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From Accidental Entrepreneur to a $2.5M raise, with Cycle Labs' Josh Owen

Entrepreneurship might lead to financial success, but that should never be a founder’s sole objective, and Josh Owen knows that.

Josh co-founded Cycle Labs, a continuous software test automation platform, to solve a problem he found while working in supply chain management: an engineer needed to be available at all times to resolve warehouse issues, which could lead to 80-hour work weeks and some serious burnout.

“After three years of doing this,” Josh said, “I was just kind of like, ‘I'm gonna die young if I don't find a different profession,’ so I just quit.”

His coworker, and friend, did the same, knowing that they were young enough to create a new career path. The two became consultants in the same field, but they were happy to be successfully working for themselves. 

Eventually, they needed some help. They brought on another employee to help them with their workload, but they brought a client with them, too, which required another employee and then another. 

“We found ourselves in this snowball effect where we were growing just naturally by relationships that came with the employees that we were hiring,” Josh said. 

Because of this, Josh considers his entrepreneurship journey to be a happy accident—but not all the moments along the way were happy. After a few years, 16 employees and recruiting his former boss to buy-in to the business, they reached a crossroads. The three stakeholders had two choices: to stay comfortable by keeping things as they were, or to make things bigger.

“We were just doing the same thing that we had left the former job to avoid doing, but I think we were doing it better,” Josh said. “That being said, there was still complexity. And so, I'm sure like every consulting firm that's ever existed, we said to each other at some point, ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if we built some of our own software?’”

If they had their own software, they could control their own destiny and break the cycle. After talking with some mentors, they decided to get started. 

First, they needed to identify the internal problems their clients needed help solving, so they brought them all together in a hotel conference room in Memphis, T.N.

“We came away with a couple ideas to work on,” Josh said, “and we very quickly realized how difficult and expensive it is to build enterprise software.”

They had to limit their problem solving to what they could afford, and their first concept, known as Cycle, got some traction. And, as it grew, they became Cycle Labs.

To hear what Josh and Cycle Labs are doing now, check out his episode of the Founder Shares podcast, available wherever you like to listen.

The blog content should not be construed as legal advice.

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