As part of our continued effort to extend access and opportunity to New Americans and refugees we hosted this workshop on entreprenuership with Davis Smith, CEO and Cofounder of Cotopaxi.
The founding story of a well-known company is always fascinating. Often, the success doesn't come in the way we expect it to, and such is the case with Davis Smith, cofounder of Cotopaxi. Davis led us through his journey and answered questions along the way in our Silicon Slopes Conversations event Friday, December 9, 2022.
Davis Smith started out with pool tables. Not because he was really good at pool, or he grew up in the business, or because he was super passionate about getting pool tables into every home in America, but because he saw a hole in the market and an avenue to sell. He learned a lot from the experience–the ups and downs of the founding process and why doing business with family can be super tricky.
Davis moved on to the beginnings of Cotopaxi. He talked about being humble and teachable, about "Radical Candor" which he references regularly. Questions were asked about funding, and Davis shared pros and cons of raising capital and the "3 F's"–Friends, Family, and Fools as it pertains to money. He covered debt and the allocation of funds noting that sometimes debt is necessary in times of growth.
Davis told us about the beginnings of Cotopaxi, and how the driving force there was giving back and making a difference in people's lives. Cotopaxi's core values are People, Adventure, and Innovation, how important it is to stick to those core values.
Davis wrapped up with encouraging words for entrepreneurs. It's not necessarily about building a massive business, but building a community.