The idiom, “Time flies when you’re having fun” was our first thought last month when we celebrated the one-year anniversary of Fremont’s Startup Grind Chapter. It’s hard to believe that we have had 12 fireside chats since September 2015. Headlining the celebration was Andrew Dickson, co-founder of Acre Designs, a startup that designs sustainable eco-friendly, high-quality homes equipped with the latest energy-saving technologies.

Andrew Dickson is a recent graduate of Y Combinator, a leading startup accelerator in Silicon Valley. What makes Acre Designs so unique is that buyers design their own homes solely online. Acre Designs then assembles all of the necessary parts, packages them into a large shipping container, and works with a local contractor to build the home. The system allows for personalization while keeping the components in the house standardized. A typical Acre Designs home ranges from 1,100 to 1,800 square feet and takes approximately three months to build. Keep in mind that Acre Designs customers need to own and entitle their own land.

Andrew and his wife, Jennifer, the chief design officer and licensed architect, started the company because they were frustrated with the existing market and saw a definite need for innovative, attainable, high-quality homes that are better for people and the planet. While the company began as “lifestyle business,” the Dicksons realized that they wanted more hands-on opportunities and decided to build the business. To do this, they relocated their company from Kansas City to Silicon Valley and joined Y Combinator. When asked about a key lesson learned since creating Acre Designs, Andrew responded, “Having the recipe to do something only gets you halfway there. You must also share your ideas and have a passion for the final destination.” His passion, of course, is to have more net-zero homes by simplifying the process for folks to build their own homes.

The next Startup Grind event is with Prashant Shah, managing director of TiE LaunchPad, an accelerator for enterprise startups. Prashant is an active charter member of TiESilicon Valley, a former member of its board of directors, and co-chair of TiE Angels. Prashant has been an early stage venture investor since 2001.

Previously, Prashant was with Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, an early-stage VC focused on enterprise and infrastructure software. Prior to joining Hummer Winblad, he spent many years defining and launching high-tech products. His background spans all seven layers of the OSI stack with product management roles at eNcommerce (acquired by Entrust), Cypress Semiconductor, and AT&T.

Join us on November 17 to learn about TiE Launch Pad, VC financing, and creating enterprise infrastructure software companies from Prashant. You’ll find us at EFI (6700 Dumbarton Circle, Fremont). Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Get your tickets online here.

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If you have any
question or suggestions for guest speakers, send an email to Shilpi Sharma,
Co-founder & CEO of Kvantum, and
Chapter Director for Startupgrind Fremont.