One of my investors tweeted to me the other day and wrote, "I can't wait until we make it!" I thought about it for a second and wanted to reply, but didn't. The reason I didn't reply was because in his eyes - as an investor - we haven't made it yet. Localeur is not worth billions yet. We haven't gotten our app onto as many phones as Yelp has. We're still on our journey.
As for me, though, I know I've made it. Not based on my bank account or my Instagram following or my home or vehicle, but based on my attitude, my grit and my passion.
Most importantly, the "we" of Localeur is so much greater now than it was when we started. Our team is bigger and better, our investor roster is deeper and more strategic, our community spans the country and continues to grow each month.
One of the people who's been a big part of Localeur's journey is my oldest brother Kahron Spearman. Even before Localeur, he was the first investor in my life as an entrepreneur. He invested $20,000 into Sneak Attack and although that business isn't alive today, the lessons I learned from it are very much alive. He paid for a semester of tuition at Harvard Business School without knowing it. The returns aren't Zuckerberg-ian yet, but they still may be.
Kahron left a lucrative job in the Middle East to move back to Austin to support me in my journey. He worked for free for months, helping us launch in Atlanta, Chicago, Denver and Miami. He then contracted for us for pennies on the dollar for nearly a full year. In April, we were finally able to start paying him something resembling the salary of an assistant manager at McDonald's. He truly put a lot of energy and effort into supporting me, building Localeur (the last 10 city launches has been much of his handiwork) and helping us get to a stage where we're talking to some of the most respected VC firms in America.
Our mother has a very high sense of accountability and responsibility. She raised my brothers and me alone. She was a foster mom to dozens of children that weren't her own. She's been of service to everyone from family members in legal and mental health trouble to friends suffering from strokes. That gene is very very visible in Kahron. He does everything he can to carry the duties of others even if it's not his core passion.
Yesterday was his last day with Localeur because after talking he and I both realized that this is the perfect point for him to jump off of my train with Localeur and start laying the tracks for his own as a professional writer. He's been writing for several publications including the Austin Chronicle for months and now he'll finally be able to pursue that fully rather than doing what all big brothers try to do which is make sure their little brothers are doing OK.
We're launching Boston, Philadelphia, Charleston and Nashville in the coming weeks and that will also be the result of Kahron's work for Localeur so when you travel to those cities and others in our community you can be sure and thank him. Even better, make sure to read his articles and the books, TV shows and movies sure to follow. I read dozens of books a year and hundreds of articles and I know he's got the talent and wits to succeed in the literary/journalism world.
I'm 32 years old and the CEO and co-founder of my own startup and I just now reached the point where I don't need my big brother to help me pursue my dreams. Thank you big bro. Happy early birthday!