You know those individuals that make you shake your head and say “wow” every time they speak? They are a rare commodity, but we've actually found one, right here in the Foundersuite community.
Collete Davis is a 20-year-old a professional race car driver. As if that weren't enough, she has also attended Draper University and has two (soon to be three) companies. Collete Racing is her primary career; her goal is to be the first female driver to win at IndyCar racing. She also just launched TechDrive with co-founders Hermione Way (of startup reality TV show fame) and Serhan Perincek; TechDrive is an online news site covering innovations in technology and transportation.
In addition she's involved in MaiTai Global where she will be doing MaiTai Racing (so exciting) for an exclusive group of investors and entrepreneurs around the world; Sir Richard Branson is a member of the group.
How does she do it? Read on to find out; I’m sure we'll all have a lot to learn from this firecracker :)
Startup #8: Collete Racing
In just one sentence, what is your company offering/what do you do?
Collete Racing is a company and brand built around an up and coming female race car driver on her way to making it big in IndyCar.
What is the one thing you love the most about running a startup?
I think my favorite thing is just having something new come up every day. It really forces you to push yourself when you're constantly experiencing new challenges. I like challenges, and I learn a lot from them.
What is the hardest or most surprising part of running a startup?
The hardest thing is probably developing a thick skin. I mean, if you’re to do any form of entrepreneurship or having your own startup, you really have to have a thick skin from the beginning, or at least grow one really fast. You will be hearing “no” a lot, and hearing this can really tear someone down, and tear his or her confidence down, especially if you’re not used to it. When you’re in a startup, you’re working on a challenge that no one else has found a solution to yet, and you have to be able to handle rejection and be able to bounce back from that.
Do you have a success story (big or small) you would like to share?
Yes, I would say one of my first corporate sponsors was a big success for me. It was my first year going to school for engineering, I was 16 years old, and I walked up to the president of the university’s wife and said: “This is the program I want to do at the university, and I want to talk to you more about it. Can we schedule a meeting with you and the president?” And she said yes!
First I met with her one on one and told her more about how to use me as an ambassador in education related to my racing, in exchange for a sponsorship. And right when we we’re having our meeting; she told me she wanted me to meet her husband. She walked me into the presidents’ office; I talked with him for about ten minutes and then signed my first contract for a sponsorship. It was such a crazy experience, and the funny thing is that they didn’t realize I was only 16, so when it came to signing the contract I obviously needed my parents present :)
How, if in any way, has Foundersuite helped your company?
Foundersuite has helped my companies and my life, really! I use the CRM for both investors and sponsorships. It has helped me organize everything; I can track progress both for my team and myself. It has brought a lot of clarity, sort of a snapshot of what Collete Racing is and where we are at in the process. And the Media CRM is just amazing (!), I manage a lot of stuff on my own and can keep track of all of my media contacts and the press -- which is super important when I have new announcements coming up. It’s been a game changer for me. And I’ve tried a lot of different tools and CRMs in the past; but Foundersuite is the one that really keeps me on track with everything. And on top of all this, you get legal documents and other related templates-- win!
Finally, what is your best tip for running a startup?
I would say my best tip for running a startup is to stay tenacious. In everything that I’ve had to do: professional sports or now venturing into the Valley-world, I’ve had to stay persistent, tenacious and not letting the “no’s” get me down. I think if you can manage to have that tenacity through everything you do, you’ll make it.
We just have to say it one more time -- wow! Thank you Collete, and the best of luck :) Race on!