From Mobile Founder to Braavo: a Q&A with Chris Hauck
Meet Chris Hauck: Braavo’s manager of sales operations, business development, and… self-proclaimed office botanist. (Seriously.)
Chris joined Braavo from Sisense, where he was a sales development manager. In his free time, Chris began to focus on the mobile space when he and a close friend launched a mobile app that makes it easier to quickly search for food and restaurants on the go.
We caught up with Chris about how late nights in the city inspired him to build a food finding app, what he’s learned about success from our founders, and exactly how much Chris values learning.
You started your own app before you joined Braavo. What inspired you to create one? How did that prepare you to work for Braavo?
If you’re out at three in the morning in the city, it isn’t always easy to find restaurants that are open. I couldn’t find an easy app for it, either. So in my free time, I joined up with one of my best friends and we built a simple food finding app.
I’m not on the technical side of things, but building an app from scratch has definitely helped me put myself in the shoes of the many mobile entrepreneurs that I talk to on a regular basis. I can more easily articulate how they could get value from working with Braavo.
What makes Braavo different from other companies?
Our co-founders, Mark and Sergei, have an inspiring story and vision. How they founded Braavo, and the level of innovation here, all play into the difference that Braavo has from other companies.
Braavo (Mark and Sergei, really) uncovered a flaw in the mobile space: inefficient cash flow. And we’ve been one of the first companies to try to solve it. Companies have had access to data and analytics that can help them understand their performance. But nobody had the ability to connect it with finance, until now.
What kind of impact does your work have?
It’s exciting being on the ground floor of a company that is new and growing. Internally, you see the impact of anything you do on the business. Whether it’s bringing on a new client or being the designated office plant botanist. (Someone needs to keep them alive!) Everything has some kind of impact on the business and the culture. It makes the work you do way more satisfying.
Externally, we’re evening the playing field for mobile entrepreneurs. A lot of smaller to mid-sized app businesses have a hard time solving cash flow problems or finding sources of capital that can scale with their business. We can help them solve that and give them an advantage compared with other companies that have raised massive amounts of VC funding.
How does Braavo empower you to use your strengths? What do you love about what you do?
I love talking to people and building relationships. This role lets me do that. I’m always meeting new and interesting people in the mobile space. Whether it’s to talk to them about Braavo and how our funding can help or just getting to know them and their experiences in mobile.
There’s a lot of flexibility here that I haven’t seen elsewhere. I can set the terms of what I do, however I want, so long as I’m being smart about it. If I want to swap the refrigerator handles so the feng shui in the kitchen is better, I can do it. (And I did it, this week actually. You’re welcome Phil!)
How would you describe your work style?
I’m very enthusiastic and everyone can attest to that. I can get excited about seemingly minor things, whether it has to do with work, something as simple as lunch arriving, or making the kitchen drawers open more efficiently. (Don’t ask haha.)
What gets you excited when you start your day?
The future. Straight up, I get excited about the future of where Braavo is going. Since I started a couple of years ago, we opened three new offices around the world. We more than quadrupled our employees, and we’ve grown the number of clients we’ve funded by 10x. As an early employee, what more could you ask for!?
What’s a customer app that’s on your phone?
Last year, I read my height in books, a total of 73. It was one of the more aggressive goals I’ve ever put on myself and pretty unsustainable to keep up. So this year, while I still read books regularly, I use Blinkist to continue to absorb as many books as possible. I hit a really aggressive goal last year, and Blinkist is allowing me to more easily keep up.
That’s a lot of books. What’s a book that you read that you highly recommend?
Hooked by Nir Eyal. I recommend it to any mobile app developer. It’s about how to create a product and engage users to keep them coming back. Really fascinating to think of the different concepts and how they can translate to what you’re working on.
You’re also into learning. What’s something you learned recently with an app?
I’m using MindValley and I’m starting a class called Superbrain. Everyday, you get a 15-20 minute class that helps you tap into the power of your brain.
It sounds pretty corny, especially the title of the class. But I’m really interested in how to learn things, like faster information recall, remembering names better, and increased understanding of a topic or overall improved memory.
What have you learned from working with our co-founders, Mark and Sergei?
Not that it’s immediately applicable to myself yet, but success doesn’t need to change who you are as a person. The two of them are unbelievably humble and down-to-earth.
They’ve also indirectly taught me that patience and focus will result in achieving your goals and success.
Why is patience important?
A lot of people are not patient enough when reaching for success. They often expect instant success, and look for that get rich quick scheme, which causes them to give up when it doesn’t happen immediately. If you keep at it, success will eventually come.