This is a guest post from Shireen Yates, the CEO of 6SensorLabs…
I’m trying to hear my co-founder, Scott, walk me through our detailed product development roadmap but it is hard not be distracted: in the background someone is flying a mini drone in the middle of the Lemnos warehouse, across the room a team is assembling dozens of units for field testing, a neighboring team fills a whiteboard with complex equations. Welcome to Lemnos Labs – the home of 6SensorLabs for the last 6 months, which have flown by faster than any drone I’ve seen.
What happens at Lemnos? You get inspired. You get real. You get it done.
You get inspired. We walked through the doors of Lemnos with an idea to enable people to trust their food by developing a portable food sensor, starting with the rapid detection of gluten to support the estimated 30 million people in the US with gluten intolerance. We had a proof of concept that worked – you could take a piece of food and place it in a disposable capsule to see if gluten was present. We were inspired to do something big but Lemnos inspired us to go huge. And we see the path to huge by visiting Lemnos companies like Airware, Nanosatisfi, Momentum and Sproutling who have graduated from the nurturing confines of Lemnos to founding new offices, growing teams and building products that will change our world.
I am inspired by the stream of experience that pours through Lemnos in the form of mentors, who have spent hours with me discussing topics ranging from marketing strategy to manufacturing. The person providing my team advice on marketing strategy ran one of the most prolific brands in American kitchens: Pillsbury. That’s one small example of dozens of similar encounters. We are soaking it up like a gluten-free sponge cake.
You get real. When you start something that doesn’t exist life’s normal highs and lows are amplified. The delta between the extreme high and extreme low can feel like a terrifying free fall towards rock bottom or a rocket ship launch towards glory, depending on the swing of the week/day/hour. The importance of picking the right co-founder to survive those swings is key – I’m so thankful for Scott. I also have the Lemnos family. I have regular meet-ups with an amazing and experienced CEO of another portfolio company, and it’s an opportunity to be frank and ask for advice from someone who has gone through this before and who is completely kicking ass.
Once a month the CEOs of Lemnos companies gather to share what’s working, what’s challenging and how we can help each other. Insights from these meetings have significantly changed how I approach 6Sensor’s culture, hiring strategy and fundraising strategy. These gatherings also illuminate the simple fact that everyone goes through a free fall from time to time – that’s just real.
You get it done. A day at Lemnos feels like a week. In the last 6 months at Lemnos, we have done lots of planning and developing: gathered primary consumer feedback on preliminary product designs, published a robust product requirements document shared with our development partners, crafted the beginning of a brand identity, developed sensing technology that is 10X faster than existing methods for gluten detection, raised seed funding and doubled our team. With the infrastructure in place, we are pushing to build the next iteration of our product by June of this year. When the team needs a little boost of inspiration we simply absorb the current scene of the warehouse. When we need an extra boost of inspiration, we turn to Revolve Robotics and Bia, watching the teams ship hundreds of product a week to customers. We get inspired, we get real and we get it done.