This story is by Spence Murray on how he, Kevin Cheng, Arshad Tayyeb, and Scott San Filippo started working together on Incredible Labs, a 500 Startups funded company. Incredible Labs created Donna, a mobile personal assistant that anticipates your needs. You can follow them on Twitter here.


Summer of ’11, I found myself freshly free from running engineering, release and partner relationships at my 5th startup.  While I was a long time startup survivor, I’d only been a founder of 2 of the aforementioned ventures.  At that point in my career, I was still very fired up to dive into something, but was also feeling cautious.  Should I start something of my own?  Should I join someone else’s (again)?  Should I take a break?  Go somewhere big and forge some new relationships?


In timely fashion, a long-time friend approached me for his annual pitch of “we should start something!”… though this time was a little different.  It happened that 2 other good friends of his were also looking for their next passionate preoccupation.  So he convinced the 4 of us to get together, just to “see what might happen”.


I remember that first meeting well.  Right away, the talent and energy in the room felt good.  The ensuing discussion very quickly focused.  We found ourselves in orbit around a similar set of ideas… we started completing each other’s sentences.  I remember talking to my wife that night, and saying “I think I might have to do this”, before “this” had really been defined.  It just felt like the 4 of us could decide to make toasters and it would still be a great experience.


We decided on a direction, and gave ourselves a timeline of a couple of months to see what we could define in terms of a viable product and business.  3 months later we had a funded business, and a month after that we stared at each other in shock at our new SF office.


We were off and running!