It all started with an Indiegogo campaign – Sprint: Declaring War on Adderall. The Silicon Valley-based entrepreneurs at Nootrobox were offering an exclusive trip to take an insider’s view of some of San Francisco’s hottest start-ups, including their own. The offer almost seemed too good to be real, but I jumped at the chance, and in retrospect embarking upon this journey was one of the best decisions I have ever made….
Over two days we visited many major startup headquarters in San Francisco including those of Facebook, Uber, Dropbox, Periscope, and last but not least, Nootrobox. Facebook was hard to comprehend due to its sheer size, and its city-like appearance was almost intimidating. Having the opportunity to observe the place that housed 10,000 of the best and brightest employees in California definitely made for an eye-opening experience. The next stop was Uber, which had a sleek, modern, and very secure office space. They have shaken up the entire transportation industry, and their rapid growth rate is an indicator of the bright future that lies ahead.
And then there was Dropbox… Does anyone even work there? The tour began around 6 PM on a Friday and included an open bar, cafeteria, The Mint (a music studio where employees jam), and a breakout room filled with Lego. I knew I was amongst really cool people when I noticed that the office was equipped with scooters for travelling around. The campus felt sort of like a quirky, cool resort with a beer garden. It was nothing short of amazing.
Periscope, which was recently acquired by Twitter, was easy for me to relate to. With a small team of fewer than 20 employees grinding for long hours, they are proof that you don’t have to be a giant company to produce big results. And despite the intensity of the work ethic, the office had a very laid-back vibe that was welcoming.
Then there was Nootrobox, where I caught a glimpse of the true start-up life. Tight spaces, a shared office, and an energy radiating throughout that was almost palpable. Everyone there was amazing and I cannot thank them enough for their hospitality and the extraordinary opportunity. It was here that I experienced the highlight of the trip, which was getting to meet the company’s founders, Michael and Geoff.
In Canada, it is rare to come across individuals who share a similar mindset, vision, and work ethic. My initial research into these guys revealed that they had very impressive credentials from Stanford, Google, and Y-Combinator, but I really had no idea what to expect. Luckily for me, it turned out that they were just regular guys. Regular guys who are about to change the world, that is. It became immediately clear that they had an extensive network around San Francisco and were well-liked by all the colleagues we met – whether at the office, on the street, or in the park. I was able to spend time with each of them separately where I got to hear about the vision for Nootrobox, which was exhilarating. It was an amazing way to top off the whole Silicon Valley experience.