This month’s Fearless Female Founder is Carly Gloge, founder of Ubooly. Carly Gloge is the co-founder of Smart Toy (previously Ubooly Inc), which was sold to XI in 2014. Carly graduated from both the Disney Accelerator and TechStars Boulder programs. She now mentors at Qualcomm Robotics, RGA and LA Dodgers accelerators.
She was honoured as a Forbes “30 under 30″ entrepreneur in 2012, and “10 Women to Watch in Tech in 2014″ by Inc Magazine. In her free time, she’s an avid poker player, wannabe surfer, and vagabond.
Carly will be honoured as our special guest at our Speak Geek: Creating Confidence workshop on Weds, Nov 18 at 11:30 am hosted in partnership with The Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.
Let’s kick this off with a brief intro!
Hi! I’m Carly, the founder of Ubooly & Smart Toy, raised $3M in VC funding and sold my company in 2014. I love giving big companies a run for their money!
You grew up in Calgary and are currently living in Colorado. What are some key milestones that got you to where you are today?
I actually just moved back to Boulder from LA. I can hardly keep track of where I live any more! I first moved to Texas on athletic scholarships, and was fortunate enough to get connected with the entrepreneurial scene while attending Austin. I shadowed a couple of business owners who gave me enough work to start my own design agency.
After 5 years of building products for other people, I decided to have my own startup. Several of my clients who were entrepreneurs became mentors of mine as I launched Ubooly. Their recommendations really helped us sneak into the TechStars Accelerator. While our company has come a long way from its humble beginnings in a small workshop in Boulder, I haven’t stopped seeking advice from the smart, experienced folks in my network. I had a huge decision to make recently, and had an amazing support group help me come to the right decision. I looked back in my inbox and over 70 people helped provide guidance on one choice.
Do you have a personal mentor and if so, who is it?
I have several mentors who give me regular advice. Paul Barbarian, the CEO of Sphero and David Cohen, the founder of TechStars have both been influential mentors on my entrepreneurial journey.
Are you a goal-setter? If so, what is one of your personal goals you’re working towards in the next 6 months?
Yes, I do set goals. We’re actually at a point of transition where I’m focusing more on work-life balance. The next product I’ll launch will likely be another 5+ year commitment, so I want to ensure I’m in a good headspace before locking in on that project.
What has been one of your biggest win as well as your biggest challenge since founding Ubooly?
Last year some of my friends and I participated in the Spartan Sprint in Calgary. It was fun and difficult and muddy. Immediately after I caught my breath after finishing I vowed I’d do it again and beat my time from last year. The race is in August and my goal is to finish in less than 58 minutes. (You go girl!)
Running a hardware company is tough. Mistakes can be very costly. I’ve overproduced units, sold too many units to retailers (never thought that would be a problem), and had many sleepless nights asking myself if we’re making the right call. Making physical stuff is not for the faint of heart.
Now let’s talk about Calgary’s community. From what you can see from afar, what can be done to further promote entrepreneurship and risk taking in Calgary?
TechStars taught me the value of their motto #givefirst. It’s important for entrepreneurs who’ve had success in Calgary to step in and help mentor young companies. Ideally, local investors will focus on helping the community as a whole. Foundry Group in Boulder does a fantastic job of mentoring and helping local companies even if they haven’t put money in their business. Overall, it provides a positive net effect for the community, which produces stronger companies.
How do you like to ‘geek out’?
(We think that this is a broad definition and that there is a whole ‘geeky’ spectrum that include anything from crafting to coding to watching Dr Who reruns.)
I play poker competitively on the side, so I’m constantly reading strategy books, reviewing the mathematical implications of plays, etc. I also have a casual game that I work on every few months to shake off the programming rust. It’s called “Roach ’N Donut”. I’m skeptical that I’ll ever finish it.
If you liked this post, check out our previous Fearless Founder blogs.
And if you know any fearless founders who would be great for our next monthly interview, please email your suggestions to Kylie Toh at firstname.lastname@example.org
This interview has been edited for length.
Written by Jenn Egroff
Jenn planned our Special Events including Speak Geek and Geeky Dinner. She led every effort from partnership development to attendee experience, and now she helps Chic Geek in an advisory role.