Wade FosterSunnyvale, California, United States
In 1987 I was born in the middle of a January snowstorm in Missouri. I didn’t always have entrepreneurship in my blood. Growing up my dad worked for the state and my mom a pharmacist. There wasn’t much entrepreneurship in my extended family either: teachers, lawyers, doctors, insurance agents, but no entrepreneurs. All in all I lived a pretty typical upper-middle class, midwestern childhood. I played soccer, baseball, basketball, swam and generally got exposure to all the opportunities I wanted because my parents went to great lengths to make sure I had those opportunities. Music as Entrepreneurship In middle school I took up playing the saxophone. I quickly fell in love. I would pull out Cannonball Adderley, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and Ray Charles albums and try and play along. At first I wasn’t very good, but over time I could hold my own with the local jazz musicians. In 9th grade I got asked to play my first professional gig and made $50 playing at the Missouri Governor’s Mansion for just three hours of my time. This was the first time I ever got paid for a specialized skill that I had and not because I was a warm body that could perform menial tasks. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was my first foray into entrepreneurship. The Search in High School and College Like many of my friends, in high school and college I had no idea what to do with my life. I blindly followed the rules, got good grades and made my teachers and parents happy. I had a knack for math and science so everyone told me to I should be an engineer because that’s what engineers do. So in college I settled on majoring in industrial engineering even though I wasn’t super sure what they did at the time. I knew it had something to do with efficiency and that’s something I could get behind. Eventually my junior year of college I decided that I needed to figure out what the heck I would do with my life so I took an internship with a major telecom provider because they paid well and it seemed like a stable gig. Over the course of the summer I realized how much I hated corporate life. I would come into the office and work hard for a solid hour each day and surf the web the rest of the time. It was the worst. The brutal irony is that my bosses loved what I did and praised my work every step of the way. I realized that summer that a “regular” job wasn’t for me. Becoming an Entrepreneur I didn’t decide on entrepreneurship immediately after that summer. All I knew was that I hated wasting away for 8 hours a day at a job I could do effectively in 1 hour a day. That final year of school I started looking for different types of work I could do. Something a little outside the box and I found a small, local tech company that was looking for a marketing intern. I had zero marketing experience at the time, but I picked up a Seth Godin book and talked my way into the job. It turned out to be a pivotal turning point in becoming an entrepreneur. Learning the Ropes Over the next year as an intern and full time employee at this local tech company I learned a lot about product and marketing. I had no idea what worked and what didn’t so I tried my hand at just about everything. Essentially, I was honing my chops to become what I call a Full Stack Marketer. After about a year I’d learned about as much as I could and started trying to build my own company. I spent my spare time selling people in the community on just about anything I could. I built WordPress sites, I whipped up email marketing templates, I built a small web app. Anything to learn problems that other business owners were having. During the day I started working with local Columbia, Missouri entrepreneur, Brant Bukowksy, doing email marketing automation at VAMortgageCenter.com. It was there that then co-worker, Bryan Helmig, devised the initial seeds of our first startup, Zapier. Diving In In October of 2011, Bryan and I teamed up with our friend and local developer, Mike Knoop, to build the initial prototype of Zapier and win the first annual Columbia Startup Weekend. After the weekend we worked nights and weekends to build the initial beta product for customers and in January of 2012 I was able to start my entrepreneurial journey full time by quitting my day job. With the Zapier beta going well, we applied to Y Combinator’s summer 2012 batch and were accepted. In May of 2012 I moved to California with my wife and we’ve been loving it ever since. Giving Back I’m by no means an expert at anything, but I do have a lot of in-the-trenches experience at marketing, team building, fundraising, bootstrapping, and product. I love to help out when I can. If you want to get a hold of me let me know if the form below. I usually dedicate one day a week to respond to these requests so it could take up to 7 days or so before I respond. If it’s more urgent than that, then you’ll find a way to get in touch with me. :D
Oct 2011 - Current
Zapier gives you internet superpowers by making it easy to get your web apps to talk to each other. Want to save an email to Evernote? Check. Create Trello cards for new Basecamp projects? Check. Use Wufoo as a lead gen form for your CRM? Check again.
Email Marketing Manager
Veterans United Home Loans
May 2011 - Dec 2011
- Oversaw transition to new email service provider. - Managed database of over 1,000,000 email addresses - Started tracking life time value of subscribers
Teaching Assistant for Marketing 3000
University of Missouri
Aug 2009 - May 2010
- Created slide decks that weren't boring - Held office hours for disadvantaged students
Customer Development Lead
The Idea Works, Inc.
May 2009 - May 2011
- Product manager for a web app used by over 20k students - Introduced Lean Startup practices - Implemented a metrics based approach to development
Reprocessing Engineering Intern
May 2008 - Aug 2008
- Project manager for two equipment utility audits - Introduced quality control best practices for field assets - Introduced a 3 year plan for nation wide field audits
Missouri Industrial Assessment Center
Feb 2007 - May 2008
Conducted energy audits for small manufacturing facilities saving on average over $65k in annual utility bills.
University of Missouri-ColumbiaMasters, Business Administration
University of Missouri-ColumbiaBachelor of Science, Industrial Engineering