Gard Mayer’s path as an entrepreneur has more twists & turns than a back road through the mountains. In this venture capital podcast he talks about huge success, complete failure & everything in between, pivoting his start-ups when reality set in.
Gard leads Invodo’s sales team, driving growth through expanding the client base and revenue while also growing relationships with existing clients. As one of the original founders of Invodo, Gard brings over 14 years of entrepreneurial experience to the company. Previously, Gard founded and operated SmartHockey Inc., where he established the initial manufacturing and distribution relationships as well as the management team. Gard earned a BA in English from Cornell University.
SmartHockey transformed off-ice hockey training with the introduction of the C|Saw Chassis (a.k.a. Bauer TUUK Rocker Chassis), SmartHockey Training Ball and a series of DVDs and Training Guides. SmartHockey products are used throughout the world by top professional teams and universities as a way for ice hockey players to train when they don’t have access to ice.
The Take Home Lessons
Gard’s path as an entrepreneur twists and turns as ideas succeed, fail and morph into new ones. Whether working as a solo inventor or as part of a venture capital backed team, Gard’s story demonstrates that a large part of entrepreneurial success comes from responding to what’s not working in a creative way and from seeing your start-up’s pain points as opportunity.
- Don’t let early success give you a false confidence.
- Understand what external resources, relationships and market factors your start-up is dependent on. Two of Gard’s products failed because they depended entirely on Google and Apple.
- Test your ideas, but use data and deadlines to make help decisions to avoid analysis paralysis.
- As start-ups evolve, don’t underestimate the challenge of evolving the team. As Invodo evolved, numerous team members had to leave, including Gard’s two co-founders.
- The perspective of new team members, in Gard’s case a new CEO brought in by his venture capital investors, can seem radical. But that fresh, alternative perspective may be the key to success.
Resources & Links
- Gard on LinkedIn
- Gard on Twitter
- Gard’s 1st Patent for a “Roller skate with brake“
- Gard’s hockey ball patent
Why a Venture Capital Podcast About Failure?
From early childhood you’ve always heard the saying “Learn from your mistakes.” In the venture capital industry you frequently hear “Fail fast” to learn and get to the right idea. Great advice. So, for this venture capital podcast I interview venture capital backed entrepreneurs about what they learned when their start-up didn’t go as planned. I hope you can learn from their valuable experience.