Founder Stories: Filo, a Platform for Virtual Meeting Spaces CEO Matt Compton shares his unique experience launching his business out of High Alpha's Sprint Week process.

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High Alpha

Former CEO Matt Compton shares his unique experience launching his business out of High Alpha's Sprint Week process.

We build collaborative spaces for groups, teams, and organizations. It does everything from power large virtual events of thousands of people, all the way to collaborative workshops of 20 and virtual offices for teams.

We started this company by accident, which is probably pretty unusual here where everything is incredibly thoughtful. I was going to come start working with High Alpha and join for the Sprint Week in May of last year. And rewinding back to March of last year when everything happened with the pandemic, I remember having a conversation with one of the partners. It was the 27th of March or something, and he just gave me the heads-up that, "Hey, we're going to cancel the Sprint Week in May. We just can't see how this is going to work virtually. Everybody's canceling these things. It isn't going to work." At some point during that conversation, one of us, I don't even remember which one, just threw out the idea, "Gosh, we don't want to cancel this thing. Could we build something that would make it better?"

Four days after that, on April 1st, we kicked off a project where we started asking ourselves, "What is it about taking that from that world of atoms over to the world of bits and virtual? What do you lose that makes us feel like, 'Gosh, we have to cancel this thing?' And then, what can we build in four weeks in order to fill that gap?" So we did nothing but just obsess for four straight weeks on what were the core problems that we were missing? We identified three things. One, when everything goes to links, you lose structure, you lose visibility, and all the conversations that are happening around you, and it's just too hard to start up new conversations. You lose the serendipity of what it means to be in a room with fifteen people for thirteen hours a day. Built it, ran Sprint Week on it. Everybody wanted to talk to us, because everybody was struggling with how do they collaborate virtually. Two thousand person conferences to teams of 10 and companies of 10 saying, "Wow, this is incredibly interesting. Can I have it? When can it be available?" Almost asking for the contract during Sprint Week. And that was the first, "Eureka. Gosh, there's a business here. We just have to find it." I don't think there had ever been more than two companies that came out of a Sprint Week before. So to go from thinking you're going to have to cancel because everybody was doing that, to actually starting four companies that literally wouldn't have existed if we wouldn't have said, "What if," at the very end of March, kicked off a project three days later, and built Filo and ran it, was a pretty incredible outcome. And we just said if we could do even a fraction of this for other organizations, then I think we really have something on our hands.

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