Interview With Drea Burbank, M.D.
Describe your product or service:
“Fair-trade carbon credits.”
Describe your company values and mission:
“Trust, respect, abundance, consciousness, and now. We aim to employ 1 billion small farmers in 10 years to clean the world’s air.”
How are you funded? I.e. type of funding, number of funding rounds, total funding amount.
“Once — five Colombian medicine doctors and me in SputnikATX summer cohort.”
How big is your team? Tell us a little about them!
“300+ delinquent savants from the Todreamalife consulting agency. Savimbo was our brainchild.”
How did you come up with and validate your startup idea? Tell us the story!
“Five Colombian medicine doctors asked me to help them change their local economy from logging to reforestation.”
How did you come up with your startup's name? Did you have other names you considered?
“Our Ugandan freelancer — a former street kid and now Uganda's best jazz musician — asked for the domain for a clothing store but then changed his mind about using it. We repurposed it because it sounded Spanish, now he’s joining us with growers in Uganda.”
Did you always want to start your own business? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
“No. I was in denial about being an entrepreneur for the first four companies. I wanted a real job but was unemployable!”
What was the biggest obstacle you encountered while launching your company? How did you overcome it?
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?
“Aerospace, transportation, aluminum manufacturing. Any critical industry that really can’t reduce emissions on their own.”
What's your primary marketing strategy?
“Word of mouth. People love us — and sexy trees!”
How did you acquire your first 100 customers?
“My network. I know too many quants. If it works, people talk about it.”
What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?
“Revenue, land signed up, tons of carbon sequestered.”
What's your favorite startup book and podcast?
“Book is ‘Diffusion of Innovation Theory.’ Podcast is ‘This American Life.’ I’ve been crazy about them since the 90s on FM radio!”
What is a song or artist that you listen to for motivation?
“Corb Lund, Sage Francis, James Taylor, Ella Fitzgerald.”
Is there a tool, app, or resource that you swear by to help run your startup?
“Google EVERYTHING. Total G Suite power user.”
What is something that surprised you about entrepreneurship?
“It’s a trade. You can’t read or study it, you have to apprentice.”
How do you achieve work/life balance as a founder?
“Depends on the age of the company. I did 6 months of daily double hot yoga to reset after the last one.”
When did you know it was time to quit your day job to focus on your startup?
“I never really had a good day job.”
What was your first job and what did it teach you?
“Digging ditches in the sun with a pickaxe for $1/hour at 14. How to enjoy work. That nothing is as hard as it seems.”
More on Savimbo
Drea Burbank, M.D., founder of sustainable startup Savimbo, shared valuable insights during our interview that will inspire and motivate aspiring entrepreneurs.