My 3 month crash course in San Francisco

Olly and John


Olly Thumbs Up

Me networking

Guest Post from Olly Johnston CEO + Founder Dropscotch. Olly will be sharing his story at Kea Inspire Days in Auckland on May 22.

I am an entrepreneur, I am 18 years old and I am from Taupo. I’m coming to the end of what has been an incredible 3 months. I arrived here in San Francisco with an idea for a business that was inspired by sitting in my parents cafe Replete near the shores of Lake Taupo. I was very fortunate to have been given a hand up by  Gower Smith. Gower is a San Francisco based Kiwi entrepreneur who founded Zoom Systems. Cat, John (KLP) and Gower supported, mentored, inspired and guided me. Being surrounded and supported by these three entrepreneurs was truly an incredible experience.

It turns out my idea wouldn’t have been the next big thing – but in order to understand that, I needed to spend some on the ground here in the heart of where it is all happening.Within 3 weeks of arriving here,  I was speaking to some key and very influential people in the tech industry. After pitching my idea I realised I was getting a lot more negative feedback than good. I took it all on board and after a 3 hour talk with my Albuquerque, New Mexico based co-founder we took our idea and tweaked it  into something completely different. Still in the same space, but now we have a unique value proposition that we believe stands a real chance of being the next big thing.

Olly and John

Me and John Holt heading out on the 101

Over the 3 months I have spent in San Francisco I have had an incredible time. Meeting all different types of influential people whether they be Angel Investors,VC’s, CEO’s of huge companies or fellow entrepreneurs. I have taken trips to HP and to Facebook HQ, attended numerous networking events, eaten exquisite food and joined the KLP team at All Star Donuts for THE best corndogs. I have visited amazing museums like Moma and the Science Academy, I went to concerts and music festivals. But most of all I worked on the fundamentals for Dropscotch at my desk in Soma at the Kiwi Landing Pad .

I’m getting ready to head home now I can focus on the next steps and impending launch of Dropscotch. My eyes have opened to the realities of doing an IT startup and I strongly encourage anyone in a similar stage as me to think hard about coming over here. I will be speaking at Kea Inspire Days in Auckland on May 22 and would be happy to share my experiences with any of you who might be interested.

However none of this would’ve been possible without the initial  support from Gower Smith and of course my parents. They backed me 100% to just go out there and make it happen.