Techstars: Day 18 (Blood, sweat and tears)

So Rainbird is a bit odd in terms of its founders. The company was founded by two people, Ben and James. I was employee number one, although I am considered to be, and treated like a founder. Whether you consider that to be legitimate or not is irrelevant – Rainbird is as much my company as it is theirs1, or indeed any one of the team.

We have built this company with our bare hands. Quite literally in some cases, since much of the furniture in our Norwich office had to be assembled by us. I hadn’t even finished month one of my journey with Rainbird before both blood and sweat had been put into the job2. I was fairly sure the tears would come at some point to complete the trifecta, I just wasn’t prepared for how.

Thursday afternoons at Techstars in London is the ‘All Hands’ meeting where all the companies get together for various activities; be it pitching what you do, pitching what the other companies do or finding out what went well and what didn’t last week. This is followed by guest speakers3 and topped off by sponsored drinks and networking. The drinks start around 8ish, going on until late.

While food is laid on its finger food and there isn’t a huge amount of it. Couple that with a tough week, long hours and a need to blow off some steam and you end up with some members of Rainbird being fairly well lubricated.

Over dinner we then managed to polish off two bottles of wine4 and conversation turned to the wide ranging and philosophical subjects that tend to get raised when a few jars have been imbibed.

Chris, who was pretty well gone by this point, gave an impassioned speech on his outlook on life and how he saw Rainbird as a force for good. What he was trying to say was that we could reach out and make a positive impact on peoples lives. What he actually said was ”I think we should touch people”.

Now, I’m sorry, but I was tired, stone cold sober and not quite feeling the gravitas of the situation that comes with being in a slightly addled state, so my mind instantly decided to make light of the situation and completely misinterpret the phase ”I think we should touch people”. Couple that with the ernest way in which the line was delivered and I was just in fits of laughter. The juxtaposition of Chris in his mildly inebriated state delivering a heart felt desire to do good in the world compared to my sober and yet utterly puerile interpretation of what was said sent tears rolling down my cheeks.

I can now say, hand on heart, that I have put blood, sweat and tears into Rainbird – oh, and that I’m a complete child.

1 Yes, I know legally that’s not true, but let’s not let that get in the way here.

2 Building flatpack is hot work, and catching your hand on the door when carrying large boxes containing flatpack results in minor bleeding.

3 Today was Yonatan Raz-Fridman from Kano, who are just awesome.

4 Since I don’t really drink I wasn’t having any, so that’s a little under half a bottle each for the other 5.