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Entrepreneur Spotlight: Design2Launch Conference

This is the first entrepreneur spotlight conference I attended at the Stamford Innovation Center on September 8th, 2015. The Design2Launch speakers are natives from Stamford, and veteran entrepreneurs who started a successful cloud-based platform for product designers. Design2Launch is one of the many successful startups from downtown Stamford.

Design2Launch Stamford Startup Acquired by Kodak

Design2Launch creates software for commercial package design that lets production artists, graphic designers, and clients collaborate through a web site portal, similar to the contemporary equivalent: Adobe Create Cloud. In the late 1990s, Design2Launch's software is innovative because they offered the first collaborate software package for corporate design allowing creative professionals to comment, edit, and to see the overall design progress for product designs from start to finish (without the use of post-it notes and bike carriers with vanilla folders!).

Alison Malloy and Ron Malloy, sister and brother business team, who started the software company Design2Launch discussed the inner working of running a successful company in downtown Stamford.

I decided to attend this conference because I am a graphic designer, and I was interested in how these local entrepreneurs started their design company, and how they finally sold their software platform Kodak. Alison and Ron discussed the hardships of managing Design2Launch, and offered sound advice and encouragement to inspiring entrepreneurs.

Design2Launch: Determination and Goals in Sight

Ron explained to the audience that is important to have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish as a startup, putting an emphasis on persistence and not backing down or giving up. Ron used the analogy of Cortez who burnt his ships as they were bringing their life boats to shore: "You have to be 100% without any back out plans (for your startup company)."

The duo explained that it is vital to understand strengths and weakness of employees and cofounders. Ron worked on the sales, marketing, and strategy while Allison was working administrating the other aspects of the business. Ron talked about being able to delegate tasks and hiring talent to administrate such duties; Allison and Ron did not have a background in software development, but they managed to find talented programmers to help them.

Allison and Ron ended the conference by talking about how Kodak acquired their company 2008 before the Great Recession. Ron addressed the room with a fundamental questions for startups: "What is your end strategy?" Ron had a clear exit strategy: "create," "grow," and then "exit." Allison stressed the importance of having good partnerships with companies that are in a similar field.: "-that will ultimately acquire you or take you to the next level."

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