Moving the Team from NYC to California in Less Than 7 Days

About 6 weeks ago, I was catching up with Dave McClure in Mountain View. I was actually in town for a YC-interview. We never told anyone that we applied to YC but neither did we expect to be flown in for an interview. Maybe some day I’ll tell the story… or I’ll tell you in person. But in short, after I updated Dave on the new product that we’ve been building over the past couple of months, he really liked it and decided to invest in Reclip.It. He invited us to join 500Startups and asked if we can move to California “next week,” to which I replied “Yes, I sure can. But let me check with the rest of my team.” (The 500 program had started about a month ago at that point and they wanted us in asap)

So we did…. in less than 7 days after we signed the papers! We literally bought our flights 4 days before we had to fly here. My whole team came with me… all 4 of us, and I’m very very thankful for their dedication and willingness to put their lives on hold for the company.

Afterall, I’d always wanted to end up in San Francisco. Maybe this is a sign that it’s time to move on from NY and make CA my next destination? About a year ago, I wrote my first blog post about why I thought it was better to start a company in NY than in SV. But yet I’ve always made it a point to come out to the Bay Area once every month or two, to expand my network out here, get advice from mentors, and learn from people who’ve had years and years of experience building consumer web products. And the more I came out here, the more I saw the difference in startup culture between both coasts and the more I felt like I needed to move here to learn from the best and be surrounded by the best. One of these days, I will counter my initial post with another blog post about why I now think it’s actually better to start a company out here as a first time entrepreneur. More on that later.

Anyway, this move was a classic ‘be careful what you wish for,’ since it happened very suddenly and I barely even had time to tell my friends that I was leaving. Well, temporarily at least. But I’m glad I managed to sublet my apartment via Airbnb pretty much immediately for the next 2.5 months, find new office renters, sell our office furniture, and then find an apartment in Mt View within the first week of our move here. Phew! What a crazy ride.

The 4 of us are now cramped up in a 1-bedroom apartment (we hired a CS intern for the summer! Yay! Welcome back, Mike!)… and it’s deja vu back to our old bootstrapping days again. Hello velcro-ed curtains, used mattresses (don’t judge), and kale & quinoa diet! Fun times ahead.

We’re really proud to be part of the 500 Family.  500 Strong. It’s been a bit hectic because we came into the program 6 weeks after it had started, so we had to play a lot of catch up with the mentors and have missed a lot of speaker sessions. But so far, the program has been great in connecting us with mentors who are really operational and have a lot of user acquisition and product expertise. Dave has been awesome, although I wish he travelled less, so that he can spend more time with us. Christine and Paul are brilliant in their own ways too and I can’t think of a better team on the ground running the program. Thankfully, I was invited to the Inaugural Xconomy Napa Summit and had the luxury of spending 2 days with Dave in Napa Valley and even sat next to Bill Walton (NBA hall of famer!) at dinner.

The best part of the trip was getting to know Dave at a personal level and hearing the story of how he literally bootstrapped his angel and seed funds(!!), and how serious of a hustler he is, just like any one of us entrepreneurs. I think what makes him such a unique investor is that and has a keen eye for identifying like-minded hustlers and really resourceful people who will take things far. And because he’s been through the challenges of being a founder, you can tell that that he cares a lot about the entrepreneurs he’s funding and has a grander mission for 500. At dinner, I told Bill that Dave is truly one of the most respected investors in the valley and that it’s an honored to have sat between two very legendary men!    

I don’t know how much time I’ll have to write in the next few weeks as Demo Day creeps up. But again, I just want to thank my team for being so flexible and for moving across the country for me and Reclip.It. Every one of them had either a significant other, a house and family that they’ve had to leave behind for at least 3 months. I guess we’ll decide if we’re going to move to the West Coast permanently by early August. If it makes more sense to go back to NYC, we may just return. For me, I’ve basically devoted my life to the startup and can lift and shift wherever the journey takes me. Sacrifices mean less to me now if it means I can accomplish a larger goal. Well, as long as we’re on track toward that goal. I suppose time will tell really soon… stay in touch!

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4 Responses to “Moving the Team from NYC to California in Less Than 7 Days”

  1. Jacqui Chew

    Cheryl:

    Good to see a fellow Southeast Asian make it to the center of the Tornado aka 500 startups. Best of luck on this new journey.

    @jacquichew
    Atlanta

    Reply
  2. Estelle Kiora

    Hey Cheryl! I’m a young, mid-twenties Chinese girl from Singapore just starting out as an aspiring entrepreneur (mostly venturing into ideas that are tech based) and I just wanted to tell you that are my inspiration! It is very hard sometimes to get a grip on things and push through being in Asia, but I’m going to give it a shot anyway. Better to fail than not to try at all!

    Thanks for sharing your journey here – looks like a hella ride! I hope you are blessed with success in whatever you do and enjoy the new move to Cali!!!! 🙂

    ~Best, Estelle Kiora x

    Reply

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