3D Home Printing for the Developing World – Alexandria Lafci and Brett Hagler of New Story Charity
New Story Charity builds homes and communities in the developing world. They were part of the Summer 2015 YC batch.
They just 3d printed their first home in Austin, Texas. You can read more at 3DHome.org.
Craig Canon [00:00:00] – Hey, how’s it going? This is Craig Canon and you’re listening to Y Combinator’s Podcast. Today’s episode is with Alexandria Lafci and Brett Hagler they’re co-founders of New Story Charity. New Story Charity builds homes and communities in the developing world and they were part of the summer 2015 batch. So they just 3D printed their first home in Austin, Texas. And you can check it out at 3dhome.org. We’ll also post the video and links on the blog. All right here we go. How about we start with you guys explaining what you do and then we’ll go back in time and talk about how you ended up doing YC and all the rest of it also.
Alexandria Lafci [00:00:35] – Awesome.
Brett Hagler [00:00:36] – Sure, so we’re a nonprofit. One of the first ones to go through Y Combinator and we build houses in communities throughout the developing world. So right now throughout Haiti and Latin America and you can kind of envision a plot of land and then about 200 to 300 homes being designed kind of like an urban designer would do for some of the poorest people in the world is the really high level of that. And Ali can add onto that.
Alexandria Lafci [00:01:04] – Yeah, so we’ll essentially work with local governments, we’ll get large pieces of land typically granted, bring in utilities, subdivide the land, and then families who were previously living in let’s say tent slums in Haiti post earthquake or an active landslide zones in El Salvador we’ll bring those families into the communities that actually helped design the homes and the communities. Then the families not only own the houses but they own the land that the home sits on and land ownership is so crucial as a path out of poverty.
Craig Canon [00:01:34] – Were you guys working on nonprofits before or did you just get excited about this idea?
Alexandria Lafci [00:01:39] – Oh yes, Brett was it. Brett has a great story.
Brett Hagler [00:01:40] – Yeah, our ideas was, I definitely was not. Yeah. Last thing in the word I thought I’d be doing and like literally, but I kind of had a big 180 in my life. And then when I was in my early 20s had a for profit startup before this. So I love entrepreneurship, love technology, love innovation, all the things. Then took a trip to Haiti a couple of years after the 2010 earthquake. So like not right after but a couple of years after. But it looked like it was a few months after and I was blown away by the tens of thousands of people that were living in tents because the earthquake destroyed close to like a million households.
Alexandria Lafci [00:02:24] – Yeah.
Brett Hagler [00:02:25] – Something like that and everybody was given temporary aid. Right, which is necessary at the time but it was only supposed to last for like maybe 90 days. And as of today it’s been almost over eight years and people are still living in tents. Like little kid, a mom and her three little girls are living in a tent with no protection from intruders, from storms, from anything. You kind of just go back to like, I don’t know, first principles Maslow’s hierarchy and think food, water, and I think sometimes we forget about shelter and you just we saw it firsthand. And came back and right before I met Alexandria I actually tried to find other nonprofits that could really champion and support or we’re solving this issue. And then as we went out started telling more people about it kind of found another problem which was skepticism. So many people that were skeptical about where their money actually went. We’re here in Silicon Valley, we’re giving to X organization. How is the money actually being spent? Kind of seems like a black hole. What percent is going, how efficient is it? Like all these things and so we uncovered another problem which was a lack of transparency, a lack of accountability and kind of like a status quo in a sense and then teamed up with Alexandria and our other co-founder Matthew and like the early catalyst was how do we take those pain points that we know donors have, like our end user, reverse engineer a new experience for that. And then we also have another obviously the most important end user which is the families that we partner with
Brett Hagler [00:04:06] – and how do we provide a better experience for them as well which Ali can talk through and that was how it started.
Craig Canon [00:04:12] – But just to clarify there were companies or nonprofits working in this space. The money would just kind of like seeps out from little cracks in the business and then they kind of end up living in tents.
Alexandria Lafci [00:04:23] – At this point three years into doing this work we’ve kind of come across in research and talked to over a hundred, well over 100 different organizations focused on housing and unfortunate, well the good news start with the good news. The good news is that there are a lot of people and organizations that care about this. There’s a lot of money being put towards social housing. The bad news is there is a huge spectrum with respect to what Brett mentioned. Like the donor experience, transparency, accountability, what’s actually happening with the funds that are being allocated there but then also unfortunately on the quality side. So the spectrum of quality, of output of the homes and the communities that are being built it’s stark. You have some good quality stuff but a lot of it leans towards fairly subpar which is part of the problem we’re trying to solve.
Brett Hagler [00:05:15] – One example and I won’t name the organization but it was a pretty prominent article. This is actually like right before we went through Y Combinator. It was one of the largest humanitarian organizations like a bunch of big headlines came out that they raised basically like half a billion dollars. And within like six years and only built, and this is not an exaggeration, I think like six houses. It’s like legit not an exaggeration.
Craig Canon [00:05:38] – Were they super nice?
Brett Hagler [00:05:40] – What’s that? Yeah, right, totally.
Craig Canon [00:05:43] – I don’t think moving to Haiti is on people’s radar.
Alexandria Lafci [00:05:45] – So that leads into, I didn’t get to mention, I won’t go too much into but, my background is almost entirely in international development work right. That’s what I became passionate about when I was 15. Solving poverty is like my life’s mission or putting a dent in extreme poverty. That’s what I studied, did a lot of work with various organizations in Latin America and Africa etc. Became fairly jaded in that work. I think a lot of people in the space become. Then doing international development work and having a decent understanding of that led me to want to understand poverty more deeply here in the United States. I did Teach for America and unfortunately about a third of my students were homeless for either all or part of the year and through the lens of those students I got to see that when you have housing instability, your attendance in school decreases. That leads to performance decreasing, mental and physical health impacts, parents ability to attain and retain jobs. When Brett and I had our first conversation about building homes in Haiti and solving that issue I was just really excited about the opportunity to see what the broad ranging implications of that could be. That’s how I got super passionate about housing as it relates to poverty. Then through my experience in development work, Brett mentioned that larger organization only building six homes. That organization didn’t build six homes and then pocket the rest of the money. What really happened if you look deeper into it is they said that they
Alexandria Lafci [00:07:25] – were going to build however many thousand homes. They realized things like getting land is extremely difficult. Things like doing quality control on homes post disaster is incredibly difficult. They shifted away from that need and focused on things that were important, a little easier to do etc. I think that highlights one of the core reasons why we’ve been successful is because we value, truly partner with, heavily vet local partners. One of the biggest observations in my work internationally is that everywhere you go, you spin the globe, put your finger, everywhere you go there are competent people and organizations who are going to know their communities, how to do business in those locations better than you ever will. It will be very presumptuous of us as very young, at that point we’re 24 years old, people with ambition to say like we’re going to go into Haiti, we’re going to go into El Salvador and make a difference. What we did which I think is crucial to our success is find locals who help us to navigate effectively. They’re uniquely positioned to help us be successful.
Craig Canon [00:08:37] – What does it look like in the very beginning? You meet and you’re like okay we’re going to work on housing specifically in Haiti at this point.
Brett Hagler [00:08:44] – Yeah.
Craig Canon [00:08:46] – Does that mean like you take a trip and try and find contractors and build one on your own? Do you raise money first? What do you do?
Brett Hagler [00:08:54] – I think it kind of going back to, so we had already before we got on the YC, we were already loving Y Combinator, listening to podcasts.
Alexandria Lafci [00:09:04] – That’s actually a big point of connection between us, right? I think you were surprised, oh this person who’s has a nonprofit background watches start up school.
Brett Hagler [00:09:12] – Which is unfortunately unique experience.
Alexandria Lafci [00:09:13] – Like speaking another language.
Brett Hagler [00:09:14] – If you kind of go to a core value you all have is make something people want and we looked at that from really two users. The first was a large pool of donors that, I mean everybody listening right now. If we said, “Hey give a $1000 to an international large organization, how many of you would actually trust where 100% of the money goes, how efficient it is, the end results?” The reality is about half the people would say no. So how do we make something that they want? Then we designed our experience we can get into later. That I got traction and then to Alex’s point earlier of how do we make something that our end users want where we know they don’t want us going down there and building homes for them and these super large organizations without using local talent and local materials and local jobs. That was really the catalyst of how things got started. We had the idea and then now getting into MVP mode. We were super young. We were 24. We had really no capital of our own and we had the idea of the donor side was really three steps. The first one was we were going to make our own crowdfunding site so you could see the family. Kind of like Kickstarter, you could see a picture of the family. Read their story and you can give directly to them. Second thing is that 100% of what you give will go towards building a house. It’s not going to cover any of our overhead. We do that by having a couple of private donors that fund all of our overhead.
Brett Hagler [00:10:49] – Private investors basically. Then the third part was when the family moved in we wanted to be extremely accountable to the donors. It was also one of the best days of the family’s lives. Think about it. They’ve been living in I mean like hell on earth conditions for seven years and they get into a new house. It’s one of the best days of their lives. So we take a simple moving video and we send it back to all the donors. That simple user experience of see the family up front digitally. 100% goes to it and then you get to see the end result of the video. That was the initial concept and in the way that we wanted to launch it was we didn’t have an engineer at the time actually and we didn’t have any money.
Craig Canon [00:11:34] – Great good start.
Brett Hagler [00:11:35] – So we made.
Alexandria Lafci [00:11:36] – Essential.
Brett Hagler [00:11:37] – I’m going to give a plug to Webflow. Isn’t Webflow?
Alexandria Lafci [00:11:41] – Webflow’s a YC company.
Brett Hagler [00:11:42] – Our other co-founder Matthew, his nickname is McGyver just because he can do anything. We said alright, we’re going to make basically a fake crowdfunding platform on Webflow. We staged it as basically looking like our own crowdfunding platform that we built organically where donors could come online, see the family, have the crowdfunding meter, had the percentage, all the things, give directly to it. When that happened our MVP was Matthew, Alexandria, and ourselves we would just update the landing page and literally like go in and move the meter.
Craig Canon [00:12:16] – Yeah, so it’s all like static.
Alexandria Lafci [00:12:18] – It could accept payments. It would be I’m at a dinner can you just got a donation can you go in? You go in, you do a quick calculation. This is the percentage and you move the meter over here. There were a few mistakes we made.
Brett Hagler [00:12:31] – Yeah, it was always usually a delay and people would call or email and say, “Did our email go through?” Our good excuse was credit card processing. It takes a little bit of time and then we still hadn’t and then we were like okay well we’re going to still prove them. Well when the homes are built we’ll just go down ourselves and do the videos. We actually, I think it’s a good start up lesson. We were able to launch that concept in only a few weeks and we started getting money and we got a decent amount of money. We got around $100,000 within a couple of months. That allowed us to use a local partner that we had already known in Haiti that had a lot of experience there, built our first six houses. We went down to not build the homes, because we employ local workers to take the videos, to see the impact. Then we send it back to everybody. That happened in a very short period of time and then we applied to YC after that.
Alexandria Lafci [00:13:34] – I think that it just really emphasizes core principles make something people want. We wouldn’t have gotten that traction and gotten over a $100,000 dollars in a matter of a couple of weeks if it wasn’t an experience that people really like. People were shocked at the beginning. You’re going to send me a video of this exact family I just met on the website moving into their house? If that actually happens…
Brett Hagler [00:13:53] – That’ll never scale.
Alexandria Lafci [00:13:55] – That’s something that I want to be a part of. Yes we would get, we would say this is cool I want to be a part of it but also this is not going to scale.
Craig Canon [00:14:01] – Right of course. So I guess that’s the other lesson too right do things that don’t scale.
Brett Hagler [00:14:05] – I mean for those first few months like we were literally pulling on our computers and updating the website constantly.
Craig Canon [00:14:12] – Did you have design for the house?
Alexandria Lafci [00:14:13] – We had full time jobs too.
Craig Canon [00:14:14] – Yeah.
Alexandria Lafci [00:14:15] – Let’s just say that, we had full time jobs so it would be in the middle of the workday of my supplies logistics job. Running to my computer moving a meter. It’s just like make it happen.
Brett Hagler [00:14:26] – We partnered with an organization that had already started the project. We didn’t have to start everything from scratch. We just thought to validate the MVP, validate this is something people want. Prove it with them and then after that we go.
Craig Canon [00:14:41] – Okay. Were you set up as a nonprofit at the time or you just ran the money through or you just? Wow.
Brett Hagler [00:14:48] – Go ahead.
Alexandria Lafci [00:14:49] – Not immediately. It just takes some time. It’s actually a process that takes probably much longer than it should.
Craig Canon [00:14:54] – A couple of weeks.
Alexandria Lafci [00:14:55] – A couple months usually.
Craig Canon [00:14:56] – I know that’s why I was surprised when you were saying “We got it all done in a couple of weeks.” I was like hmmm.
Alexandria Lafci [00:15:00] – People knew in the beginning we’re not a non-profit yet. They’re making the donation knowing that and then we were able to give tax deductions in retrospect later.
Brett Hagler [00:15:14] – Through our partner.
Craig Canon [00:15:16] – Cool. Okay.
Brett Hagler [00:15:17] – Then we got in to YC and everything changed.
Craig Canon [00:15:19] – What changed about the business when you got into YC and went through?
Alexandria Lafci [00:15:25] – Thinking bigger, I think was one of the key ones. Kevin Hale, Aaron Harris, Kat Manalac, they were our partners. We love them. Yes. I remember it was at my apartment building. We had our first, you get in and you have your first kind of call with your partner to set your goal for the three month stint that is YC. What’s either like your revenue goal, your customer goal, whatever. For us it was how many homes we were going to fund.
Brett Hagler [00:15:53] – By the way our homes are about $6,000 dollars per home. So point context people know.
Alexandria Lafci [00:15:59] – Kevin asked us, “What are your goals for home funding?” and we said this year, this is 2015, in the year of 2015 we want to do 100 homes. He said, “Okay great, you’re going to do 100 homes during YC. We’re going to take your 12 month goal and make it a three month goal.” Then we launched this 100 homes in 100 days. I think a funny story is that we agreed to that because we’re in YC, like we can’t say no and we hang up the phone and I was actually “Guys, I think we should call them back.” We just set a goal that we cannot accomplish. This is not smart yada, yada, yada. So I was being a lot more conservative and we just got to figure out how to do it. One of our big core team values now is think big, breakdown, and execute. You have this big goal and you just have to, this is not news, but backwards plan it and we did that and then actually hit 100 homes in 92 days. So we exceeded our goal.
Craig Canon [00:17:01] – During YC was just tons of fundraising basically to get these things going?
Brett Hagler [00:17:06] – A lot of fundraising, a lot of outreach, and getting people excited about our model and why it’s different. Most importantly the direct life changing impact that somebody can make for a pretty achievable amount of money, about $6,000. That back to what we learned, I think it really just infused in our DNA setting very audacious goals and then saying “Okay no B.S. What would it take if we had to hit this?” Then reverse engineering back to there, then making your weekly plan and executing. That has, that was the beginning and then there’s been a lot of other stages where we’ve apply, of course, that same principle.
Alexandria Lafci [00:17:48] – An anecdote that I’ll give is YC ended the summer of 2015. We had our annual planning meeting for 2016 that ended that year and we said how many homes are we going to fund? Do we do 200? I forget who said it but it was “What would it take to do 800 homes?” But just let’s just throw a huge number out there that seems conceivable because that 100 homes in 100 days seemed inconceivable and we did it. So we threw a huge number out there and just said, “Let’s just brainstorm. If we had to do, what would we do?” Long story short that launched the architects program which exists now at New Story where companies actually fund entire communities. Instead of doing one off homes we said, “If we’re going to hit a big number we need people to be doing bulk.” We need people to be doing big swaths of homes. And that’s.
Brett Hagler [00:18:35] – Crowdfunding community.
Alexandria Lafci [00:18:35] – That’s been successful and when we said that at the beginning of 2016 within three months we had, what, two or three companies that had agreed to do communities. So it was really a shift in our thinking of what’s possible and you have to challenge yourself in order to see what you can achieve.
Brett Hagler [00:18:53] – Then taking the right steps to package that idea and then go test it. We’re going to shift all our strategy and everything is going to focus on this. It’s like fire a bullet before a cannonball kind of deal. So you create a package and you sent it off to companies and you see what resonates. Then all of a sudden it’s oh we have this program.
Alexandria Lafci [00:19:14] – Iterate, right.
Brett Hagler [00:19:15] – Beacuse our homes are so low cost they’re about $6,000 per home. A 100 home community where they’d be all together, designed beautifully, and intelligently with the families. That’s about $600,000. Which is not cheap but it’s pretty achievable for a large company. So that’s how we started.
Craig Canon [00:19:38] – It’s a very high impact. I mean it’s huge for…
Alexandria Lafci [00:19:42] – Something else that seemed pretty unachievable last year or pretty audacious just thinking of this mindset is building a 3D printer. Which I know we’ll talk about more. Super young team. Fairly early organization doing something that’s very much a technological challenge and in some of the hardest places in the world to work.
Craig Canon [00:20:09] – Before we get there one thing I am curious about is so you’re dealing with all this apprehension around where does the money go. One example of how you guys are dealing with that is just showing the output. But are people asking for other things? You talk about how your model is better than others in the sense that you’re maybe more transparent, more efficient, but in very clear practical terms what does that mean? So other people can follow.
Brett Hagler [00:20:35] – Actually our first hire after YC which we had a lot of funding growth was impact. We didn’t go out and hire more marketing, we didn’t go out and hire more. We actually hired impact data manager that Ali can talk about. Shout out Emma, she’s amazing. That was our first thing was we wanted to setup this very rigorous impact data program which Ali can talk through.
Alexandria Lafci [00:21:03] – Because it’s not actually, number of homes is a vanity metric. What if those homes are empty? What if those homes aren’t actually better than what people were in before? What if those homes are crumbling? So the impact is the change in people’s lives once they move into the home is actually what matters. To Brett’s point, we’ve invested a lot into really understanding what that impact is. When families move into a home they increase their amount of sleep by three or five hours. You see immediate health.
Brett Hagler [00:21:35] – It’s a crazy delta by the way. Four hours to almost eight hours.
Craig Canon [00:21:40] – It’s insane.
Alexandria Lafci [00:21:41] – And you can extrapolate like what the the impact, the broader stand point.
Craig Canon [00:21:46] – That was kind of a life changing thing for me in the past few years realizing just how much of it went for recovery.
Alexandria Lafci [00:21:51] – Sleeping in a bed.
Craig Canon [00:21:52] – It’s the number one for.
Brett Hagler [00:21:53] – Imagine people that have kids listening, seriously imagine if your kid was only getting four hours of sleep. Every night.
Alexandria Lafci [00:22:00] – Life would be a nightmare.
Brett Hagler [00:22:01] – When it rains at night, well usually mud or rain or sewage will go through the floor and you don’t have enough beds in your tent for everybody so that means the kids are sleeping on the floor. So that means when it’s bad weather, oh that stinks, you have to stand up the whole night and then try to go to school the next day.
Craig Canon [00:22:21] – Right and then do it again. Forever.
Brett Hagler [00:22:22] – It’s just little basic human need stuff that is so life changing that we believe shelter can provide.
Alexandria Lafci [00:22:31] – Absolutely, we’re also not just building homes, we’re building entire communities.
Craig Canon [00:22:36] – Right.
Alexandria Lafci [00:22:37] – So these are kind of like micro economies. You see entrepreneurship that pops up in the communities. We do a lot in the beginning with community planning to plan for feelings of safety and community cohesion. How homes are placed, where we have green spaces.
Brett Hagler [00:22:54] – Make something people want.
Alexandria Lafci [00:22:55] – Exactly.
Brett Hagler [00:22:56] – Same principle. Another quick thing on the data is yes obviously we want to know what’s working, but like the most important thing about our data program and we encourage other organizations to do the same thing is we do it to figure out how do we make decisions from this. How do we make the influence of decisions of like okay what’s not working and then we can try, we can iterate and we can test and we can do a lot of new AB testing that we’re doing now. The same type of principles that good startups have we believe there should be no difference in how a nonprofit operates.
Alexandria Lafci [00:23:29] – You collect data to make your business better. Not just to show the data on the site, not just for fundraising. Unfortunately a lot of nonprofits they start collecting data because they have to because they’re not going to get money if they don’t.
Brett Hagler [00:23:42] – Oh this foundation is asking for this.
Alexandria Lafci [00:23:43] – Exactly and it should be used to influence the organization. Our goal is for every community to be better than the previous one based on the data that we’ve collected.
Craig Canon [00:23:56] – How do you communicate that on the site? ‘Cause you still have to deal with the psychology of these people wanting to donate.
Brett Hagler [00:24:02] – Totally.
Alexandria Lafci [00:24:04] – How do we communicate the data on the site?
Craig Canon [00:24:06] – Mhm.
Alexandria Lafci [00:24:07] – We’re still working on visualizations at this point.
Brett Hagler [00:24:14] – Also so kind of early into it.
Alexandria Lafci [00:24:15] – Again, we’re three years old. We did a lot. The way that we do it is we collect baseline data. So what are people’s living conditions before and then work, families move into a home and then you do six months, 12 months, two years. We’re really at the point now it’s an exciting point in the organization where we’re starting to get some really robust data on what the impact of a home is and transparently we are really thinking about what are the best ways to A, communicate that and then more importantly to use that information to change what we’re doing on the ground to be better practitioners.
Craig Canon [00:24:50] – What made you want to do the 3D printing? Is it a data point or is it just?
Brett Hagler [00:24:56] – No we go back to kind of in the beginning days was how do you do 100 homes and then how do you do 1000 homes? There’s about a billion people in the world. Which is pretty overwhelming.
Craig Canon [00:25:08] – There are more than a billion people in the world.
Brett Hagler [00:25:09] – That do not have. Correct.
Craig Canon [00:25:10] – Right .
Brett Hagler [00:25:11] – Sorry, does not have one of life’s most basic human needs is shelter. We thought, okay, well we obviously can’t solve that ourselves as one organization, but how can we start to think through new innovations and new R&D that if it works we could be able to prove it in our communities that we could do it exponentially faster, better, and a higher quality. So it’s a kind of thing that is too good to be true. But if it works we believe it could be a breakthrough and then we want to prove that in our communities and then not keep that for New Story. This is our IP. Sorry guys we’ve got this 3D printer but then open source or democratize that. Sit with all the other nonprofits and governments around the, really social housing sector. We can talk more about that methodology later but Alexandria started looking into a lot of different things for innovation and how do we create exponentially faster, better, and higher quality and 3D home printing came up to the top and then you could talk a bit more on that process.
Craig Canon [00:26:23] – For context, the houses you were previously making or still are making, how are they made?
Alexandria Lafci [00:26:29] – With CMU block. It’s a very traditional construction method. There’s cement blocks, it’s reinforced with steel rebar. It’s incredibly safe for seismic conditions, for hurricane prone conditions. We are completely satisfied.
Brett Hagler [00:26:43] – We’re very proud of those.
Alexandria Lafci [00:26:44] – With the way that we build houses now as far as durability, resilience, etc. The big question was how do we build homes, like Brett said, faster, less expensively without compromising quality because that’s the only way we’re going to hit that big number or even try to scratch the surface of that big number of housing inequality. We started just doing some research the beginning of last year there were a few promising construction innovations that rose to the surface. We also found out that there’s just not been a lot of advances in construction over the past few decades. It’s such an archaic space that there isn’t a lot of momentum and change.
Brett Hagler [00:27:33] – Since the 1950s, things haven’t really.
Alexandria Lafci [00:27:36] – Since power tools were invented.
Brett Hagler [00:27:39] – It’s organic market. Yes, disruption.
Alexandria Lafci [00:27:40] – Not a lot of incentives by the big players to invest in R&D and invest in changing the way that things are done. Long story short 3D printing was one of the things that rose to the top. And the technology is there, the technology, last year when we were looking into it was there to be printing homes.
Craig Canon [00:28:03] – We should describe this in a little more detail because especially if people are listening, can’t watch a video. It’s not 3D printing in the sense that you’ve seen before with a filament. It’s a different material entirely and in a much larger scale. But what material are you using?
Alexandria Lafci [00:28:18] – I love that question because typically when someone hasn’t seen the video and maybe we can link to the video.
Brett Hagler [00:28:27] – 3D printing, you’ll see the video.
Alexandria Lafci [00:28:30] – 3Dhome.org. When I say it to people there is this home made out of plastic? They’re thinking about like the desktop printer and what that prints out. How does that build a home? It’s printed with the most common, most readily available material in construction that exists. It’s built with cement. So if you think about a hose that with water, a water hose that you would have in your backyard. Think of cement coming out of it instead. Then you use that cement and you print the perimeter and the interior walls of the home. Then you go and you print another layer on top of that. So layer by layer you are creating a complete thermal envelope, you’re creating an incredibly durable structure. Think about the cement blocks that I mentioned. That’s many hundreds or thousands of parts that are put together. At each point, there is opportunity to make a mistake. Versus a technology where it’s one continuous loop of this very strong material. So we’re confident that not only are these homes going to be as good as traditional methods
Alexandria Lafci [00:29:41] – but there’s a huge opportunity and we’re already seeing signs through testing that it’s going to actually be much stronger and the waste like Brett mentioned it’s a nearly zero waste construction method which also helps reduce cost.
Brett Hagler [00:29:54] – How he went about this was, once we figured out we wanted to try it, first of all we met an amazing partner that we work with, it’s very public called Icon, the robotic construction startup company. This was, not like, there was no 3D home printer machine out there that we could like buy parts of, we had to make it.
Alexandria Lafci [00:30:16] – There was no manual.
Brett Hagler [00:30:16] – We literally, as a nonprofit, we fortunately have somewhat of a license to do this because we have a private set of donors that believe in R&D and calculated risk and innovation and so we actually had the funding to fund the R&D efforts of this.
Craig Canon [00:30:33] – Right.
Brett Hagler [00:30:34] – So we had to make the 3D home printing machine which is I think the largest machine in the country right now. I’m pretty sure, 3D home printer. And then we had to print the first house. We did that two weeks ago in Austin, Texas. It turned out, I mean the reality is it turned out probably better than we anticipated.
Alexandria Lafci [00:30:53] – It looks great, guys.
Craig Canon [00:30:54] – It’s very well designed.
Alexandria Lafci [00:30:54] – You should check it out.
Craig Canon [00:30:56] – I would totally buy one of these.
Brett Hagler [00:30:58] – It passed the Austin City Housing Code which is actually a really strict code. When we tested the PSI levels it actually came in three times stronger than our normal cinder block homes.
Craig Canon [00:31:09] – To what levels?
Brett Hagler [00:31:10] – PSI levels.
Alexandria Lafci [00:31:11] – The compression strength.
Craig Canon [00:31:13] – Oh okay.
Brett Hagler [00:31:14] – That was our proof of concept. The promise of 3D home printing when we look at really three bullets. One is cost. So right now our homes on average are about $6,500 per home. We believe with 3D home printing we can get that down to about $3,000 dollars over time not in the beginning but over time. And then speed. So right now it takes about 15 days to build a house. This would be under 24 hours and then under 12 hours is the goal.
Craig Canon [00:31:43] – Wow.
Brett Hagler [00:31:44] – Then you have to do that without sacrificing quality of course. We believe we can actually increase quality and make it stronger, more durable, zero waste, etcetera.
Craig Canon [00:31:56] – So when you talk about these numbers, $6,500 now $3,000 later, is that all in? That includes labor, everything?
Brett Hagler [00:32:03] – Per unit, yeah.
Craig Canon [00:32:04] – Okay and so I saw the house in Austin is that basically the model for the future homes or do they have the same fixtures and windows and all that stuff is that?
Alexandria Lafci [00:32:16] – The the roof will be a bit different. In each place that we work our homes are a bit different. You have to develop them for local contacts and communities actually are like I mentioned earlier very involved in the process of community design so we don’t just copy paste different types of homes. The homes will look different. The size will be about the same as the home in Austin. But some fixtures based on what windows we can get locally we want to support local manufacturers. In Haiti for example, people do not want to live under roofs that they feel are very heavy because so many people died in the earthquake with the roofs caving in. So we intentionally use some very light weight roofing materials and that would probably be different in Haiti. But the size will be pretty much the same. The size and then the construction methodology will be essentially the same.
Craig Canon [00:33:09] – How does plumbing work and electrical?
Alexandria Lafci [00:33:11] – This is a bit hard to explain without seeing the video but the printer is printing kind of like, think of it as like an interior and exterior printed layers of cement. Then inside there’s kind of little triangles so that spacing that you can wire and that you can put plumbing through. Then the printer actually is it’s pretty smart. You upload a cad file and it knows where to stop and start. So if you think about where the window sits, you don’t have to carve into the structure. The print knows to stop at a certain point and to start at a certain point. It can do the same thing for areas where fixtures need to kind of feed through into the home.
Brett Hagler [00:34:00] – That point is actually really exciting to us because if you can just imagine for our use case which is the families that we work with and some of the poorest places in the world we would actually be able to offer them different type of templates and even help customize the homes. Because the technology which right now we just can’t do. You have more design freedom in how you can design stuff. So it doesn’t have to be a rectangle or a square. You could actually make it circular which is how the first one was done as well which is extremely exciting from an architectural standpoint aesthetic and but also like how we can use it.
Alexandria Lafci [00:34:41] – It’s not any more expensive or difficult to design in like loops and curves as it is to do straight lines.
Craig Canon [00:34:47] – Right and so you get a curved window.
Brett Hagler [00:34:50] – Totally.
Alexandria Lafci [00:34:53] – Kind of the design thing is important because when you look at social housing developments now. Whether you have two kids or eight kids typically you’re in the same house. If you have a disability, I mean tough luck. So we can design houses that again kind of best meet the needs of individual families which happens for you and I. We don’t think it should be any different for people just because they don’t have as much purchasing power because of where they were born.
Brett Hagler [00:35:21] – I would just I’m not trying to plug in New Story but see the video. It’s really important.
Alexandria Lafci [00:35:27] – Makes a lot more sense.
Brett Hagler [00:35:29] – You can YouTube it, type a New Story or 3Dhome.org and this just concludes phase one for us which was make a 3D home printer with our partner Icon and print the actual first house in Austin, which we’ve done. Now we shift into phase two, which is we’ll definitely have to make product development on the printer, we’ll make improvements, more testing but then bringing it down to El Salvador is a place that we’re going to bring it to. And 3D printing a community of homes is a next phase that is happening this year. We hope to finish that Q1 to Q2 of 2019. The whole community. And we’re extremely excited about it because this type of technology if you look back, when there’s a lot of technological advances it usually does not reach the families that need it most first. They’re kind of one of the last ones to get it.
Craig Canon [00:36:22] – Of course.
Brett Hagler [00:36:24] – We’re so excited because this could change how we innovate shelter for the families that need it most and them getting it first. Which we have just a unique use case of our homes are small homes. Our homes are simple. That’s why we think we could do it first.
Alexandria Lafci [00:36:43] – We want to bring emerging technology to emerging markets because that is the area, those are the areas where these technologies aren’t just to do things like that are cool or to make us a bit more comfortable. It’s where the emerging tech has an opportunity to truly change lives and communities and societies and countries. So we feel this is kind of one step. What we’re doing with construction to fast forward these technologies to the places that need it and in everything that we do we really hope that we can help inspire this sector. If more organizations for their respective problems in food security and education, wherever if they are investing in R&D seeing what technology might be applicable to their specific use case and bringing it to the places that they work I think we can solve a lot of the world’s biggest problems a bit faster.
Craig Canon [00:37:40] – The partnership model’s interesting as well. How did you guys go about.
Brett Hagler [00:37:43] – What’s the future of New Story?
Craig Canon [00:37:45] – How do you go about doing that?
Brett Hagler [00:37:47] – Well I think it depends on what’s the ambition of your organization? And we’ve chosen to say, “Hey there’s this huge problem of about a billion people that lack shelter. We want to try to make the biggest dent in that possible.” That’s the think big and you reverse engineer and you think okay you can’t do that as one organization raising money, you’re governed by what you could do. But then you look at the market and you see there are thousands of nonprofits. Almost every government has budget or was working on this issue, but what we think that is missing is more R&D and more innovation. So we want to prove it ourselves and then say let’s get to scale by democratizing this and sharing it with everybody and then getting adoption from all of those partners. You want to add on to it?
Alexandria Lafci [00:38:37] – I think you hit that into your, I think you’re asking about Icon. The Icon partnership so I think this is a good lesson and Brett does this so well. For people who are thinking about starting a business or they’ve started one to just talk to people, talk to as many people especially qualified people as possible about your idea ’cause you never know where the dots may connect. When we were doing a lot of research and we said 3D printing is very interesting at that point we did not know very much beyond what we had read and seen. Brett really started talking to everyone about it and we’re very grateful through YC, through other programs to have an incredible network. You really talk to everyone you knew. What do about 3D printing? Do you know anyone in the space? What have you learned? What can you tell us? And through that then someone was like, “Oh I actually know these guys in Austin Texas who are experimenting with this.” The more you talk about your idea, the more you ask questions, the more you look to gain knowledge. I think the more opportunities present themselves to you. So we got connected to these folks in Austin, the Icon Team.
Brett Hagler [00:39:53] – Evan, Jason, Alex.
Alexandria Lafci [00:39:54] – Yeah, who are absolutely incredible. Shout out to them. They obviously hadn’t built this printer as we knew it yet but they through some prototyping, we knew that they had the technical chops but then also there was a shared set of values. Icon is a for profit company. They’ll be aiming to build homes here in the United States through 3D printing and other methods which is really exciting but they had shared values. They really care about affordable housing in the United States and they saw this opportunity to partner with us. Again to take really promising technology for construction to places where we can immediately apply it. We’re not, I think there’s a lot of, if you look at even New Story’s video, if you look at New Story’s 3D printing videos.
Craig Canon [00:40:43] – The video is getting the most shout outs.
Alexandria Lafci [00:40:45] – But I’m saying if you look at the video the suggested videos after it will be other videos of homes that have been 3D printed in the last, one, two, three years. So this is not necessarily the first 3D printer period but what’s significant about what we’ve done is A it’s not experimental. We’re not doing it just to see what’s possible. A lot of the printers that exist are more so in an R&D phase because they’re targeted towards for profit or luxury markets or even like building in space. We want to bring this down to earth and say we have issue housing here now. We were really bullish on let’s get this out of the experimental frame of mind and let’s make it actionable. Homes that people are going to be living in in the next year. They very much agreed with us. They believe that the technology is ready today. So the partnership has made a ton of sense.
Craig Canon [00:41:50] – For other nonprofits how does it work on the financial side? Do you guys license it? Do you buy the 3D printer from them? How did you set it up?
Brett Hagler [00:41:59] – It’s merely days and to be honest we have to first prove it ourselves. Doing it in Austin is one thing, printing a community of homes in El Salvador is a nice goal. We have to prove it ourselves and then we’ll talk through and figure out what’s the best model to scale that out which we don’t have clarity on exactly yet.
Craig Canon [00:42:20] – Okay.
Alexandria Lafci [00:42:21] – I think something else that distinguishes the printer that we’ve built is all of the design constraints that we gave the Icon team. So a printer that’s going to print a home in the U.S. or many of the examples you see in some places in China they’re not going to necessarily work in Haiti and El Salvador with our specific design constraints. It’s hard enough to build a 3D printer and on top of that we were “Hey engineers, you have to make sure that if power goes out midway through that we’re not going to have an issue.” That if potable water is not readily accessible we’re not going to have an issue. Manning the machine has to be easy enough so that we don’t need super highly technical talent in order to operate or to fix the machine. Our printer that we’ve designed is a printer that’s ready to work in some of the most remote areas in the world, some of the most difficult to work places in the world which is the first of its kind.
Brett Hagler [00:43:17] – This has all happened in less than a year. We had an idea, we’re at one, a team, we do these fun quarterly summits every year. We go play and we actually have one night at dinner. We do moonshot ideas. Everybody has to just like pitch big moonshot ideas and we actually got a lot of good stuff from that exercise and 3D home printing was one of the things that came up that night.
Craig Canon [00:43:40] – Just a year ago?
Brett Hagler [00:43:41] – Yeah just a year ago, just an idea. Then we started to explore it more, talk to the right people and then say, alright well this is, we’ve done a lot of due diligence. This was a calculated risk and we got to the point where we said okay New Story’s going to invest this amount of money and we’re going to do it where if we lose it we’re going to be okay. Of course this isn’t a bet the company kind of thing. Actually not at all significant. Significant but not that. Then we said okay the worst case is we lose it. We’re going to be all right, we learn, we move on. The best case is we could innovate shelter for the families that need it most. When you look at that and you analyze that we thought it was irresponsible not to try it because if it works it could change everything and it can reach more families that need shelter faster. So that was kind of how we made our decision.
Craig Canon [00:44:34] – What’s the hardest thing you see coming down the road, doing it at larger scale? What’s going to be challenging?
Brett Hagler [00:44:40] – Everything.
Alexandria Lafci [00:44:41] – Yeah. Yeah. There’s a lot. My head’s always like on the ground ’cause I kind of run our on ground operations. So one of many challenges will be just people wrapping their minds around it on the ground. I think talking to you, a lot of people who are listening when you first hear 3D home printing, me even, you’re just like is it plastic? How does that work? I don’t get it. It would be naive of us to assume that we’re going to print a community of homes in a El Salvador and then people are going to be super excited to live
Alexandria Lafci [00:45:20] – in them without knowing, “Hey, is this safe?” You’re worried about your children. I would not move me and my future kids into a home that.
Craig Canon [00:45:29] – Well, you don’t want to be in a science experiment.
Alexandria Lafci [00:45:31] – Exactly you don’t want to be a guinea pig to something new and so while we know that it’s incredibly safe and durable etc. There’s going to be a lot of kind of just education and talking to people and getting their minds around and by they I mean both the families that we are working with that we build homes for as well as governments and local architects and people.
Craig Canon [00:45:57] – People literally operating the machinery too. That’s just wild.
Brett Hagler [00:46:03] – The whole thing is we have a kind of a mantra we say as a team it’s for sure a seemingly crazy idea right now especially when we bring it down to El Salvador and like show people and everything right to governments to a lot of people listening it’s a crazy idea until it’s not. Until we can prove that it’s not. We say like it’s crazy until it’s not. But we also know that this is obviously not guaranteed. This is an R&D project that we feel now actually more confident than ever in because of how the first phase went.
Craig Canon [00:46:37] – Yes.
Brett Hagler [00:46:38] – But we have a long way to go.
Alexandria Lafci [00:46:39] – Last August is when we said we’re going to start building this printer. We want to do it by SxSW and was helped by SxSW in March. At that point no printer existed. Not only was the printer built but the house was built. That’s just to say like it seemed very crazy, it seemed audacious but it happened and I think when you’re like super crystal clear on what your goals are that’s just incredibly powerful in order to make it happen.
Craig Canon [00:47:06] – What percentage of the team was working on this? ‘Cause obviously, I mean you guys already spoke to it but all the troubles that you’re dealing with, all the challenges.
Brett Hagler [00:47:16] – Totally, good question.
Craig Canon [00:47:17] – Making stuff, shipping things, everyone has the same problem. Like how much of the team is working on this and how did you get it to move so quickly?
Brett Hagler [00:47:25] – In the beginning it was really just Alexandria and I. So Alexandria is our COO, I’m a CEO and co-founders. We weren’t spending that much time. I think we had pretty disciplined on like five to ten percent of our weekly time in the early days. Then you learn more and it grows. Then we really only brought on one other person from our team to help, and Joanne and she wasn’t spending that much time on it either. So we’re able to do it where we kind of carved out a percentage basically of our weekly schedule. That we were going to allocate towards it and we just stayed pretty disciplined on that ’cause I think there has to be a balance of obviously you want to go out and have like exciting new creativity and innovation but you can’t do that without the discipline focus on everything else.
Craig Canon [00:48:14] – Totally.
Alexandria Lafci [00:48:15] – In the beginning, I think what’s really critical and one thing we’ve done really well I already mentioned this with local partners and the countries that we work in, but finding people who are experts in their space. While Brett and I did a ton with research, legal project management, launching etc. We’re not mechanical engineers. We’re not cement experts. What we did was find those people and then help coordinate us all working together to get toward a common goal.
Craig Canon [00:48:47] – Well it’s so easy to take your eye off the ball right? Because I mean by nature people.
Brett Hagler [00:48:51] – Especially as a shiny object is this right? It’s a shiny object and we saw that in our launch two weeks ago. I mean we had been I think like six million views now, over 500 media outlets have written on it.
Craig Canon [00:49:05] – That’s insane.
Brett Hagler [00:49:06] – It was good and we and we prepared heavily for that.
Craig Canon [00:49:12] – How are the donations looking?
Brett Hagler [00:49:15] – Within the last week we now have about 1.3 million in donations. So it’s resonating with people. We’re at first we’ve, we’re funding basically more of the R&D of the printer.
Craig Canon [00:49:26] – Okay.
Brett Hagler [00:49:27] – Of the next product development phases. You’ve got to put yourself in the mindset of obviously people can fund houses which is incredible and amazing and life changing. Then there’s a very small amount of people that understand creating a product like this that if it works and then could be scaled out around the world, that’s a massive impact. That’s people are trying to fund that as well.
Alexandria Lafci [00:49:52] – I think about the government of Mexico they’re building tens, really thousands not tens of thousands of homes per year. That would kind of fall into that social housing bracket. So if this technology is promising it’s able to slash costs, be safer, be quicker, etc. Imagine that the governor of Mexico being able to use this to make their work more efficient and the savings that may go into other social programs, that may help to alleviate poverty in different ways.
Craig Canon [00:50:22] – You guys have been so effective at picking a goal and going for it both on the fundraising side and on the product side. What other advice do you have for nonprofits that are going through YC or just watching this and just curious about you in terms of the fundraising, which I know can be really challenging for nonprofits and then just having the guts to go for a product which is again like you said your investors are excited about these goals that you have but not everyone is so that’s a wholesales process as well. Like how do you get to be in that kind of position?
Alexandria Lafci [00:51:00] – That’s a big question, Craig.
Craig Canon [00:51:01] – That was a long question.
Brett Hagler [00:51:02] – I think it really people ask us a lot of how can how can other organizations be especially nonprofits or social impact organizations how can you be more innovative or how can you do some of these things? I think just the reality is it all starts with people. You have to have the right people on your team that have the competence to innovate or to be an engineer or to have the right networks.
Alexandria Lafci [00:51:31] – Good, I was going to say the same thing.
Brett Hagler [00:51:32] – We really value, I believe with all my heart our number one asset as an organization is our team and our culture. Then that just it spirals to other areas of like what kind of advisors can we attract. Then we start getting a few very respected advisors or board members and then they get to know us better and they’re starting to tell their team about it. It’s like kind of this domino effect where you have at the tip of the spear is definitely a clear story of why your organization matters and how important it is for you to do what you’re trying to do. For us it’s a lot about accountability, direct impact working with locals, human centered design, innovation, R&D and just tripling down on that story with clarity and then getting the right resources behind you that are excellent, as best as you can. Then over time that builds.
Alexandria Lafci [00:52:30] – Plus one to everything Brett said, team absolutely critical. We actually take, I mean people really remark and kind of anxiously laugh after they go through our hiring process. But it usually takes it’s like, a part time job to go through it. We take a really long time I think especially as a small team it’s so important. It’s like family you spend more time with these people than anyone else in the world. We do interviews with every single one of our team members they come into the office and they work for a day. We take a long time to vet and bring people onto our teams so that when they come on we’re fully confident in their work ethic and their sense of urgency and their values, character, etc. Relationship building, that’s something that I’m actually learning more of the importance, I think Brett’s a master of that and that’s one of the reasons why we have such an incredible group of advisers, donors, people just advocating for us because we treat them as part of the New Story family.
Brett Hagler [00:53:30] – Part of the big vision.
Alexandria Lafci [00:53:31] – Giving updates, when they have a kid, sending them a New Story onesie. Just like relationships it’s really genuine like these people are investing in like our vision for how the world should be and so we want to invest in them and continue to build those relationships as well. So it’s a genuine relationship building is key. For nonprofits I think for for profits to but at the end of the day none of that matters if what you’re doing on the ground is not actually working. So it’s really critical to A get the right people on your team, to always be testing your hypotheses, to be super critical of your work and to make sure that you are actually having meaningful impact. Because if you did none of the other things and you just did that, like make people want, you do incredibly impactful work then it might be slower but you will eventually get other people to support and rally around you whether that be team members whether that be donors etc. if you’re doing really high impact work, so that cannot be overstated.
Brett Hagler [00:54:31] – I’d say one, just thought this in my head, one equation that I think we’ve done well for fundraising and other growth and other resources is, I think, first, to Ali’s point, you have to have credibility of who’s supporting you, what’s the work that you’ve done, what are your results, what is your story? So you have to build that up right which takes a lot of tenacity and all the things to get it started and then it’s how do you get the attention of influential people? I think it’s the equation of first having the results and the credibility and then being very creative of how you’re getting to those people. So we do really weird and creative things of getting to people right. We’ll mail a Lego kit of our house to somebody that we really want to get in front of. We’ll make, we don’t sit just send emails we’ll make videos and we’ll send a video of us directly to somebody right. We just try to think really creatively of how do we get these people’s attention because if they could just give us 10 or 15 minutes of their time. We know that our story and our credibility and our results will speak for themselves. But these people are extremely busy and have very important things to do and they’re not just going to come find New Story. You have to be very creative of how you’re getting people’s attention and the more humanized you can make that and the more unique you can make that, the better it happens.
Alexandria Lafci [00:55:55] – If you use like traditional methods, just expect traditional, ordinary results.
Craig Canon [00:56:00] – Probably below average, just like no one especially these high profile people. They are so hard to get in touch with. I mean you see it at Demo Day right. Here you are at full of these, like you’re just surrounded by another hundred great companies and that’s like a refined piece of the world already.
Brett Hagler [00:56:15] – You have to use this term. You have to take really big swings and that means investing a lot of time even resources into something right. So for example right now we have this new program we’re very excited about. It’s called Her Story and it’s focus just on single mothers that we work with in our communities. We are going out and sharing this program with empowered female leaders in the U.S. and so we have kind of our dream list of people that we’d like to get involved. Then instead of just sending them an email or doing whatever we actually made these, and Hannah Potter who runs this program, we made these beautiful custom invitations. Beautiful, it looked like wedding.
Alexandria Lafci [00:56:59] – Branding that, they do look like wedding invites.
Brett Hagler [00:57:01] – They look like amazing wedding invitations with a custom note on the back and we’re mailing that.
Alexandria Lafci [00:57:07] – There’s gold foil on it.
Brett Hagler [00:57:09] – We’re mailing that via FedEx. So everybody opens FedEx stuff to either them or their chief of staff or their assistant. It’s like that’s the kind of stuff where even though it’s going to be a small percentage, we’ve invested so much into making that happen we will get traction from it.
Alexandria Lafci [00:57:26] – And we have.
Brett Hagler [00:57:26] – And we have.
Craig Canon [00:57:28] – That’s great advice. Any closing words of wisdom for people?
Brett Hagler [00:57:36] – Co-founders out there, I mean our co-founder relationship, I think everything starts there and before you can build a great team you have to have just excellent cohesion at the co-founder level. I feel one of the luckiest things and the best day of my life was being able to meet Matthew and Alexandria and our other co-founder Mike and the chemistry that we have. The how we split up time, how we check egos at the door. There’s no ego at New Story and how we’re humbled together. That creates a culture of what it’s expected to be when you join New Story and then that impacts who you hire. That impacts the companies that want to work with you, all the things so I think it starts with there and it goes down there.
Alexandria Lafci [00:58:24] – Iron sharpens iron that’s our co-founder relationship and other people who are starting businesses or who maybe aren’t right. That’s not the entire audience.
Craig Canon [00:58:34] – Yeah, sure.
Alexandria Lafci [00:58:35] – I think just having an incredible community of very supportive and bright people around you. I’m super lucky that I have that everyday when I go into work with my co-founders and we had chatted about this earlier but I also have a group of other female founders through YC that are a community for me. People who are never resentful or jealous they’re just complete cheerleaders for you. Doing big things, doing things that haven’t been done before. It’s really scary and challenging and hard and in all of our careers whether or not you’re a founder you’re going to have so many challenges in having sounding boards and having cheerleaders and just having a really great community around you helps you feel empowered and not lonely. A journey like this can be very lonely. So I think placing a lot of effort and emphasis on creating really strong communities of cheerleaders around you.
Brett Hagler [00:59:34] – One last thing that we’ve always said this for the last three years but especially with the new 3D home printing launch is that bold ideas attract bold people. The more audacious, the bigger the idea is that’s going to attract more of that caliber of person they either wants to fund it, they wants to partner with it or wants to come give up their job at Google or Facebook to come work with you to do it. If you’re a startup founder out there you’ve got to have bold ideas if you want to achieve kind of spectacular results.
Craig Canon [01:00:10] – Right especially bold ideas that aren’t just PR stunts.
Alexandria Lafci [01:00:13] – Yes.
Craig Canon [01:00:14] – This is the kind of thing like it’s sort of an understanding of asymmetric risk. If this works out it’s going to be amazing, but the downsides are very limited. But it seems like it’s working really well for you. I would second the group meetings. It’s like one of the things people don’t talk about all that much in terms of YC benefit like after the fact. Just keeping that up. That’s so smart.
Brett Hagler [01:00:37] – I mean I feel lucky because Ali we’ll go have dinner and drinks with her girls which are amazing founders and she’ll come back with all these great ideas and all this new stuff on hiring and culture and everything. It’s like wow it’s amazing.
Alexandria Lafci [01:00:54] – So just like-minded people around you who are going to push you toward your goals.
Craig Canon [01:00:59] – If you read the news all the time it’s only awesome high updates, but that’s not the reality.
Alexandria Lafci [01:01:05] – Yes, that’s very true. Then just one last, it’s not advice but one thing that just always is in my heart is YC. Y Combinator obviously has to return a financial ROI like based on what the company is but I think really at the core of the culture, what gets YC partners excited, what gets the YC community excited is solving really big problems. Or kind of just like new ideas and innovations to make the world a better place. YC was one of the first to work with a for profit lens, look at nonprofits. Nonprofits get a bad rap but essentially these are all people that are trying to solve the world’s biggest like most intractable problems. I just have the utmost respect for the YC community for taking all of the things that they’ve learned about running good businesses over I don’t know how long it is.
Craig Canon [01:02:08] – Over 10 years, almost 13 years now.
Alexandria Lafci [01:02:09] – Over a decade. Helping apply and create communities and create awareness around the organizations that are really working to try to make the world a more equitable place.
Craig Canon [01:02:21] – It’s very nice of you.
Alexandria Lafci [01:02:22] – Much respect.
Brett Hagler [01:02:24] – She’s good at that.
Craig Canon [01:02:26] – Thank you so much for coming in. This has been great.
Brett Hagler [01:02:29] – Our pleasure, thank you.
Alexandria Lafci [01:02:30] – Thanks Craig.
Craig Canon [01:02:32] – All right, thanks for listening. So as always you can find the transcript and the video at blog.ycombinator.com and if you have a second it would be awesome to give us a rating and review wherever you find your podcasts. See you next time.