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Case Study: Believing in Cadoo From Day one
Seedscout Case Study #3
Some of my favorite founders are those who become friends and collaborators long before they become case studies. There’s an interesting dynamic around similar types of founders being pulled into eachother orbits for any reasons. This case study is a prime example of this happening. This specific case study is about Colm Hayden, who is the co-founder of Cadoo.
Colm and I’s relationship started when he discovered an early project of mine (Growthmeter), signed up, and reached out to me on Twitter. He told me about Cadoo. In essence, it is a fitness app that makes it really easy to stay accountable to your goals by having users bet money on their future performance. There are really cool social features in there as well.
Similar with Matt Redler, we started building a relationship and naturally, I started sharing my crazy ideas with him about what Growthmeter (now Seedscout) could be as he shared more about Cadoo. We jammed on eachother’s products a ton.
We kept up our conversations over time and at some point, I realized Cadoo was actually fairly legit. Most founders who reach out to me don’t really have anything going for them yet but I got the sense that Colm was a different type of founder.
I wanted to play a small part of that growth (and get healthy myself) so I decided to become a paying user. I’ve been on my own health journey and would love for Cadoo to be a part of it. So I signed up!
And as a user of Cadoo, I also became an advocate as I got deeper and deeper into the product experience. I became their unofficial Customer Tweeter in Chief. There was a phase when i was using the product religiously.
Mat Sherman @Mat_ShermanNext stop: Sub 9 minute mile. Thanks for @CadooInc for getting me back in the game 🚀
June 14th 20201 Retweet6 Likes
Mat Sherman @Mat_ShermanGoing on a 3 mile walk/run on @CadooInc. Hopefully will make some money by the end of the current challenge!
July 26th 20203 Likes
You can even see, a year later, me advocating for this fantastic products.
Mat Sherman @Mat_ShermanOne of the coolest apps on the fitness market. Huge fan of @colmdotcom as well!
Cadoo @CadooIncYour running drill coach just got a new uniform. Show us some support on Product-Hunt! https://t.co/rSoVUwYpib
March 18th 20215 Likes
After using the product for a certain amount of time, I had conviction that this was going to be a big company. Although young, Colm had an extremely impressive head on top of his shoulders and was leading a small team to build quite a useful product for me., and for many others as well It was also around this time that Colm was looking for introductions to investors for a pre-seed raise. The first thing I did was have him on the Forward Thinking Founders podcast, which is a signal in itself.
Then I tried to give the best feedback i could on his deck when he asked for it.
At the end of the day, the most helpful thing I can really do at this stage is to get Colm connections to investors who invest in consumer. So I sent out about 10 intro requests. These included investors like
Elizabeth Yin of Hustle Fund
Turner Novak of Banana Capital
Jeff Morris Jr. of Chapter One
James Currier of NFX
Andrew Marks of TQ Ventures
Of the 10 or so investors, Colm met with a few of them but at the end of the day, none of them built up the conviction to write a check. They had valid reasons, but it was still quite frustrating to me. Even though I thought Colm and Cadoo were destined for greatness, none of the investors I connected him with thought so (at the time).
Nevertheless, my support of Cadoo was still unwavering and it was the same vice versa, as Colm continued to support me in my efforts to democratize VC.
He often shared metrics with me that were up and to the right, which was never a surprise.
And even though I didn’t have any actual ownership in the company, it still never stopped me from picking up the call when there was something Colm needed from me. I was always there to help/support as a friend.
Time passed…Almost 6 months after I tried to get Cadoo funded from my own network. As mentioned, it pained me to know what I know and know that Cadoo still wasn’t funded. Well, soon into the new year, one DM from him would change this. Sam Altman, former President of Y Combinator and CEO of OpenAI, led Cadoo’s pre-seed round at an $8M post money valuation.
I was over the moon for Colm. I knew he deserved this and maybe my belief just came too early. Nevertheless, I knew that at some point Cadoo would have their big break and it came from one of the best investors (and founders) in the valley. A few months later, Cadoo was featured in TechCrunch.
Cadoo is on their way to building an amazing company that helps the world get a little healthier, together. I am excited to see how far they go. Just yesterday, he shared this on Twitter. As usual, i’m proud but not surprised.
To give you context on how early I was, I tried to get Cadoo introductions during a month that isn’t even on this graph. It was one month before the first month listed. Although traction was early, I still knew he was going to make it happen. But through all of this, I learned a very valuable lesson…Some things take time.
Greatness Takes Time To Unfold
If you notice something about this case study, you’ll realize that Seedscout wasn’t responsible for any of the capital the Cadoo raised. None of our intros closed and of that $1.5M, he had to get all of that without our help. Unlike in our other case studies, the value add isn’t obvious here. Did we even add any value? Is this worth of being a case study? To that, I respond with this.
It is not our job to make sure the rest of the world can recognize greatness, especially in its nascent form. We recognize greatness early and move with conviction, but it could take years for the market to follow. They may never follow. We can’t cover for the market’s blind spots. We have no control over them. We have no control over what the sector of the month is. And we can’t control when one of our intros decides to invest. But we can control when we pick up the phone. And we always do. That’s why you work with Seedscout.
A Quote From Colm
“For the early days of Cadoo I was consistently trying to get in in Mat Sherman's network. I joined the founder networking calls, and did everything I could to get attention from Mat and the rest of the group in forward thinking founders. After I had a chance to explain my business, and most importantly show consistent progress, Mat became overwhelmingly supportive of Cadoo. Initially, he was one of our first 100 Paying Users, our main supporter on Twitter, and a HUGE help when it came to getting ready to fundraise, and being a friend to bounce advice off of. The support he gave has helped me a lot and I can't thank him enough. If you are a founder, I definitely recommend checking out Mat Sherman and everything he is working on.”
Thanks for sending that DM back in February of 2020, Colm. I am thrilled to see where we both have ended up since. Keep going and don’t look back! Much love.