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(Almost) everyone wants to make the world a cleaner, greener place, and it's easy to do -- even simple things like biking, recycling and composting makes a difference. But you also have people who want to contribute on a much greater scale. Cue Taylor Myers.

With his partner Ryan Fisher, and their company MF Fire, Tayler has created a wood stove that is not only 23 times cleaner than the present EPA standards, but it also gives out less than half the emissions of a single cigarette (which really put things in perspective).

Taylor is an engineer still working on his Ph.D. at U of Maryland and was fortunate enough to participate in RECESS -- an up and coming, cool and fun, Mark Cuban-backed business pitch contest and music festival. Sign us up!

Would you like to make a difference? It is easier than you think, especially since Taylor is doing the dirty work for us ;)

Startup #9: MF Fire

1. In just one sentence, what is your company offering/what do you do?

MF Fire is a fire technology company, and we are dedicated to bettering the environment and public health through the improvement of fire technology. 

2. What is the one thing you love the most about running a startup?

That’s good question, I would say the opportunity to bring my ideas to fruition. I think that the average person probably has dozens of different ideas to improve the world in one way or the other. But it takes a lot of work to take something from the idea phase into something that is actually successful, and running a startup has been my path in bringing my idea into the world. It’s been really rewarding to see something that you’ve dreamt of doing, becoming a reality.

3. What is the hardest or most surprising part of running a startup?

I would say that the hardest part is actually getting out the door and talking to customers to find out what they want. As an engineer, I’ve kind of assumed that everybody would want to buy the technology that I’ve built, because it’s cool and I would want something that was cool, new and exciting. But if you want to commercialize something, you have to actually understand what value you are delivering to the customer, and that means actually going out and talking to the customer. Which can be really hard, because frequently that means hearing that what you’ve made isn’t what they want. But that’s important too, because if you just spend a lot of time and effort in making something that no one wants, it’s not going to balance anything. So that is the most difficult-yet-important part.

4. Do you have a success story (big or small) you would like to share?

The product that we’re working on right now is a wood stove, the type that people use to heat their homes. The technology hasn’t been updated much in the recent years, so we’ve had a lot of success applying new technology to it and getting better performance. But I actually think that the biggest success we’ve had is that we participated in a business pitch competition called RECESS. We went to Las Vegas, Nevada, where it was 105 degrees outside, not a tree in sight, and we managed to convince people that a wood stove was actually a good idea to invest it. It’s a small accomplishment in the big scheme of things, but it made me think we were on the right direction. 

5. What are you thoughts about Foundersuite?

Like I mentioned before, the toughest part about running a startup is that initial idea validation and finding customers. Any tools that get you organized and helps you with that process are very valuable. 

6. Finally, what is your best tip for running a startup?

Get out the door and talk to customers. You may have a million ideas in your head about ways that you can improve the world, but only the customers know what they actually want.

- Tons of thanks to Taylor, and the best of luck!

Topics: emissions, environment, Fire, IdeaValidation, Startup of the Week, wood stove, business, contest, customer, pitch, pollution, public health, Recess

     
Nathan Beckord

Written by Nathan Beckord

Nathan Beckord is Founder and CEO of Foundersuite.com, a venture-backed startup that makes the leading CRM for raising capital. Previously, Nathan ran VentureArchetypes and served as advisor or interim CFO at dozens of startups, including Kickstarter, Clicker, Autonet, Zerply, and many more. Nathan has an MBA and CFA and is a fanatical sailor.