Startup Weekend Columbus: Where it Started
Q&A with the Co-Founders of Speedwell & Yarrow
As former management consultants and working moms in dual-career households, Speedwell & Yarrow co-founders Ashley Lambrix and Lindsey Michaelides understand first-hand the challenges that come with managing busy careers and busy households. They brought their idea for Speedwell & Yarrow to Startup Weekend in February 2018 — an idea to help working parents manage life outside of the office.
The Startup Weekend team spoke with Ashley and Lindsey to learn about their experience with the goal of providing insight into what the weekend is like for prospective attendees and how Startup Weekend can lead to something more.
Let’s start from the beginning. Where did this business idea originate?
The idea was an outgrowth of our own personal experiences as two women who have had intense careers in management consulting and continued those careers in-house. Outside of our professional careers, as members of dual-career households and as working moms we had shared experiences that we talked about as friends and colleagues. The two of us eventually came to each other both struggling with day-to-day, asking, “Is anyone else stressed by this?” So, initially, it really began with the uncovering of a problem that needed to be solved, rather than a specific solution.
You had this idea and you kept talking to people about it, how did you decide to take it to Startup Weekend?
We had gotten to a point through research that we felt confident our problem was relatable and meaningful within our peer group. Lindsey had a connection to Techstars who provided the suggestion that Startup Weekend could be a way for networks outside of ours to give feedback on and validation of our understanding of the problem. We had defined our problem with very little idea of what the solution could be – we wanted to leverage a larger collective brainpower.
You came in with a big goal to Startup Weekend, so can you tell us a bit about your experience with the event and what you experienced over the weekend?
Startup Weekend was the first introduction for both of us to the startup community in Columbus. We had so much fun and were energized by working on the problem, the pace of the weekend and the environment. We didn’t come into the weekend thinking that it’d be a good test case for exploring what entrepreneurship was like. We got it though, which helped us feel more informed when deciding to continue working on the idea after the event. The other unexpected benefit was expanding our thinking outside of our own domain expertise. We didn’t know the role technology could play as a part of a solution, but gained access to the knowledge to figure out where to start in building that out.
For those that might be reading this that have never pitched an idea, can you tell us what it’s like at Startup Weekend?
It was super fun. We put some thought and prep to our pitch in advance – we were probably over prepared. So, we pitched our original idea which went well and then got up and pitched two others because it was so fun. There is such great energy in the room; if you even have an inkling of an idea or a problem that isn’t solved today that could be solved better, you should come and pitch.
Okay, you’ve pitched (More than once!) How was your idea selected?
The scrum of voting was intense. You each have your idea and have to collect votes from peers to determine the crowd’s favorites. We worked our tails off to beg for those votes.
Tell me about your SWCBUS team! How did you select team members? What was the team bonding process like? How did you work together?
We were fortunate in that we tried to be really welcoming to anyone that wanted to be a part of the team and were really clear from the outset about what specific skills we were looking for. It just kind of came together and we didn’t end up turning anyone away.
Describe the Startup Weekend environment: what was it like to build the idea on Saturday and Sunday? Find help from other participants, mentors, volunteers helpful?
We really went into the weekend trying to ensure that the team stayed as energized about the idea as we were. Part of how you do that is engagement and facilitating a process where people feel good about their involvement. We spent a lot of Saturday morning doing team brainstorming on the concept and then dividing and conquering on different fronts like research, development, framing of the pitch. We had a good balance of group activities and dividing and conquering individual tasks which allowed people to use their unique skills.
Would you recommend others attend? Why or why not?
Absolutely attend. By participating you have nothing to lose and so much to gain, whether you have an idea that you’ve actively been thinking about or you just want an opportunity to challenge yourself in a whole new way with a group of people you don’t interact with on a daily basis.
Thanks so much for talking with us! It’s pretty amazing to see how far Speedwell & Yarrow has developed just one year since your first Startup Weekend. We are very excited about your next step with the Techstars Accelerator!
This also just goes to show that the people behind the ideas have power. What are your ideas? What will you create? There’s still time to get your Startup Weekend ticket! See you on Friday!
About Speedwell & Yarrow:
Speedwell & Yarrow helps busy professionals manage life outside of the office. Our service offers employers a new way to retain talent by lightening the mental load for busy professionals, giving them back time and mindshare to focus on what matters most.
As former management consultants and working moms in dual-career households, Speedwell & Yarrow co-founders Ashley Lambrix and Lindsey Michaelides understand first-hand the challenges that come with managing busy careers and busy households. They created Speedwell & Yarrow to support professionals and help them live fuller, more engaged lives – at work and at home.
About the Co-Founders:
Prior to founding Speedwell & Yarrow, Lindsey was a business strategist and management consultant with McKinsey & Company. Lindsey has more than 10 years of experience in business strategy with experience across the healthcare, retail, and media industries. Both as a consultant and corporate strategy leader, Lindsey focused largely on business model transformation and large scale M&A and joint venture creation.
Lindsey has a personal passion for supporting women and helping to create more female leaders. She has an MBA from Duke University and an undergraduate degree from DePauw University. Lindsey is married with two young boys and a crazy dog named Gary.
Ashley is a former management consultant with The Boston Consulting Group and Senior Strategy Advisor for OhioHealth. She has over 10 years of strategy experience and content expertise in growth and partnership opportunities in B2B and B2C spaces. She has experience in recruitment and retention innovation through program and brand development.
Ashley received an MBA from Chicago Booth, an MA in Middle East Studies from the University of Chicago, and a BBA from the Ross School at the University of Michigan. She lives with her husband and their two children.