October 05, 2015

Moving on to New Adventures

“Once you guys raise money in a few months, I’ll rejoin you at your startup”, that was the agreement I made with Andy Cook Back in March 2011. He was a tenacious startup founder, but him and his brother just didn’t have the funding to pay me a salary.

With my student loan repayments looming, I had to find a ‘real’ job. I ended up at an up and coming startup called HubSpot. More than a few months passed (54 in fact), but I’m making good on that promise to Andy, and we’re setting out to start a company of our own.

Compared to the 3-man team at Rentabilities, the ~160 person HubSpot felt like a ‘big company’. HubSpot had just raised a 32 million dollar series D and were growing fast. During that period it wasn’t unusual for 50+ new employees to join any given month.

I had the privilege to be one of the inaugural members of the HubSpot UX team lead by Joshua Porter. When I started, I had never been a designer, but Josh took me under his wing. For over two years I honed my design skills working with Josh, Dan Ritz, and a handful of other great designers.

In October 2013 I got an unusual phone call from then VP of Engineering Elias Torres. HubSpot was acquiring Andy’s company Rentabilities. Elias asked if I was up for working with Andy on a ‘startup with a startup’. It was an easy answer.

We only had 3 ‘guardrails’ when we started:

  1. Build something that helps small businesses do marketing.
  2. It should be free or cheap.
  3. Use orange in the logo.

After 2 years of hard work, Leadin is something that tens of thousands of people genuinely love. We learned a ton, and had a chance to work with an amazing engineering team in Dublin. It was a crazy grind, but doing so gave me the skills and confidence to start my own company.

HubSpot now has over 1,000 employees and it worth over 1.6 Billion dollars and growing. The products I helped design and build have been used by tens of thousands of people to run and grow their businesses. I’ve made lifelong friends and learned more in my time at HubSpot than I though possible.

HubSpot is a special place that has two incredible founders and no true peer in Boston. Short of starting my own company, there’s no other in company I would rather work for.

It’s also a place that breeds great entrepreneurs. Dharmesh Shah (Founder and CTO of HubSpot), has publicly said, “we’ve wanted to not just build a great company, but also build some great entrepreneurs”. This attitude is why I have so much confidence in what Andy and I can achieve.

Andy and I are really excited about our next idea. We’re not ready to talk about it publicly yet (it’s only day 1), but if you’re interested in following along with our journey, you can sign up below.

About Nelson

I'm a product designer from Boston, MA and Cofounder of Tettra. I'm passionate about creating products people love.

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