Yesterday, James Kemper, Leondro McHenry, and I were given the opportunity to meet with Austin McChord, CEO and founder of Datto Inc. Austin McChord recently donated an astounding $50 million to the Rochester Institute of Technology, his alma mater. This connection allowed the Simone Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship to arrange a meeting between the HiBeams team and Mr. McChord, for which we are incredibly grateful. Richard DeMartino, the director of the Simone Center, graciously took time out of his busy schedule to transport the HiBeams team downtown to Datto’s Rochester HQ.
When we reached the location, we were showed around Austin’s very modern, innovative office. I was surprised by the casual atmosphere and of course the slushy machine (Nice touch Austin!) but what really caught my attention was the high energy and morale of the employees. This made it clear to me that Austin really cared about making an open, idea-friendly environment.
When it was time for the actual meeting, I was shocked by how brutally honest Mr. McChord was! He didn’t compliment the idea, or sugar coat it in the slightest, because that takes away from the real meat of the meeting as we were limited on time. No, instead he went right to the point and looked at shortcomings of HiBeams.
While some people may think of this as a negative atmosphere for a meeting, I personally think that Austin’s honesty only added to his credibility, an opinion shared by Leondro and James. What this showed us is that there is a lot of room for growth for the start-up as well as places we need to touch on for the future.
I just want to thank Austin again for taking this meeting with us. He really showed us the light (HiBeams pun) and has put us on a path to a better business.