The goal of Hardly Hustle is to provide inspiration, drive and motivation in a 10 minute read or less. What you see is what you get. This is hot off the press without an editing team.
Sean Newman Maroni is up.
Who are you and what do you do? I’m Sean, founder of Betabox. I’ve always been a tinkerer, and never felt that I fit into any particular place. I have tended to reject traditional paths throughout my life, and for better or worse that has led me to entrepreneurship. I live in Raleigh, NC and while I’m not building Betabox I am working on real estate projects and hanging out with my girlfriend Becky who is much cooler than me.
What did it take and how did you get started? Betabox started as a conversation between friends at a conference, and after a few pivots has found a home helping K12 schools radically transform their technology education programs. We believe that every student deserves an equal opportunity to access high-quality STEM experiences. That is why we make it easy for educators to make this happen in their schools though our onsite field trips and in-classroom kits.
What does the future look like for you and your hustle? To date Betabox has helped more than 200,000 kids at 2,500+ schools discover STEM in a hands-on way. We’ve partnered with some of the largest companies in the world like Capital One, Red Hat, Texas Instruments, and MilliporeSigma to remove the cost of our experiences for schools, while creative a positive return on investment for those industry partners. Recently we were awarded a contract by the State of South Carolina to reinvent computer science education in more than 40 rural districts. Next year we aim to do even more of this, by expanding geographically into other regions and adding new experiences to our portfolio. What drives / motivates you? Through Betabox I have traveled to many rural and low-income regions of the country. What I have learned is that there are vast swaths of society that have been left behind by the forces of globalism and technological progress. Within these communities there are plenty of forgotten kids that aren’t able to get an equal shot at the starting line. They lack mentors and role models that can tell them a different story than the dismal status quo of their small town.
When our Experiences ignite a kid’s self-confidence and drive to learn more about technology, I’m reminded that what I do is helping close an important gap in the social fabric.
What advice would you give someone interested in doing what you do? Be prepared to make less money than you think you will for longer than you should rationally tolerate. Education is unlike most other industries and it is much more difficult to find both product / market fit and a repeatable distribution strategy.
What has been the hardest part of the hustle? Keeping the main thing the main thing. Focus. Say no to almost all the things. Really. Like you think you do that but you don’t, say no to more things.
What are a few resources that you'd recommend? Don’t write off the old school business building books like Rockefeller Habits, E-Myth, and Traction. There are right answers out there about how to build businesses, don’t be too stubborn that you fail learn from the mistakes of others.
Side or full-time hustle? Full Time.
List the founders Me
How many hours a week do you work on this hustle? I probably to 20-30 hours of actual work, and then a lot of talking to people, reading, thinking, and experimenting. As a CEO thinking is the highest and best use of time.
# of Employees (part-time and full-time) 10
When did you start? In college
How much did it cost to launch? $50k
What were your funding methods and ballpark amount raised? $500k, grants and convertibles notes.
Annual Revenue We don’t disclose specific numbers, but we are in the $1-5m range.
Twitter: @seanmaroni Insta: @seannewmanmaroni