December means a few things: spiced peppermint lattes, last minute Amazon prime shopping, and the end to another exciting, challenging, and fulfilling year of cove. cove, a DC-based startup, is on a mission to make people more productive in the neighborhoods where they live, work, and play. We are building a network of physical “productive spaces” fueled by an online and offline community of your neighbors. We strive to make work—well—less like work. No one really likes to work, but everyone wants to be productive.
As the founder and CEO of cove, after reflecting on the past year I've reached a few conclusions. We grew. We learned. We celebrated. And we continue to build together.
We grew. New members, new teammates, new locations, and a new city. We spread our startup wings by traveling up the east coast with cove-style productive and opened two locations in Greater Boston. In just over two years, we have gone from three teammates in one location with zero members to 75+ full and part-time teammates in 10 locations with members from neighborhoods across two metropolitan areas. We released a new version of our app with a social platform that enhances the member experience with member-to-member connections and messaging. And while new locations and a new city are extremely exciting, nothing surpasses the addition of a new member or a new teammate. The growth of cove’s community—both off- and online—is really what makes cove, cove.
We learned. We constantly strive to learn in everything we do. We learned a lot in 2015—how to launch in a new city, build a tech team, operate multiple locations simultaneously, and gather, analyze, and act upon feedback from our members, teammates, and neighbors. Honestly, there have been no shortage of learnings for us this year, and it is my goal to continue this trend in 2016.
We celebrated. With the peaks and valleys that is a typical day at cove (and many startups), we sometimes forget to celebrate. The most important celebration is that of our members. Whether in meetings or in passing, we as a team constantly talk about our member interactions and their updates. They keep us going as an organization and provide a daily reminder why cove exits. We are so excited for our long-time members of Up Top Acres, DC's first commercial rooftop farming company, who launched their very first rooftop farm this year. And for the students who come through our doors to study for their licensing exams and are now doctors and lawyers (here’s to you, Rob!). There are many examples that find their way into our team Slack channel, and we continue to be fueled by them in the day to day.
Additionally, I am so pleased that the great work of our team have been recognized by outside organizations. Check out when cove was named a metro-DC Innovator of the Year and when we were named one of the hottest DC startups by DCInno.
We continue to build. We’re building a company, an experience, and a community. As an organization, my strong hope is for us to set an extremely high level of expectations for anyone who walks through our doors. Admittedly, this is not especially easy as we continue to define our product, team, mission, and objectives. We build each and every day, striving to think about tomorrow while doing today—operating 10 locations across two cities. I am incredibly proud to be part of this team, and in my role I hope that each teammate takes gratification in building cove. If we can collectively do that as an organization, our member experience, mission, and growth will take care of itself.
I have found building a startup similar to crafting a meal. A great meal has many different flavors, tastes, and pieces to its success. Some dishes have formal recipes, others are passed down, and still others are simply made up based largely on feel. Each piece means very little until it all comes together; even better, there is always room for updates, improvements, and new additions. The end of year is a fantastic opportunity to take a moment to look around and appreciate what we have created thus far and see what is working and where we can add new flavors. Ultimately, I hope our members are enjoying a taste of our evolving offering everyday in the process.
In review, we had a truly productive and fruitful year. I am excited to see us develop individually and collectively in 2016. May your 2016 be as productive a year for you as I envision for cove.
See you around cove soon!