The opening program of inX3 drew a standing-room-only crowd. The week-long series of tech and entrepreneurship events began with "An Almost Fail" at Union 525 in downtown Indianapolis, which featured speakers discussing the inherently-risky nature of entrepreneurship. Launch Fishers Chief Executive Officer John Wechsler, who organized the event, said it is part of an ongoing effort to "change the failure culture in the area."
“We were very pleased with the turnout," said Wechsler. "When you look at failure, ultimately, that’s where we learn the most. The idea is to change the failure culture in the area, and make it okay for people to try things, even if there is a chance they might not be successful."
One of the program’s featured speakers was entrepreneur Jim Brown, who developed the now-defunct Haven app that helped homeowners better manage their residences.
"Four years ago I raised a million dollars of other people’s money to start a company," said Brown. "Unfortunately after two years we had to shut it down. It was a complete failure and a complete loss for my investors, as well as myself."
Brown says he had been very successful prior to his failed venture, adding that raising and then losing $1 million was the most "humbling" experience of his life. He believes that telling his story is important.
"There are a lot of events like this around and what I hear often is people telling success stories, wrapped up with a failure story," said Brown. "It kind of gets frustrating because no one is actually talking about their real failure."
Brown said he was able to get back on his feet by "talking to a lot of people," including ClearObject Chief Executive Officer John McDonald.
"He (McDonald) mentored and coached me through all of the stuff that was going on in my head," says Brown. "It was amazing. That support system was critical."
Brown is now paying it forward as a sales coach to Indy’s tech community. He is a partner and coach at Sandler Training DTB. His lasting advice, particularly for those participating in this week’s inX3 events, like the Venture Club of Indiana’s Innovation Showcase and TechPoint’s Winners’ Circle.
"Don’t let the money side of things get you down. If you build a product people want, they will use it, and you can do that without a lot of money."
inX3 continues today with a pitch competition and a panel featuring community leaders, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.