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Entrepreneurs Want to Boil the Ocean

A Slice on David Norman, Founder, COO, and CPO of Arryved

David Norman was a Senior Staff Engineer at Google when he had a business idea while at a brewery (like a typical Coloradan). He saw a need to revitalize the outdated POS systems used by local craft breweries, and with his engineering background, created a solution. Stealing coworkers from Google, Norman started Arryved in 2015. Arryved is a mobile service system offering insights and other benefits to craft breweries. To date, the company has raised $26.5 million across four funding rounds.

Why such a niche market? Norman chose the craft brewing market, particularly in Colorado, because of how unique and supportive it is. Everyone’s willing to help each other and share insights, which spurs innovation and creates a great sense of community. Brewery owners in the state were open to testing out the new technology and provide their feedback while Norman and his team developed their product. He emphasizes that Arryved wouldn’t have thrived as well in any other regions with this focus.

Gaining momentum with his idea, Norman had to build a larger team. He was no stranger to leading teams during his time at Google but quickly found this to be a challenge as an entrepreneur. Building a good company culture from scratch was no easy feat; he had to not only find people who were a good fit but also learn how to empathize with each employee and make sure they were happy with their work. Looking back now, Norman wishes he had done this earlier on, but now is proud of the culture he’s built with very little turnover.

In addition to building a good team, fundraising as a first-time founder was admittedly more difficult than Norman thought it would be. He had to learn quickly and eventually was able to secure funding from an angel investor before going into seed, series A and series B rounds. Through this lengthy process, Norman learned how important it is to know your business and numbers well before pitching to investors. There’s no avoiding those questions, and investors look for entrepreneurs who are both knowledgeable about their business and prepared to pitch.

With funding secured, it seemed as though everything was going well for Arryved until the COVID-19 pandemic hit and posed to be an indirect threat for the company. Since they primarily serve craft breweries, Arryved’s business depends heavily on the hospitality industry. When everything was shutting down or scaling back, the hits to craft breweries became hits to Arryved. Rather than sinking, Norman and his team decided to pivot and figure out how they could stay relevant and help their local breweries. Using their services, breweries can easily manage to-go orders and mobile payment as well, which helped them pivot alongside Arryved.

For Norman, the entire process of starting his own company was a huge risk as someone who didn’t envision himself being an entrepreneur. He’s poured everything into Arryved and wants to grow with the company as it expands. He’s motivated by creating a positive workplace for his team and building a good reputation for Arryved as a result of his leadership. The main lesson Norman learned throughout his entrepreneurial journey is the importance of patience, and he believes others should be aware of this as well.

He notes that entrepreneurs want to “boil the ocean” and go all in right away because they’re excited, but that can quickly backfire.

The whole process is full of risks, so being patient when navigating through those can be highly beneficial, as it was for Norman with Arryved.

Founder Bio

David Norman began his career as an engineer, working for companies such as MicroAge and Wells Fargo, and Google. He got onto the entrepreneurship path in 2015 when founding Arryved in Boulder, Colorado. Connect with Norman on LinkedIn.

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