The innovative entrepreneurs of the .CO generation
Presented by .CO Internet
It has been nearly a decade since the .CO domain launched to the world, ushering in a new era of innovation and opportunity. Increasingly .CO has become the destination domain extension for a new generation of start-ups, innovators, and entrepreneurs. Every day, exciting new businesses and brands are building the future on .CO — disrupting the status quo and doing their part to change the world.
Here are just four stories of the more than two million movers, shakers and better internet makers around the world whose businesses, brands and big ideas run on .CO.
Sam Parr, TheHustle.co
Sam Parr founded The Hustle from the idea that news, information, and ideas are the heart of successful startups. A business-oriented newsletter that reaches over a million people a day, The Hustle is a sort of Wall Street Journal for the less staid set of decision-makers excited to launch their ideas.
“We’re really focusing on helping new companies, start, expand, and create more jobs and opportunities,” Parr says. “Our target audience is ambitious people, agnostic of age, gender, or where you live. It’s for people who are going someplace in life.”
The Hustle rose out of the conversations Parr had with other entrepreneurs, and gained traction through his event, HustleCon, a kind of TED Talk for entrepreneurs, where attendees networked, brainstormed new ideas and projects, and made deals.
Parr founded The Hustle on his own when he was 24, writing all the copy, selling the company’s first $200,000 worth of advertising, hosting every event, staking out office space, and hiring the first employees. It was a labor of love, he says.
“At first, it was that we wanted to give people the news they wanted to know,” Parr says. “It was that we loved blogging and writing — and people liked reading it.”
According to Parr, his favorite thing about being part of the startup world is that the internet is one of the true meritocracies, because it’s so inexpensive to simply start a business. It’s never the “who” of running a company – you don’t have to be Silicon Valley elite or have a prestigious business degree. It’s all about the “why,” and the strength of that idea is what guarantees a business’ success in Silicon Valley.
Not knowing what they were doing is what allowed them be different, break the rules and shatter the molds, allowing them to stake out a pioneering space in the digital world and distance themselves from competitors right from the start. TheHustle.co domain reflects this spirit, as Parr states “.CO was just different enough to stand out, but mainstream enough to be taken seriously.”
Their differentiating strategy is also reflected in his team. They’re a group of ambitious employees whose strength is bringing innovative ideas to life, an ability to completely pull off brand-new concepts and make things happen.
“We truly hired people that were better than us and that were more talented than us and we’ve watched them grow,” Parr says. “And that’s been the most exciting part.”
Carolina Vélez and Oropendola.co
“My mission is to highlight the work of Colombian artisans and showcase their abilities to the world,” says Carolina Vélez, founder of Oropendola. “I want to make them capable to create what they want; pieces they haven’t even imagined they could create.”
Oropendola rejects fast fashion in favor of wearable art. Her brand is named after the iconic Colombian bird that weaves elaborate domed nests. Unsurprisingly, each of her artists creates handwoven pieces that add a contemporary edge to Indigenous and traditional weaving techniques and fabrics. Each piece is designed and made by hand, and all are works of wearable statement art, from delicate woven, tasseled earrings to dramatic knotted bib necklaces and backless plaited-bust gowns.
Vélez studied fashion design in Medellín, Colombia, where she discovered the local artists who inspired her to launch the luxury Oropendola label. The opportunity: leverage her own business savvy and knowledge of the global fashion market to create a business and management platform for local artists. Her company handles the sales, marketing, inventory pipeline and all the other back-end business, plus manages the time and deadline of her artists.
When she launched, she knew she had the passion to take her company global, but as an entrepreneur, she’s understood the importance of tapping outside expertise to create a solid brand that could go beyond borders. But she’s stepped away from the traditional startup model in so many ways by focusing on new values – an emphasis on local community, a drive toward sustainability, and unwavering support of the women artists she works with.
The .CO domain extension, which is a digital asset of Colombia, evokes her roots, and the domain’s innovative connotations speak to her ambitions for her company. “Success transcends economic opportunity,” Vélez says. “It’s about generating human relationships, and improvements in the quality of life of the people involved with each project.”
Tobi Skovron, CreativeCubes.co
“I believe intently that community is the new currency,” says Tobi Skovron, CEO and co-founder of Creative Cubes, a group of collaborative workspaces in Melbourne, Australia. He fell in love with the collaboration and kinship that a co-working space in the U.S. afforded him unexpectedly.
It was a brand-new way of working and a structure of entrepreneur support Skovron had never encountered before, and he wanted to offer that experience to other founders – a shared wealth of knowledge between innovative creative thinkers and makers helping one another.
“My drive is to create these ecosystems and environments where people can thrive,” he says. “And as long as you have a good heart and you want to help the world, you’re welcome at Creative Cubes. It’s really that simple.”
What separates Creative Cubes from other shared coworking spaces is the focus on people – they provide far more than physical space to startups. They do that by focusing on four pillars: community; events (where experts come in and educate on trends, tactics, and more); physical and mental wellness; and fuel – through healthy food and drinks.
“It’s too easy to forget that physical and mental health is as essential to success and productivity as ambition is,” Skovron says.
It’s one of their key differentiators, separating them from the cookie-cutter workspaces of white walls, white desks, and heads-down work that can get claustrophobic and lead to burnout and abandoned plans. That work-until-you-drop ethos tends to be particularly American, and to separate his company from that world, he chose a .CO extension, leaving behind the traditional dot-com world in the same way Creative Cubes leaves behind the traditional shared-office warehouses.
There’s also that gratifying alliteration in the URL, “CreativeCubes.co,” and the satisfying way the domain extension echoes the “co” prefix in coworking.
Abi Mohamed, Emmanuel Aremu and cgventures.co
“There are countless brilliant, economical, and ingenious entrepreneurs from minority groups whose business ventures are dismissed by the current investment ecosystem,” says Abi Mohamed, one of the founders of Community Growth Ventures. “We resolved to change the status quo and find a way for marginalized groups to scale, grow, and get the investment needed to build their futures.”
Community Growth Ventures is a group of U.K.-based angel investors focused on the innovative, compelling and disruptive new startups helmed by underrepresented and underfunded communities – the folks often ignored and overlooked by the status quo. They’re breaking away from the old guard, the gatekeeper investors who swarm to Cambridge and Oxford to fund another round of the same kind of startups from the same kind of founders.
Community Growth Ventures is flipping the script to give a new kind of founder the floor, and a shot at achieving their visions, and actively seeks out proposals and pitches for ideas that have a broader positive impact.
Their website is a major part of their strategy, adds co-founder Emmanuel Aremu. The company launched with a .CO because one of their biggest obstacles as a new group of angel investors is visibility, and one of their major goals is community. Unlike many investor groups, they’ve decided to fling open the doors, eschewing secrecy for openness along each of their funding journeys as a way to inspire other founders to reach out. The cgventures.co website and URL is what connects their message to their brand and affords promising startups an outlet to reach out and connect.
“We want to take a different approach of being open and inclusive because that’s who the founders we work with are,” Aremu says.
They’re creating a brand-new paradigm for the investment world, and so the .CO domain is a way to distance themselves from the status quo, Mohamed adds. They’re establishing themselves as part of a whole new generation of investors, one that understands the tremendous strength and power that diversity generates, from significantly increased profits to total transformations of whole industries. They’re the kind of investors who want to move beyond what’s-in-it-for-me, and instead tackle changing the world.
The Hustle, Oropendola, Creative Cubes and Community Growth Ventures – four inspiring stories to add to the long and growing list of innovators and entrepreneurs who already make their home on .CO – such as Twitter (t.co), Angel List (angel.co), 500 Startups (500.co), Founders Institute (fi.co), Launch (launch.co), Founders Forum (ff.co), Summit Series (summit.co), and more. The .CO domain truly belongs to the next generation of entrepreneurs, building the future of the internet one url at a time.
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March 4, 2020
November 20, 2019