Race to Revenue: Danielle Tirado, founder of Droplook

Author: Danielle Tirado

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When Race to Revenue started, I hadn’t the slightest clue of how startups worked, how they really worked. There was an idea, sure, and because of my light background in web development, I could somewhat make out where it would go from a technological standpoint. However, there was much more multi-disciplinary work to be done simultaneously rather than simply focusing on one segment of work, and then the next. In addition, I had no previous background in business or marketing - I was a computer science major who had, until recently, never really contemplated a career that involved more than code. I’d never put a pitch deck together, and had certainly never heard of TAM, SAM, and SOM. In short, there was a lot more knowledge that I didn’t have in my possession than did. The vast unknown was very intimidating to say the least.

However, through my experience with the program, I rediscovered the value that comes in curiosity, past the unfortunate shame that accompanies this misplaced and all-too-popular notion that not knowing something equates to inadequacy. The amount of enthusiasm and support that both the IDEA center and our mentors provided was invaluable in reaching a level of confidence such that there was no hesitation before my questions. My mistakes became lessons, and each meeting became a chance to show what I had improved upon; with the amount of work involved in a startup, there was no shortage of areas to better oneself. Throughout the program, I gained first-hand experience in networking, pitching, marketing, MVP development, and project management as a whole. 

To be given access to a network full of such experienced figures in various industries was very helpful in acquiring  first-hand wisdom to be used in operations such as social media campaigning, which was especially important for my particular business which associates primarily with the fashion industry. The funds, as per the de-risking and validation processes, have been very helpful as well in employing our beta test with our first users. Without such capital, Droplook would’ve been unable to plan for its  sample apparel and initial pre-order process. In addition, it helped us obtain access to databases obtaining key figures enabling us to evaluate the important subsets of our market - unfortunately, Google does not indeed provide all the answers. 

Droplook had just started as a concept, but with the support and structure of the Race to Revenue program, it is now a tangible entity with a website, potential users, social media presence, and fleshed-out plans moving forward. It is a great task, bringing an idea to life and all that entails. However, all the resources and guidance offered had made all obstacles — no matter how daunting they may seem — very much surmountable. With the solid foundation that the program has provided for me, I can continue to move forward with confidence and cultivate this business into a solution that solves a problem on a wide-scale.