Beginning Stories by Jordan Raynor

Jordan Raynor is co-founder of Tampa-based CitizensInvestor — the largest crowdfunding platform for government projects in the US. ”

“The launch of any startup is intoxicating. For us at CitizenInvestor, it felt like we were on a rocket ship bound for the moon. Before we even launched, we were featured in seven publications and asked to give a TEDx talk. Then we were selected as a finalist out of 200 applicants for Code for America’s first startup accelerator program. Former life as a political executive.

“It was the last week of August 2012, and I was spending most of my time at the Republican National Convention in my hometown of Tampa. I was on my way to a briefing from the Romney campaign’s digital director when I received an email informing me that CitizenInvestor’s $5,000 event at Rock the Vote He was selected to receive a grant. I couldn’t believe we didn’t have a product or a customer yet, and here someone was going to give us $5,000 because they thought our idea was cool.

“We were asked to pick up the check that night at a club in Ybor City. [Citizinvestor Co-founder] Tony [Desisto] He used to call him ‘DJ Oki Doki’. That night, my husband and I had tickets to the opening of the Republican National Convention, but I figured we could go to the party to pick up the check and still have time to get back to the convention center to hear Ann Romney. Chris Christie says. We couldn’t have stuck around more if we tried on our way to the club. Tony, [my wife] Cara [Raynor]And I walked out of the Brooks Brothers catalog in what could only be described as a glow stick-laden outfit with the guys waving on the alcohol-soaked dance floor.

“While the club was winding down (kids still say that, right?), we desperately went up to raise $5,000. After the organizers of the event were praised by Citizinvestor, we were enthusiastically received. As the station was about to start, everyone around us was at the same level of anticipation as DJ Oki Doki and the sound of the screaming fans. We were putting things in place.

“While press, speaking engagements, and events promoting Citizinvestor were great, they weren’t the most important thing for our core business. About a year after we started, Tony and I were overwhelmed by the amount of things we were doing. So we took the time to clearly define what was most important to growing our startup into a sustainable business: to two Things we were able to mention: getting municipal governments to post projects that required a lot of money and getting those projects funded were just two. With those two things clearly defined, we had several ‘stop’ meetings where we looked at each task on our to-do list and We asked ourselves if it would work for us. If the answer was no, we’d quit without hesitation. At our first ‘quit’ meeting, we left half of what we were working on, and the company was better for it.

“At the start of a startup, it’s easy to trick yourself into believing that the most exciting things are the things that will help you build your business. And maybe they are! But in our experience, they’re the most important things. They’re the hardest things to do and the most fun. Focus on what’s most important as soon as possible.”

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