Brothers Jonathan and Robert Sadow chose to leave behind steady careers at Google and Bain, respectively, to launch their own startup. Their venture Scoop, the largest commute solution in the United States, has already raised more than $100M.
By addressing a key pain point for businesses and employees alike, Scoop solves for the third-largest driver of voluntary attrition: the commute. Through convenient and enjoyable carpooling, Scoop helps make employees happier, healthier, and more productive in their day-to-day lives.
I recently hosted these two cofounder brothers on the DealMakers podcast. They shared how they brought themselves to leap into entrepreneurship, navigating the rollercoaster of startup life, what they learned at some of today’s top companies, how they raised millions in capital and a new way to look at success.
Experiencing the Pain of Commuting
Rob and Jon Sadow grew up in suburban Atlanta, Georgia. During high school they encountered their real firsthand experience of the pain of commuting.
Their school was 25 miles away from their home; by the time they were in high school, the brothers were spending hours driving 250 to 300 miles each week. Both became well-acquainted with the toll such long commutes take on their physical and emotional health and sense of well-being.
When it came time for college, they found schools and living situations with completely different dynamics.
Rob chose to do his undergrad at Wharton. It was just a three-block walk to class; he didn’t even have to think about commuting.
I still regularly guest lecture at Wharton and have seen how powerful the network is. Rob says it has been incredibly helpful as they started and funded their company.
Rob then went on to work at Bain. His consulting work there in New York focused on retail, financial services, and telco companies, and he was again within walking distance to work, or a quick subway ride away.
That time really helped him learn problem-solving as applied to business. You learn to break down big problems into smaller ones, figure out the work you need to do to solve them, communicate that to a group of people, and execute. That’s really all that business is. You also learn about partnering, adding value, and working with all types of team members. Clearly this all gave him an edge when it came to starting Scoop.
Jon chose to attend school in DC at The George Washington University, another urban center where a car and commute weren’t required. He says he was always inspired to build things. When he discovered technology, he realized building software was one of the most impactful ways to change things at scale. So, he joined Google. He moved up to their product department and found two of their early investors for Scoop among the great talent there.
3 Big Lessons From Working At Google
Jon says his three biggest takeaways from working at Google were:
Google is a master of scale,including being able to bring new products to customers in different countries pretty quickly.
2) Ruthless Prioritization
There’s a lot happening at Google. There, he learned the value of – and need to – ruthlessly prioritize to focus, get things done, and not be distracted by the small things.
3) Respect Everyone’s Expertise & Talent
You need product managers, engineers, designers, researchers, and marketers. You need to respect all of them, and learn how to get the most out of them.
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