Hacker Lab’s Connections Opened Doors for OpenBoard Start-up

A Hacker Lab Start-up Hustle Success Story

George Moua is a talented graphic designer and passionate longboarder. His company OpenBoard, crafts beautiful longboards that can be customized with the client’s artwork to create a board that has significant meaning to the customer.

Moua connected with Hacker Lab and applied to the Start-up Hustle six week intensive entrepreneurial program offered in fall 2015 as a result of a friend seeing a post on Instagram. “I needed a plan to move the business forward,” said Moua. “I wouldn’t be in the place I am now without Hacker Lab.”

OpenBoard is selling pre-made boards with Moua’s designs from a store in Davis and he is getting more orders through the website. Moua says his business approach has changed as a result of Start-up Hustle. “The experience was invaluable,” said Moua. “Now I am looking at ways to use a CNC Router to automate board production.”

The step-by-step approach of the six week Start-up Hustle program was helpful, according to Moua. “They made it easy by providing the structure,” said Moua. “The mentors and speakers gave us focus, guidelines and good resources.”

One of the challenges, explained Moua, was to put out materials and information that hadn’t yet been perfected in order to get an early response from customers. “The mentors encouraged us to quickly get our products in front of customers,” said Moua. “I had to learn to put out information that was not exactly ready on Facebook, the website and an on-line store to get feedback and validation.”

The designer isn’t used speaking in front of groups and the support from the program gave him more confidence to promote OpenBoard. “I became more comfortable presenting my business idea,” said Moua. “It is hard for me to ask for things. Developing the pitch presentation helped me get past my reticence.”

An unexpected benefit, according to Moua was Hacker Lab’s amazing reach and connections throughout the community. “Eric Ullrich introduced me to Sonny Mayugba, cofounder and publisher of Heckler Magazine, an old school skating publication,” said Moua. “It was invaluable to connect with Sonny. He became my mentor and it was eye-opening when he shared his ideas with me.”

Moua recommends Hacker Lab’s Start-up Hustle program. “If you have a small idea, this program can take it to a new level,” said Moua. “You should just go for it.”

Connect with Moua to get your own personalized longboard at the OpenBoard website. Benefit from his expertise and craftmanship to get a longboard that has personal meaning to you.

The next Hacker Lab Start-up Hustle will be announced in late January. Applications are due March 17, 2016. Sign up at the Hacker Lab website to get notified when the new Spring 2016 Start-up Hustle program is announced. Sierra College CACT is a proud sponsor of this program for entrepreneurs.