You may have heard about start ups, but what are they, and how does one form? There are a lot of resources on entrepreneurship at RIT through Saunders, the Simone Center or maybe you have learned about it through your coursework and classmates. But sometimes, it's hard to teach such an ambiguous and dynamic topic. We reached out to an RIT Alum, Jordan Darling, who created a company called "Free Form Factory, Inc." to hopefully bring a little insight on what a start-up is and what it takes.
Describe your company and what you do
Free Form Factory Inc. is an advanced manufacturing company, currently focused on high performance personal watercraft. Free Form Factory is dedicated to create freedom on the water. Our first hull, FFF 1.0, is the world's first polymer construction high performance jet ski hull. Free Form Factory has developed proprietary manufacturing techniques and worked with one of the leading polymer manufactures to find a new material to manufacture jet ski hulls, known as Hulklite. Free Form Factory has released its first hull and will be shipping world wide in July 2015. This summer we will be expanding into additional products in the action sports market. Please check out our website and social media pages for more information. www.ridefreeform.com @freeformfactory
Was starting a business something you have always wanted to do? Why?Yes, from a young age I have always had the entrepreneurship bug. I worked for various companies while at school, to fulfill my co-op requirements. Although it paid well, it wasn't for me. I preferred building my own company and doing what I love, while making money.
What kind of benefits do you think developing a start-up has over working for a pre-existing company?
By developing your own company, you control how the company runs and how it is structured. You hire your employees, you pick the location, you drive the company to success. But on the flip side is, you are the one making all of the decisions and not all of them will be correct. Things will break, products will fail, its not the end of the world, it just matters how you react and how quickly you can make the fix and learn from your mistakes. If nothing is going wrong, or nothing is breaking, you're not working hard enough. So expect it and always plan for failures.
What was the biggest struggle you've had to overcome with developing your company?
The biggest struggle that I had to overcome was balancing my time between starting/running my company and finishing my final semesters at RIT.
It came to a point where my some of my school work was sacrificed in order for my business to grow.
What is the most rewarding experience you've had?
The most rewarding experience so far was when I got to ride our new hull (our first product) for the first time. It was a huge relief and accomplishment at the same time. As a company we put so much time and effort into designing and building our first hull and it took nearly 6 months before it touched the water.
Is working for a start-up company an option for students? Do you have advice for those students looking to work for a start-up for co-op or full-time after graduation?
Yes, Free Form Factory is looking for interns and or co-ops for Summer and Fall 2015
semesters (NOTE: Posted in Job Zone) I would highly recommend working for a start up company for one of the required co-op terms. One, it will allow you to see how working for a small company is over a large corporation. Two, you will most likely have more duties and responsibilities than you would working for a larger company. Three, you will be involved in a company at its earlier stages and depending on your performance and how well you work with others, you will have a better chance of getting a full time offer. All of those aside, I would still recommend co-oping for a larger company because that may be a better fit, but you won't know until you try.
What advice would you give any RIT student who wants to begin a start-up company?
Go for it, while you're still young. You have nothing to lose.
For more information about Free Form Factory please visit our website at ridefreeform.com