.e. type of funding, number of funding rounds, total funding amount.
“Pre-seed. $300,000 raised on a SAFE out of a $1.9 million round.”
How big is your team? Tell us a little about them!
“Three co-founders: Jake (hi there, COO) is a former engineer from Apple. Beltran (CTO) used to work with Jake and previously at an AI startup. Shashanka (CEO) is from Nepal where he grew his family business from $2 million ARR to $20 million ARR.”
How did you come up with and validate your startup idea? Tell us the story!
“Shank came up with the idea while he was growing his previous company in Nepal. He wanted to invest some of his wealth into early-stage startups but found that he simply couldn't. He asked around and found this was a huge problem. We currently have a waitlist of over 5,000 investors ready.”
How did you come up with your startup's name? Did you have other names you considered?
“Alliteration is all you need.”
Did you always want to start your own business? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
“My father runs his own company quite successfully, I've always admired that commitment.
Working at Apple was a grind I couldn't see myself doing for my whole career. I'd rather die than go back to big tech.”
What was the biggest obstacle you encountered while launching your company? How did you overcome it?
“We needed to find a law firm that would be crazy enough to back our novel approach to selling company shares. I snuck into an invite-only event for a law firm at a crypto event and pitched one of the managing partners my startups, and we began working with them as our counsel.”
Feeling inspired? Learn how to launch your company with our guide on how to start a startup.
Who is your target market? How did you establish the right market for your startup?
“We're a two-sided market, so we have two customers. I'll address both:
- B2B - Any startup that has 1) existed longer than a year 2) a working product 3) Some form of traction. To find our first cohort of companies raising on our platform I personally attended over 30 startup events and pruned the top companies.
- B2C - a Web3 native that's been burned by their previous investments but is still optimistic about the space.”
What's your primary marketing strategy?
“C2C referrals and influencer marketing”
How did you acquire your first 100 customers?
“Paid ads — you read that right.”
What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?
“Average investment amount, cost per investor, total signups.”
What's your favorite startup book and podcast?
“Book: 'The 4 Agreements.' Podcast: 'How I Built This.'”
What is a song or artist that you listen to for motivation?
Is there a tool, app, or resource that you swear by to help run your startup?
What is something that surprised you about entrepreneurship?
“How much network matters and how much it doesn't.”
When did you know it was time to quit your day job to focus on your startup?
“When I couldn't focus on my work without becoming sad.”
What was your first job and what did it teach you?
“This is an excellent question I'm going to steal someday.
First job was as a circuit board technician for my dad's company. First job gained without nepotism was as a cashier at Tim Hortons. That taught me how to deal with people in a bad mood and keep my calm in stressful situations.”
More on CrowdCandy
We asked Jake Stevens, founder of CrowdCandy, to share the most impactful ways to support their startup, and this is what they had to say.
Jake Stevens, founder of fintech startup CrowdCandy, shared valuable insights during our interview that will inspire and motivate aspiring entrepreneurs.