Fracture's Startup Journey with Abhi Lokesh
As a first time co-founder, Abhi Lokesh made a lot of mistakes that could have broken Fracture, his company which prints customers’ unique and personalized photos on glass.
“Neither of us came from marketing or public relations backgrounds,” Abhi said. “We really didn't know how to market this product. And that's really where we fumbled the most for the first, I'd say, five years of business.”
They tried everything: traditional PR, working with Groupon—a near fatal disaster— and going on Good Morning America. They tried advertising on Facebook and Google, but that didn’t get much traction, either.
Our conversation with Abhi reaffirmed what we know about entrepreneurship: it’s not easy, but the big mistakes make you stronger and prepare you for the bigger decisions you’ll make in the future.
Abhi and his co-founder, Alex Theodore, saw the need for their product in 2008 when they were seniors at the University of Florida. They knew they would work well together, and they made a plan of milestones they needed to complete and the order in which they needed to complete them.
But 2008 was also the year of our country’s last financial crisis, and capital was hard to come by. No one could really understand the potential of their product, and they relied on each other for support.
“We had a healthy dose of naivete and I just think that youthful ignorance to see us through the first couple of years,” Abhi said. “We just innately believed that this was something that people would really want.”
And sometimes being an entrepreneur requires being crazy enough to go for it, despite anything that tells you not to.
But as the years went by, their company began to grow. By 2011, Abhi was faced with a new challenge: learning to be a leader.
“There's a certain archetype of a business owner or entrepreneurial archetype that is lionized in the media, right?” Abhi said. “It's the Steve Jobs swashbuckling entrepreneur who takes no prisoners and is very extroverted and authoritative and does things their way or the highway.”
That didn’t work for Abhi.
“There's no one perfect style of leadership,” he said. “There's no one perfect style of communication.”
Today, Abhi has helped lead Fracture to sell over a million unique glass prints. Through trial and error, he’s found the management style that works for him, and created an unbreakable, profitable business.
But, as incredible as it is, Abhi is most proud of the journey that got him there.
“So many investors and so many founders get excited about raising money,” Abhi said, “and it's a means to an end and it's a great milestone, but it's only ever that, right? It shouldn't be seen as an ultimate indicator of success.”
Find out his measure of success, his leadership style and get the story of the Groupon mistake on this episode of the Founder Shares podcast, available wherever you listen.
The blog content should not be construed as legal advice.